While estate agents are employed as experts to assist homeowners in the sale of their property, the sellers also play a very important part in the marketing aspect. This is according to Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Sales. She points out that while estate agents can help the seller with correctly pricing the property and marketing a property to the right pool of potential buyers, at the end of the day it’s the impression that the property will make on buyers that counts the most.
“This is where the seller’s critical job of making the home look its best for show day comes in,” says Justus-Ferns. “Buyers make up their mind about a property based on their first impressions, which are made in just a couple of seconds. The appeal of a home or lack thereof can really make or break a sale, despite location and price,” she says.
Justus-Ferns lays out some top points for sellers to attend to when presenting their home to buyers on a showday:
At first glance, buyers need to be impressed. Sellers can help things along in this direction by ensuring that the entrance is clean and tidy, that the shrubs are trimmed and neat and that the gate is in good working order and looks good. Sellers should repaint or touch up the gate paintwork if and where necessary. “Other things sellers can do to create a good first impression including ensuring a functional intercom or doorbell, polishing door hardware and ensuring the swimming pool is blue and sparkling. Pet litter and faeces should be cleaned up, water features switched on and the lawns mowed and garden beds weeded and edged.
Pavement appeal is an important part of creating a good first impression. Sellers can ensure their home looks its best from the roadside by mowing lawns, trimming shrubs, weeding and edging beds, cleaning up any pet mess and ensuring the driveway and pavement are clear of leaves and oil stains. Roof gutters and eaves should also be in good repair and exterior paint should be touched up where necessary.
On the general maintenance side of things, Justus-Ferns suggests oiling squeaky doors and repairing and repainting where needed as well as tightening doorknobs and cupboard latches. All light bulbs should be functional, while windows should be clean and in good working order with no cracks or broken glass. Paintwork and plaster should be touched up and repaired where needed and leaky taps and toilets should be attended to. Homeowners should also check if any grouting around the bath, basin or shower needs repairing.
A good spring clean will go a long way, according to Justus-Ferns who suggests cleaning mouldy shower cubicles, shampooing carpets, as well as thoroughly cleaning the washer, dryer and dishwasher, oven and stove, fridge and freezer as well as cleaning and freshening up the bathrooms and/or toilets.
“Clearing out clutter is also essential when showing a home to potential buyers. They want to be able to visualise their things in the home, and this is difficult to do when it is full of the seller’s personal mementos,” notes Justus-Ferns. “Homeowners can start off by clearing stairs and hallways of clutter, storing excess furniture, ensuring counters and the top of cupboards are clear. Cupboards that cannot lock should also be clean and tidy as should kitchen counter tops.”
In Justus-Ferns’ opinion, perhaps the most important aspect is the atmosphere created in the home for the showday. Her top tips in creating the right kind of feel to encourage buyers to make an offer include the seller not being in the home on the showday. “Buyers feel awkward with the seller present at a showday and often won’t ask as many questions or stay and view the property for as long as if the seller was not there,” explains Justus-Ferns.
To create a pleasant and inviting feeling, all the lights should be turned on, the fireplace lit in winter, pets should be locked away and the curtains or blinds should be open. Windows should be open too if the weather allows. “Sellers can create additional appeal by adding touches like well arranged and placed fresh flowers and fruit baskets.”
Justus-Ferns concludes by saying that as it all boils down to the buyers overall impression of the home, sellers should really take care to present their property in the most favourable way possible.