Spring clean to sell - advice for sellers

Private Property South Africa

With spring under way, many homeowners may be looking to take advantage of the seasonal change and do some spring cleaning to get their home show day ready before putting it on the market.

Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Ultra Select, Mark Brickles, operating in Grassy Park, Strandfontein, Mitchells Plain, Lotus River, Ottery and Lansdowne, says that there are a few ideas that homeowners can consider to get their home in tip-top shape for this current competitive real estate market:

The eye of the beholder - “When it comes to property, appearances do matter so make sure that they count,” Brickles says. “Appearance is critical to a sales transaction being concluded and it would be unwise for homeowners to ignore this when selling their home. The overall look and feel of the home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers use their sensual perception to react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though the property may have been priced at fair market value.”

Get a second opinion - Invite the honest opinions of others. Brickles notes that the biggest mistake that homeowners can make when trying to sell is relying solely on their own judgment. Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern African, says: “Homeowners should seek out the honest opinions of others rather than shying away from them. It is important to be objective about the home's good points as well as the bad. While friends and family might be afraid of upsetting the apple cart, an estate agent will give their honest and direct opinion with regards to what should be done to make the home more marketable.”

A little elbow grease goes a long way – Get the home spic n' span by cleaning and fixing everything, even if it seems insignificant. “Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair all squeaks and the light switch that doesn't work. Even the smallest crack in the bathroom mirror can be deal-killer and you never know what could turn the buyer away. It is vital to remember that the property is not just competing with other second hand homes on the market, but brand-new ones as well,” says Brickles.

Make yourselves at home - Allow prospective buyers to visualise themselves in the home. “The last thing that homeowners want is for prospective buyers to feel like they are intruding when viewing the home. Avoid cluttering the space with too many personal items and photos. The home should feel welcoming and the buyer should be able to picture themselves in those surroundings. Decorate in neutral colours like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. Enhance the attractiveness of the home with a well-placed vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips,” says Brickles.

Bad smells have got to go – Be aware of odours that may chase buyers away. “Many homeowners may not realise that odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odours can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know that the seller has pets or smokes, they will start to be aware of odours and see stains that may not even exist - so don’t leave clues. Make sure the home smells and looks fresh,” says Brickles.

“Ensuring that the home is show day ready will be an important factor in setting the property apart from others in a similar price range and will give the seller the best possible advantage in a market where buyers are spoilt for choice,” he concludes.


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