It has been a cold and wet winter, with large temperature drops and many rainy weekends, making the prospect of attending a home open less than appealing for many.
But spring is nearly upon us and it’s time to take advantage of the upcoming blue skies, warmer weather and active buyers!
If you are thinking of selling your home during the busier spring months or would like to ensure you home is sold and settled well before Christmas arrives, now is the time to do your research, find your agent and get your property looking its best!
What to Look for in your real estate agent
When selling, one of the first tasks is to find the right real estate agent.
It’s imperative that you find an agent who you can trust, and who you feel has the right knowledge, experience and marketing abilities to sell your property.
A common mistake many sellers make when comparing agents, is selecting the agent who offers the best price for their home at the appraisal - but this can be a sticky trap to fall into.
Just because an agent estimates the highest figure, does not mean they will be able to deliver.
While an estimate provides a base for what you can expect your property to sell for, it is certainly no guarantee of what the actual sale price will be. In fact, the Perth market has seen a lot of warnings about overpricing and the damage it can do to the way the property is perceived on the market.
It is important to consider the agent’s qualities; including experience, skill, and commission.
Look for professional experience in your market. Typically, a real estate agent will have a “farm” area, which they focus and work in.
Choosing a real estate agent who knows your area like the back of their hand will make all the difference – they will know exactly what buyers in that area are looking for and the demand for your property type.
Asking for testimonials is always a good idea, which will help give you a good assessment of the agent’s experience and ability.
Lastly, an aspect not to be overlooked is the company the agent represents. Is it a well-known, reputable real estate company? Don’t forget the overall brand is selling your home too, which is just as crucial as the agent’s personal reputation!
Getting your home ready for a spring sale
Once you have your chosen agent by your side, it’s time to take a good look at your home and what could be done to improve its appearance.
If you were a buyer, what would put you off the property? Be brutal! Make a list about all the faults or less-than-desirable aspects and get ready to make some changes.
We understand that this is often difficult to do with your own home, as it is most likely filled with possessions that you love and adore, so asking a close friend or even a neighbour to help may be a good option.
If you’re selling in the current market, you have some competition with buyers now enjoying the luxury “shopping around” period. But this doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for you; it’s the opportunity to make your property stand out from the crowd!
Don’t let buyers slip away – ensure you take care of the following turn-offs before opening your doors to potential buyers:
• Pets and their pet things – Even an animal lover can be turned off by your little ball of fluff when their potential home is in question!
Buyers won’t want to see your cat’s dirty litter box or doggy treats around the place. Make sure your pets are out of the way whilst your home is on the market. They should be away from your home during home opens or if you can, have them stay with a family member the whole time your home is on the market.
This will help to eliminate any lingering pet smells.
• Cigarette smoke – This is almost always a deal breaker! Few will want to invest in a new home that smells of cigarette smoke and you will have buyers walking straight back out the door at home opens.
If you have been smoking in the house, you may need to remove fabric furniture, steam clean the flooring and even repaint the property! It will be an investment in the short term, but it could make or break the sale.
• Dirty/Messy Bathrooms – Understandably, this is a huge turn off for potential buyers! It is common for bathrooms to become cluttered with makeup, perfumes, and other grooming items, but you will want to ensure this is not the case during a home open.
It is important you store everything neatly under the counter and give the area a once over to ensure it’s clean and free of any hair, grime and toothpaste marks.
• Too many personal belongings – If your shelves and units are cluttered with photos of you and your family, trophies, awards and birthday cards, consider removing some of these items.
Don’t get us wrong, having a personal touch is important but it will be difficult for potential buyers to visualise themselves in your home when all they can see are reminders of you.
• Clutter – Remove any extra furniture pieces that may be cluttering your space. Let the buyer visualise their furniture inside the home – the trick is to make them fall in love and see the potential.
Pay special attention to how your home is presented overall. This usually gives the buyer peace of mind as a well-maintained property suggests a limited chance of encountering hidden problems once the property is officially theirs. That means fixing any cracks in walls, dripping taps, loose fixtures or broken tiles.
Tying into this, remember you are always on show. From the second you list your property for sale, there will be buyers doing a sneaky drive-by, daily. They will be scoping out the property, street and overall neighbourhood.
This can often be the decider for the cluey buyer, so don’t give them the opportunity to be put off. How the property appeals to them from the outside will determine whether they want to venture inside. Here are some ideas to help you keep your home in top shape in case any potential buyers drive by for a look see:
- Make sure your front gardens and lawns are well kept and maintained.
- Cut back any overgrown plants and weed any messy garden beds.
- Remove all junk mail and newspapers from the letterbox and yard.
- If possible, park the cars in the garage so they’re out of the way.
- Avoid having rubbish out for collection on the verge.
- Each night before sunset, turn on all outdoor lights.
When it comes to the inside of your home the trick is to provide an inviting, clean and comfortable feel.
- Replace all dish and hand towels throughout your kitchen and bathrooms with fresh, clean ones.
- When it comes to rugs, pick up all visible chunks of wool from them and make sure they are secured using rug tape and rubber mats to keep them in their correct position and in the best quality. Rug tape will also help to limit any accidental trips for potential buyers coming through your home.
- Use accent lighting for decorative purposes, helping to add ambiance to any room whilst creating visual effects. It draws the eye to ornaments, paintings and feature furniture.
- Keep nice smelling hand soap in your bathroom and make sure to wash your hands before your home open begins to infuse the bathroom with a beautiful scent.
- Decorate with artwork to limit bare walls. Bare walls often create a cold and unwelcoming feeling, so spice them up with some dramatic artwork.
Think about finishing touches and what little changes will make a huge difference to how your home is presented and viewed by potential buyers. For example, consider purchasing fresh flowers to present as a centrepiece on your dining or coffee table – always a hit!
So, as we look to the warmer months, keep in mind – first impressions do count!
If home décor and styling is not your forte- there are always experts you can turn to, and for a much more affordable price than you think. Real estate styling companies such as The Perth Style Co. can work with you to attract buyers, create demand, and help you achieve a higher price for your home.