Preparing your house for an Open for Inspection
When selling, first impressions count. Spending a little bit of time and energy to ensure your property is presented in the best possible light can go a long way in attracting more potential buyers, achieving a higher sales price and selling in a quicker timeframe.
But where should you focus your attention?
Here’s our easy to follow checklist to guide you on how to prepare for the all-important open for inspections.
Maximise your curb appeal
Many potential buyers do a ‘drive past’ of a property they are interested in before they come in for an inspection – they are making a quick judgement as to whether they should come back for a look. This means that first impressions are critical and this starts right at the curb.
Here are some simple jobs to do now to help enhance your curb appeal:
- Make sure you can easily see your property’s number from the street
- Ensure your outside light bulbs are working
- Water blast the path out the front of the property and along the entry way
- Paint the fence if it is looking a bit scruffy. It can also work if you paint one feature of your home a bright colour. For example, the front door, letterbox or fence. Something to grab the eye but not enough to dominate the view of your home.
- Tidy up the front garden – keep it neat and trim, weed your garden beds, remove dead plants, keep the lawn mowed – and yes even the strip out the front of your home if you have one should be mowed.
- Style the front garden - You can give your garden a simple makeover before you sell by adding defining borders to your flower beds and adding a focal point. Timber borders are popular, or you can outline your beds with small shrubs or grasses. Add a few larger plants as focal points but keep them in proportion to the size of your garden.
- Keep all garbage bins out of site
Clean the entire property
You want your property to sparkle so you need to spend some time cleaning it from top to bottom:
- Go from room to room and clean every surface so it gleams - a professional clean might be worthwhile for the first big clean
- Clean all your windows and window frames so they are sparkling
- Make sure there are no cobwebs high on the ceiling
- Wipe down and dust every surface you can reach
- Clean the inside of your cupboards…yes the inside
- Remove all grime, animal hair, mould, dust, cobwebs…anything that shouldn’t be there
Repair obvious problems
If you have the time before the first open for inspection, have a look around for any small problems that can be fixed easily. Some jobs that might need your quick attention include:
- Replacing any broken tiles
- Re-grouting around tiles
- Fix any leaky taps
- Patch any holes in the walls
- Fix any doors that don’t swing easily
- Resurface or paint over chipped or stained surfaces
- Replace cracked glass or mirrors
- Fix the front gate if it doesn’t open properly
- Replace any burnt out light bulbs
Of course get the help of a professional if the work is beyond you. We can help you find a local tradesman if you need some assistance here.
Depersonalise and declutter
You want buyers to fall in love with your house, to be able to picture themselves cooking in your kitchen, entertaining friends at the table relaxing in the bedroom and so on…you need to make sure your property isn’t overflowing with your personal items.
- Pack away the family photographs and personal treasures
- Retain only just enough ornaments to ensure it looks lived in and welcoming
- Makes sure all ornaments on shelves, bed side tables and in the bathroom are displayed neatly in small groups
- Arrange the furniture so that it looks stylish and allows people to move around the property easily
- Make sure cushions are nicely placed on sofa’s and puffed up
- Ensure rugs are lying correctly
- Ensure beds are made neatly – think hospital corners!
It may be worth considering bringing in a home stylist if you need some expert guidance
Maximise the light and air
You know yourself how nice it is to walk into an airy and light filled space. Your goal here is to ensure your property has as much light as possible and has a feeling of freshness.
- Air out your home for at least an hour before the inspection, so it feels fresh and airy
- Remove heavy drapes or blinds if they are reducing the light
- Open all blinds, curtains and shutters
Buyers like large living areas, so be sure to reduce the clutter and maximise the space.
- Remove or reposition your furniture to make it easy to move through the space – flow is important
- Carefully position the furniture, consider traffic flow, conversation areas, access from seating to the coffee or side tables.
- Have your carpets professionally cleaned
Styling your kitchen
The kitchen is one room that can make or break a sale. It’s usually the most expensive room in any property, so prospective buyers don’t want to see a kitchen that needs a total upgrade.
Here are some quick fixes to help make your kitchen shine:
- Clear the clutter – if you have more on your kitchen benches than in the cupboards you need to clear it away
- Add some nice appliances
- If you have time and feel the bench top or cupboard doors need replacing, this can be done easily and economically
Buyers today like beautiful bathrooms – they want a room they can relax and pamper themselves in, no matter what size or condition your bathroom is in. It’s important to spend some time and money making the most of what you have.
- Clean your tiles and grouting, make sure your windows, mirrors and shower screens are spotless and free of streaks. Replace soap bars with liquid soap…there will be less mess to take care of.
- Fix the fittings – cracked basin, toilets or tubs give the impression the room is unhygienic, so consider replacing these if you have the time before the open home. This is not that expensive, providing you don’t change the plumbing
- Clear the clutter off the top of the vanity – only leave out a soap holder and possibly a candle or small pot plant
Spruce up the garden
You don’t necessarily need to do a big landscaping job on your garden, and you probably don’t have time anyway, but before the first open home, spend a few hours on the weekend sprucing the garden up. It can pay dividends in the long run with buyers.
- Weed all the garden beds
- Sweep the front path
- Mow the lawn and keep it mowed throughout the marketing campaign
- Prune shrubs and trees into shape
- Make sure you water any newly planted shrubs or plants
- Put garden tools away / out of site
- Ensure all kids play equipment is clean and tidy
- If you have a pet make sure you hide their food bowls and toys and make sure there is nothing ‘yukky’ on the lawn.