FIRST: IDENTIFY YOUR POTENTIAL BUYER
1. Think how a buyer thinks
Whether you’ve loved or hated living in your property, now that it’s time to sell, the smart thing to do is set those feelings aside. Try to see the property the way a potential buyer is going to view it. It helps to talk to your real estate salesperson about who they believe is the target market for buying your home, and keep that party in mind as you assess how to get your place in tip-top shape for putting it on the market.
2. Who is your ideal open home customer?
Will your property appeal to families, professionals or investors? These groups will be looking for specific attributes in your property, and good preparation can help to enhance the features your key buyer wants the most. Here are some examples:
No matter who your buyer is, there are plenty of tricks you can employ to play up your property’s positive features, and downplay the not-so-great parts of the house, but keeping your ultimate open home viewer in mind will help you appeal to the right audience.
NEXT: THE OUTSIDE (open home viewers WILL judge a book by its cover)
3. Maximise that curb appeal
First impressions count, and that’s no less true with a potential new home. Untidy or overgrown hedges or gardens, neglected-looking letterboxes and unkempt fences are likely to give a terrible first impression to a potential buyer before they’ve even set foot on your property. When you set about sprucing up ahead of listing and planning open homes, always start with the exterior to allow time for any planting to take off or other changes to settle in.
4. Be wary of looking ‘high maintenance’
Besides the aesthetic put-off, when potential buyers rock up to your open home and see paint peeling off the fence or an overgrown lawn, they’re being given a not-so-subtle reminder that THEY will be responsible for repainting the fence or cutting the grass when THEY take ownership of the house. But if these jobs are already done, they’ll see past them in their eagerness to see the rest of your appealing property. The same goes for stuffed gutters, cracked pipes, broken tiles or windows, damage or jungle-like overgrowth. Now is the time to get to all those annoying little jobs you’ve probably been putting off since you moved in!
5. Call in the experts if you have to
If you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself, consider hiring a handy person to do it all for you. It’s probably money well spent, as a few hundred at this point could translate to thousands more when your keen buyers put their offers on paper.
6. Go easy in the garden
Sure, it may be that some potential buyers viewing your open home have the greenest of thumbs and will delight in your intricate garden design. But many more buyers will groan at the thought of the maintenance involved in caring for your masterpiece. Think easy-care when you plan your green spaces ahead of selling- succulents, perennials and other low maintenance planting is ideal.
7. Give it the final polish and leave no trace!
Give yourself plenty of time to check everything ahead of listing it for sale. Booking a house wash or window washing service is a great idea; these are relatively inexpensive but can work wonders to smarten up your home. Consider all the nooks and crannies, dispose of rubbish and resist the urge to cram all your excess stuff in a cupboard, garage or shed and shut the door. Serious potential buyers are viewing your home as if it will be theirs, so don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t look everywhere.
FINALLY, THE INSIDE counts too!
8. Ditch YOUR personality
This is a tough one, but if you’re serious about selling your property, it’s worth serious consideration. Take a hard look at your home and identify what’s uniquely yours about it. Family pictures, quirky knickknacks or the collection of joke gifts you’ve stowed on the mantelpiece every Christmas… all these things are better off gone, because when potential buyers wander through, they want to be able to imagine themselves living in your property. If there’s too much visual evidence of you living there already, that’s going to be much harder for them to do.
9. Ahhh, space
Yes, the physical concept of spaciousness will be more important to a large family looking at a 4 bedroom home than it will to a single professional viewing a studio apartment. But the feeling of space that can be achieved in even the tiniest rooms is important to everyone. There are all sorts of design tips you can employ to create space, but before you dive into those, just start by decluttering. Plan a garage sale, hire a storage facility or beg a friend to hold on to some stuff for you for a while. You might be amazed at the space you can create!
10. Emphasise storage
Clear out everything you won’t immediately need to use, clean every shelf and cupboard and then put back just the items you really need in the interim. Even a tiny kitchen won’t look so cramped if a buyer opens a cupboard to find a neatly stacked set of crockery or glassware inside. Wherever possible, get rid of the extra contents of cupboards and storage areas. They look bigger filled with tidily-stored and appropriate items inside than they do if they’re stuffed to bursting.
11. Be super critical
You’ve done all those pesky outdoor jobs, now it’s time to take a good look at the interior. Are there any squeaky floorboards, non-working lights, leaky taps or other minor repairs required? You’ve probably learned to live with the quirks of your home, but they’re the kinds of stumbling blocks potential buyers are likely to spot, and yet are very simple to put right.
12. Luxury and sumptuousness
Remember, potential buyers are trying to imagine themselves living in your property. Creating a sense of luxury is a great way to help them feel at home. Toss cushions or throws in appealing fabrics on neatly-made beds in the bedrooms, splurge on a new set of fluffy towels for the bathroom, or create a welcoming reading nook with some neatly stacked books or magazines. Antique or vintage items can also add a feeling of luxury, but stick to classic pieces in neutral tones to get it just right.
13. Consider some practical touches
First impressions are usually based on emotion for potential buyers at an open home, but once the well and truly good vibes are installed, they’ll look for practical ways to justify their gut feeling that your open home is the last one they need to visit. Storage and liveable spaces are key, but so too can finer touches create a stunning impression, like clever laundry areas, neat heating solutions, or providing space for outdoor garden equipment.
14. Extra style points
There are tons of resources and inspiration available to get that stylish yet liveable show home finish to your open home presentation. Accessories can be cheaply obtained but make a big difference to the overall look. Think pleasant colours, tones and shapes, with nothing to jar a potential buyer’s eye as it sweeps around your open home’s rooms. Some healthy-looking, appropriately-sized indoor plants in plain pots can also work wonders to make a space feel polished.
15. Clean and tidy
Make sure your home is spotless from top to bottom to make the best and most winning impression on potential buyers when your property hits the real estate market. A freshly-cleaned set of rooms will also help banish any cooking odours or trapped smells you might barely notice as the inhabitant of the house.
16. On the day
Prepare yourself to get out of your property with at least half an hour to spare so your real estate agent can settle in to show off your fantastic open home without any rush or fluster. Keep a couple of empty boxes standing by so you can clear away personal daily-use items like toothbrushes and personal products for each open home session. Wait till you get the all-clear from your real estate salesperson before you head back too. After all, what’s a little extra time if it means your real estate professional has found a rewarding deal for you?
The pre-sale open home process may seem a daunting part of selling your house at first, but its important to remember how much of a difference it can make to go through these vital steps before you offer your home to the real estate market. Making a strong impression by taking care of all those minor details can not only improve the value of your property, it can also make your listing a more popular prospect with buyers, and having multiple parties interested in your house is an ideal position to find yourself in when your open homes get underway.