Make your property appealing to buyers
Jayne Watson, the property manager at Anderson Strathern LLP, advises how to make your property as attractive as possible to buyers.
When you start to think about selling a property, the first thing you do is invite agents, like myself, to come round to the property. Usually, before I’ve even sat down, I’m asked “What can I do to get the best price for my house”. This can be a loaded question for obvious reasons – I’m there to impress and I don’t want to upset anyone!
In a perfect world, we buy a property, stay for a few years then sell for a modest profit a few years later. However, if the last seven years has taught us anything, it’s that now, more than ever, buyers are much more cautious than they used to be. The old adage “it’s only worth what someone will pay for it” has never been closer to the truth, and we don’t want to pay any more than we have to – for anything, not just houses.
From all the property shows on TV, the majority of sellers know what buyers want – even if I do hate the phrase “kerb appeal”, which was overused for many years by a particular TV personality, it has always been true. First impressions count – whether it be weeds in the driveway, a broken fence or peeling paint on the front door, these are things that automatically give buyers ammunition to negotiate the price - downwards. So get those little jobs done before the marketing starts. We all have them, those things we put off or just don’t get round to. Whether it is something simple like a lamp missing a bulb, or a bigger job, like the gutters needing cleaned. Since the introduction of Home Reports, the buying public now has access to much more information about the property than ever before, and one of the reasons behind it is to encourage home owners to look after their properties more. Cracked rendering or peeling paint is easily remedied these days and the less a buyer has to think about spending once they’ve bought a house, the more they have to spend buying it in the first place.
Try to stop looking at it as “your home” and start thinking of it as a house – if you ask an agent what they think you need to do, don’t be offended by their answer. If they advise you to hide away your prized possessions or give it a “deep pre-sale clean” then please don’t think we are being rude, you asked the question and we are being honest. You know if you look at something every day you don’t really see it. If you don’t think you can see anything, ask a family member or a trusted friend for their honest opinion.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, so the saying goes, and this applies to property too. A nice welcome mat at the front door will not only encourage visitors to wipe their feet, but also give the impression you’ve made an effort. The slightest hint of grime can send buyers running out the front door quicker than you can blink; the devil really is in the detail and “clean and fresh” is always better.
Make sure your house looks the best it possibly can – if there is an unnecessary item of furniture in a room – take it out. Put it in the garage or in storage (family members usually have a spare room!) If it’s something you absolutely cannot live without, put it in the car for the duration of the photographs being taken or the viewing taking place. The more viewings that take place, the more interest is generated and the better the price achieved.
Remember, it’s not just about location, location, location anymore.