Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Great Tips for getting your home ready for sale

With Spring right around the corner, it is a good time to prepare your home to look it's best.

Deciding where to start can often be the most difficult part of preparing your home for sale. Following these ten tips will allow you to turn your home in to a marketable space that will appeal to all buyers.

1. The big clean! De clutter, declutter, declutter. This does not mean make the room bare, but do your best to extenuated the clean lines of your furniture in the room. Perhaps remove a chair or two, and adopt a minimal approach to table and bench tops. The more space you create the more space buyers feel they are purchasing.

2. Get a professional cleaner to come through and clean your house. These guys have the industrial tools that will do more than a vacuum and some Domestos. Consider washing the front of the house with a pressure washer and clean any high windows and skylights.

3. Tidy the garden. Trimming trees, replanting shrubs, adding mulch and mowing the lawn all help make a home look inviting to the buyer.

4. Perform maintenance. Oil squeaky doors, fix locks, change light bulbs, repair chipped benches and stone work. Think of yourself as a buyer and go through your house and point out anything that you think a buyer would find unappealing or in need of repair.

5. Put double or queen beds in all your bedrooms. Buyers associate a good bedroom by having the ability to fit a double bed in the room. If you have a single bed in a room, it is difficult for buyers to imagine a double bed fitting there. By placing a double bed in all your bedrooms, it gives your home a strong sense of private space.

6. Consider getting in a professional stylist. Styling is an underrated part of a sale, but a home with furniture is far more appealing than an empty house. Buyers will be able to visualise their couch size or their bed size by comparing it to the furniture they see, this helps to re-enforce their decision to view the property. A good stylist can amaze you with what they can do with space and design. Plus styled homes look fantastic in the photography.

7. Remove pets. The smell of a pet in a home can be off putting, as can seeing half eaten dog food or a dug up garden. While you may love your pet, the buyers may not and it can put them off buying the home. Some people have a fear of dogs and others have cat allergies, frightening your buyers away or making them sick is not a good way to sell your home.

8. Play some music at the open homes. Music is a great welcoming tool and that is why retail stores use it so much. It draws people into your home and allows them to relax a lot more than if there was silence in the home.

9. Display DA plans. If you've thought about a renovation in the past or have had plans drawn up, it might be a good idea to display these at the open homes. They can inform people on the potential of the property if they do not like the current floor plan.

10. Hide your valuables. Whilst theft at an open home is rare, it is better to keep valuable objects out of sight. This technique can also be used with family photographs, the goal is to let the buyers visualise themselves living in the property and sometimes personal photos can hinder this task.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Haunted real estate stories

Last month the SMH published an article asking the question, "Would you move into a haunted house." It is an interesting topic for real estate agents because while we don't often know if a house we have for sale or lease is haunted (often we don't want to know), we do go through so many properties that sometimes we experience things that don't seem right or a little unusual. I thought I'd share some experiences from some local agents who've been touched by the paranormal during their years in real estate.

One of the strangest haunted experiences I've heard was at a home in Blacktown by a leasing officer I knew. The property was sitting vacant and he was preparing a condition report (where we assess the property before a new tenant moves in). He was in the kitchen and absent mindedly put his hand on the kitchen bench to support his body, however when he did so, he felt his hand touch someone elses hand, as if someone was standing in the room next to him. The hand he felt quickly slid out from under his hand and when he turned to look he saw nothing there. It would have been a very strange sensation.

In an old home in Balmain East, another leasing officer I knew was sitting on the floor of an upstairs bedroom assessing the carpet for another condition report when she suddenly felt a huge weight on her, as if someone had sat on her back. She immediately felt cold and felt as if she was going to throw up. She got up and left the room. When she looked back into the bedroom she saw what looked like a small grey haze silently floating in the centre of the room. She told me that she couldn't get out of the house fast enough!

We had a property for sale and one of our agents was holding an open house at the property which was vacant and styled. She opened up the upstairs master bedroom which had a book and some iron keys on the bedside table. She then went downstairs, put the flag and the open board out before returning to the master bedroom to find that both the book and the iron keys had moved from the table to be sitting in the middle of the bed. She said that she didn't think too much about it at the time until a couple of opens later the same thing happened again and the front door slammed shut on it's own while she was in the hallway.

The Welcome Hotel has a ghost story about a spirit dog that supposedly visits the pub. It is the same dog that is pictured on the pub's coat of arms. Balmain has many old homes and I'm sure there are a few out there that house some interesting spirit stories. If you have one, post the stories on this blog, we'd love to hear them!