As spring starts and the temperatures begin to heat up, more and more buyers will be venturing out to look for their ideal home, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that homeowners, who are thinking of placing their property on the market, may want to take of advantage of the fact that there are generally higher volumes of buyer foot traffic during the warmer seasons.
According to Goslett the property market generally sees an uptick in sales as the temperatures rise, making the seasonal change an ideal time for would-be sellers to spring clean their homes and prepare for listing on the market. He adds that there are a number of things that homeowners can do this season to get their homes in show day condition and ensure that the property stands out in the current competitive real estate environment.
First impressions count – Simply put, when it comes to property appearances matter – so make it count in the right way. If buyers have the choice between two homes in an area that offer similar features and are within the same price bracket, then the determining factor that will distinguish one home from the other will be the look and buyer’s overall first impression of the property.
“The first impression of a home will be created by the prospective buyers’ sensory perception of the property. It will be based on what they see, hear, smell and feel when they first enter the home. All of these elements will contribute to and influence the overall feel of the home, which will generate an emotional response from buyers. If this experience is positive and results in a favourable impression, it is more likely that the buyer will feel compelled to make an offer,” says Goslett.
Get a trusted second opinion – Homeowners often have an emotional attachment to their home, often making it difficult for them to have an objective view. Because of this, it is advised that they call in a second opinion with regard to what improvements might need to be made to get the home into show day condition. “Rather than avoiding input from others, homeowners should seek out honest opinions that focus on both the home’s good points as well as the bad. If the homeowner is worried about possible conflict with friends or family, a trusted estate agent will give their honest and direct opinion with regards to what should be done to make the home more marketable,” advises Goslett.
Spring clean, means clean – Once the areas of improvement have been identified, it is time to put in the work and clean and make the necessary changes to the home. Apart from washing the scrubbing the home, spring cleaning also entails decluttering and getting rid of unused items.
“Attention should be paid to every detail in the home, ensuring that even the slightest cracked window pane has been replaced. Although the homeowner may not notice minor defects in and around their property, buyers will specifically be looking for things that are wrong with the home. It is always important to remember that the home is competing with others in the area, so it is imperative that every effort is made to ensure the home is in its best condition, especially considering that there may be newer homes on the market,” says Goslett.
Allow buyers to picture themselves living there – It is important for sellers to make buyers feel as welcome as possible in the home. Potential buyers need the space to be able to view the home at their own leisure and be able to visualise themselves living in there. “Ways in which homeowners can make buyers feel more at ease is by packing away personal items and photos. This will help the buyers to see themselves in the home and not the current owner. It is also best to decorate or paint the home in neutral, muted colours with only a few well-placed items to add interest and warmth. Sellers can aesthetically enhance the home with a vase of some fresh flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are a great resource for tips,” says Goslett.
Get rid of bad odours – Unpleasant odours can potentially drive prospective buyers away. For this reason it is imperative that homeowners make every effort to ensure that their home smells inviting. Traces of food, pets or smoking and other disagreeable odours can kill deals fast.
“Ensuring the home is show day ready will be a vital element in setting the property apart from others in the neighbourhood and will give the seller the best possible advantage in a competitive real estate market,” Goslett concludes.