Getting your home looking its best before an open inspection
To get the best price for your home, you need to get buyers fighting to buy it. That's why it pays to get it looking the best it can before an open inspection.
The secrets to good presentation include removing anything that could create doubts in potential buyers' minds and crafting a setting that has wide appeal and helps viewers envision themselves living in your home happily. With many other homes vying for their attention, yours needs to stand out from the crowd.
Here are some tips on how to get it inspection-ready:
Before you start
Ask your agent and friends for suggestions on how you can spruce up your home. Many of us get so used to our homes that we no longer notice the dirt or cracks and could benefit from a second opinion.
There's lots to do and things often take much longer than you expect. So, start early.
Boost your street appeal
First impressions do count. How your home looks from the outside can make the difference as to whether potential buyers come in to look or drive off.
The first things buyers will see are your fence, post box and street number, so if these are not in good condition, fix or replace them. Get out your gardening gloves and lawnmower and start weeding, pruning and cutting. The more foliage you clear away, the bigger your garden will look.
Ensure the path to your front door is easy to navigate. If anything broken, uneven or missing along the way, get it fixed.
Wash the dirt off your outside walls, garage door, paths and driveway to make your home look attractive. And think about planting some colourful flowers and greening up your grass with fertiliser and water.
Unless you expect your home to bought as a "knock down", it pays to fix anything that could put potential buyers off. Most buyers are not looking for a property that they will need to renovate. They are looking for one that is ready to move into immediately. If your home doesn't look well maintained, they will worry that they will need to spend a lot of time or money on it. You also want potential buyers looking at the home's positives, not distracted by its negatives. So get fixing all the things you meant to fix over the years, such as those hanging gutters, missing roof tiles, rotten window frames, rusted metal items, cracks or peeling paint.
Also, get advice as to whether any further tweaks will bring boost your likely sales price by far more than you spend. For example, a fresh paint job is likely to be a good investment. So might updating a tired or outdated bathroom or kitchen. Otherwise, some minor cosmetic changes could transfer these rooms, such as replacing taps or cabinet door handles with modern new ones.
Storage is usually very important to buyers so investigate whether it might be worth adding shelves or built-in wardrobes.
But remember that you want to appeal the widest number of people. This means that you should go for neutral colours and the most popular choice of products.
Less is more when selling a home so ensure you declutter. Not only can this help your property look cleaner and tidier, but it can make rooms appear bigger and more spacious. You want potential buyers to see the potential of your home - how they could live in it, not how you live in it.
You also don't want your home to look like it doesn't have enough storage space, so ensure drawers and cupboards are not full to the brim. Buyers often peek inside.
To make rooms look larger and more spacious, get rid of excess furniture and other unwanted items, or put them in storage.
Create appealing settings in attractive parts of your home that you want to emphasise - for example, by placing comfortable furniture on a balcony with a good view or around the pool.
Borrow or rent some quality furniture to create an overall air of luxury and opulence. Enhance this with plush towels in the bathroom. Add personal touches like fresh flowers to help your home feel less staged or artificial.
Also, seriously consider hiring a professional stylist, especially if the house is empty, to enhance its appeal and create warmth. Many successful sellers believe this was one of the best things they did.
Your home needs to be spotless before an inspection, so get cleaning or consider bringing in professional cleaners. Also, get your carpets steam cleaned and windows washed. Pay special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms as these can be deal breakers. Don't forget to clean inside ovens, cupboards and under beds in case potential buyers want to snoop on open inspection days.
Natural light is a huge plus for your home, so welcome it in wherever possible to make your home seem bright and spacious to buyers. Open blinds and curtains (and clean them), wash all the windows, trim shrubbery that may be blocking out light, and consider replacing dark heavy drapes with inexpensive lighter ones. Use mirrors to reflect back natural light in darker areas.
Consider whether additional electrical lighting would boost the look and feel of your home.
Just before an inspection
Let the sunshine in by opening all curtains and blinds. Turn the lights on throughout the house to illuminate every room.
Open windows to ensure your home is properly aired and there are no smells. Consider using fresh flowers, potpourri or a scented candle.
Ensure all beds are made up and there are no clothes lying about.
Clear out the mailbox and empty all rubbish bins. Put wheelie bins away.
Pack away your laundry and dishes.
Remove any shoes from the entrance and other "hazards" people might trip over.
Lock away valuables or important documents. You are allowing strangers to walk into your home.
Place mats at all outside doors to prevent dirt from being bought in from outside.
Do a "walk through" to check for anything you might have missed.
Leave before the inspection starts. Potential buyers may feel awkward if you are hanging around.