I once used toothpaste and toilet paper to fill a hole in my plaster wall… it worked quite well providing you didn’t touch it. Ever.
The decision to opt for this method over less ‘minty fresh’ alternates stemmed from considering who was most likely going to live in the home after me and the budget I had to complete the repair based on getting a return for my investment. Now, while the method wasn’t the best, the thought behind it is sound.
Before you start styling your home for sale (and shortly after you’ve read my previous post on Buyer Demographic), you’re going to be planning your pre-sale maintenance and repairs, the extent of which will be determined by market research and expectations, your buyer demographic and most importantly your budget.
I’m currently working on a budget post but so far I have found it to be so incredibly boring that it’s more useful as a sedative. Stand by however, because I will find an interesting way to write about it or at the very least I’ll keep it brief so you can use it when you’ve run out of Xanax.
The Top 10 Pre-Sale Maintenance Tips For Preparing Your Property For Sale
Call In The Experts
- Property Stylists and Estate Agents are the go-to experts you need. Be prepared to hear honest professional opinions and remember that it’s not personal – it’s business and everyone is working to get you the quickest sale at the best price. There will be conflicting information so take it all in and then check it against your buyer demographic research. Ensure your estate agent and your stylist understand your buyer demographic (if they answer ‘everybody!’ let them know that you’re going to need them to be a lot more specific).
Clean It Like You Mean It
- An average well kept home will need around 12 hours of professional cleaning. Tape a note to the door of each room so you can jot down repairs or replacements for each room, as you’ll often discover things while you’re cleaning.
Fix It or Flick It
- Everything should be in good working order, but before you jump to replace or repair it, ascertain if the fitting is needed. For example – a dated, broken feature pendant or wall light might be better off removed and the hole patched rather than replacing or fixing it.
- Whip out the WD-40 and the Silicon Spray to have everything that opens and shuts doing so without neglectful complaint.
A Lick Of (Generally Appealing) Paint
- Keep the colour simple, consistent and neutral and clean your walls first. I once budgeted for a repaint and after cleaning the walls I discovered to my delight (and disgust) that my walls were just really filthy. In the end I patch painted and left a small tin of paint open during the open home for that ‘new house’ smell.
Sniff Out Bad Odours
- Are any odours good odours? Organic scents such as fresh flowers or cut grass rate highly, but the ultimate Odour de New Owner is the ‘new house’ smell, which seems to be a blend of fresh paint, new carpet and silicon. Patent Pending.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
- The Rooms that Sell Homes – Minor maintenance and major cleaning will see significant returns. Work with what you have if gutting and replacing is not an option.
- The fittings and fixtures you cannot change will dictate how you update those you can – there’s no hiding a pale purple toilet suite so celebrate it! Updating tap ware, cabinet handles, repainting and re-grouting are a great start for both rooms and are what I would consider DIY projects. Other worthwhile investments for bathrooms include new toilet suites (or even seats and lids), shower screens or glass, light fittings and mirrors.
- And for your kitchen – shop around for new appliances or look into replacing your bench tops or splash back with an overlay product such as stone veneer or Perspex.
- If these areas lack-lustre, ensure your stylist pays particular attention to them.
Deal With Serious Faults or Issues That Can Stop a Sale
- These generally will see a substantial return for investment – do your research and always shop around quotes provided by professionals. Be wary of extra variations or costs that may pop up during the works (often referred to as ‘unforeseen problems’). A professional should discuss the possibility of discovering these and may suggest an allowance for them in the initial quote.
- Don’t dismiss the possibility of converting a browser into a buyer. There are a percentage of sales where the buyer wasn’t buying until they saw the property come on the market (I have been guilty of this in one form or another in the past). Spruce up your turf, remove or replace dead or dying plants, give painted areas a lick of paint and remedy any ugly, negative or dated architectural elements such as external awnings, window bars or fencing. Exterior and garden lighting is one of the best tricks of the presentation trade when it’s done well.
Show The Love
- Well-presented properties indicate to the buyer that the owner has cared and maintained the home over time. This promotes buyer confidence when committing to the purchase and allays fears of future issues with the property, both of which help in achieving a speedy sale.
Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about all this – perhaps I won’t need to read about budgets before bed…
The Definitive Guide to Preparing Your Home for Sale – Read The Full Series Here:
Focus on one area at a time – the satisfaction of seeing each space become market-ready will keep you motivated.
Continuing on – Next month I’ll write about Home Styling (or Staging) before we move onto the marketing campaign, shortly after which your home will sell, well above market value and you’ll have nothing left to do other than transfer my commission.
I’d love to hear from you in the mean time, so I’ll keep an eye out for your ideas on preparing your home for sale in the comments below.