|New housing schemes and individual home builds have increased here in recent years. And, most purchasers relish the idea of a higher energy rating, brand new kitchens and bathrooms, and the fresh and clean appeal of new paintwork and flooring.|
|So, how to compete if you want to make the best price for your second-hand home on the market right now?
Amber Young, Operations Director at independent estate agents, Re/Max Ireland, has advice.
Initial impressions are cosmetic. But even if the buyers aren’t that knowledgeable on the structural and mechanical aspects of a property, they will have advisors, especially finance-providers, who are.
So, questions to address include: ‘how new is the water heater?’, ‘how thick are the shared walls?’, ‘how energy efficient are the windows?’ and ‘how old is the roof?’
In most cases, a full property make-over isn’t needed, but if any of the big-ticket items such as water, electrics, windows, walls, flooring or heating are a problem, get them fixed. Any sign of leaks or messy electrics should be tidied up, and look to improve your BER, where possible, especially with the various energy efficiency and insulation schemes available.
Gutters and driveways should be cleared for kerb-appeal, and high-powered pressure washers for rooves, paths and porch areas can help here.
Having receipts to show any previous work will go a long way to building trust with potential buyers and increase the chances of getting a deal.
Complete renovation is rarely merited, especially as most buyers prefer to decide their own new layouts. But minor home repairs must be made, to show the house has been well-maintained.
Brushing up on the cosmetics, for a good first impression, is low-hanging fruit when it comes to impressing buyers. They want to see a property that is as ‘liveable’ as possible, they want a neutral canvas on which to picture their future lives, and they want a glimpse of the potential each room holds.
What’s first? The front door; the calling card of the property and, especially with apartments, the first distinguishing feature a potential buyer will see of their new home.
Get a clean, contemporary, and, above all, secure front door. If necessary, clean it, paint it or replace it, so buyers cannot fault it. And make sure the bell or intercom works!
Get a decorator in to give each room a fresh coat of paint, or DIY it, if you’re skilled enough. Neutral colours are the best backdrop to which buyers can mentally add their own furniture and wall hangings. Classic eggshell white or most pale palettes are fine, as they look fresh and are easy for the buyer to paint over after the sale, if necessary.
Light fixtures, switches, fans, door and cabinet handles are relatively cheap to update for the purpose of a sale, and make all the difference. Stick to a neutral look with a simple, clean design.
Remove furniture and all counter clutter. Put things in storage, or lodge them with relatives, to make rooms more spacious.
It goes without saying that a good deep clean is an excellent investment, and windows and floors should be cleaned ahead of any viewing.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and, for some buyers, can be a deal breaker. Making it more tricky is that not all buyers want the same thing from this room; so what do you do?
Is there good space? Are there enough surfaces, power outlets and cupboards? Where will my microwave go? Can I entertain guests? Can I cook while the kids are in here? There will be different priorities.
Try this to give your humble kitchen a fighting chance.
Replace dated cabinet doors with a modern, practical design, or get them cleaned and painted professionally, to create a good feeling in the space. Create as many clean and clear surfaces as possible. Update appliances and add a few popular touches such as herbs, colourful tea towels and accessories, bright lighting and fresh fruit.
Bathrooms are surprisingly uncomplicated rooms when it comes to buyers.
They generally want three things: cleanliness, space, and everything to work. You probably can’t improve on the size of your bathroom, but you can remove dirty grout on the tiles, replace any cracked tiles, update the tap and shower head fixtures, and make the room seem brighter with colourful accessories, fresh paint and mirrors.
And, make sure any plumbing or heating issues are resolved before viewings start.
One of the biggest and easiest improvements you can make to a home is hiding in plain sight; well, underfoot! Improving flooring can add value and increase sentiment in potential buyers.
If you can only afford one major change, apart from fixing plumbing or electrics, then this would be it. Laminate flooring improves the look and feel of floors, providing a cleaner all-round appearance. Installation is often easy enough for homeowners to attempt themselves, too. Some bright new rugs will improve appearance on a lower budget.
RE/MAX agents are vastly experienced in styling and preparing homes for sale. It’s worth having a chat with them ahead of undertaking any proposed improvement, to ensure the investment will be recouped in the sale price, or is absolutely necessary to attract purchasers.
They have all the quick-win hints and tips for showings too, and will use the latest in digital photography and video tours, as well as in-person viewing, to market your home to best effect.