Selling your home? What SA buyers like and dislike

12 Apr 2017

If you are considering selling your home you need to make sure it competes favourably with other homes on the market.

“There are many ways to improve the first impression created by your home, and you will not be sorry if you spruce up your home before selling because it will give you an advantage over sellers who have not taken the time to do this,” says Rea.
This is according to Grant Rea, Certified Residential Specialist at RE/MAX Living in the Cape Town CBD and surrounds, who says it’s a "very competitive" market out there.

Rea says one way that sellers can make their home stand out in the minds of buyers is by staging it.

“There are many ways to improve the first impression created by your home, and you will not be sorry if you spruce up your home before selling because it will give you an advantage over sellers who have not taken the time to do this,” says Rea.

“The trick is to consider what most buyers are hunting for and give them exactly that. Of course, you may want to go the route of appointing a professional decorator, but only a few of us will want to go to this expense.”

Rea shares some tips on easy ways to add value and leave a lasting impression:

1. The kitchen and bathrooms

Often referred to as the heart of the home, Rea says an updated kitchen will spark buyers' interest. Old kitchen cupboard doors can be replaced with new ones, even if the existing framework of the cabinetry is used, and the entire kitchen will look brand new at a fraction of what a completely new kitchen would have cost.

“Ensure grout in tiles is clean and presentable - this can be easily cleaned with detergents. In bathrooms, if you happen to have outdated, oddly-coloured sanitary ware and tiles, these can easily be improved by re enameling in more neutral colours,” says Rea.

“Do it yourself or call one of the numerous companies who can do this for you, it’s surprisingly inexpensive, and these companies offer a guarantee as well. You can also spruce up your bathroom with a couple of cleverly placed accessories.”

2. Lighting

“Clutter is the enemy when it comes to selling, so pack away as many personal items and unnecessary trinkets as possible. You can use stylish storage baskets for items lying around, or pack them away completely,” says Rea.
Rea says dark rooms can be extremely off-putting to buyers, so it is important to create a light, natural and airy impression. In older homes using creative lighting is a good bet. Advances in skylights also allow you to harness natural sunlight via a ceiling installation.

3. Landscaping

“Experts claim that a garden can add around 17% to the value of property as many buyers are excited by the thought of having a garden,” says Rea.

However, he says it needs to be well kept and maintained, so ensure that the lawns are trimmed and neat, and cut down vegetation that blocks out light from your home.

Rea says pebbled areas can be very effective in creating a modern and low-maintenance garden, particularly in water-scarce times, and a garden that needs minimal water would be an attraction for many buyers.

4. Declutter

“Clutter is the enemy when it comes to selling, so pack away as many personal items and unnecessary trinkets as possible. You can use stylish storage baskets for items lying around, or pack them away completely,” says Rea.

5. Security

“Security is a big consideration for the majority of South African home buyers, and it is money well spent to have a security consultant highlight the more vulnerable aspects of your home and make the best and cost-effective suggestions to upgrade your security,” says Rea.

He says perimeter control measures are particularly popular these days, without being too unsightly.

6. Odours

“Experts claim that a garden can add around 17% to the value of property as many buyers are excited by the thought of having a garden,” says Rea. “Ensure that the home smells great when buyers enter.”
“While you may love your dog, bad odours caused by pets could cost you the sale. The same goes for smoking or anything else that could cause the home to smell bad - eliminate odours or you may eliminate a good buyer.”

He provides a few quick-fire pointers for sellers to consider:

Buyers don’t like:

- Poorly done DIY jobs

- Foul smells

- General untidiness and clutter

- Unruly pets

- Too much furniture

- Very bright and loud colours

- Dark, boxed-in spaces

- Very labour-intensive gardens that require major watering

Buyers like:

“Security is a big consideration for the majority of South African home buyers, and it is money well spent to have a security consultant highlight the more vulnerable aspects of your home and make the best and cost-effective suggestions to upgrade your security,” says Rea.
- Bright open spaces

- White, natural bathrooms

- Off-street parking

- Neat and tidy gardens

- Wooden floors, natural and plain carpeting

- Neat and clean kitchens

- Plain tiling

- Secure environments

- Grey water systems and energy-efficient environments

And finally…

“Remember the first impression is vital, so act like a buyer and look at the home as objectively as possible,” says Rea.

“Also get close friends and family to give a brutally honest opinion from your front gate to the back garden - you only have a few critical seconds to make that ‘wow’ impression on a buyer.”