A lot gets said about the things that are likely to turn prospective buyers off when viewing a property, but how about the things that will really grab their attention and make your home the winner in the battle for their affections?
“The first of these is space, space and more space,” says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group. “The number one reason that most people move home is to have more room, whether they are first-time buyers coming from a rental property with a lack of cupboards or entrepreneurs looking for more home office space or parents looking for more bedrooms for a growing family.
“However, just having a bigger home to offer them isn’t enough. You will need to show them how much of that space is accessible and usable, and the key to that is to declutter your home really thoroughly before putting it on show.”
This includes clearing out the garage, tidying all bedroom and kitchen cupboards so that they don’t look over-full and removing all extraneous furniture, toys, ornaments, photos and appliances even if it means you have to put them in a storage unit, he says. “The hiring fee for this will be easily recouped in a good offer to purchase from a buyer impressed with how spacious your home feels and the great amount of living space and storage they will be able to enjoy.”
But before prospective buyers can view all this space, you will need to get them up the drive and through the front door, so you need to pay attention to the exterior of your home too, and make sure it creates a favourable first impression.
Kotzé notes that this is not always easy to do by yourself if you live in a sectional title apartment or townhouse complex, as so many people do these days. “This is why it’s important to have an active body corporate and trustees who ensure that levies are paid and the common property and the exteriors of the buildings are well-maintained.
“Meanwhile in freehold homes, whatever yard or garden space you have should at the very least be tidy and free of any building materials, old garden equipment, toys and pet mess. Lawns should be mowed, shrubs and trees should be pruned, pools should be clean and patios and decks should be swept and set up as they would be for guests.”
As for the building itself, he says, clean windows are a must and fresh paint is always a winner, as it creates the clear impression that your home is loved, looked after and in good condition. “This means less work for the buyer and once again, you are likely to recoup far more on a good offer than you spend to create this buyer appeal.”
Then finally, you need to consider what updates or improvements you could make to help your home stand out from the competition.
For example, says Kotzé, although you might not have the time or money to remodel a bathroom, you might decide to replace the medicine cabinet, vanity top, towel rails and shower curtain to give it a fresh look – and dress it up with new towels and bath products.
“And similarly, older kitchens can benefit from new countertops, new cabinet and drawer hardware and a new stove, while the best easy upgrades for the rest of your home are new or restored flooring, modern light fittings and a fresh coat of paint throughout in neutral shades. These things reflect pride of ownership and will make buyers even more confident that your home is the right one to choose.”