According to Richard Smith, assistant manager of Pam Golding Properties' Hyde Park office, you really don't have to break the bank to make your home more marketable.
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Although maintaining and improving your home regularly is always wise, spending large amounts of money on upgrades does tend to lower your potential profit margin without necessarily adding to the selling price, cautions Smith.
"Any home improvements that are undertaken with a view to improve the value of your home should therefore be undertaken only after careful consideration and planning," adds Smith. "Fortunately, however, there is much you can do to prepare your home for sale which will improve your chances of making that sale and not all of it involves spending money."
"An impression of freshness, spaciousness and a welcoming feeling is what you want to create for possible buyers viewing your home. After all, it is often the small details that count the most," advises Smith. "You can greatly enhance the appearance of your home and increase the chances of a sale by focusing on some small improvements."
According to Smith, some homeowners do not see a need to spruce up their properties when it comes time to sell, but first impressions are critical. Potential buyers may be turned off by the chipped paint on the wall, any damp areas and your clutter come show day. For this reason, it is important that homes are properly prepared for sale.
"Peeling paint or a small mark on a wall could cause the buyer to come to the wrong conclusion that your home needs a great deal of work. It is therefore well worthwhile to look at your home with a critical eye before show day so that you can address small, inexpensive repairs like damaged fittings, imperfect wallpaper, small cracks in the walls, leaky faucets and so on."
Add a lick of paint
Smith says that painting your home might seem like an obvious avenue to take, but the cost of painting an entire property can be substantial and not within everyone's financial reach. You can instead consider painting selected parts of your home that most require it, which will not involve such heavy outlay.
"Pay particular attention to repairing and filling cracks or areas where the paint work is damaged, as these can create a bad impression. In some instances, the paint work in your home may not be in bad condition but it may just be dirty. You will be amazed how the appearance of your walls can be improved with a good wash."
"In addition, consider painting or varnishing outside fences, garage doors, skirting boards and windowpanes, as this will assist to give the feeling of a rounded off, neat and well maintained home," suggests Smith.
Let the light in
"On show day, it is vital that you let in as much natural light as possible. If your home has sliding or folding doors, consider opening them to allow maximum air and light into the home. This will make the rooms feel bigger and the ceiling higher.
"Make sure all your curtains and blinds are open and that all the windows and skylights are squeaky clean. It is surprising what a big difference clean windows can make to the appearance of your home."
Switches and handles
"Over a long period of use, door handles, power sockets and light switches tend to become dirty and appear out-dated, and this can be a big turn off to the perfectionist buyer," Smith cautions.
"Many decor and style gurus agree that an effective way of modernising your home is by replacing door handles, power sockets and light switches. Many new power sockets have USB outlets for mobile technology, which are likely to be appreciated by today's homeseeker.
Furthermore, he says that older homes tend to have fewer power sockets than modern homes. "If you own an older home, consider increasing the number of power sockets by adding built-in multi plugs and USB ports."
"Stainless steel door handles tend to clean more easily and can be made to shine, while modern light switches add a stylish touch. These can all greatly enhance the attractiveness of the home and assist in creating a good impression for prospective buyers,"he adds.
Spruce up the exterior
"The first thing most visitors will see is your curb and driveway," continues Smith. "To ensure the neatness of the property exterior, make sure that all paved areas are free of weeds and unwanted grass."
This counts for the rest of your garden as well, and it is always a good idea to tidy up your garden, patio and other outdoor areas. Place outside furniture strategically to make it easy for people to envisage themselves living in the home. You might even consider planting some new plants to add extra visual appeal. If you have a swimming pool, make sure that it sparkles on show day and that the filtration and cleaning systems are in working order.
"You can add instant colour to your garden beds and pots by planting flowering seedlings. Furthermore, fresh and colourful cut flowers in a trendy vase can make a great focal point inside your home."
"Potential buyers are not likely to appreciate too much clutter, so do be sure to remove anything that may not enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home. Clean, well organised interiors tend to give a positive impression of enhanced space."
In addition, your storage space and garage should always be free from clutter and neatly organised. Make use of inexpensive storage containers to maximise space and recycle or throw away unnecessary items, advises Smith.
Set the scene with scents
"Smell is an important human sense and pleasant scents can be used to your advantage when your home is on show. You can consider adding reed diffusers to your bathrooms and burn delightful mildly-scented candles in your living room on show day to lend an inviting feeling to your home."
"When using scents, it is important, however, to make sure that they aren't too strong and overpowering. Try to avoid incense or strong aerosol air fresheners, as these can be very pungent and off putting," Smith observes.
"In short, a little effort expended on these areas can make a significant difference to the way your home is perceived by potential buyers, which may assist not only in making a quicker sale once your house is placed on the market but also in helping to secure your price for your home," concludes Smith.
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