This year will see more properties come onto the market as it starts to pick up. But with more competition, how can sellers stand out from the crowd?
“Sellers need to bear in mind that the playing field might shift a little bit into the favour of buyers because buyers will have more choice, as more properties are listed for sale,” says buyer’s agent Shelly Horton, director at Albion Avenue in Sydney.
There are a few old chestnuts that buyers always look for in a property, including location, solid architecture and the floor plan. These features are near impossible to change, but buyers are also interested in other features that sellers can improve.
Start with presentation
The presentation of a property can be enhanced easily without overspending. It’s the first impression buyers have, so it’s worth getting a stylist to get it right.
Often buyers can’t see past the furniture presented in front of them. If the couch has seen better days, a stylist could recommend a better couch to hire to improve the overall presentation of a room.
A stylist can also maximise the light and space of the property, two features that buyers notice. Space can also be maximised by decluttering. Any knick-knacks that collect dust should be put away and furniture that’s too big for the room can be removed as well.
Even the wardrobes can look bigger with less clutter and linen folded neatly. “Decluttering is a big one,” says Horton. “A lot of buyers I find can’t see through to the potential.”
You may have learnt to live with the red wine stain on the carpet, but it’ll leave a bad impression on a potential buyer.
Any necessary maintenance, such as worn carpet or marks on the walls, should be fixed. “It’ll have a big impact in terms of the number of people interested in the property and [will attract] a higher price, definitely,” says buyers advocate Kristy Caskey, director at The Property Bureau in Melbourne.
A coat of paint will also improve the presentation of the property without costing too much. If the garden is overgrown with weeds, employ a gardener to give it a nice, manicured look.
If you are willing to invest a bit more money into attracting the ideal price, consider the ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms.
“A four-bedroom home with one bathroom is going to be an issue for most buyers,” says Caskey. “Four-bedroom buyers are families. They would want an en suite. Having the right balance of bedrooms to bathrooms is key.”
However, a seller needs to keep in mind the return on investment. Putting in a new kitchen or bathroom may not be worth the price and effort.
“With kitchens and bathrooms, you don’t need a major overhaul. In the bathroom, you could need a new shower screen because it’s cracked or in the kitchen a new splashback. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just tart it up here and there,” says Horton.
If you’re deciding on what to do with an unused area in the backyard, the safest option is to put down a lawn. “Family homes need a nice lawn area to play in, as opposed to having a pool because not every buyer wants a pool. Leave the buyer with a few options, rather than telling them, ‘OK, you now have a pool’,” says Caskey.
Storage space and car parking are two other features that buyers find very attractive. In inner-city areas, space for these features is at a premium, so buyers will pay more.
At the end of the day, it’s the price that will determine a sale. Buyers are aware of the price of properties in the area and don’t want to pay more than the going rate.
“They like to feel like they are getting value for money. That’s a key component,” says Horton.
- Read Domain’s ultimate guide to selling your home to find out everything you need to know about preparing a property for sale.