While the news headlines may be causing some concern for homeowners, the fact remains that people still need to buy and sell homes - no matter where the market is at.
And while putting up the for sale sign is not the time to embark on extensive renovation plans, there is plenty you can do to improve the appeal of your home. With a bit of elbow grease and a few small changes, you’ll be able to create a house and property that looks fresh and ready for a brand new owner.
So if you’re thinking about moving house this autumn, here’s a few tips to help you get that sale.
1. Declutter and de-personalise
Before even speaking to a real estate agent, it’s a good idea to begin the process of decluttering your home (think of it as getting a head start on packing).
It’s important that you’re able to give potential buyers as much of a ‘blank canvas’ as possible, so they can see themselves living in your house. Of course you need to keep living in the house until it is sold, but this means tidying away things you don’t need to have on show - like family portraits and kid’s artwork.
By giving your agent a space to look out without all your belongings will also enable them to accurately price your home, and provide you with any other edits you could make.
2. Make a great first impression
Great street appeal is absolutely essential, to ensure you’re impressing buyers from the moment they pull up to the front curb.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but is more about making sure the lawns are always mowed, the hedges are trimmed and the front yard is clear of clutter. Perhaps the fence and letterbox could have a lick of paint? This is relatively cost-effective but can make a big difference. Depending on the time of year, some fresh flowers at the front door could be a nice touch, as well as a new door mat.
3. Fix all the ‘little’ things
The ‘little things’ are actually very big to buyers. Sure, a leaky tap isn’t going to get in the way of a house sale, but it has the potential to devalue your home - especially if there are a number of fixtures and fittings around your home that have seen better days.
From paint chips, to missing tiles, faded curtains and carpet stains, all of these can add up to a potential buyer thinking that the home hasn’t been well taken care of. So take some time to repair anything that is worn and untidy.
Also cast a critical eye around for things that could get in the way of people seeing all the good aspects of your home. Maybe the neighbour’s shed could be blocked with some trellis, or a busy road could be softened with some sheer curtains that let the light in, but provide a buffer between the interior and exterior.
4. Focus on free and low cost improvements
From new couch cushions and bed linen, to greenery in the form of indoor plants, there’s plenty of cost-effective ways to freshen up your home without having to spend a fortune. It’s a good idea to go neutral - you’re appealing to the mass market, not your own tastes - and it also won’t overwhelm potential buyers.
Could the shower head do with a switch out, or the toilet seat? You could redo the bathroom grout for an updated look, and make sure all your pathways, deck and driveway are water blasted. All of these things tell buyers that a home has been well looked after.
5. Give everything a space and a place
After your decluttering, ensure everything left has a place to be stored away. This is about staying organised throughout the selling campaign, so keep the benchtops clean and cupboards tidy (you want people to see the house, not your stuff). You also don’t want people to think the house doesn’t have enough storage.
You’re effectively showing people how they can use your home if they buy it. So don’t have random spaces where there is no purpose to it. Spare rooms are crucial for this - is it an office or a fourth bedroom, or could it be both? Remember, you’re selling a way of life and it needs to fit the needs, wants and desires of your potential buyers.
If you are thinking of selling your lifestyle or residential home this autumn, the first step is to reach out to your local PGG Wrightson Real Estate office. They can provide you with a free appraisal, and also give you an up-to-date assessment of where the market is right now.