Focus on function for faster home sales

With budgets under pressure and home sizes getting smaller, functionality is of increasing concern to modern homebuyers, says Gerhard Kotzé, the new MD of the RealNet estate agency group.
“Most buyers are not planning to move again anytime soon, so they are focused on finding a home where the layout, space and finishes will suit them now and last well into the future, without having to make too many changes.” 
And with this in mind, he says, there is much that home sellers can do to show off the efficiency and practicality of their homes, generate greater buyer interest and ensure faster sales, including the following:
*Look at every room through the critical “eyes” of a stranger and clean and tidy accordingly – not overlooking the familiar rumpled cushions, heap of books on the floor or cluttered side-table. Then do the same for the outside of your property and garden. 
*Be neutral. Especially in the most used-rooms, make sure the floors and walls are not only spotless but a neutral colour. Some potential buyers might like your orange feature wall but others may just think how horribly it would clash with their furniture and how much work it would be to get it white again.
*Pay attention to your countertops. These are large fixtures in your home so buyers will want to see materials that can endure daily use and are easily cleanable as well as attractive. Granite, Caesarstone, steel, laminate or concrete are generally the best choices. 
*Be well grounded. Flooring is an area of great importance to modern buyers so if yours is old or worn it is worth replacing it. Sealed hardwood and ceramic tiles are still the most popular options but younger buyers also like sealed concrete floors as they are easy to keep clean and have an edgy, industrial look to them.
*Give your bathroom more storage. Install a good size wall-cabinet, some bath and shower organisers and enough towel rails. Create space for an attractive laundry hamper and paint or tile in a fresh-looking pale neutral.   
*Be careful what you build in. Additional cupboards or bookcases are usually a plus in smaller homes but can make rooms look cramped if they are too big or awkwardly placed. Buyers will want to arrange their furniture as they wish and make the space their own.  
*Make sure everything works. Before you buy new light fittings or a feature front door, spend some money on getting everything you already have shipshape and working perfectly. There should be no dripping taps, no cracked tiles, no flaking paint or varnish and no worn patches in the carpet. A home in “move-in” condition will be the first choice for most buyers.

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