Preparing Your Home for Sale

Fiona Ruth

In a recent survey, real estate database Zillow asked agents where vendors commonly go wrong when preparing their property for sale. While these mistakes can be put down to misinformation and unsolicited advice, they can end up costing vendors valuable time and money. In order to save you from unnecessary stress, consider the following before putting your home on the market.

  • You Do Not Need to Do a Major Renovation Before Selling Contrary to popular belief, modernizing your kitchen or bathroom won’t necessarily increase your property’s value when you weigh up the overall costs. These large-scale renovations are rarely cheap and there is no guarantee the return will be worth the trouble. Consider instead, making minor improvements that will bring a home up to market value, like replacing cabinets and updating lighting fixtures. “In a crowded market, sellers should prioritize spending time and money on upgrades that have mass appeal,” says Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky. 
  • Curb Appeal Matters First impressions are crucial – and if potential buyers drive past your home only to see a tired façade or a cluttered driveway, they might just keep going. Agents agree that vendors should take steps to improve their home’s exterior appearance. Simple things like cutting the grass, planning some new flowers or putting up a new house number will make a difference. A good trick is to walk up to your front door as if you’re a stranger visiting for the first time. Have a notepad on hand, and jot down anything that looks like it might need cleaning or repairing. 
  • A Clean House Isn’t Always Enough Many sellers assume that a tidy house will be enough to catch their buyers’ attention. However, according to the survey, vendors that enlisted the services of a professional homer-stager dramatically improved their chances of selling. That’s not to say you need to spend big recruiting a professional. You can imitate their methods to help your home to stand out from the competition. According to Zillow, stagers commonly rely on lighting tricks, rearranged furniture and depersonalized decorations to enhance a home’s appeal – all tactics you could easily try yourself. 
  • You Should Stick to Elements with Mass Appeal Agents strongly advise vendors to stick to neutral elements if they plan on selling their home within the next few years. Granite kitchen countertops and stainless steel appliances are popular choices due to their universal appeal and timeless qualities. This is also something worth keeping in mind with wall colours. Unfortunately, many buyers can’t see past what a house currently looks like – and a bright green feature wall, while striking, will immediately dominate their attention. They want to be able to picture what their furniture looks like within the space, and if they think their brown leather sofa clashes with your décor, it could very well end up costing you the sale.