Buyers have steadily become more knowledgeable and more value conscious, which means that sellers now need to focus more closely on the tastes of the people most likely to buy their homes. Marketing your property so that it really stands out to your target audience can require a bit more effort than just a fresh coat of paint and clearing the clutter.
The first step is to look at your home critically, and try to see it through the eyes of potential buyers. Make notes of any items that need special attention, such as faded paintwork, damp patches on walls, shabby flooring, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and outdoor areas that may have been neglected.
Once you have prioritised the list of tasks that need to be completed to make your home irresistible to viewers, you need to draw up a budget for each section of your home. If funds are limited, bear in mind that considerable savings can be had by shopping around for décor items online as well as at second-hand shops and flea markets.
Start by improving your home’s kerb appeal and make the entrance really stand out.
• Paint or varnish the front door and place some planters nearby. Put down a new welcome mat and make sure the entrance hall is clean and bright. If possible, add some fresh flowers or a colourful pot plant.
• If you have a freestanding house or a townhouse in a complex, make sure the verge grass is neatly mowed and add some vibrant plantings to brighten up the space.
• An attractive garden will appeal to buyers looking for more outdoor space, or to keen gardeners. Water-wise plantings and an irrigation system are added attractions.
Kitchen and bathrooms
Bathroom and kitchens fittings are relatively inexpensive to replace, and easy to accomplish for even the least experienced DIYers.
• An effective way to quickly change the appearance of cabinets and vanities, is to fit new doorknobs and handles. Brushed stainless steel or bronze work well for most styles, and modern synthetic materials lend themselves to innovative designs.
• Replacing shabby kitchen and bathroom taps with modern sanitaryware can give these rooms a whole new look.
• Matching containers for essentials on a bathroom vanity or a kitchen counter looks stylish and neat.
• New bathroom and kitchen curtains are inexpensive and can brighten up the dullest space.
Features to highlight
Your home may have some of the following desirable features, and it will pay you handsomely to highlight them for viewers:
• A central location. Many buyers want to cut down on commuting, so if your home is close to offices and shops or public transport, remember to let them know. Even a home on a busy street can appeal to buyers such as small business owners or professionals looking for new premises, with large grounds that can provide parking for patients or clients.
• Good security system. All prospective buyers will be interested in the security measures you have in place. Remember to note items like electric fencing, a CCTV system, electronic beams, motion-sensor lights, alarms and automated garage doors.
• Proximity to good schools will be a draw-card for many potential buyers with children, if your home is big enough to accommodate a family. Proximity to a university, colleges, shops or a large local employer is also appealing.
• Eco-friendly features such as a solar geyser or a heat pump, rainwater tanks, a gas stove and heaters and LED light fittings are popular. These will appeal to environmentally conscious buyers as well as those wanting to save on utility bills.
• Technology like fast fibre-optic internet connection will appeal to families and those who run businesses from home.
• An outstanding entertainment area will attract buyers who enjoy socialising, so if you have a braai area, a lapa, a pool or even a large, open-plan living room you should ensure it appears to best advantage for viewing.
• Sea or mountain vistas have universal appeal, so be sure to open the curtains during viewings, or place welcoming leisure chairs on a balcony or patio that optimises the views.
Role of estate agents
Working with a qualified, experienced estate agent, who understands your market and knows just how to showcase your home to those most likely to buy it, can make life easy for sellers who want to make buyers fall in love with their homes.
In addition to advice on the most cost effective ways of refurbishing your home for a profitable sale, estate agents can provide the latest pricing information for your area as well as exposure on the best national and international property marketing platforms.