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Dressing Your Property For Success

Dress for Success: Preparing your home for potential buyers.

As one would give their appearance more attention than usual when going for an interview, one’s home deserves the same attention when preparing to show it to potential buyers. In effect, this viewing closely resembles an interview and therefore the property has only one opportunity to make a good first impression. With an estimated 50% of property sold before the potential buyer even enters the home, this first impression had better count.

According to Jan Myburgh, General Manager of Harcourts South Africa, “Our agency has some simple presentation tips that we feel are beneficial to share with clients when putting their homes on the market. By following these useful guidelines it will ensure that their home is presented to its best advantage, which will ultimately lead to its successful sale.”

As the exterior is the first contact that the potential buyer will have with the home, this area needs to be clean and orderly, with all clutter- such as bikes, tools and rubbish – removed. If the property has a garden, ensure that the lawns are freshly mowed, hedges trimmed, garden weeded, etc. Painting or washing the exterior walls, fences, gates and windows is an easy way to breathe new life into a home; with well-placed potted plants and flowers used to welcome these potential buyers into the space.

“Although a home owner may consider their animals as a part of the family, it is highly likely that those coming to view the property do not want muddy paw prints staining their clothes or feelings of fear due to a snarling dog, therefore it is advised that animals are secured in an area well away from these important guests,” states Myburgh.

He continues, “It is important for the home to appeal to potential buyers’ senses. A spring clean, especially to bathrooms, and the use of odour neutralisers to eliminate any cigarette or animal smells will refresh the look and smell of the house. Instead welcome them into the home with the smell of freshly brewed coffee or muffins, creating that comforting feeling of home.”

Fresh flowers, scented potpourri and ample lighting all aid in creating the positive impression that is desired. Displaying interesting objects, such as artwork or books, and establishing a temperature that is favourable within the home will encourage the visitors to remain at the property for longer.

Create a feeling of spaciousness by ensuring that all areas within the home are uncluttered and well organised, including cupboards and wardrobes. Excess furniture and other items that are crammed into rooms can be put into temporary storage during this time. This will make the space appear larger than it may in fact be. Well-placed mirrors in smaller rooms are a clever technique to use to create the impression of a larger room

Although the above is valuable advice, the most important aspect of all is ensuring that all maintenance of the property is up-to-date; this includes the repairing of sticking windows or doors, dripping taps, loose door handles, blown light bulbs and faulty switches. These faults can often be overlooked by the home owners but they will not go unnoticed by potential buyers, and a buyer will be less inclined to purchase a home that is in need of basic repair.

Myburgh concludes, “One needs to remember that it is comparison that potential buyers rely on when looking at prospective properties. As these buyers will be evaluating properties that generally match the same criteria, it is often the property that comes across as the most inviting and hassle-free that secures the sale, and your property may need the assistance of a professional to achieve this.