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Traditionally, Spring heralds the start of the “selling season” in real estate. This means more homes are on the market. Like most sellers, you will be looking for a swift sale for the optimum price. This means your home needs to stand out from its competitors and present a winning combination of correct pricing and a lot of appeal – the latter speaks to the emotional aspect of real estate investment, with responses such as, “I just fell in love with the place” often sealing the deal.
“There are a number of ways to tap into this phenomenon,” says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.
He offers the following tips:
*First impressions are vital, so a new coat of paint is essential. Opt for neutral tones to maximise on universal appeal.
*“An attractive garden always gets a potential buyer through the front door,” says Greeff. In our drought situation, buyers are looking for easy-to-maintain, water-wise layouts so desirable trends include: replacing dry lawn with pebbles or stepping stones, planting indigenous plants, grouping water-wise, indigenous potted plants, and filling spaces with garden furniture and decks.
“Don’t let your garden be an afterthought. Budget for it and allow some time or you’ll find yourself spending a fortune at the nursery in the rush up to a show day,” advises Greeff.
*If you have a pool, ensure it has a good cover.
*Boreholes, wellpoints, rain tanks and grey water systems are definitely selling points for a home in any season, but particularly during summer.
*Optimise your braai area by making it a focal point with a table and comfy chairs and a collection of attractive potted plants. Consider purchasing an umbrella if shade is required.
*Entrance appeal matters; Give your front door a new varnish, polish door handles. Place a pair of attractive potted plants on either side of the doorway and spice up the pathway.
*Splash out on a fresh new doormat.
* Capture attention from the moment potential buyers step through the door by creating a welcoming reception area. A strikingly framed mirror, an arrangement of fresh flowers, an attractive piece of furniture are all great options. It should also smell good, so sprinkle a few drops of aromatherapy oil: lavender, geranium, vanilla, cinnamon or orange blossom.
* A clutter-free living area makes it easier for buyers to imagine their own furniture in the room. Remove a piece or two of furniture from cramped rooms – this helps to create the illusion of space.
*Even in the summer, a functioning fireplace adds tremendous emotional appeal, so lay fresh firewood or pine cones in the grate to prompt potential buyers to visualise a cosy scene.
* On showday, switch on all lights and open curtains. Replace old light fittings and never leave naked bulbs on display – they create a depressing aura of neglect.
*Convert any extra rooms to bedrooms – this adds perceived value. Upgrade bedding with crisp white linens.
*Steam clean carpets and curtains to freshen up and remove any musty or pet odors.
“Bathrooms are areas requiring careful attention, as buyers are often swayed by their reaction to the bathrooms in a home,” says Greeff. The following tips can be useful:
*Display clean fluffy towels in neatly folded piles or roll them up and stack in an attractive basket.
*Opt for clean soap dispensers, and consider pouring shampoos and bath gels into stylish containers.
*NO clutter on bathroom surfaces – pack away cosmetics and lotions.
*Scrupulous cleanliness is essential. Surfaces should gleam and the room should smell fresh. Try an invigorating fragrance like lemongrass, mint or green tea.
*There are a number of plants which do well in the humid atmosphere of a bathroom. Orchids, bamboo and peace lilies are just a few. Surround your plants with an array of pebbles or seashells.
Kitchens require scrupulous attention too. Greeff’s advice is:
*Clear counter tops of appliances. If you have a beautiful coffee filter or cappuccino machine, this can be displayed. Place lemons or apples in a beautiful bowl. Remove fridge magnets and notes -hese make your kitchen look very untidy.
*Consider a small kitchen herb garden on a window sill. This suggests potential to would-be buyers and adds freshness to your kitchen atmosphere.
TIP: Hire a home stager – someone who will style or stage your home with rented furniture and objects d’art, with the specific purpose of increasing its appeal to potential buyers.