Four Truths About Preparing Your Home for Sale

By Emily Tatti on 14 May 2014
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In a recent survey, real estate database Zillow asked agents where vendors commonly go wrong when preparing their property for sale. 

While these mistakes can be put down to misinformation and unsolicited advice, they do end up costing vendors valuable time and money.

In order to save you from unnecessary stress, we have put together a list of the top four reality checks agents want vendors to consider before putting their home on the market.

Truth #1: You Do Not Need to Do a Major Renovation Before Selling

Contrary to popular belief, modernising your kitchen or bathroom won’t necessarily increase your property’s value when you weigh up the overall costs. These large scale renovations are rarely cheap, and there is no guarantee the return will be worth the trouble.

“Agents strongly advise vendors to stick to neutral elements if they plan on selling their home within the next few years.”

Instead, consider making minor improvements that will bring a home up to market value, like replacing cabinets and updating lighting fixtures.   

“In a crowded market, sellers should prioritise spending time and money on upgrades that have mass appeal,” says Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky.

Truth #2: Curl Appeal Matters

First impressions are crucial – and if potential buyers drive past your home only to see a tired façade or a cluttered driveway, they might just keep going. 

Agents agree that vendors should take steps to improve their home’s exterior appearance. Even simple things like cutting the grass, planning some new flowers or putting up a new house number will make a difference.

A good trick is to walk up to your front door as if you’re a stranger visiting for the first time. Have a notepad on hand, and jot down anything that looks like it might need cleaning or repairing.   

Truth #3: A Clean House Isn’t Always Enough

Many sellers assume that a tidy house will be enough to catch their buyers’ attention. However, according to the survey, vendors that enlisted the services of a professional home styler dramatically improved their chances of selling.

“Walk up to your front door as if you’re a stranger visiting for the first time.”

That’s not to say you need to spend big recruiting a professional. You can imitate their methods to help your home to stand out from the competition. According to Zillow, stagers commonly rely on lighting tricks, rearranged furniture and depersonalised decorations to enhance a home’s appeal – all tactics you could easily try yourself.

Truth #4: You Should Stick to Elements with Mass Appeal

Agents strongly advise vendors to stick to neutral elements if they plan on selling their home within the next few years.

Granite kitchen countertops and stainless steel appliances are popular choices due to their universal appeal and timeless qualities.

This is also something worth keeping in mind with wall colours. Unfortunately, many buyers can’t see past what a house currently looks like – and a bright green feature wall, while striking, will immediately dominate their attention. They want to be able to picture what their furniture looks like within the space, and if they think their brown leather sofa clashes with your décor, it could very well end up costing you the sale.     

About the Author

Emily Tatti is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing. She has a strong interest in the arts industry, and has contributed to publications such as Lip Magazine and Kill Your Darlings.

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