Give your home that million-plus polish

Thousands of buyers are out hunting for upgrade properties worth more than R1m at the moment, but sellers who want their attention need to present right as well as price right.
So says Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, who says that while low interest rates and rising consumer confidence in the property market have substantially boosted interest and activity in recent months, “there is still a lot of competition for buyer attention, and owners of R1m-plus properties who want the best possible price need to ensure that their homes have great curb appeal.

This immaculate Bryanston home is on sale through Sotheby’s International Realty. Set on a stand of approximately 2000sqm, it offers three bedrooms and two bathrooms, open plan living areas, a loft TV lounge, double garage, pool and gazebo. The asking price is R3,5m.

“And this is especially true in the mid-range of the market our company serves – which is homes priced from R2m to R4m.”
The fact remains, he says, that for most buyers coming out of a market that has been depressed for almost five years, there is a big psychological difference between R999 000 and R1m or more.“There is still something about a seven-figure price tag that makes them look hard for added value or future savings - and we have noticed that this value consciousness is even more pronounced when buyers are moving up from a home in the R1m to R2m bracket to one priced at more than R2m.”
Of course first impressions are vital when a seller is trying to persuade potential buyers to break through such a  ceiling, Geffen says, “so it is really worth paying attention to the details of presentation before putting a property on show”.
For example, he says, the paintwork inside and out should be perfect. “Even if the house has to be completely repainted, it will cost the seller less than the amount a potential buyer will inevitably want to deduct from the asking price to get the job done himself.”
Secondly, the setting of the house should be immaculate. “Every rand spent to get the garden and pool in mint condition is likely to be worth several thousand when it comes to negotiating price.”
In addition, to please modern buyers, sellers must do their utmost to create the impression of light and space indoors by getting rid of clutter, heavy furnishings and elaborate window dressings.
However, says Geffen, all this work will have been wasted if the seller does not market his home correctly. And the key to this is to grant a sole mandate to an expert agent who can maximise the exposure of an upmarket house to the most likely potential buyers,without attracting undue attention from curiosity seekers.
“We are aware that many wealthy sellers have security or privacy fears when it comes to holding a show day or advertising their properties, but real visibility in themarketplace, so that genuine prospective buyers can ‘see and touch’ the value being offered remains the critical element in a successful sale.”

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