How To: Prepare Your House For Sale

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Do you want to sell your house for the best possible price, without having to wait months and months for that buyer to come along? Here are some must-dos to make sure you get the best deal possible.

The first step is to de-attach you from your house. You need to look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer, not a proud owner, and make a list of all the things that need fixing, cleaning and improving. Many estate agents will for example advise you to pack away all your personal pictures – you want potential buyers to imagine their families in your house, not wonder about the people who live there currently.

Start with the minor things you have been postponing for ages: replace dead light bulbs, fix that hanging cupboard door, get rid of damp, replace broken handles and fill small cracks in the wall. Firstly, look at the exterior. This will be potential buyers’ first introduction to the house, so everything they will encounter from the pavement to the front door should make a good impression, estate agents will advise you. Pressure-wash the front of the house, mow the lawn, clean out the gutters, paint your front door, clean and weed the driveway and make sure the front gate looks good. Consider putting up a welcoming light on the outside, as many potential buyers will do a quick drive-by at night after work before showing up at a viewing.

Once inside, the most important thing is to let the light in and show an airy, spacious house. Open up the windows (Are they sparkling clean? Do they need a paint job?) and de-clutter. Create spacious rooms – even if that means you need to hire short-term storage and remove some furniture and other knickknacks. You want potential buyers to be able to move around in rooms, not bump into things. This is also the time to consider re-painting that purple living room wall (remember, it’s not your house any more, it is a product you need to sell at the best possible price) – neutral colours simply work better, estate agents will tell you. People want to buy a place they can simply move into – and that purple wall can be a deal breaker. If you are selling a vacant house, which tends to be a lot more difficult, all the attention should go to floors, walls and windows – make sure they are in impeccable condition. While it is important that all rooms are as clean, neat, de-cluttered and impersonal as possible – this also creates the impression that you have taken good care of the property overall – some rooms are more equal than others.

The Kitchen

  • The kitchen is arguably the most significant room – this is where you really need to impress the buyer! Consider a new coat of paint, fix all cupboard doors and leaking taps, and make sure the place is spotless.

  • Buyers are likely going to open cupboard doors to get an idea of the storage space, so ensure they are neat and clean. Start packing away some of the things you don’t need and put it into storage.

  • Aim to get your work surfaces completely clear. If you do leave your kettle, for example, make sure it is clean and shiny – you can even buy a fancy one for your new house and put it on show.

Bathrooms

It is crucial to get the bathroom right, especially if the rest of your house is not too exciting. You need to make this completely impersonal, so pack away all those lotions and potions. Get rid of all mould and funny smells. Get a new shower curtain, or other fixtures such as towel rails if necessary. Hang fresh towels. Make it sparkle!

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