The first thing to remember about open house inspections is that first impressions are crucial – the property is no longer your home but a commodity that others must find attractive. Preparing for the sale should be done as soon as you make the decision to sell – you don’t want to be painting walls or trimming hedges as the first lot of potential buyers are about to walk through.
The best approach is to walk from one end of the property to another with a notebook and a critical eye. For additional input, ask your real estate agent for any suggestions on adding to the appeal factor.
- Do a complete spring clean, buy some storage boxes and get rid of all clutter.
- Scrub walls, skirting boards, floors, tiles, windows, light switches and fixtures.
- Give the walls a fresh coat of paint, particularly if this hasn’t been done for some time. Choose light and neutral colours that have wide appeal.
- Repair any leaking taps or broken appliances that you wish to include in the sale.
- Check that all fittings and fixtures are in good working order.
- Check that doors, windows, awnings and blinds open and shut properly.
- Make sure the kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas are spotlessly clean and there are no chipped or broken tiles.
- Use your best linen on the beds and best towels in the bathroom.
- Replace outdated light fixtures.
- Have carpets, lounges and curtains professionally cleaned.
- Wash down the external walls and clear out the gutters.
- Sweep the driveway and paths.
- Keep lawns cut and reseed any bare patches.
- Trim back trees, especially if they are blocking light into the house.
- Weed the garden, add some mulch to garden beds and put some colorful pot plants in clusters around the yard.
- Keep garden furniture clean and tidy.
- Clean the windows and entrance doors.
- Tidy up the garage and garden shed.
- Repair the fence if necessary.
- Keep bins out of sight.
- Keep water features, pools or ponds clean.
READY FOR INSPECTION
On the morning of the inspection:
- Give each room a quick tidy, put dishes away, empty the bins and vacuum or sweep if necessary.
- Let as much natural light in as possible and keep lights or lamps switched on in the living areas.
- Add a vase of flowers and a bowl of fruit to the living area to create a homely and welcoming atmosphere.
- Make sure it’s not too hot or too cold indoors – turn on the heater or air conditioner if necessary.
- Remove your valuables.
- Don’t hang around – leave the meeting and greeting to your real estate agent.
- Don’t overspend: The idea is to maximize appeal without emptying out your pockets. If possible, ask family and friends to join you in a working bee that brings the property up to scratch.
- Hire a stylist: If your furniture looks a little tired or you don’t have time, it could be worth using a styling service. For an agreed fee an experienced stylist will temporarily replace your furniture and give your property a magical makeover.
- Come up roses: If your garden is out of control and looks unloved, hire a gardener to tidy it up and add some hardy plants.
- Make timely decisions: Arrange inspection times to coincide with the sun flooding the living rooms.
- Think before you renovate: While renovating can definitely add value to a property, you can risk overcapitalizing. In addition, many buyers are looking for a “Renovator’s Delight”. Ask your valuer and real estate agent for their opinion before undertaking any major changes.