Highlight your home's best features

17 Apr 2013

Property prices continue to see a gradual upward trend as the market slowly turns, however, conditions still favour buyers, and sellers are not able to sit back and wait for the offers to flood in quite yet.

Having an attractive kitchen can add to the value of a home and make a good impression on buyers and it can be achieved by refurbishing the countertops and updating major appliances.

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says sellers need to continue to focus on highlighting their property and its best focal points in order to give themselves a "selling edge" over the competition.

In order to ensure that a property is sold in the shortest possible period of time at the best price, Goslett says that some effort will be required on the sellers’ part, but it doesn’t have to involve costly additions or gutting the existing property.

He says it's a matter of evaluating the home’s top selling points, making sure they look the best they can and then drawing the buyer’s attention to these features. "Subtle, contemporary changes can be made to create a fresh and modern look without undertaking massive costly renovations."

While a fresh coat of paint where needed and ensuring that your home looks tidy are usually the first points when preparing your home for show day, Goslett has other pointers for sellers to help ensure that their property is in top form when showcasing it to potential buyers.

Kitchens and bathrooms

Having an attractive kitchen and bathrooms can add to the value of a home and make a good impression on buyers. Goslett says many buyers can be swayed when these areas are updated and aesthetically pleasing. He says it is possible to freshen up and add a bit of glamour to these rooms without doing too much to them. Homeowners will not need to completely change the room, but making small adjustments can have a huge impact. For example, adding a mirror to the bathroom wall or updating the taps and lighting can breathe new life into the space and create a different feel.

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is especially important. Goslett says the range of the kitchen can be expanded with the addition of features such as a work island giving the kitchen extra cupboards and food preparation space, or a breakfast nook which reinforces the kitchen as a gathering place for the family over meals.

The right flooring option can change the look and feel of a room. If the home has wooden flooring under old caprets, it would benefit the sellers if they refinished it, as buyers place high value on homes with these floors.

“Sellers should also look at refurbishing the counters tops and updating major appliances as this will go a long way to reinventing and modernising the overall look of the home,” he says.

Get organised

Buyers are often looking for homes with additional storage and cupboard space, so if there is room, expanding cupboards in bedrooms or bathrooms and adding a walk-in pantry to the kitchen will give a home an extra selling point, Goslett says.

He suggests adding built-in shelves or an organisational wall unit if there is a lot of open wall space that is unused. These are relatively easy to install and will be a functional addition that could give the home an interesting feature.

Wood is a great option

The first thing that a buyer sees is the front garden so it is important to keep the lawn mowed, the flowerbeds tended and the driveway in good condition.

“The right flooring option can make a room appear larger and will completely revamp its look and feel," Goslett says. If the property is carpeted and this is in good repair, having a professional carpet cleaning will rejuvenate their look and leave the home smelling great. However, if the carpets need to be replaced and the home has wooden flooring underneath, why not consider ripping up the carpets and refinishing the wood flooring. Wooden floors are timeless, and generally buyers place extremely high value on homes with these kinds of floors.

If the home doesn't have wooden flooring underneath the carpeting and seller would like to replace the flooring, there are a large number of synthetic alternatives that look similar to hardwood flooring and come at a fraction of the cost, he says.

Landscape the garden

More often than not, the first thing that a buyer sees is the front garden, so it's important for sellers to make sure that the first impression buyers get of the property is the right one. Goslett says that while adding a deck or patio could be a good idea, it won’t always be in the budget and it isn’t needed to make the garden look attractive. Having the garden landscaped and neatly kept is enough, so the lawn should be mowed, the driveway and pavement edged and the flowerbeds well tended, he says.

Small updates before listing a property can give sellers a chance of standing apart from the crowd and achieving their asking price. Although, Goslett says the updates don’t need to be expensive, the impact they will have can be invaluable.

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