Want to sell? Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes
If you want to sell your home fast and for the best possible price, you actually need to think like a buyer – and scrutinise every part of the property as if you were seeing it for the first time.
Stand at the front gate and try to imagine what the approach to your front door might look like to a stranger. Walk through your home as a prospective buyer might do and view every room with a fresh eye. Go out to your patio or entertainment area and consider whether it really looks like an inviting leisure space.
In a familiar environment, we tend to “blank out” small faults – like that chip in the kitchen counter, or that one cracked tile in the bathroom – that make no real difference to our daily lives. However, such imperfections will stand out to prospective buyers, who after all are there with the express purpose of discovering whether your home is in good condition or if it would require a lot of repairs and upgrades.
And if their mental list of potential problems gets too long, they will rapidly lose interest, or perhaps only make you a lowball offer. On the other hand, the less work they can see, the more likely they are to quickly make a good offer, so it is well worth following the guidelines below to get your home “move-in ready”:
- Have a major clear-out. You want potential buyers to see your home, not your belongings. Every cupboard should have the minimum in it so it shows how much storage space there is, and every room should look spacious, not crammed with too much furniture or darkened by heavy curtains.
- You should also remove ornaments, mementos and personal photos from bookshelves and countertops and box them up ready to go to your new home. In fact, it is a good idea to hire a self-storage unit while your property is on show and keep everything extraneous there and all packed as this will make your move easier too.
- Don’t forget the garage. Potential buyers want to see where they would be able to park their car – especially if the garage has direct access into the house and this is important to them for security reasons. They do not want to see a room filled with old garden furniture, broken pool equipment, half-empty paint cans and various other junk.
- Get a second opinion. Once you’ve decluttered your home, ask a friend to give it the once-over with clipboard in hand and make a list of whatever they would change or fix. This will help you identify everything you might need to address before you put your home on show.
- Get expert advice. If you are working with an experienced and properly qualified agent, he or she will quickly be able to tell you which of the projects on your list are really worth doing – and which will probably not be important to potential buyers.
- Give buyers a blank canvas. If your agent recommends freshly painted walls inside or out, neutral colours like beige, pale grey, cream and white should be the colours you pick. Again, you want buyers to visualise how they would live in your home – not necessarily to see your personality expressed in vivid colours or bold patterns.
- Make it shine. Glossy floors, sparkling taps, gleaming widows and not a speck of dust or grime anywhere. Nothing sells like fresh-smelling and scrubbed-looking, and even if you don’t have time to do anything else before your home goes on show, a deep clean will score you lots of points with potential buyers.