Real Estate Articles
PREPARING YOUR PROPERTY FOR SALE
To renovate or not to renovate?
From the moment your home is
put on the market, potential purchasers will be driving by to look it over. Your agent will also arrange for prospective buyers to inspect your home at short notice, and you may decide to hold one or more Open For Inspection sessions, where your home is open to the general public. If these prospective buyers fall in love with your home at first sight, they may be willing to negotiate immediately.
It is therefore essential that you get your property looking as attractive as possible. Renovating can be a great way to add value to your property. But it is important to keep in mind that the cost of renovations may not always be covered by the corresponding increase in sale price. Don't 'overcapitalise', or spend a lot of money on expensive renovations - like building on a new bedroom or re-tiling the roof - which you won't get back when the house is sold.
Talk to your a registered valuer if you are unsure whether a major improvement, such as repainting the outside of your home, is worth your while. Make a master list of all the repairs, touch-ups and improvements which need to be done. Ask your agent, friends and relatives to come over and point out anything you may have overlooked: and ask them to speak their mind! You might then organise a working bee to carry out the biggest tasks, or hire a professional handyman.
It is not a good idea to try to 'make your home something it's not'. Renovations which suit the period of your home may well increase its value, but renovations which look too modern (or cheap!) may look 'tacked on' and turn off prospective buyers.
Remember also that prospective buyers often pay a premium for the potential they can see in a 'renovator's delight'. First impressions count! The following are some suggestions for some relatively low cost improvements and repairs you might consider, inside and outside your home. Inside your home: Do a complete spring clean, removing all the junk from your house! Store it in a friend's house, or give it to a charity shop. A fresh coat of paint can make a big difference: choose light colours to brighten up dingy rooms.
Also, clean up dirty or damaged wallpaper, tiles, ceilings and so on. Make sure all the fixtures and fittings are in good working order, and clean. That means chipped door handles, torn flyscreens, broken window latches, dirty light switches, dripping taps, and so on. Do doors and windows open and shut with ease? Polish your wooden and tiled floors and have your carpets professionally cleaned. Make sure your bathroom, laundry and kitchen are spotless. Repair your heating, air-conditioning and plumbing, or any other appliances that are to be included in the sale.
In the front and back yard: You want to give the impression of a healthy, luxuriant, colourful garden. If there is time, plant some flowers and reseed the lawn. If not, consider hiring or borrowing flowers and shrubs, especially for the entrance to your home. Make sure the plants you do have are kept healthy and neat. Put down fertilizer and mulch, weed your garden beds, and prune the shrubs and trees. Make sure the whole garden is generously watered. Keep your lawn mown and raked, and make sure your driveway and paths are swept (including the footpath outside your home). Thoroughly clean the outside of the house, including its guttering and windows. Clean up your garage and garden shed (if this is impossible, keep it safely locked!). And at the last minute …
On the day of the inspection, consider the following tips: Have you cleaned up everywhere? That means inside cupboards, under beds and so on. A few finishing touches to the garden can also make a difference, so rake up those fallen leaves and branches. You might put the sprinklers on to give the lawn a wet, healthy appearance. Buyers are often concerned with how much light a home receives. Open all curtains and blinds, and consider using some artificial lighting in very dark rooms. Make sure your home feels comfortable. If it's cold, heat the rooms, especially if you have an open fire. If it's hot, make sure your home is cool: if you only have fans, consider borrowing an air-conditioner.
Put out flowers in vases, particularly near the front door where first impressions are made. But don't clutter the place with decorations. Each of us has different tastes, and it is harder for a prospective buyer to imagine what the home might be like if it is filled with your own idiosyncratic style (this may mean storing away that collection of hubcaps!) A home which smells beautiful will seem much more attractive to buyers. Make sure your home is properly aired. Put out potpourri, or even bake something in the oven the morning of the inspection. Avoid incense and other strong aromas. Have you removed all your valuables? Now it is time to go out and see a movie and relax! Now it is my job to run the Open Home.