With many property buyers in hibernation over winter, now is a great time for would-be vendors to spruce up their properties, ready for selling your house in the spring selling season.
Here are our top tips to prepare:
Make an entrance: First impressions count, so take stock of your front entrance. If your front door is looking tired, replace, repaint or restain it. Similarly, your driveway should be clean and free of cracks. Old concrete driveways can be revived with a resurface and a respray in a new colour or a stencilled pattern.
Make sure your letterbox fits with your home exterior and makes the right statement, either built into a fence or standing on its own.
Get into the garden: Time well spent in the garden over winter will pay off in spades come spring. Take advantage of the cooler weather to clear debris, weeds and overgrown trees and shrubs. It’s also the perfect time to completely overhaul garden beds with new soil and mulch. Draw a rough plan and clip pictures from magazines to create a clear picture of your garden. Take your plan to your local nursery and get expert advice on which plants should go where and how many you actually need. Just make sure the end result is easy to maintain for maximum appeal.
Consider some colour for a warm welcome. The colour yellow has been proven to help sell, so plant or pot marigolds along a walkway or near your front door.
Leave fertilising your lawn until late winter so it’s in tip-top condition when your house hits the market in spring.
Clear out clutter: Make your rooms look larger by putting less in them. Consider replacing multiple pieces of small furniture with one large statement piece. You could also try re-arranging your furniture differently to create the illusion of space.
Brighten your outlook: Clean all your windows inside and out. You will be surprised how much fresher your house looks with sparkling, spotless windows. Make sure you take down and hose all the fly screens while you’re at it!
Deck the deck: Consider adding a deck to create outdoor entertainment space and value. If you already have one, winter is the perfect time to re-oil the surface and railings and replace any worn outdoor furniture.
Spotless surfaces: Wash walls, ceilings, light fittings and ceiling fans to rid them of dust and grime.
Lighten up: Twilight photo shoots and evening open houses are hot selling tools, especially when the weather warms and the days grow longer. Take time over winter to install outdoor lighting that spotlights your front garden and entrance and any outdoor entertaining areas, including the pool.
Detach: It may sound like a strange selling strategy, but consider de-personalising your home. While you still want potential buyers to feel “at home” when they inspect, they don’t necessarily want to see all your family photos on the sideboard and children’s artwork on the fridge. Apart from uncluttering your surfaces and creating clean lines, packing up the family portraits allows buyers to envision their family living there, not yours.
It’s also an opportunity to step back and genuinely appraise your decor and colour scheme. Is your home styled for broad appeal or just for people who share your penchant for peach? If you find it hard to be impartial, one hour and a couple of hundred dollars spent with a design or colour consultant may be a wise spend. A good consultant will know what trends have market appeal and can share some clever tips on quick fixes and colour schemes. How much of the advice you take is up to you, and you usually have the option to just pay for the consultant’s time and DIY the restyle.
Get energy efficient: With electricity costs on the rise, buyers are on the hunt for energy-efficient homes. Switch to energy-saving light globes and consider a solar-boosted hot water system. While you may not be living there long enough to fully benefit from the savings, buyers are likely to be enticed by the promise of smaller electricity bills.
Freshen up the kitchen and bathroom: You don’t need to completely overhaul tired kitchens and bathrooms for a fresh look. If your fixed appliances — oven, cooktop, rangehood and dishwasher — are older than 10 years, considering upgrading to new ones. Shop around for a package deal on reputable brands.
Add some shine to the bathroom with new basin taps and create a sense of space with a large frameless mirror above the vanity. Upgrade your shower fitting if needed, especially if it has poor pressure. Plenty of buyers will test the shower head during an inspection.