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Expert Tips and Tricks To Make Your Home Appeal To Buyers

By Laura Anderson

You wouldn’t leave the house for a job interview in pyjamas. Even if it’s a job interview over Zoom, you’d make the effort to look business-like up top, even if you’re wearing pyjamas on the bottom. When it comes to prepping your house for sale, the same logic applies.

This doesn’t necessarily mean making structural changes to the property and finally getting around to that bathroom renovation just as you’re about to say goodbye. Instead, taking the time to style your property for real estate photography and inspections can add appeal to potential buyers.

As property stylist Anna Byrnes of Styling Spaces says, “Putting your home up for sale in the best light through thoughtful and considered styling invites prospective buyers into an entirely expansive world.”

Working in the industry for close to a decade, Sara Chamberlain of The Real Estate Stylist has observed a shift in the value of property styling from an advantage to a necessity when listing your property.

“At first it was to provide an advantage over the market but now it’s an expectation that your home is presented with amazing photos,” she says. “You simply cannot get away with not styling any more, especially when the majority of buyers begin their search online.”

Beyond styling your home to create memorable marketing material that stands out in a crowd, Chamberlain also says clever styling can elicit an emotional response from potential buyers.

The goal is to “create a sensory experience when buyers are on-site by presenting them with new ideas”.

For Chamberlain this means transforming spaces especially those which are often unused, for instance a nook in a bedroom, into practical spaces, so potential buyers can see the value in them.

When styling a property ahead of sale, Byrnes’ first step is to declutter and remove personal possessions such as family photos.

“Prospective buyers look for plentiful storage so ensure the inside of the kitchen cabinetry, bedroom wardrobes and storage cupboards are decluttered, clean and neat,” she says.

Adding and taming greenery to enhance the space both inside and out comes next. “Use plants to create focal points to enliven interior rooms and be sure your garden is tidy,” she says.

A fix can be as simple as mowing the lawns, adding fresh mulch and displaying a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen bench. But resist the urge to turn your home into a florist.

Chamberlain suggests on the day of auction “adding flowers to one or two locations only”.

Also on sale day she suggests, “think about temperature control, turn on all lamps, bedroom and bathroom lights, and leave kitchens and bathrooms 90 per cent empty of anything on display”.

Keeping smells neutral on inspection and auction days is crucial too – the smell of freshly baked cookies or plug-in scents will not work in your favour.

“Overpowering smells either distract buyers, give them a headache or make them worried the smell is hiding something more sinister,” says Chamberlain.

Rearranging and removing bulky furniture to maximise floor space is also recommended, while making it easier for potential buyers to flow through your home.

Introduce as much natural light as you can into your home too.

If you’ve got outdated curtains that block out light, don’t be afraid to remove them. “Buyers don’t buy a house for window fittings, and often have their own preference, so let in the light,” says Chamberlain.

Even making the bed as crisp as you might find in a hotel can make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Chamberlain’s preference is white linen and says even this seemingly small change has potential to “open up and modernise even the smallest bedrooms”.

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