Your home is likely your most valuable asset, so when it comes time to sell, you want to command the best price possible. The process of selling your property usually starts with an independent valuation from a professional valuer. In an article for Australian Property Investor, Phillip Grahame from Herron Todd White says, “The main things in a valuation are the size and functionality of the dwelling and the size and location of the land.”
However, there are plenty of things you can do before your valuer’s visit (and listing your property on the market) that will positively influence your sale price:
1. First impressions last
“Street appeal” is a term that is used frequently in the property industry. Essentially street appeal is the first impression people have of your property from the street, and it can make or break the sale price of your property. Get it really wrong and potential buyers won’t even want to inspect your property. If you have a limited budget to spend on landscaping, ensure you reserve a good proportion of your budget for tidying up the front of your house, even if that means simplifying things in the backyard.
Stand back and have an objective look at the front of your house, ensuring you complete the below checklist:
2. Clear the clutter
When you walk through the front door of your property, what is the first thing you see?
“The owner should provide a property in a state of repair similar to an open for inspection…There’s nothing worse than rolling up to value a house and all the clothes for the last two weeks are on the bedroom floor; the toilet seat is up; dishes for the last week are still sitting in the sink,” says Mark Ruttner from First Valuation Group to API Magazine.
Remove any additional clutter, such as shoes etc. from the front entrance that will distract from the key features of your property. If you are simply valuing your property at this stage, you won’t need to completely depersonalise your property, but if you are serious about selling in the near future, the sooner you start this process the better. Excess clutter makes the space appear smaller than it is, and may give the impression that there is not enough storage.
If you are valuing an investment property under lease, give the tenants plenty of notice and guidelines to make sure the property is up to scratch.
3. Clean, clean, clean
Generally buyers respond well to clean and modern kitchens and bathrooms, as these can be costly to replace. Simply ensuring these areas are free from mould and grime is a great start.
If your carpet or flooring is still in pretty good condition, a thorough clean might be all that is required. However, if your carpet has seen better days, replacement might be the better option. Flooring trends change over time, so installing a more modern flooring option will add to the value of your property. Brand new, clean carpet also appeals to buyers as old carpet can retain dirt and odours.
4. Don’t over capitalise
If you do improvements, such as replacing the kitchen or bathroom before putting your property on the market, be extremely careful not to overcapitalise. We hear about the risk of overcapitalising all the time from various property TV shows, and the risk is very real. It is so easy to overspend on expensive tiles and fixtures, for example, that a potential buyer will not be prepared to pay extra for. Keep your renovations as simple and cost-effective as possible so the result is clean and modern, without blowing the budget.
5. Think like a buyer
If you were looking for a property like yours, what are the key features you would be looking for? Where will your potential buyer be spending most of their time in the house? Since the purchaser will most likely sleep in the master bedroom, prioritise the aesthetic of this room over other bedrooms. Ensure the master has enough cupboard space and the room feels light, spacious and pleasant to be in. Potential buyers need to be able to visualise themselves living comfortably in your property.
Your valuer will have seen an assortment of different properties, and will have excellent market knowledge. Be sure to ask them as many questions as you can and get their advice on what you could improve to maximise your property value before going to market.
Whilst there are some aspects of your property you can’t change, such as land size and location, there is plenty you can do to keep your property looking fresh. Valuers and buyers alike can spot properties that have been well-maintained and cared for – and these are the properties that will command the strongest prices.