If you’re going to sell your home, you need to be savvy. While it’s one thing to make sure your house looks immaculate and attractive to would-be buyers, you’ve got to make them want to look in the first place.
So, how do you get buyers through the doors? And, once they’re through, how do you ensure that they’ll be impressed? It’s all in the presentation.
Presenting your home
Here are my top three tips for presentation that sells.
Show them you’re serious
This sounds silly because if you’ve put your home on the market, you want to sell it.
However, I do find that some house sellers are a little bit half-hearted in their efforts. For example, they take photos, but the quality is terrible and, many of them don’t bother with essential yet straightforward features such as floorplans and videos.
Images are so important when selling a home.
You may have written a beautiful description of your home, but by nature, humans like to ‘see’ what’s on offer. This is why I am a little shocked when I see some of the poor-quality images that people use when they’re selling their home. I mean, some are so terrible you wouldn’t post them on your own social media page, let alone use them for marketing a property that could cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars.
Typically, I see images that are poorly lit, that fail to capture selling points of a home, that only show a few rooms (which leaves the viewer to wonder what isn’t being shown). I suggest you photograph the house from front to back and put them in order of how the property flows. Finally, remove images that show the reflection of the owner in mirrors or windows.
Now, I’m not expecting home sellers to be professional photographers, but some basic photography skills aren’t that difficult to acquire. Use a wide-angle and set the images to landscape to capture the full size of a room, do yourself a favour and open curtains and allow as much natural light into the room as possible.
However, with that said, hiring a professional property photographer is one of the best investments you can make in maximizing the return (price) on your home.
I know it sounds obvious (but really, I’ve seen it all) make the beds, put clothes away and pick shoes, toys and general chaos off the floor. Show the house off to its best so that it is inviting and encourages the viewer to want to see more.
Floorplans are also a vital visual tool when it comes to a buyer imagining themselves living in your home. I know that many would-be-buyers skip straight to the floorplan as they have definite ideas about what layouts work for them. For instance, a family with young children might not like a house that has the main bedroom upstairs and the kids’ rooms downstairs (others might love that idea). A floorplan lets them see the layout, and they can then make an informed decision on whether it’s something they’d like to pursue.
Videos are also a great tool when it comes to selling a home. Again, they give insight into the layout and flow of a house. You don’t need any fancy equipment for this, just a mobile phone and a steady hand.
Open up and be ready for inspection
Many sellers ask me if an open home is a good idea or if a by appointment viewing is best.
My answer? Both.
Open Homes are a great way of getting a large number of people through the doors without major inconvenience, and the other benefit of large groups, is that when you get lots of people together in one place, it creates a sense of demand that will hopefully spur those interested into action.
I advise vendors to have at least two Open Homes per week in the first four-six weeks of listing so that buyers, regardless of their schedules, have the opportunity to choose a day and a time that suits. You only need to run your open home for 45 minutes maximum, so it’s not majorly inconvenient. Weekends and evenings work well for most people.
Open Homes are easy to arrange, and you can inform buyers through your website listing, promoting the date and time at least four days in advance. Don’t forget to use a board outside the home and put the details on there too. Just the time and date and the words ‘Open Home’ are all that is needed.
By appointment viewings are useful for soaking the extras who can’t make the Open Homes for whatever reason. If a buyer contacts you to arrange an appointment, you can wheedle out the time-wasters by asking a few questions about their position and then offer a few times. For instance, ‘We can do Monday at 5.30pm, or Friday at 9.30am.’
I always advise buyers to contact viewers a few hours before the appointment to confirm that they are coming. Make sure that you are ready at least 15 minutes before the inspection time as buyers have a habit of turning up early – I’m not sure if they want to catch you off guard stuffing the mouse traps in the cupboard under the stairs, or worse, but be prepared.
Clean and de-clutter and then clean again
Given the choice of two identical homes, are you going to want to buy the immaculate one that smells as fresh as a summer meadow after a rain shower? Or, the one that has clothes all over the floor, is covered in dust and has a bathroom that smells like … let’s just leave that image there.
I am regularly dismayed and distressed by how some buyers present their homes to would-be owners. I’ve seen mess, I’ve seen dirt, and I’ve even seen porn (I’ll tell you more in a minute).
Selling your home is an ideal time to get rid of the clutter that has filled the back of your wardrobe, drawers and garage. It’s the perfect driver for giving away the things that you no longer need to charity. Your junk could well be someone else’s treasure, but one thing is for sure, it will not help you to sell your home.
When my sisters and I were selling my Mum’s house, they asked me for my biggest tip to ensure a quick and fair-priced sale. I told them outright – get rid of all the ‘stuff’. They did and, guess what? It worked. We sold quickly because the house looked amazing. By getting rid of the stuff that wasn’t needed we opened up the house and created space. People who were looking could imagine where their possessions would fit, where they could place their large sofa and how much room they would have – so much that they could never imagine filling it (although that’s a fallacy as somehow we always manage to fill space).
When it comes to cleaning, you want to present your home in a way that means a buyer could move in tomorrow. There’d be no having to lift the toilet seat with a gloved hand or, running a finger along a windowsill.
Think it all through. Clean everything so it looks as good as it possibly can, and that includes windows, ovens, countertops and bathrooms. Big sellers like kitchens and bathrooms need to look showroom worthy – or, as good as they possibly can be. Sounds like too big a task? Then call in the professionals and get them to do a thorough once over that you can keep on top of when it comes to Open Homes and by appointment viewings.
And the porn? Well, I don’t recommend you display that when you’re showing your home or taking photographs. Who would be so crazy to leave a blue magazine laying around when people are looking around your house? It happens, honestly.
I photographed a house once and thought it was looking pretty decent. Then a day or so later, I received an irate message from a buyer who called into question my professionalism and honour due to a particular magazine they had seen on display in the online images. After much scurrying around and asking my assistant to check, we couldn’t see anything amiss and so I asked. The reply told me that on top of a wardrobe was the offending material; so tucked away that they must have used a microscope to find it. However, find it they did. We had to take another set of pictures and apologise for any offence caused.
Of course, it’s unlikely that this will happen to you but think carefully about the personal items that you have on display. This even goes so far as to family photographs filling the shelves in your living spaces. Maybe take a few down so that people can imagine seeing theirs on the shelf?