How to makeover your home for selling
Do you feel like you’re rattling around in a high maintenance home that no longer suits your needs? Transitioning to retirement is a time to reduce your work load and obligations, and maximise your lifestyle. Who needs home maintenance tasks hanging over them, when caravanning, enjoying a cruise or even indulging in a game of golf is calling? If you've decided in your senior years that it is time to sell given you’ve earned some leisure time, here are some tips to prepare your home for the real estate market to attract potential buyers.
Styling your garden and home for selling is to help maximise appeal to drive up the sale price.
Catch the Spring market
Extra hours of sunlight, and Spring gardens help present properties for sale, at their very best. Natural light is always desirable feature of a home, and days of sunshine help highlight light filled spaces.
At the same time, residential real estate news buzzes from the first week of spring as listings grow. With more competition, the way you present your property can help put you ahead of similar listings.
Spring clean, with a skip
A home bustling with family photos, furniture and antique clock collections could distract prospective buyers from your property’s potential, making it harder to imagine it as their home.
It is time to embrace minimalism. The less ‘stuff’ in each room, the greater the sense of space, light and possibilities.
Make it easier to get rid of items that are past being useful to anyone, by hiring a skip. Consider sharing the costs with a like-minded neighbour.
Furniture or household items that haven’t been used by you for one full cycle of seasons, are prime candidates for selling on eBay, Gumtree, through other local classifieds or for offering to friends or people in need.
Then it’s time for a full Spring clean. Start from the entrance to your yard, work your way inside, and then through to the back and side fences. Pruning bushes, weeding, brushing down cobwebs, cleaning windows, removing signs of mildew, dusting blinds, cleaning architraves and light switches – all those cleaning jobs that you’ve been thinking about getting to – write a list, and start ticking them off.
Freshen up with a makeover
The secret of a value adding home makeover when preparing your property for sale is to set a budget and stay within it. Don’t overcapitalise. Seek the advice of your real estate agent, or a real estate savvy friend, to help you prioritise repairs, renovations and enhancements to help sell your home.
Simple, inexpensive repairs and replacements such as replacing damaged insect screens; replacing old door and cupboard hardware with contemporary, or new, handles; modernising light fittings; cleaning and repairing tile grouting; and replacing damaged mirrors with new mirrors, can freshen up your home.
Plan to upgrade linen and towels ― at retail sale time to keep costs down ― to help freshen up the presentation of your home for real estate listing photographs and open for inspections.
Neutralise your home
Prospective home buyers want to visualise living in the spaces, not in your spaces. You can help to neutralise your property and present buyers with a blank canvas to work from. The more promise you open to prospective buyers, the higher the market appeal of your house.
Neutralise your home by putting family photos, collections and trinkets away. A refrigerator door full of magnets holding photos and invitations makes a prospective buyer feel like they’re in your space, not in their potential future home.
Consider neutralising colourful walls by freshening up with a couple of coats of a contemporary, neutral paint. Re-carpeting in a neutral colour, is a great way to lift the appeal of your home.
Don’t forget the exterior
The exterior of your property, including the garden, is the first impression that prospective buyers have if they drive by, or come along to an open for inspection. Don’t overlook external presentation.
Mulch garden beds, prune bushes and trees and plan some strategic planting to lift less appealing garden beds. If it has been a while between painting palings, it may be time to give your front fence some attention. Even a new mailbox can lift the outside appeal of a home.
Styling for all five senses
Once you’ve Spring-cleaned, freshened up, pruned, brushed down and neutralised your property; with your efforts having your home and garden looking better than it has looked in years, it is time for some home styling before you open your home for inspections.
Engaging potential home buyers five senses, is the objective of styling your home ready for open houses.
We’ve already addressed preparing for visual appeal. Make sure to optimise natural light. Open window dressings, and make sure the outlook from the window is clean and unobstructed.
Consider aural, or sound. If your home is affected by traffic noise, consider how you can minimise this – perhaps leave selective windows and doors closed. Or introduce music. Think about an open for inspection as enticing guests in your home. Choose some music and keep the volume comfortably low but audible.
Engaging olfactory, or smell, is closely aligned with evoking emotion and memory. To associate with positive emotions, keep the introduction of aromas really simple. Brewing coffee, or diffusing a citrus oil can introduce pleasant smells.
If you have inside pets, consider gently encouraging them to spend more time outside in the lead up to selling your home – and keep bedding clean, or pop it outside before an open house. Pet smells are often the first ‘whiff’ that visitors notice – rarely an aroma associated with positive thoughts of a fresh home!
Don’t go bleaching the bathrooms just before an open for inspection! And don’t overlook vinegar as a great natural neutraliser of unpleasant smells.
And yes, taste comes into presentation of your home as well. Set the dining table as you would if you were having special guests for dinner. It gives potential buyers a moment of imagining what it might be like to sit at that table, in that space, and share a meal with family or friends.
Feeling daunted? Help is at hand
Your real estate agent may be able to provide you with a contact list of reputable specialists that can help you get your home ready for sale.
Classic Moves is one example of a Melbourne based organisation that specialises in helping seniors relocate, including providing decluttering services.
Here are some other helpful links to decluttering advice and pre-sale and moving services:
Australasian Association of Professional Organisers: search for a local home organiser that specialises in ‘Relocation – Staging’
Bless This Mess: a Melbourne based professional organiser