It is not only the temperature that goes up in Spring, but also the number of buyers venturing out and looking at show houses, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that statistically there are generally higher volumes of property buyers in the market during the warmer seasons, which is good news for homeowners who are looking to sell their property.
“Spring is an ideal time to list a property on the market, due to the seasonality of the property market and home purchasing behaviour. It is also a great time to get the home show day ready by doing some spring cleaning and getting it looking its best. Even though the market conditions are currently in the seller’s favour, to ensure that homeowners sell their property for the best possible price, they will need to stand out from the competition and be show-day ready,” advises Goslett.
Looks matter most
Goslett says that buyers who are looking at properties want a home that looks good. “Let’s face it, in the property market, a home’s appearance matters most and can have an impact on the success of the property being sold for its maximum potential,” he adds. “First impressions count, so make them count in the right way. If two similar properties are in the same area and are priced within the same bracket, it will be the condition and way the property looks that determines which one will be sold first. The overall look and feel of the home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor and prospective buyers will use their sensual perception to react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though the property may have been priced at fair market value.”
Seek an objective view
Goslett advises homeowners to get honest and trusted opinions from others. “There is often emotional attachment to a home, which can sometimes cloud judgment and make sellers less objective. Therefore, sellers should seek the counsel of someone trusted who could assist in determining what improvements may need to be made to the property to have it in tip-top form. While it is often tempting to shy away from input from other people, relying solely on your own opinion could be a crucial mistake. The opinion of the home must be objective and focus on both the good and bad elements,” says Goslett.
He notes that if the homeowner would like to avoid some possible conflict with friends or family, a reputable estate agent will be able to give their honest and direct opinion with regards to what should be done to make the home more marketable.
Spring into action
After identifying what needs to be done, now is the time to do it. “This is where the cleaning and fixing gets underway. It is easier to see what needs to be fixed or cleaned by de-cluttering and getting rid of unused items,” says Goslett. “Even if it may seem insignificant, it is important to pay attention to every detail when undertaking repairs. Replace window panes that have small cracks, light bulbs that have blown or anything that needs attention. Remember that the property is not just competing with other second hand homes on the market, but brand-new ones as well.”
Make buyers feel at home
It is important for prospective buyers to be able to visualise themselves living in the home. Goslett says that sellers want to try and avoid making buyers feel as if they are intruding when they walk into the home. He notes that if possible, sellers should avoid having too many personal items and photos out on display so that the buyer can picture themselves living in the home. “Decorating or painting the home in neutral, muted colours such as white or beige will firstly freshen up the home and secondly increase the home’s appeal to a wider variety of buyers. Enhance the attractiveness of the home with a few well-placed items that provide accents of colour such as a vase of flowers or potpourri in the bathroom. Home-decor magazines are great for tips,” says Goslett.
Keep it smelling fresh
Be aware of any odours that could potentially be off-putting to buyers. Strange smells such as traces of food, pets, smoking or any other displeasing aromas could drive buyers away and kill the deal quickly. “If the potential buyer is aware that the seller has pets or smokes, they might be more inclined to experience odours and see stains that may not even exist – so don’t leave clues. Make sure the home smells and looks fresh,” says Goslett.
He concludes by saying that ensuring a home is show day ready is an important element in setting the property apart from those around it within the same price range. Spring cleaning and getting the home into its best shape before putting it on the market will help sellers to maximise the selling opportunities the seasonal changes bring and take advantage of the greater numbers of potential buyers.
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