We all know the saying that there is no second chance to make a first impression. This is most relevant when selling your house. You should do everything you can to make buyers feel at home, to create the atmosphere that implies Come on in!
The inside atmosphere should be warm and appealing. One agent described it by saying, “A home should look and feel happily lived-in”.
Make the atmosphere natural and relaxed, even if it means changing (or improving) your living habits. Buyers are aware of gimmicks such as a coffee pot brewing, a cake in the oven or classical music playing softly in the background. False attempts to add appeal often have the reverse affect.
Genuine appeal is what wins the buyers. A radio or a TV – never too loud – is a natural part of home life. Well-made beds with warm quilts and lots of pillows really make a property feel like home. Home truly is ‘where the heart is’ and anything that increases the emotional feeling of comfort is something we all love.
Nothing turns people off more than bad smells, so be sure your property smells fresh. You can buy plug-in fragrances that remove bad odours.
If you have pets be careful, because their smell, while familiar to you, can be unpleasant to others. Take pets’ blankets and bowls outside. A dog that jumps up can be irritating and distracting, but not as bad as a savage dog that terrorises the buyers.
Wherever possible, remove your dog during inspections – take it for a walk. And always, be sure that there are no ‘doggie surprises’ for your buyers to step in while inspecting the garden.
Bright and Airy
Make sure the property is bright and airy by opening the curtains. Fresh air, if practicable, is always best.
If you have a fireplace and it is winter, an open log fire can be a big selling feature. At the very least, make sure the property is warm in winter and cool in summer.
Try to remove clutter so your property does not look smaller than it is. The time for a clean-up or a ‘garage sale’ is before you sell, not afterwards.
Most properties have some natural untidiness – a book beside the bed, a newspaper in a kitchen or slippers on the floor – this is acceptable and expected. What is not acceptable is dirt.
Make sure the bathrooms are clean to the point of sparkling. Fresh fluffy towels add a warm feeling as does the sound of a washing machine or the sight of clothes blowing in the breeze on the outside hoist. Atmosphere is everything.
The bathrooms and kitchen are especially important to a woman, who is usually the major decision maker.
If there is any unfinished work inside the property – such as skirting boards that have been removed – fix these things. If there are any obvious minor repairs – such as door handles missing or broken hooks – fix these too. Repair all irritating things that are likely to catch the eyes of buyers.
Be very careful if you do any painting. Painting one dull room can suddenly make other unpainted rooms look dull too. Before you know it you have a major painting job on your hands; this could lead to replacing the carpets, even the tiles in the bathroom. Suddenly you are involved in a very expensive renovation.
The cleanliness and the mood are most important but all expense needs careful consideration. Will you get the money back?
Ask your agent’s opinion.
The best advice is to do all you can to make your property feel like a home. Make it sparkle without making it too immaculate or clinical.
Some sellers create a show-home. In doing so, they create a cold sterile effect. Homes with warmth are the most attractive and appealing.
Article by Gary Pittard
This article is adapted from the seller booklet, How To Get the HIGHEST PRICE for Your Property.