Unless you’re selling a brand new build, chances are that your much-loved property has a few flaws.
And while it might be impossible to achieve perfection, good presentation does matter when you’re selling as most buyers want a home that needs as little work as possible.
That said, some repairs are more important than others. If you’re short on time or money to address them all, here are five flaws that should be at the top of the fix list.
First impressions are the most important, so make sure your entrance and exterior are in pristine condition. Replace missing fence boards, tidy up any debris and make sure the garden is trim. Cracked pavers or weeds in the front path should be attended to – you don’t want a potential buyer tripping over on their way to the front door! Give the door a fresh coat of paint for maximum street appeal, and replace rusting letterboxes and signs with something inexpensive and new.
Your entranceway or lobby should also be pristine. Remove hats, coats and bags cluttering up the entrance and make sure that your buyers’ first impression of the interior is positive.
If your paintwork is scuffed, grimy or done in bright colours, put this one at the top of your list. If you have wallpaper, it’s almost always a good idea to remove it. Wallpaper dates fast, and many buyers find it hard to look past even though it’s simple to take down.
Fresh paint is cheap, easy, and dramatically improves the look of your house. If you’re painting to sell, choose lighter and neutral colours. These will maximise the light in your house and make it look more spacious, and appeal to a wide variety of tastes. You don’t know which of the people who come to inspect your property will buy it, so it makes sense to cater to all of them.
People spend a lot of time in their kitchen. In today’s open plan houses, the kitchen is usually on display to guests, if not the focal point around which all entertaining happens. That’s why it’s so important that your kitchen presents well.
While you’re (usually) not advised to go out and spend $50,000 on a flash new kitchen, there are some things you can do to spruce up your space.
Repainting is easy, and old fashioned light fixtures can be swapped out with something more modern. If your countertops are stained and dated, consider installing something new in their place. There are a number of companies who will install solid materials, such as granite or Caesarstone, without replacing the cabinets beneath so you can keep costs low.
New appliances aren’t usually necessary unless yours are broken or in awful shape. If this is the case, the cost of a replacement will usually be worth it.
Have you been living with a dripping tap for so long that you barely notice the noise any more? The bad news is that anyone inspecting your home will notice it immediately, and they’ll also start to wonder whether there are more significant plumbing issues in the property.
Minor plumbing faults can usually be attended to yourself. Replace old taps, use sealant or caulking around joints and replace mouldy shower curtains with new ones. If the toilet or basin is noticeably old or even stained, consider replacing the unit with the help of a plumber.
Gardens are one of the most commonly neglected areas in our properties. When life gets busy, we stop spending time out there and fall behind on maintenance. But your garden is also a major attraction for would-be buyers, so a little attention to the landscaping can go a long way.
Prune back trees or shrubs that encroach on the house or blocks pathways. Weed flower beds and paved areas, and cut back any dead vegetation. It goes without saying that your lawn should be newly mowed. If you have bare flower beds or patches in the lawn, buy some instant sod and colourful plantings before you invite people over.
Fences should be fixed if they show any damage, and gates shouldn’t show any visible rust. Prime and paint over any rusted or chipped areas, and make sure that the hinges swing smoothly open.
Stand back and look at your roof from the road. Moss, missing shingles or broken guttering will all catch a buyer’s eye, and not in a good way. Patch up problems now and avoid the buyers’ inspection report raising them later.
Because most home maintenance issues develop gradually due to wear and tear, we can be blind to them in our own homes. Whether it’s faded paintwork or those raised pavers you automatically step over on your way to the front door, they’re so familiar as to be invisible to you.
Your real estate agent can be an independent pair of eyes for you, helping you to see potential problems and offering advice on what you can do to maximise your selling price.