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The family home is your biggest and most important asset. For years you have had a rough idea of what you think the house is worth, but the real crunch comes when it is time to sell. What buyers will pay can either make you money or lead to disappointment and loss. The way you prepare a house for sale could add thousands to the sale and not cost a lot to achieve.
Detailing is as vital to selling your house as it is to selling cars. Inside and out there is a list as long as your arm, spruce up your home and entice buyers. Improvements, even wholesale renovations, will add to the value of a home. But don't think that a new timber deck out the back, a new kitchen or a swimming pool, are the features that will make all the difference. They certainly will add value but look to more simple things to really round the house off and maximise its appeal. Real Estate professionals know that first impressions are vital: the state of the nature strip in front of the home can make a big difference, so start at the nature strip - and maybe even your neighbor's - and work backwards. Gardening and painting are the keys to improvements worth thousands to your house value. The aim is to get potential buyers through the front gate. People are looking for a clean neat and tidy home. Figures suggest 90 percent of home buyers drive past and draw up a short list of places worth inspecting The only ones less interested in the aesthetics are bargain hunters and renovators who won't pay top price anyway. Graham Ross, from Sydney's Garden Clinic, says the three most important aspects of attracting buyer interest are "kerbside appeal, kerbside appeal and kerbside appeal". "Home-buyers are looking for prospects that are neat, clean and tidy," says Mr Ross. The lawns are the first thing to look at, making sure they are green, mowed and the edges trimmed. Aim for appeal with flowers in bloom and a well manicured garden but don't over-manicure or that will give the impression that it's a garden needing a lot of maintenance. During summer, annuals in flower costing $4 to $5 give instant color. Stay with white, and say, a blue or a lilac. White gives a cool appearance in summer. During winter you might spend a bit more on a shrub like an azalea, magnolia or camellia for up to $50. Don't leave the hose out, and make sure there is a clearly visible, numbered letterbox. Small things show pride in the home and make it more desirable.
Once prospective buyers have walked through the front gate, the house itself will come under scrutiny. Surveys of homebuyers show that the kitchen, family, bath and master bedrooms are the most important. Concentrate spending in these areas. Creating an atmosphere of light and space is the key inside, making sure windows that are clean. Trim any trees overhanging the windows and open the curtains. A skylight can be a huge advantage in winter; you'd be surprised the difference it can make. For the rest of the house, a coat of paint on the walls or the doors can freshen things up. Neutral colors appeal to the widest range of buyers. It sounds picky, but remember if you are trying to sell the house, not show off your decorating skills. Floors also deserve special attention. Kitchen, bathroom and laundry floors show up wear and tear more than anywhere else. There are probably quite a few repairs which you may have got used to but will stand out to someone else. Plaster cracks that aren't structural faults but make the house look run down. The same goes for watermarks on the walls or ceiling where a leak has been fixed but tell tale signs remain. Purchasers tend not to believe that a leak has been fixed if there are still visual signs. Filler and paint will make a difference. Likewise signs of white ants can turn purchasers off. We strongly recommend that any problems be treated before the house goes on the market. Finally there are the more obvious things like tidying up the house, making sure beds are made, dishes washed, and toys, papers and clothing away. Don't over tidy. A home has to look homely and lived in. Some like to have a fire going, soft music and brewing coffee wafting through the house. Such atmosphere won't fool anybody if the house isn't up to scratch.
There is plenty to think about so use us to help you go through those aspects of your house that need attention. Bear in mind, however, that although these things are relatively minor and cheap to fix, they will take time. It may take weeks to get through it all, so be prepared.