Summer is ‘selling season’ in real estate, so if you’re looking to put your house on the market you’ll need to up the ante. Like most sellers, you will be looking for a swift sale for the optimum price. This means your home needs to stand out from its competitors and present a winning combination of correct pricing and unique appeal – the latter speaks to the emotional aspect of real estate investment, with responses such as, ‘I just fell in love with the place’ often sealing the deal. Together with Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, we’ve put together some top tips to get your home ready for a sale.
on the outside
1. First impressions are vital, so a new coat of paint is essential. Opt for neutral tones to maximise on universal appeal.
2. ‘An attractive garden always gets a potential buyer through the front door,’ says Greeff. In our drought situation, buyers are looking for easy-to-maintain, water-wise layouts, so desirable trends include replacing dry lawn with pebbles or stepping stones, planting indigenous plants, grouping water-wise, indigenous potted plants, and filling spaces with garden furniture and decks.
3. Optimise your braai area by making it a focal point with a table and comfy chairs and a collection of attractive potted plants. Consider purchasing an umbrella if shade is required.
4. Entrance appeal matters. Give your front door a new varnish, polish door handles. Place a pair of attractive potted plants on either side of the doorway and spice up the pathway.
on the inside
1. Capture attention from the moment potential buyers step through the door by creating a welcoming reception area. A strikingly framed mirror, an arrangement of fresh flowers, an attractive piece of furniture are all great options. It should also smell good, so sprinkle a few drops of aromatherapy oil: lavender, geranium, vanilla, cinnamon or orange blossom.
2. A clutter-free living area makes it easier for buyers to imagine their own furniture in the room. Remove a piece or two of furniture from cramped rooms – this helps to create the illusion of space.
3. Even in the summer, a functioning fireplace adds tremendous emotional appeal, so lay fresh firewood or pinecones in the grate to prompt potential buyers to visualise a cosy scene.
4. On showday, switch on all lights and open the curtains. Replace old light fittings and never leave naked bulbs on display – they create a depressing aura of neglect.
5. Convert any extra rooms to bedrooms – this adds perceived value. Upgrade bedding with crisp white linens.
‘Bathrooms are areas that require careful attention, as buyers are often swayed by their reaction to the bathrooms in a home,’ says Greeff. Use the following tips to make sure your bathroom is appealing:
1. Display clean fluffy towels in neatly folded piles or roll them up and stack them in an attractive basket.
2. Opt for clean soap dispensers, and consider pouring shampoos and bath gels into stylish containers.
3. No clutter on bathroom surfaces – pack away cosmetics and lotions.
4. Scrupulous cleanliness is essential. Surfaces should gleam and the room should smell fresh. Try an invigorating fragrance such as lemongrass, mint or green tea.
5. There are a number of plants that do well in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom: orchids, bamboo and peace lilies are just a few. Surround your plants with an array of pebbles or seashells.
Kitchens require scrupulous attention, too. Greeff’s advice is:
1. Clear countertops of appliances. If you have a beautiful coffee filter or cappuccino machine, this can be displayed. Place lemons or apples in a beautiful bowl. Remove fridge magnets and notes – these make your kitchen look untidy.
2. Consider a small kitchen herb garden on a window sill. This suggests potential to would-be buyers and adds freshness to your kitchen atmosphere.