Selling your Home - An Emotive Affair

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

With the interest rate at a 10-year low, it’s a buyers’ market. This means that you, as a seller, have to work a little bit harder to make your property stand out from the others. And the easiest way to do this is to appeal to their emotions.

Remember how your mom baked cookies when you were little, and how the aroma of warm-from-the-oven goods always makes you feel like a kid again? It’s easy to recreate this comforting, cosseted feeling – a few drops of vanilla-scented oil in a burner, craftily hidden in the kitchen, will do the trick. Of course, if you’re talented in that way, you could actually bake some cookies and leave some coffee percolating for your “guests”. And remember how grannies envelop you in a waft of violet when they hug you? (I know both of mine did.) A bouquet of fresh flowers will evoke this nostalgic emotion in potential buyers – especially if yours is a family home.

The power of flowers.

Flowers represent life – so have as many as you can manage. A prettily planted kerb and pots of blooms at the entrance and front door go a long way to creating a welcoming first impression. As does a freshly-mown lawn. A neat home and garden also tells buyers that you take care of the assets, and encourages them to trust that there are no skeletons in the closets, so to speak.

Adrian Goslett, RE/MAX Southern Africa CEO, suggests “staging” areas that you want to highlight. Do you have a comfy reading nook? Leave the lamp on and your favourite book lying on the seat. Is the dining room perfect for decadent dinner parties? Set the table and play some music. Put the cushions on the outdoor furniture, raise the umbrella and switch the pool fountains on. But – even though your bedrooms are designed for relaxation – ensure that the beds are made and kids’ toys put away!

In this vein, if your artworks or décor features, such as sofas and curtains, were specially made for your home, make sure that potential buyers are aware of this fact. And let them know whether or not you are open to including the items in the offer.

The value of a network.

Goslett also suggests that you work closely with your agent, if you are using one, to ensure that word of your offering gets out to as many potential purchasers as possible. Clearly, promoting it on Private Property is a given. And the weekend papers’ property sections are also traditionally a good way to go. But apart from this, consider making a video and loading it on YouTube. Utilise both your and your agent’s Twitter and Facebook contacts to increase awareness.

The low-down from a pro.

When I (very reluctantly) sold my first home, which I had restored and renovated, I found it useful to tell people that the geysers and gutters were new, that the security system and gate both had battery back-ups, and the gas bottle for the stove lasts for three months. I even told them the cheapest place to have it refilled.

The buyers were sold when I told them that the garden was indigenous and water-wise, and that all the trees had been house-warming gifts from my friends and family. Four years later, they haven’t made a single change to my outdoor labour of love. I think that it was a combination of these touches that closed the deal. Also, the fact that my Spaniels nearly licked them to death could have helped. Just to be sure, I took great pains to point out that the mutts were not part of the agreement.

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