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Top property put-offs

11:30 AEST Tue May 31 2011
Top property put-offs
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By Hannah Nicholas,
MSN NZ Money writer

Attention, sellers: Do you want to market your property in the best possible light? From messy interiors to dodgy DIY jobs, be sure to avoid these top property put-offs.

Bad street appeal
How does your home or investment property look from the street? Does it need touching up? Take a good look at the street appeal of your home as, like or not, first impressions do count. The last thing you want is people driving by your home and not coming in to view the property.

Consider a new paint job, fix up any gates or latches that aren't working and look at things like lighting and landscaping. 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.

Tip: Is the house number visible? The last thing you want is someone not being able to find your place.

Clutter
Clearing out the clutter is perhaps the best thing you can do when it comes to selling your property. 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.
  • Remove large pieces of furniture, such as coffee tables. This will help to open up the living space.
  • If you have children, pack their toys into boxes or plastic crates, which can be stored elsewhere on open days.
  • Remove those piles of bills, unread magazines and other piles of documents around the home.

Tip: Have a friend or family member walk through the home offering advice on where things could be improved.

Dirty bathrooms and kitchens
When opening your home to the public, your bathroom and kitchen should sparkle (even if it's old and outdated, there's no excuse for dirt and grime). Consider adding new accessories (eg: towels, etc) to add a splash of colour or update a look. Experts stress that the bathroom and kitchen are important elements when it comes to the marketing appeal of a property.

Always:

  • make sure the bathroom is free from mould, stains, etc;
  • make all surfaces clutter-free;
  • re-enamel basins and the bath if they are looking worn;
  • fix any leaking taps or plumbing issues; and
  • open windows to let in natural air and light.

In the kitchen, always:

  • keep benchtops clear and all surfaces clean and tidy;
  • clear out cupboards and pantries to give a sense of space; and
  • fix any leaking taps, broken cupboard doors, etc.

The rest of the home should also be in tip-top shape too. Make sure wooden floors, windows and other surfaces sparkle. Clean carpets, air out rugs and remove dust and cobwebs from hard-to-reach areas.

Pets and strange odours
Ever inspected a home to discover it had a rotten smell? Or stepped in the dog's business in the backyard? Make sure your home is cleaned and aired before all inspections and as much as you love your pets, others might not. Remove all evidence of pets and house them elsewhere while the home is open.

Unfinished DIY jobs
While there are some factors out of your control when it comes to selling your house (such as noisy, messy neighbours) you should do all you can to make your home look as presentable as possible. If there's one or two DIY jobs you've never got around to finishing, now's the time. Get in a professional if you need to; it will pay its way in the long run.

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