Set the stage for selling your home

When selling a home, first impressions definitely count and an important aspect in achieving a successful sale is to avoid a situation where potential buyers overlook your property due to poor maintenance, clutter and the like, says Barbara Becker, area principal for Pam Golding Properties in the Pietermaritzburg and KwaZulu-Natal Midlands areas.

“The aim of a professional real estate agent is to sell your home in a short period of time, at a good market related price and with the least amount of stress for the seller. The seller’s property should be exhibited to suitable, potential buyers as the one which is the most appealing and well presented within its price bracket.

“It’s a fact that homes which enable the buyer to simply move in and enjoy the property, sell quicker and at far better prices as purchasers are saved time, inconvenience and additional cost.”

Becker says key aspects of setting the stage for the successful sale of your home are to de-clutter, refresh, refurbish, tidy and organise and de-personalise.

“Agent and seller should work together to identify and rectify any problem areas. Start with a checklist of exterior maintenance which is needed. For example, look at the condition of paint work, fascias and gutters. Is the verge, driveway, boundary walls and gates neat and well maintained, is there an attractive post box and street number.”

Simply grouping pot plants and repainting the pots, and perhaps adding pavers can create an attractive focal point.  Ensure the home is adequately and attractively lit on the outside – not only for security but also for appeal. Affordable solar-energised garden lights can create a pleasant ambience.

She says a freshly painted older home with neat gutters, a tidy garden with trees, lawn and shrubs trimmed, green grass and a sparkling pool with spotless surrounds will generally sell more readily and certainly at a better price than a modern looking home with peeling paint, shoddy gutters and fascias, neglected garden and green pool.

Good advice is to de-clutter all areas of the home and spring clean rooms, carpets, furniture, curtains and linen. Co-ordinate bed linen and curtains to create a restful impression and if possible, buy new neutral-coloured linen which can be complemented by colourful scatter cushions and throws to create a homely look.

Says Becker: “Many buyers purchase at face value and may not perceive the potential in homes that they view. It is therefore a simpler exercise to present a more appealing package that a broader market will warm to. In the kitchen, for example, remove any clutter such as an excess of appliances to display attractive granite tops and cupboards and sufficient workspace – which is very important.  Contemporary new cupboard handles and colour scheme can make a huge difference to a kitchen with a dated look. And bear in mind that chipped tiles create a very negative impression. Also ensure the scullery and laundry area is clean and neat.

“Cathy Pretorius, an agent in our PGP Pietermaritzburg office, is adept at assisting sellers to achieve the best selling price for their homes. An example is a home where she advised and recommended efficient contractors to carry out a simple kitchen and bathroom revamp, repainting, replacing some fixtures, rearranging furniture in the home, painting some doors and repairing hinges and purchasing new items such as bath mats, towels, cushions and throws at a total cost of approximately R20 000.

“The home sold within two days for R200 000 more than anticipated, which underlines the value of preparing your home properly for sale. In another instance, where a house had been on the market for over five months through another agency, PGP took on the property and Pretorius changed the blue and pink bedroom and lounge walls to creams and stage-set the house with attractive items such as lamps and the like. The house sold on the show day for a better price than the previous, original asking price. She says it is all about creating a ‘look’ that people want to buy, and they may even want to buy your furniture when the stage is set,” says Becker.

Bathrooms should also be in good condition, clean and preferably with blinds instead of curtains for a more modern, neutral appeal. Again, check the condition of the tiles and any mosaics and repaint walls and ceiling in neutral shades. Fresh towels should be neatly displayed and remove any children’s toys from the bathroom. Replace broken or damaged towel rails and put down new bath mats.

Adds Becker: “Simply by repositioning or even removing some of the furniture and objects in a room can more fully reveal its character and purpose and help create an air of spaciousness. Entrance halls should be light, inviting and again, uncluttered. When a potential buyer walks into your home they need to feel a natural flow through the house from the interior living spaces to outdoor entertainment, patio, pool and other areas.

“Importantly, display the rooms for the purpose intended – a bedroom turned into a gym may not be appealing to potential buyers, nor a bedroom with a dual purpose as a study as the clutter of papers and office equipment does not create the impression of a restful atmosphere for a good night’s rest.”

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