1. Cut the clutter
The simplest way to make your home look bigger? Get rid of stuff. Clearing surfaces like benchtops and sideboards will offer an open and effortless aesthetic – and don’t forget to clean out the cupboards, too (buyers may take a peek inside).
2. Spring clean
Whatever the season, now is the time for a heavy-duty clean. Consider enlisting professional help to make your home really sparkle – have them steam-clean the carpets, wash the windows and walls, mop the floors and dust the blinds. Pay particular attention to kitchens and bathrooms, both hotspots for prospective buyers.
3. Do a maintenance check
The last thing you want is hushed comments about cracked tiles or faulty power points marring your open-for-inspection. To avoid this, “Perform a quick maintenance review and invite tradesmen over to complete minor tasks,” says Charles Tarbey, CEO of leading real estate group Century 21 in Australia. A building report to identify any water damage is often recommended, too.
4. Paint up
So you’ve been living with chipped window frames for so long that you’ve stopped noticing them? Buyers won’t be as forgiving, so pick up your paintbrush and freshen up the walls, skirting boards, windows and doorframes. It’s also worth rethinking any bold feature walls (see #5).
5. Slip into neutral
When a potential buyer walks into your home, you want them to imagine themselves living there – and loving it. As such, it’s imperative to depersonalise each space and create something of a blank canvas. Charles’s top advice: “Remove personal items.” Think family photographs and any furniture or features that are too striking or stylised; your goal is to appeal to the masses.
5. Light the way
It sits at the top of many a homebuyer’s wish list: a sense of light and brightness. Conjure it in your own home by opening the curtains and blinds and adding a strategically placed lamp to any dim spots (before each inspection, check that all globes and switches are working). Expert hack: schedule your auction around your home’s sunniest hour.
6. Create curb appeal
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – your home’s entry can make or break a sale. Judgements are made in those first few moments as buyers approach the front door, so tidy up the frontyard and replace your front door and letterbox if necessary. If you live in an apartment, consult with your strata committee about patching up the exterior paint job and adding some verdant plantlife. The tone you want to set? Welcome home.
7. Add the finishing touches
Depersonalising your home may be real estate 101 (as per #5), but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create warmth. Bunches of flowers and lightly scented candles offer an inviting ambience. On that note, be sure to eliminate any odours from your home (cooking smells, nicotine, mould) and dispose of pet-related items (dog bowls, litter trays, hair!) – for some buyers these can be a deal breaker.