Tips for lifting the value of your home

When it comes to selling your home, nothing is truer than the old saying ‘first impressions last’. A clean, tidy, well-presented home (inside and out) will sell quicker and at a higher price than one that’s tired, dull or cluttered.

While you may want to enlist the help of a professional decorator or stylist, there are plenty of easy ways you can beautify your home without spending too much money or time. It’s time to look at your property with fresh eyes to ensure potential buyers like what they see.

Sure, we all know a lick of paint and a good tidy-up can work wonders, but there are other things you can do that will present your home in the best possible light.

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud – who knows a thing or two about houses – says one of the most important things to do is to look at your house not as your own, but as a blank canvas for someone else’s story. And in order to do that, he suggests being utterly ruthless and following these six top tips for a maximum sale price.

1. Remove your personality from every room
“If there’s anything that suggests the house is yours, remove it,” says Mr McCloud. So, anything personal – like photographs and knick-knacks – need to go.”

Arguably the cheapest and easiest tip; paring your furniture and any personal items back will help potential buyers better visualise their own items in the space. It will also open up rooms, so that they’re easier to walk through (important for open inspections) and they’ll appear roomier.

2. Declutter your house – properly
When buyers come to look around your house, they will look everywhere – including inside storage spaces, so be prepared for that. “Make sure, when someone opens your cupboards or drawers, they’re not crammed full of stuff, because that will suggest that the house has no storage and is too small,” he advises. “But if they open the cupboard and see 15 items, beautifully folded on the shelves, they’ll think, ‘I could fit in and, if I live here, I will live this lifestyle’. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very much worth it. In order to do this, you may have to hire a storage unit, to store all the things you will be taking out of your home.”

3. Make your home sparkle
“Clean the house – thoroughly,” says the designer, writer and TV presenter. “Clean the carpets, and refresh the walls, too. You don’t need to repaint them, you can take a white kitchen scourer and a bucket of mild soapy water, and gently buff the surface of any scuff marks and clean the paintwork. Use a sponge and soapy water on gloss paint, and this will totally refresh your doors and skirting boards.”

It’s easy to miss all of the areas that need to be cleaned. Look your home over from top to bottom, ensuring that neglected areas such as the tops of cupboards, behind large appliances, and even light switches haven’t been left dusty or grimy.

4. Clean the windows
Mr McCloud insists sparkly glass will make the house look brighter and more beautiful and will increase the amount of light in the house.

5. Disguise ugly views
“Stick on window frosting (you can buy it in DIY stores) if you have a dull view, eyesore, or a lack of privacy,” suggests Mr McCloud. “Just cover the lower half of the window with this, so the visitor will see the beauty of the window and the view.”

6. Spruce up the garden
And the property expert’s final tip? “Do something with the garden,” he says. “Tidy it up, remove any clutter, add a few plants to any beds that need them, and add some greenery to a window box. It will cast beautiful shadows and give the impression of the outside being connected to the inside, making the house feel larger. If you have a sense of connection to the outdoor space, the home will feel bigger. And if you give the impression that the garden is easy to maintain and looks after itself, people will be more attracted to it.”

A couple of other things that can help you show your home in the best light are:

Tick off those DIY tasks on your to-do list
Replace the broken bulb, tighten the leaking tap, fix the loose door handle, pull up the weeds – get on top of all those maintenance tasks that fall by the wayside. Starting this with plenty of time to go until your open house will mean that you can bring in a professional if one (or more) of these tasks prove more challenging than first thought. Basic maintenance work will help to ensure buyers don’t find any faults.

Appeal to people’s senses
Get rid of smoke or pet odours. Open the windows, brew some fresh coffee and brighten the place up with fresh flowers. You might even want to avoid cooking foods with strong odours for the week before the viewing.

Increase the sense of space with some strategically placed mirrors and by leaving all internal doors open.

Attend other open inspections to get ideas
If you have time, it might help to give you some ideas. You might even catch some snippets of conversation from other visitors to help determine what’s a drawcard and what is off-putting in terms of home presentation.

Make sure the front of your property looks appealing
Keeping the exterior attractive is just as important as a tidy interior; often people will drive by before deciding whether or not to attend the open day or inspection. You don’t want prospective buyers to cross your house off the list before they’ve even been inside.

Do you have any other tips? What’s most important to you when purchasing a new home?

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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