Effective home updates for the cash-strapped seller

The buyer’s market we are experiencing means that sellers will need to make sure their homes are in excellent condition if they hope to secure a sale. Luckily, sellers do not need to break the bank to make their home stand out among the crowd. There are several cost-effective ways that can make a home more appealing and increase the chances of selling for the best possible price in the shortest possible time frame.  

“Given the current economic crisis, many sellers might lack the funds to invest in upgrading or fixing up their home to sell. But homeowners do not have to go to extreme measures to create a big impact. Often just subtle, reasonably inexpensive updates can go a long way to increase the property’s appeal and give sellers the competitive edge,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

To help sellers get the most out of whatever money they have to fix up their homes, RE/MAX of Southern Africa suggests the following low-cost updates sellers can do before listing their home: 

Inspect, budget & schedule repairs

The initial step is to visit each room and make a checklist of items that need to be either repaired or replaced. During this part of the process, it is best to be as objective as possible, so it might be helpful to have a friend or family member provide a second opinion. Look for outdated styles, bold patterns and colours, dated fixtures, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards and countertops. When looking at these features, consider what elements showcase the home in its best possible light and what doesn’t. Once the checklist has been established, the next step is to develop a budget and timeframe in which to complete the tasks at hand. Prioritize tasks by deciding which are most likely to deter buyers or bring down your asking price.

Work on the curb appeal

According to research, it takes just 15 seconds for a buyer to decide whether they like a house or not. First impressions count – so ensure it leaves the right mark. An impression starts from outside the property walls. Curb-appeal is vitally important and contributes to the success of attracting buyers to the home. Start maintenance from the pavement outside the property and work your way inwards. Basic improvements such as exterior painting, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can 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.

Pay attention to the kitchen and bathrooms

As some of the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms will be a focal point for buyers. Extra effort should be made to ensure that these areas are fresh and looking great. Things such as stained shower stalls and toilets, broken or missing grout, leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost. If a replacement is not an option, have shower stalls or bathtubs professionally resprayed for a fresh look.

A fresh coat of paint

This is a great way to revitalise the home with reasonably minimal investment, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can drastically transform a space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. When selecting a colour palette, stick to neutral, muted tones for the most universal appeal.

“By making these small updates before listing a property, sellers are giving themselves the best possible chance of setting their home apart and achieving their asking price. While these updates may not cost a lot, they will have a big impact on the overall appeal of the property in the eyes of buyers. For an even better chance of selling, sellers should partner with a real estate expert from an established brand who can provide insights into what buyers want in the given suburb,” Goslett concludes.

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