Sellers Need To Clean Up Their Act

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

In a report in the British press this week, it was suggested that an untidy child's bedroom could knock £6 000 (R78 780) off the selling price. By the looks of things, the British are far fussier than South African buyers and it has been estimated that 30 percent of buyers are put off by animal hair, 65 percent by smelly bathrooms and 59 percent are turned off by dirty kitchens.

Two out of every five buyers would find an untidy child's room offensive and 71 percent of these would use this as an excuse to make a lower offer.

And it's not just the interior of the home that affects a buying decision in the UK. A total of 19 percent of those polled said that an unmowed lawn affected a buying decision, while 16 percent of those who took part in a survey run by UK mortgage provider, ING Direct noted that they would reject properties with clashing colour schemes. A staggering 58 percent stated that rude sellers were a major turnoff when viewing property.

It would be interesting to know just how the house buying public in South Africa would respond to similar questions and if the same problem areas could cause offence and lead to lower offers being made. What is pretty clear, however, is that no one likes to view a cluttered or untidy property.

Real estate experts have been lecturing us for years on the importance of getting one’s house in order, so to speak, before a property is placed on the market and, if the above is anything to go by, for good reason.

Realistically priced homes should sell within a relatively short time and it may be worth the effort to find out what buyers are saying to the estate agent if this does not happen. Although the price could be the problem it certainly isn't the only reason that a property doesn't sell. Listen to what the agent is being told and if a number of buyers raise similar issues with the home, it may be time to address those problems.

Sellers should view their homes with a critical eye before they place the property on the market. Take a close look at the exterior of the home and consider repainting if needed. Clean the gutters and ensure they are completely clear of dead leaves. Mow the lawn regularly and keep the garden as neat and tidy as possible at all times.

There is nothing more off putting than a dirty home and sellers need to remember that because buyers often view property in the evenings and on weekends, it is important to keep the home as clean and tidy as possible during these periods.

Remove as much clutter as possible. Cluttered rooms give a bad impression and generally make a room seem much smaller. Again, view the interior as a potential buyer would and if necessary, remove large, cumbersome pieces of furniture and any other items that add clutter to a room.

While you may love the woodland scene painted on the wardrobe doors in the main bedroom, it may prove to be a drawback when selling. Colour schemes throughout the home should be kept as simple and uniform as possible.

If a seller has given an agent a mandate to sell a home, they should leave the selling process to the agent. The fact that such a high percentage of British buyers are put off by rude sellers doesn't really come as much of a surprise and again, it would be interesting to note how many South African buyers are put off by obnoxious sellers. There are many reasons for selling a home and unfortunately not all of them are because the seller is moving on to bigger and better things. Divorce, death and debt remain the main reasons that people sell and as such, the seller may be giving out the wrong vibes.

If possible, sellers should leave the agent to do their job and either vacate the premises when a buyer is being shown around or stay completely in the background.

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