|A welcoming lounge,(picture courtesyof Clarke and Clarke fabrics)|
1. Walk out to the street and look at your house objectively. Does it look inviting? Can you even see it through the trees and bushes? Is the garden overgrown? A good clean up outside, including hosing down the house and sweeping the driveway after you have cleaned up all those weeds will ensure that first impressions count.
2. Take a trip to the tip with all the clutter and accumulated junk that you will not be taking to a new home. Put what you can on Trade Me to make a few dollars. Be absolutely ruthless. If great grandma's cheese grater has been at the back of the cupboard unused for donkeys years you are not going to use it now. If you have too much furniture or clutter that you don't want to part with, arrange to have it stored while the house is up for sale. You don't want your existing space to look overcrowded.
There is merit too, in de-personalising a space. Big family photos and reams of kids' artwork are perfect for 'your' space but are an intrusion in someone else's, and remember you ARE trying to make this 'someone else's'. Small photos that add an element to the decor are fine, just not too many of them. Look critically at the artwork and prints that are displayed on your walls. Faded prints, moose's heads, naked bodies and overtly risque images are best put into storage. Confine the kids' toys to an area where they can be easily removed. A lounge room filled with all the paraphernalia that goes with having children will be a turn off for buyers that don't have kids.
Think about how you can use what you have to combine together to make an inviting vignette. A white bowl of green apples on a polished kitchen bench give a hint of homeliness, a bunch of flowers from the supermarket will cheer up a tired corner.
4. Be prepared to get your hands dirty! You want your home to look like someone could bring their furniture straight in and it would not look out of place with your decor. Bright orange walls, tired and peeling wallpaper, mildewed and tired curtains that may not be to everyone's taste need to go. You may hate the idea of 'neutral' in your own home but keeping it simple is paramount. Google 'how to paint a wall' and you will see how easy it is to transform a dated room in no time. If there are bright coloured walls that may be too restricting or that look a bit tired, or wallpaper that is hanging off the walls be prepared to put the time in. Mildewed curtain linings tell your potential buyer that the house may be damp. Arrange to have your curtains re-lined or replaced. Resist the urge to have them drycleaned or washed unless they are in very bad condition. Both these processes are likely to shrink your curtains. Try vacuuming them to freshen them up.
5. Take a critical look at any maintenance issues that are likely to be picked up in a builder's report. Leaky taps, rusting roof, overflowing spouting, windows that don't close properly etc and arrange for a professional or a handyman to come in and fix them up. Pay particular attention to the shower stall and tiling and make sure the grouting is in good condition. There is some truth in the saying that bathrooms and kitchens sell a house. Buyers need to be able to at least see the potential if they are not up to scratch.
6. Houses that are currently tenanted can be a problem for landlords to sell. The tenants may not want to be forced to move out and have no personal interest in presenting it nicely for open homes. Have a discussion with the tenants and make sure that all parties know their rights.
7.You no doubt love your pets very much and may not be aware that some animals come with their very own 'doggy smell' that can permeate a house. A carpet that has been continually peed on by your puppy will add its own particular aura to the house. Make sure your carpets are cleaned and that all evidence of your pets dirt box and feeding bowls are, like your pets, out of sight on the day of the open homes.
8. Finally, and MOST IMPORTANT of all is to have it scrupulously CLEAN! The kitchen and bathroom need to be sparkling with clean towels hanging neatly, no dead toilet rolls waiting to be thrown out, no random piles of washing or ironing, no rubbish bins full to overflowing. Don't forget to clean the windows, mirrors, taps and toilet, and the oven. Serious buyers will open the oven door and won't want to find the remains of last night's dinner stinking it out. All the theories that are out there to make your place smell nice and fresh and inviting (coffee brewing, bread baking etc) are a waste of time if the house dosen't smell beautifully fresh and clean. Make up the beds with fresh clean linen and arrange them invitingly. Check that the outside rubbish bins are around the rear of the property and away from the back door.
Now you are ready for that open home!
If you are thinking about putting your home on the market and would like an an interior designer to advise you or stage it for you give us a call:
Rachel 027221 4049,