Mortgages, Money and Me

Getting the best price for your home

If you’re wanting to buy property, or just curious about what homes in your area are selling for, where do you start looking? If you’re like 90% of home buyers, the answer is the internet. Once you’re on a web-site, such as, to what extent do the photos of properties influence your impression of them and their value? Your decision to view them or not?

Once you decide to go and look at homes and compare them, how does a home with freshly mown lawns and neatly maintained gardens compare to one that’s overgrown an unkempt? A living room stuffed full or furniture and knick-knacks to one that’s clean and uncluttered? A bathroom that’s clean and sparkling to one where the taps drip and the shower curtains should have been replaced years ago?

Whilst buyers don’t expect homes to be professionally “staged” (although some properties can benefit from this), how your property photographs and presents does influence;

a) whether or not a buyer will choose to see it and
b) what they will potentially pay for it.

So if you’re a buyer, a lack of attention to presentation by a seller could mean some savings on price, provided that you’re able to see past the shortcomings. As a seller, you need to consider what it could cost you if don’t attend to the presentation of your home and instead invest the time and effort needed to get it looking its best – this doesn’t undertaking major renovations, which I’ll cover in a later blog, but just paying attention to each of the areas covered below:

  • First impressions count. Mow the lawn and/or verge, weed and mulch the gardens, trim overgrown plants and remove and replace anything that’s dead or dying. Store hoses neatly and bins out of sight if you can. Sweep front verandahs and driveways and consider adding potted plants for colour. If you have a front verandah or balcony, place chairs or a garden bench with appropriately coloured cushions on it rather than leaving it bare – similarly a courtyard. Remove empty pots or other superfluous materials lying about the garden.
  • Undertake obvious and minor maintenance and repairs. Unless you’re selling a property “as is” to renovators, its pays to remove potential buyer objections and undertake basic maintenance on a property. Clean (or if necessary, replace) the gutters, repair loose or broken paving, fix leaking taps, replace broken globes, patch and paint chips and cracks in walls, touch-up the paintwork on doors and skirtings and consider replacing tapware and toilet seats & cisterns with something new but inexpensive if showing signs of age or wear and tear.
  • De-clutter and depersonalise. In a nutshell? Less is $more. Like anyone, property buyers shop logically (with a budget and list of features they want such as the number of rooms and location) but buy emotionally – they buy a home because they’ve connected to it in some way – they like it, or it feels right. A house that’s full of your stuff, as interesting or sentimental as your collection of Star Wars movie memorabilia, Family Photos or Knick Knacks might be, gets in the way of a potential buyer being able to imagine him or herself living in your home. Similarly, when it comes to furniture, think about what pieces effectively convey the use of the room and show its dimensions and proportions in the best light, and organise to store anything that is too big, non-essential, in poor repair or not adding value to the presentation of the room. Put your best quality bed lined on the beds (ironed) or buy new if you can afford it. Add some plush pillows to give your bedrooms a sense of luxury (buy yourself some home magazines if you need ideas – don’t forget places like Target or Spotlight for lower priced options). Use fresh flowers liberally.
  • It needs to smell good too! If you’ve got a damp smelling area use Damp-Rid (available in Supermarkets) to help with the smell. Have scented oil sticks in the bathrooms and toilets (that said, be gentle with artificial fragrances as they can be off-putting when used too liberally). Remove all pet litters (and pets) during the home open and check the lawns for any last minute doggy doo.

So, take some time to present your home and see the results!

About the Author:

For some people there comes a time in life when they are able to combine their talents and passions and call it ‘work’ – Natalie Hoye is one of these people. Natalie is a real estate agent based in Mt Lawley, Western Australia. You can call Natalie on 0405 812 273 or send us an email via our contact form if you would like to speak with her.