Preparing your home for a showday is all about making your home as light, bright, clean and appealing as possible. It must draw the prospective buyer and want to see more. All too often a prospective buyer will either drive past becuase they don’t like the facade or take a quick peek in the front door and then leave. We must remember that a prospective buyer will be looking at dozens of homes before making his choice and your home must stand out in his mind.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the less there appears for the buyer to do after having bought the home the more chance of success you are likely to have. Do you really want developers or home flippers in through the door by advertising it as a fixer-upper?
Most of these tips and tricks cost very little or nothing but will make a huge difference to your end price.
Get rid of the clutter and dirt
It is a known fact that by de-cluttering your home and making sure that your home is immaculate from top to bottom you have a better chance at selling your house than anyone else in your block. Your home must look better than it has ever looked. It must not only be free from everyday clutter such as the mail, shoes lying around, animal hair and even last season’s clothing, but also everything that you have accumulated over the years. Find space to pack things away making the home as spacious and uncluttered as possible Make sure that the carpets are steam cleaned and that your walls are clean or alternatively give them a fresh coat of paint. If there are items you would rather not get rid of, try storing them, and the rest you can give away or sell. Once all the clutter is gone you can then have a clean canvas you can really spruce it up.
Spruce up your front yard
The first thing any prospective buyers see is the pavement, gate and façade of your house. It is very important that your pavement looks beautiful, the gates are clean and fresh painted and the features of your façade stand out. Besides keeping the maintenance up in your home, you could give the front door a fresh coat of paint as well as a shiny new door knob. And what makes a garden even more appealing is beautiful potted plants. In what condition is your fence/wall? Remove any dead plants/leaves clinging to the wall or fence, remove any dirt and seriously consider giving it a coat of paint if need be.
Be a prospective buyer
We get so used to our homes that we tend not to really look at them from a potential buyers point of view and while we may love the clutter and have no issue with the dogs beds in the lounge, it will not help to achieve a better price for your home and this is ultimately what we want to achieve. Look at each room individually as if you are looking at it for the first time. Not only will you see where a good cleaning is needed but also see what could be removed from the room to make it look bigger as well as what changes you could bring about to make the room look more appealing and inviting. Could the solid door be replaced by a French door for more light? Could the handles of the cupboards in the kitchen be replaced to look more modern? What about a new vanity cabinet in the bathroom or a larger mirror? Even your bed spread could make the difference by maybe replacing a floral bed spread with a neutral one to make the room look more sophisticated. All these little changes could make a huge difference. Look to see that the flow between the rooms is pleasing i.e. similar colour and styles from one room to the next and make sure that there are no obstructions, allow visitors to easily move through the home.
Make the entrance hall the focus point
The first room prospective buyers walk through is the entrance hall. This is the room where improvements should definitely be made. If the walls look dull, re-paint them. Any clutter should be removed (mail, shoes, keys, newspapers). If there is a cupboard that you store toys, shoes, jackets etc in, make more space and hide the clutter. Then pick out one item that you can upgrade in this area i.e. a new light fitting, or remove an old painting and replace it with a mirror. Even the bowl of potpourri could be replaced by a fresh flower arrangement, or design books with a beautiful ornament or vase on top. The goal is to make the room look simple and light and yet sophisticated and inviting
Help the buyer imagine the rooms
Prospective buyers may not want a pink girl’s room or even a room just for sewing. Paint your children’s rooms in more neutral colours. The children’s room could be more appealing if used to store collections, or music instruments and personal items. The sewing room could be changed into a quest bedroom with a desk in it for home work (be sure to hide any books, stationary etc away). The more versatile your home the more the prospective buyers could see themselves living there. They might see your play room as a future home office of gym. You must help them see the possibilities.
Visually Expand Spaces
Using light neutral tones on your walls will make the room look larger. Dark colours tend to make a room look smaller. Pushing furniture against a wall makes the room appear smaller as well. Try placing the furniture in logical conversational groupings and leave enough space in between to be able to move between the furniture comfortably. Be careful not to block a good view or a beautiful focal point like a fireplace or bay window. Any rugs should touch the skirtings but stop about a foot or two from the walls, this makes the room look larger. A big rug makes the room appear smaller, and a rug that is too small makes the room look awkward. If your dining room is a modest size use a smaller table and reduce the chairs to four.
Place accessories strategically
Once you have reduced the accessories in your home to the bare minimum, you have to show them off the correct way. A very effective way to do this is to arrange your accessories in odd-numbered groups. You must vary the shape, colour and size of the items. Try hanging a large landscape above a table where a lamp is placed next to a plant. Candles of different sizes can be placed next to each other on the mantle. The old saying less is more definitely applies here. A few well chosen items can show off your good taste but not scare of a potential buyer.
Let the light in
Walking into a house that is dark and gloomy is a big turn-off to anyone and yet so easy to rectify. The first thing you have to do is wash all the windows. This way more natural light can fill the space. Next replace dark heavy curtains with light ones. Layer the lighting in your home. The experts say that there should be at least 100 watts for every square metre of space. The correct way to light your home is by having overhead lights, floor lamps, as well as reading lamps. Wall sconces reflect light off of the walls or ceilings making the room look larger. You could also upgrade your light switch to be able to adjust the light from bright to dim. On showday, the more light the better, but do not use lighting that will huirt the eyes. Essntially you want as much light as possible with an exposed globe.
Last steps before the showday
What are the last things to do that could make a difference? Clean the fridge and pack the kitchen cupboards neatly. Any kitchen sponges must be thrown away and the dirty dishtowels, mops and brooms are to be put away. Floral arrangements (not with a strong fragrance) should be placed in the foyer as well as on the dining room table. Any waste baskets must be emptied and all garbage to be taken out. Bar soaps should be replaced with liquid soap dispensers in all the bathrooms. Clean, neutral towels should also be hung in the bathrooms. Your doormats must be clean and presentable. Place groups of candles in the bathrooms and before you leave for the showday, sweep the street and paving. Place a cut lemon in the fridge to remove any odours. You are now prepared to achieve a better price for your home.