How to prepare your house for selling
In a buyers market, what can you do to get your own property head and shoulders above your competitors?
Surprisingly it’s not always about the price. Staging Property allows a potential buyer to see your property’s best features.
To sell your home you have to get potential buyers across the door, and that’s where HomeSaleMalta.com comes in of course, but good photographs and description on a web-site are only the first steps. When a viewer arrives at your property there are measures that you, the homeowner, can take, that will enhance your property’s selling potential.
It is essential to show off your property and all its best features. First impressions count! This is where staging property comes in. The radical reality is that you may have to spend money on your property to make money. You have ‘moved on’ mentally; you want to move to your new home, so now is the time to:
Staging Property; Declutter
Furniture and personal items that are not required? Box up and consider putting in storage. The kids’ toys that are no longer played with? Sell or donate. A house crammed with furniture and personal effects will detract from the property features.
Remember the buyer has to be able to visualise their own possessions there, your house becoming their home. Three sofas in the living area around the television may suit your lifestyle, but a viewer will see the room as small and cramped.
Kitchen gadgets and clutter left out on countertops should be removed, however don’t be tempted to store all the clutter in one room, as you want to show off the whole property. This is the purpose of staging property, show off the best of the property, and think of it as a show home.
Staging Property; Neutralise, Neutralise, Neutralise
You have artistic licence to decorate your own home in any manner you choose. However, when it comes to selling; (this is where it gets a bit tougher); it is time to decorate!
Consider the viewer looking at your teenager’s red and black painted walls, the nursery in bright pink, and the paint effects in the living room. They are all too busy, busy, busy.
You love it of course, but the viewer will just see something not to their own taste, and see nothing but work being required.
While not suggesting that every wall should be painted white, consider painting every room in a neutral shade. This may go against all your decorative flare, but remember your objective; you want to leave this house and move on. This is where staging property comes in.
Your new home is where you are free to decorate to your own taste. From now on you have to ‘stage’ this property to appeal to as many buyers as possible. Lighten dark wood, or if that is too much, the walls should all be neutral creams and beiges.
The viewer has to be able to picture themselves moving in, and a neutral decor creates a spacious and airy possibility. Think of the property you want to sell as a blank canvas; can you paint a totally new picture in the space, or have you left the property too close to a ‘join the dots’ arrangement?
If your house has traditional tiles, show these off by all means. Repair any loose or broken ones and clean. Get the professionals in if you are not confident in doing this yourself. Scatter lightly coloured rugs to create warmth.
If you do have dark carpet anywhere, again replace with lighter tones; you do not have to spend a great deal here. Spending a few €100 can return thousands on your asking price and guarantee a much quicker sale!
Here in Malta, previous generations have been very fond of dark furniture, so our homes are full of it. Again consider your viewer. Put into storage anything that you want to keep, or consider painting it!
Brighten up dark sofas with throws and colourful cushions. Remember to declutter; lots of furniture can take up all the visual space in a room meaning the viewer cannot see how their own prized furniture will fit in there.
Essentials: first impressions count
From the second a potential buyer arrives at your front door they are deciding if your house is going to become their new home. Make sure the steps are clean, set out some plant pots and a welcoming mat. Crucially, paint your front door, and if necessary replace ironmongery. Staging property may seem like an effort but if you get this right, you could have a fast sale at the price you want.
If you have any outdoor space, tidy and keep clean. Roof spaces should also be uncluttered. Set out the sun loungers and BBQ. You want to show how this space can be used. Gardens and pool areas should be maintained. All those little maintenance jobs that you always put off; now is the time to set a schedule.
Buyers do not want to see maintenance required.
Take a weekend to do the DIY. Re-grout the bathroom tiles, fix the loose flooring. The damp patch on the ceiling? Take care of it!
Remember, any outlay you spend on staging property is minimal in comparison to the returns when you sell your house, at the asking price.
Do not get sentimental, this is not about your taste, but appealing to as many buyers as possible.