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How to add value before selling

11:30 AEST Mon Apr 4 2011
How to add value before selling
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By Hannah Nicholas,
MSN NZ Money writer

Adding value to your home before selling doesn't have to mean reaching for your cheque book. There are lots of simple and effective ways to spruce up your home before opening it up to the public.

Remember, first impressions do last and importantly can make or break a sale.

Clean up
It goes without saying but some homeowners don't realise how much difference a huge spring clean can really make to the look of their house when it comes to selling time.

Potential buyers need to be able to see themselves living in your home and that's sometimes hard to do if you have lots of personal objects and items about the place.

Before opening your home:

  • Put away family photos (or at least some of them).
  • Pack away knick-knacks and ornaments. Keep out only a few.
  • If you have children, pack their toys into boxes or plastic crates that can be stored in the garage on open days.
  • Clean carpets, air out rugs and remove dust and cobwebs from hard to reach areas.
  • Make sure cupboards and wardrobes are neat and tidy.

Tip: Always ask your selling agent for advice on areas you can improve.

The state of the bathroom is a very important factor when it comes to selling a home. You don't have to do a complete makeover to liven up your bathroom.

Consider these time- and money-saving tips:

  • Make sure the bathroom is free from mould, stains and is sparkling clean.
  • Make all surfaces clutter-free.
  • Re-enamel basins and the bath if they are looking worn.
  • Fix any leaking taps or plumbing issues.
  • Towels should be matching and clean.
  • Open windows to let in natural air and light.

Like the bathroom, the look of the kitchen is also important when it comes to selling your home.

Be sure to:

  • Pack away all but your most essential items to free up bench space.
  • Clear out cupboards and pantries to give a sense of space.
  • Clean all surfaces and appliances.

Tip: Sometimes something as simple as changing cupboard handles or bench tops will make a huge difference to the look of a kitchen.

Bedroom and living spaces
Bedrooms and living spaces should give off a sense of space and allow potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the spaces. Therefore it's important to make you home as neutral as you can. Storage is another important selling factor.

Top decorating tips include:

  • De-clutter all surfaces and unnecessary possessions.
  • Remove items from under beds and ensure built-in wardrobes are clean and tidy.
  • A new quilt cover or throw, cushions for beds, lounges will add a touch of colour and spice up a room.
  • If a room is crowded with furniture, consider removing a few pieces during the selling period. Examples include armchairs or coffee tables that may get in people's way.

Paint job
Sometimes a coat of paint or a new feature wall can add wonders to a tired looking interior. When it comes to painting whole rooms, light neutral colours are probably your safest option. Get a second opinion when it comes to feature walls or decorative touches.

Tip: Be sure the painting has dried well before the first open for inspection.

Garden and outside areas
It's important to consider that you can only make a first impression once, and the front garden or entrance to your home is where this will happen. Therefore invest some time in getting the area looking tip top.

Simple landscaping jobs such as trimming trees and shrubs, mowing lawns, keeping paths and garden beds tidy will raise the appeal of your home. New shrubs and plant pots are an effective way to lift unexciting or unsightly spaces.

Consider hiring a gardener for the short-term if you don't have the time to tackle this yourself.

Look at your front door. Could it do with a coat of paint or a new handle or door knocker? Clean all windows and freshen up or fix unsightly fences and gates.

Tip: Think about outdoor lighting as potential buyers may drive by at night to take a look at your home.