Open inspections are the best way to show prospective buyers your home’s full potential, so you need it to be looking its best. Here are our top 10 tips to prepare your home for a successful open home, which will in turn, lead to a successful sale...
1. DO A THOROUGH CLEAN
Thoroughly cleaning your property is absolutely crucial. Prospective buyers looking at your home will be focusing on every little detail and you don’t want them to be put off by a dirty kitchen or bathroom. Work your way through each room vacuuming and dusting, and remember to look out for cobwebs in the corner of ceilings. Clean mirrors, and windows to allow the maximum amount of light into your home. Tidy inside cupboards, yes people will look in them for storage size, clear items hanging on the back of doors and shoes on the floor.
Outside, mow the lawn, weed the garden and wash down the house to remove dirt and spiderwebs. Pet smells or stains can turn someone off your property so make sure you’ve cleaned traces of hair, deodorised where your pet sleeps and removed any litter boxes or droppings from the garden.
You may wish to have a professional clean when you first put your property on the market, which will make it easier to maintain for each Open House you have. Then it’s a matter of cleaning toilets, the kitchen sink, mirrors and emptying the rubbish bins. Also remember to clear away shoes from the front door to provide a clear entryway and hide away kids’ toys, pet toys and feeding bowls.
2. MAKE REPAIRS
Even if you have decided not to carry out a major makeover or renovation of your home, you still need to ensure that it’s free of any obvious, unsightly problems. Some prospective buyers may not be able to look past imperfections such as stained surfaces or cracked windows, and may wonder if signs of neglect indicate a home that’s not in good repair generally. It’s not that you’re trying to pretend there are no problems — and a building inspection will reveal any obvious cover-ups — you just don’t want to confront visitors with them on their very first excursion through your home.
Spend at least a couple of weekends carrying out some basic repair jobs before you open your home for inspection, and perhaps engage a professional if the work is beyond your abilities. Some fixes you might need to address:
- Fill minor wall cracks with plaster and repaint the walls.
- Replace any broken tiles in the bathroom, and re-grout if necessary.
- Check that the plumbing works properly — some visitors may turn on taps and flush the toilets, so make sure there are no dripping taps etc
- Resurface or paint over chipped or stained surfaces.
- Replace cracked glass or mirrors.
3. TIDY THE GARDEN
You don’t have to carry out a large landscaping job before you put your property up for sale, but do make sure it’s free of weeds, that the lawn is kept trim and that you cut shrubs and trees into shape. Some pots of colourful flowers or greenery near the entrance and in the backyard — especially around an outdoor entertaining area — will help elevate your garden. You don’t need to go overboard; it should look natural. Keep newly planted shrubs or plants well watered.
Put garden tools away out of sight, make sure any kids’ play equipment is tidy and clean, and if you have a pet make sure you clean up any of their ‘business’ left on the lawn.
You should have already removed all the unnecessary items cluttering up the rooms in your home, but as you come up to inspection day you’ll need to arrange each room so that it looks stylish, and is easy to move around for prospective buyers. Each room should contain just enough furniture and accessories to look lived in and liveable, and no more.
Ensure that the lounge suite is arranged nicely (including artfully placed cushions), that floor rugs are lying correctly, and that beds are neatly made. Anything left on display, such as ceramics and photos, bathroom items, anything on your bedside table, or on your kitchen bench, should be lined up neatly and arranged in small balanced groups. Straighten up any pictures, as well as curtains and blinds. It is important to make sure buyers on inspection day can move easily around your home without having to push their way around awkwardly placed furniture.
5. STORE AWAY VALUABLES
Hiding your valuables out of sight in drawers or the back of a cupboard is probably enough to deter most opportunistic thieves. Store anything really valuable at the home of a trusted friend, or even in a safety deposit box. Be discreet with information that can too closely identify you or your family members. Don’t leave phone numbers or identity cards (and definitely not credit cards) lying around. If you also feel inclined, you can put away family photos.
6. LET THE LIGHT IN
Maximise natural light in your home by ensuring the windows are sparkling clean. Remove heavy curtains or blinds if they’re cutting out the available light (you can put them back once you’ve sold the property). On inspection day, turn on lights in the property — even if it’s sunny outside. Use table or standard lamps to create attractive pools of light. Overhead lights can also be used if a room is otherwise quite dark, or to illuminate special features.
7. CREATE A COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE
On inspection day, set the temperature settings appropriately. Buyers will feel more comfortable if they can step in from the heat into a cool, air-conditioned environment or into a warm home in the winter. Even if it’s not too cold outside, put the heating on for an hour or so before inspection time just to take the edge off (especially if you’ve been airing the home beforehand).
If you have one, a lit fire or gas heater can create a sense of cosiness in a lounge-room or family area. On hot days, run the air-conditioning if you have it. But only to a level that is refreshing rather than chilly. You may also need to open windows if your home is very stuffy.
8. ADD STYLISH TOUCHES
Flowers can really give rooms and entrance areas. Choose flowers that are in season and complement the colour scheme of the room. Avoid very highly scented flowers so you don’t trigger anyone’s hayfever.
Art books or magazines stacked on the coffee table and scatter cushions on the lounge and bed are great style details. Also remember to have fresh towels hanging in the bathroom and fresh tea towels in the kitchen.
9. LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS
On inspection days you and your family should leave the property in the hands of your agent. Have a timetable for each inspection time so everyone in the family is aware when they need to leave the house, which is well before the prospective buyers arrive.
If you have pets, arrange for a trusted friend or family member to take care of them during inspection times. Keeping them out of sight may improve your chances of a sale, and will avoid alienating buyers who may be put off by the idea of animals or who are allergic to them.
It’s also a good idea to speak to your neighbours about leaving your property clear during the inspection. Ask them not to block your property with cars during this time, which will help buyers find easy parking.
10. CONTACT US
We’re here to help! We can help you organise stylists and repairs, and we are here to make your home inspections as stress free as possible. Contact us to discuss.