Tips for a quick sell

Do you want to sell your home fast in a tight market? Spruce up your kitchen and start thinking digital!

Dr Willie Marais, national president of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) says, “Many buyers are now turning to the internet as their first source of information about homes for sale and photos and virtual tours are a must if you’re using this advertising medium. Lots of web users will not even look at listings without pictures.”

In a tight market, a good photograph is also important to make your home stand out from others in print advertisements, so it is essential that your agent has the equipment and knowhow to take excellent shots.

Ensure your home shines on camera

Marais notes, however, that it is also up to you as the owner to ensure that your home really shines on camera and to do this you really need to understand the camera’s perspective. The camera’s eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home look good in a virtual tour or video presentation, you need to cater to the lens.

To help you get the hang of this, you should snap a few test pictures yourself, examine them closely and list changes that would improve each room’s appearance. You might want to open blinds to let in natural light, for example, or remove the magnets from the refrigerator, or take down distracting art.

Next, you will need to pare down the furniture and pack up the clutter. Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger, clear away extraneous books, toys and photos, and leave only three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on a side table you might place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium) and a book (low).

You can also spotlight the flow of a space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle. The focal point could be a bed in a bedroom, for example, or a dresser in a dining room.

And finally, you should add colour. The camera loves green so you should include a healthy plant in every room and you can energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a shelf or draping a colourful throw over a couch.

“Then all that will be necessary is to keep it all shipshape,” says Marais. “You want buyers who liked what they saw online not to be disappointed when they view the home in person.”

Refreshing your kitchen dramatically improves your chances of selling quickly

A picture is worth a thousand words, but the kitchen is worth many thousands of Rands. Refreshing yours before photographing it and marketing your house can dramatically improve your chances of selling quickly.

The reason, says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of Homenet estate agency group, is that most homebuyers are prepared to modify most rooms in a new house once they have moved in — except the kitchen.

“With the disruption to routine that accompanies moving house and settling in, not many buyers look forward to making do with a temporary set-up while remodelling a kitchen. And while a major upgrade of a kitchen just before selling may not make much sense for a seller, there are several relatively affordable ways to make your kitchen more attractive to potential buyers,” he says.

Schultheiss offers the following tips:

  • Paint the walls and re-grout tiles.
  • Replace tired countertops with smooth surfaces in a neutral colour.
  • Update old-fashioned taps or mixers and handles on doors and drawers.
  • Hang fresh curtains or new blinds.
  • Take a hard look at light fittings — and make sure that workspaces are adequately illuminated.

“Also pay attention to the view from the kitchen windows. A few pots planted with cheerful flowers will brighten up the view, even if the windows overlook a utility area such as a washing line.

“If the outside door leads to a patio or courtyard, try to make it look as inviting as possible. A bench or small table and chairs can create a pleasant corner for a quiet cup of coffee or a leisurely weekend breakfast.

“And although such changes are unlikely to cost an arm and a leg, sellers should keep in mind that revamping a kitchen usually gives the best return on money spent on improvements.”

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