When you decide to sell your property, you want the best possible result which means achieving a fast sale for the top price. Preparing your property for sale and presenting it in the best light is a sure fire way of reaching your goal.

A home for sale should always be presented in immaculate condition, which is not (for most of us) the normality of everyday life. Potential buyers do not want to see reality, they want to see themselves in a perfect house under perfect conditions. So whether you are selling the best house in the street, or your home or investment property needs some TLC, these simple steps will bring out the best in what you have to offer.

It’s important to follow the steps below prior to showing your home to your potential real estate agent, and definitely before having any photographs taken of your property. You want your Agent to achieve the best possible price for you, so make a good impression on them first.

Here are Danckert Real Estate’s top 12 tips for creating the ideal first impression for your property:

1. The selling process happens from the time a potential buyer glimpses your property, and continues as they step onto your land, or walk through the front gates or in to your front garden and up to your front door.

The picture of your property isn't completed until they have investigated every room and every cupboard inside the house and have explored the back garden. So make sure the exterior is pristine, and maintained to the same standard for the duration of the sale process. Mow the lawns, ensure the garden beds are clean and tidy, check the front door is clean or give it a fresh coat of paint, rake up leaves, sweep patios and decks, take any rubbish or garden waste away, make sure your outdoor furniture is in good condition, that outside tables are wiped down and that any soft furnishings are clean and pristine.

And if you are lucky enough to have a pool, make it sparkle!

2. Think about giving your property a paint face lift. It's the easiest and most inexpensive way to freshen up a house and it will give you a big bang for your buck. Neutral palettes work best.

3. Clean or replace tired flooring. Carpets should be shampooed and treated for stains. Tiles and hardwood floors should be thoroughly swept and mopped to a shine. Any flooring that is stained, damaged or worn beyond repair should be removed and replaced. Hardwood floors that are scratched or have lost their sheen should be refinished.

4. Fix all the little things that you have lived with for too long – fix that dripping tap, change broken toilet roll holders or shower heads and replace anything that is damaged. Don’t forget to repair any nail holes or patch up anything that isn’t quite up to scratch, and complete any home improvement projects you have underway. Don’t leave anything undone.

5. De-clutter! Pack away family photos, knickknacks, personal items and accessories. Less is more. You want your home to have personality, but no identity, so that potential buyers imagine themselves in your home rather than seeing you in it. If you have little children, or untidy teenagers, pack away toys and accessories, take down posters and tidy up clothes. It’s the perfect time for a long overdue spring clean.

Take your unwanted items to charity stores or to the tip, or have a garage sale. If you still have items you want to keep, consider hiring a storage container until your home is sold. It will sell a lot faster without the clutter, so you will still be cash positive. Remove any furniture that makes a room look too cramped or that are well passed their use-by date. This will open up the space and make it look less tired.

Clean out those bathrooms. Get rid of shampoo bottles, hair accessories, makeup and medications, keeping only the basics that you really need. Box up and store all of the additional things that are so easily accumulated.

Take everything off counter tops – yes all those appliances, even the toaster, should be hidden away. This will make your kitchen look larger and more spacious. If you think it looks too bare, add a nice potted plant or a bowl of fruit for a bit of colour and life. Your home still needs to have personality as well as functionality. Make sure your home’s unique style shines.

6. If your property hasn’t been lived in, hire or buy some key pieces to furnish it. Selling an empty home can be a huge mistake, they are not inviting and welcoming and feel cold and sterile.

7. Remove any possible odours – cooking smells, strong perfume, smelly pets – anything that could be ‘on the nose’. Hideaway cat litter trays and rubbish bins. Don’t mask household odours with air fresheners, which can be overwhelming and cause allergies in many people. Try adding freshly cut flowers or bake some bread or an apple-pie for that special welcoming scent.

8. Clean, clean, clean. And keep everything clean for the duration of the sale. You never know when a potential buyer may want to view your property. Clean the oven, the fridge, the microwave, the bathtub and shower, the laundry sinks and kitchen sinks, the floors, the walls, the windows and window sills, door frames and skirting boards. Even inside every cupboard – potential buyers are nosy and fussy. Pay attention to the small details. Leave nothing to chance so there isn’t a single subliminal negative.

9. One of the easiest ways to create colour and brighten up a tired room is to add some accent cushions. This simple and inexpensive decorative touch can add all the difference to a room and bring to life a sofa, chair, bench or bed and add instant warmth and some stylish pizzazz.

10. New window treatments can freshen up a room too. They can add value and style to your home and be something that buyers view as a bonus. Try and keep the colours neutral so they work with any decor. Make sure curtains and blinds are open wherever possible (or kept closed if you are trying to hard an unattractive view).

11. Make sure every light in the house has a bulb in it that works – you don’t want your potential buyer to switch on a light that doesn’t work. It’s the little things! Keep the lights on in rooms that are a bit dark – lamps create more ambience that overhead lights.

12. Think about adding some pampering accessories to your bathroom – fluffy towels, candles and some magazines or books. They will add colour and texture as well as providing a promise of what life will be like when the buyers move in to their new home – comfort, contentment and a sense of belonging.

For more helpful tips and advice, or for a no-obligation property valuation, contact the Danckert Real Estate team.

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