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Make the most of time spent at home with these tips to preparing your home for sale

By Shaye Williams

During a time where social distancing is being practised to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, a lot of homeowners are being told to stay at home to minimise the spread of the virus.

If you’re thinking of selling your house in the next year or so, now is the best time to prepare with this 12 step to-do list (it may even entertain the kids!):

1. Clean and declutter
Make your move easier by beginning the packing, decluttering and cleaning process now with these ideas:

  • Clear out all clutter and remove items you don’t regularly use
  • Donate items that haven’t been used in the past 12 months
  • Throw away things that are broken or damaged
  • Consider a temporary storage facility for bulky pieces of furniture, holiday decor, out of season clothing and any other items you don’t need
  • Wash the windows, dust the blinds and wash curtains if necessary

2. Examine your home thoroughly
This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises during the sale process and give you time to fix them in advance should you find any of the following:

  • Inspect your walls and floors for water damage
  • Check for plumbing leaks
  • Make sure your windows don’t have broken seals
  • Check for any signs of insects or rodents

3. Eliminate odours
Don’t mask household odours with air fresheners. Instead, include freshly cut flowers, the scent of fresh cinnamon boiled on the stove, or fresh apples and cookies placed in plain sight in the kitchen.

4. Paint
Many buyers want to see a blank canvas where they can inject their own personality. For example, you might have loved your aubergine walls, but there’s a good chance that most buyers won’t. In order to make your home appeal to the largest possible audience, paint your walls in neutral colours in a matte finish.

Don’t forget to repair any nail holes or other damage before painting and be sure to touch up ceilings and trim as needed.

5. Finish projects and repairs
Now’s the time to complete any home improvement projects you have underway and make all necessary repairs to your home. You’ll most likely find a buyer more quickly and the sale process will be much smoother if everything that needs to be done is already completed when you initiate the sale process.

If you have additional home improvement projects planned, make sure they can be finished in a short amount of time with minimum cost

6. Clean or replace flooring
Carpets should be shampooed and treated for stains. Tile and hardwoods should be thoroughly swept and mopped to a shine. Any flooring that is stained, damaged or worn beyond repair should be removed and replaced. Hardwood floors that are scratched or have lost their sheen should be refinished.

7. Freshen up fixtures and hardware
Light fixtures, bathroom mirrors, taps, showerheads, and cabinet hardware can all be replaced for very little money and make a huge difference in terms of visual appeal.

8. Create a welcoming entrance
Your front door is the first thing potential buyers will see when they visit your home, so remember to make it inviting! Paint the door if needed, replace any damaged hardware, keep decorations minimal and declutter the entrance area.

9. Stage
Place furniture to maximize the feelings of space and light in your home, with an eye to how rooms flow into each other.

10. Modernise your look with a few low-cost upgrades

  • Check your light fittings. Are they cracked, old or outdated?
  • Look at light-switches and power-plugs, Do they take you back to the 90s and have a yellow tinge to the plastic?
  • Next is door handles. Are they all the same and in a classic or modern style? What about the cupboard and drawer handles?
  • Finally, check your bathroom fittings. Are they in desperate need of upgrading?

11. Make the best use of light
A dark home can be off-putting. Harnessing natural light wherever possible will make your rooms feel more spacious and alive. Remove unnecessary blinds, drapes, and curtains where possible, and replace dark window dressings with lighter versions to allow light to flow freely into the home. The careful and considered use of floor and spot lamps can make a big difference.

12. Walkthrough your property from a buyer’s perspective
It is always a good idea to walk through your property from the point of view of buyers. Remove any items that make rooms appear smaller but take care not to make your home look empty. Will potential buyers be impressed by what they see? It’s important to be objective when conducting a walk around. Remember, you are trying to appeal to the broadest range of tastes – not your own!


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