First impressions count

Selling a property in a buyer’s market can have a certain number of challenges for those wanting to stand out from the crowd.

Gone are the days when sellers would simply have to list their property and wait for things to happen. In today’s market, tough competition among sellers has meant each seller needs to ensure that their home is in the best possible condition and makes an impression that lasts, hopefully for the right reasons, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

It is no secret that aspects such as market-related property prices and low interest rates have created a market that largely favours buyers, which in turn has assisted in the property market’s recovery and an increase in property transactions. “Although,” says Goslett, “while conditions have played their role in stimulating market momentum, sellers still need to do their part and position themselves in the best light to attract a buyer in the shortest period of time to ensure they achieve their desired asking price.”

According to Goslett, aside from correctly pricing the property, which is perhaps the best possible way of attracting buyers, a seller can maximise their chance of achieving a successful sale by ensuring that the home is in good repair and is aesthetically pleasing. “A great looking home that is priced according to market-related values will appeal to a far greater number of potential buyers than a poorly maintained home that is priced well above what the current market stipulates. When it comes to attracting buyers to a property, first impressions and looks do count,” says Goslett.

He notes that a seller will need to try and look at their home with a critical eye and be objective, much like a buyer would. “Often when someone has lived in a house for a number of years, they seem to turn a blind eye and overlook certain faults. It is important to try to emotionally detach from the home and assume that a potential buyer will be specifically looking for defects with the property. Serious buyers will ensure that they inspect the property thoroughly before they commit to buying, so sellers will need to have all the necessary repairs done before they put their home on the market, advices Goslett.”

According to Goslett an impression of the home is not only formed by what buyers see inside the home, but starts from outside the property walls. Buyers driving past will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Buyers will use the impression they have of the outside of the home to determine what they think the inside may look like.The property’s exterior appearance from the curb may be stopping potential buyers from venturing further into the home. Curb-appeal is vitally important and vastly contributes to the success of attracting buyers to the home. “For this reason,” says Goslett, “sellers should start maintenance from the pavement outside the property and work their way in. Basic improvements such as exterior painting, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can tremendously improve the look of a home from the outside. Special attention should also be given to the driveway, ensuring that it is weeded and in good repair.”

He notes that sellers need to ensure that the whole picture presents an attractive offering. “The key element to ensuring a successful sale is to make the property as attractive as possible to as many potential buyers as possible. A property’s first impression and how it looks will largely determine the length of time that the property will sit on the market,” Goslett concludes.

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