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Home sellers: How you can turn ‘maybe’ into ‘definitely’

Turning home viewers into home buyers could be an art or a science, but either way, home sellers have a lot more control over the process – and the final decision - than they may think.
 
So says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who notes: “Prospective buyers who are coming to view your home are usually already “sold” on your neighbourhood and price. You just need to make sure that the property itself lives up to the expectations that have brought them to your door, and turn their hopes that this might be “the one” into reality.”
 
Here are his top five tips for doing just that:
 
Create a sense of space

“Moving home is very stressful, and the number one reason why most people would even consider doing so is to have more space – or different space - to do the things they enjoy or to accommodate a change in family size. This means that you need to show off whatever space you have, and why good estate agents will always suggest that you declutter tables, countertops and cupboards and let in as much light as possible – and preferably before the listing photos are taken,” he says.

“And because you may very well be selling because you really need a bigger home yourself, you should also consider hiring a storage unit for all your out-of-season clothes, spare toys, extra linens and homewares, sporting equipment and even some furniture. This will enable prospective buyers to see the real dimensions of your home, garage and garden – and if nothing else will give you a head start on your own move.” (See www.snappyhome.co.za or get the snappyhome app on your phone to locate a storage facility near you.)
 
Make a great first impression

There is no bigger disappointment for prospective buyers than arriving at a home that looked great online and finding that it isn’t like that in reality, notes Everitt. Curb appeal is what you need to them out of the car and into the right frame of mind to really appreciate your home, and the only way to achieve it is to pay attention to detail.       

“This is especially important when the property market is in a slow phase and there are more sellers than buyers. You need to win them over right from the start with fresh outside paintwork, gleaming varnish, a swept driveway, a welcoming porch, a well-kept garden and shiny-clean windows – whatever it might take to make a favourable first-impression on a very important guest.”
  
Create a modern look

You may not have the means, time or inclination to put in a new kitchen or bathroom before you sell, but unless your home is a national monument, the chances are that most buyers will be looking for a home with as many modern features as possible, he says.

“So if you are going to repaint, for example, don’t choose the same colours you used even five years ago. Pick an updated neutral that will complement the architecture and flooring of your home. (See https://www.dulux.co.za/en/colour-palettes for a choice of cool or warm neutrals.)

'Then in the kitchen, consider installing new cabinet doors and hardware and new countertops. In bathrooms, try new towel rails, new mirrors, and a new shower caddy or laundry basket as well as fresh towels, soaps and bathmats for a clean, modern look. As for the rest of your home, new light fittings and new flooring are some of the most cost-effective updates you can make.”
 
Clean, check and repair everything

Everitt says that reasonable buyers won’t expect your home to be in brand-new condition, but they will want to see pride of ownership, so the cleaner it is and the fewer dripping taps there are, the better. “In fact, some buyers are so critical that even a minor problem that would only cost a couple of hundred rand to repair can put them off the whole deal.

“So hire a professional team if necessary to give your home a deep clean before you put it on show – and before that, cast a critical eye over every part of the property and fix anything that is not already in perfect working order, from a loose door handle or a cracked window pane to a temperamental garage door or a rusted gutter.” Once again, you can find all the help you need on www.snappyhome.co.za or the snappyhome app.
   
Put your security on show

Increased security is the second biggest motivator for people to brave a house move, he says. “Therefore excellent – and visible – security measures are a key attraction, especially in the suburban context. Prospective buyers will be looking for burglar guards and an alarm system at the very least, but if you also have security gates, good outdoor lighting, electric fencing or a CCTV system or other security measures in place, these should be pointed out by your agent. 

“A home that is obviously well-secured will give prospective buyers a feeling of comfort, and they may even be prepared to pay a premium for it because they will be saving on having to install additional security themselves. But there will be price resistance to a home that doesn’t seem secure and in fact buyers could easily decide to give it a complete miss.”
 


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