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Sold - How to get top dollar for your home

Spring has well and truly sprung and Summer is just round the corner home buyers are emerging from hibernation. That’s the theory, but the reality is home buyers are on the hunt all year round for the right property at the right price. The economic cycle and how you present your property will have a far greater impact than the weather on how soon it sells and how much it fetches.

While you can’t control the economy (or the weather), there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of buyers vying for your property over another. Here are our top tips to help you get top dollar for your home.

MAKE SURE THE PRICE IS RIGHT

You can ask whatever price you like, but whether anyone is prepared to pay it is another matter. One of the biggest mistakes vendors make is believing their home is better than anyone else’s. It’s time to put your emotions in check and focus on the facts. Research the sales prices of similar properties in your area and price within that band. If you would like more than the market can offer, you may need to consider selling in a more bullish market.

One of the best tests of whether your property is priced right is to see how many inspections and genuine inquiries it attracts in the first 30 days. If interest is scant, then chances are your asking price is too high.

As much as vendors and buyers alike believe the selling agent is working against them, the agent is actually the expert who lives and dies by the market. Listen to their feedback and consider lowering your expectations, along with the price, if needed.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

Presentation is everything when it comes to getting the best price for your home. It counts when buyers are scanning the real estate section and online listings, and it counts when interested parties rock up for a walk-through. The aim is to make sure the photos match what they see in person.

Some absolute essentials: • Fix anything broken. • Clean all surfaces, including walls, until they gleam. • Clear away clutter. • Remove signs of pets. • Get rid of any odours and stains. • Tidy lawns and gardens and prune or pull out any plants that are over-grown.

If your home has a tired-looking façade, give it a good clean with a water jet and consider if anything needs to be patched, painted or replaced. A few thousand spent on a face-lift will help your house stand out from the pack and could help you pocket an extra $10,000 to $20,000 from the sale.

CREATE SPACE

Buyers want to envision themselves in your home so clear clutter to make room for their ideas. Minimise furniture to create the illusion of space, remove knick-knacks, appliances and paper from surfaces and clean out cupboards (yes, people look in them) so they are only half full.

You may need to put your surplus items in storage but the inconvenience will be worth it.

Some sellers are going so far as to shift their existing furniture out and move rented furniture in. Known as staging, this increasingly popular trend aims to transform your home — with the help of a stylist — into something you would see in an interior magazine. Generally sought by vendors at the upper end of the market, staging can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the type and quantity of furniture rented and how long it’s required. Those with more modest budgets and abodes might still consider spending a few hundred dollars on a stylist who can recommend how to arrange a room for extra wow.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Enhance the feeling of space further with light. Open blinds and curtains to brighten rooms or, if the window coverings are heavy, consider taking them down altogether. Just make sure your windows are sparkling!

You should also consider the aspect of your home and time of year when setting inspection times. West-facing homes in summer, for example, should be showcased in the morning or early evening rather than in the afternoon when the hot sun is beating on westerly windows.

If having a twilight or evening viewing, use light to create the right ambience. Make sure the front entrance is lit, but not glaring, and consider softening the lighting inside with lower wattage globes or well-placed lamps.

HAVE YOUR PAPERWORK IN ORDER

Show your readiness to sell by having a survey of your property and a building and pest report on hand for prospective buyers. It not only saves them time and money but shows you have nothing to hide.

A building and pest report will also tell you if any repairs are required before you go to market. Most vendors leave it up to the buyers to get the building and pest inspection done. The problem is if the inspection reveals any issues, the buyers then have a bargaining chip to drive down the price. Better for you to manage the cost of repairs beforehand and leave less room for negotiations.

SOMETHING FOR SEEMINGLY NOTHING

Consider including something extra in the sale. If your outdoor entertainment area wows visitors, include your barbecue or outdoor furniture in the contract. We’re not suggesting you give them away — rather they are built into the asking price.

Other inclusions might be a water or garden feature, furniture that suits the style of house, home theatre equipment or a fridge that fits a certain-sized space. It might be the deal closer and means you have one less item to move.

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Need a capable agent to manage the sale of your home? Talk to us for a referral.

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