Give your home the edge in a crowded market

Unless you’re selling an exceptional property in a very upmarket neighbourhood, it can be hard to make your home stand out from the many others on the market and attract more prospective buyers.

However, says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, certain features that you may be used to - or even take for granted - might actually be just what buyers are looking for, so you should make sure that they are included when your home is advertised or listed online.

“The first of these features is storage space. You might be moving because you’ve outgrown your home, but you should try to remember what it felt like to live in a rented home with a minimal number of cupboards – and make a big deal of yours.

“Walk-in closets, separate pantries and plenty of kitchen cabinets are definitely something to boast about, and if you’ve invested in upgrading your home with built-in cupboards, additional kitchen or garage storage units, built-in desks or bookshelves, you should make sure that prospective buyers know about them.

“From the first-time buyer craving a less messy lifestyle to the buyers looking for a family home that has enough personal space for everyone, the option of being able to organise and tidy away everything they own is a huge bonus.”

Next, he says, you should make sure your advert includes a short list of local attractions and amenities, and their distance from your home.

“Not all prospective buyers will be aware that your neighbourhood is a lifestyle gem with parks, shops and a great school close by, or that the bus stop is just a block away from your house. Alternatively, buyers who were only looking in a certain price range may now be made aware of your property because it is close to something they wish to access, such as the Gautrain, or a university, or a certain business node.”

Third, says Davel, with the cost of water and electricity continuing to rise and energy-efficient homes becoming increasingly sought-after in SA, it’s definitely important to mention if your home has any energy-saving features such as a solar geyser or a gas stove.

“Even buyers who are not necessarily looking for a ‘green’ home can be enticed by the potential for reduced monthly expenses offered by an energy efficient home.  So if your home is a basic, no-frills property but has a rainwater tank, solar panels, new LED light fittings or even a borehole and garden irrigation system, make sure you mention these in your listing.”

Having a small vegetable garden or a proper composting system might also be an advantage for those seeking to embrace a healthier, natural lifestyle, he notes. “So don’t overlook features just because they didn’t cost you a lot of money.

“Alternatively, try to think about the different types of buyers that might find it attractive and target them specifically. If your home is a smaller, single-storey house with no steps and is easy to maintain, for example, you could gain a massive audience of potential buyers if you tailor your advertising to appeal to older people who are looking for a home in which they can enjoy a comfortable retirement.

“On the other hand, you may want to focus on the fact that your home is larger than most others in the area, and is suitable for extended families who need to accommodate some older relatives in a “granny-flat” or garden cottage, or buyers who would like to have a home office or a professional practice on the same premises.

“In short, the trick when listing your property for sale is to think like a buyer.”

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