Article by LEE DASHIELL
If you’re putting your home on the market, you’ll need to get it in tip-top shape. But when it comes to getting the best price result, a DIY approach may not always be the best option, even if it does save you money.
Buyers can spot sloppiness, laziness and bad finishes from a mile away. An amateur renovation can give an impression that the house has faults which have been camouflaged, and buyers may wonder what else is wrong with the house.
Unless you are able to achieve a professional result from any quick fixes you plan to undertake, it may be best to stop right there and call in the professionals.
Depending on your skill levels, here are a few areas you should either action or delegate:
Open houses require a spotless finish throughout. Kitchens and bathrooms are well regarded as the most important rooms to attract buyers, so these rooms need particular attention. This means getting in there under the sink, behind the loo, and into the oven as well as all the normal surface cleaning.
Dirty windows are bad but streaky windows are even worse. Steam cleaning makes carpets look new and fresh, but hiring a steam cleaner has a cost.
All these interior jobs are time-consuming, tedious and thankless, and it doesn’t end there. There are also paths, eaves and fences that need tending outside.
Professional cleaners can get in and sort out the house in a fraction of the time it will take you to do it. They are well equipped with all the gear to get the job done fast and well, including pole-extended window cleaning tools for hard-to-reach windows, pressure washers, steam cleaners, and more.
The general advice is to make your house colours neutral to appeal to as many buyers as possible. Easily done with a lick of paint, right?
But how many of us have attempted this seemingly easy task only to realise we are not experts at cutting in to get that sharp finish around architraves and crown mouldings? Or worse, tried to cover dark walls and several coats later you feel you can still see the original colour showing through?
There are tricks and techniques to the art of achieving the perfect paint finish. Painters have all the equipment, skills and can get it done swiftly, so you’ll know the result will show off your home in the best light.
They can often buy paint at a discounted rate so while you will have the expense of employing the painter, you may save some on the paint itself.
Indoor-outdoor living gives any house instant appeal but if your yard has suddenly become a jungle, it can give the impression of neglect, and hard work ahead for the next owner.
Outdoor areas should look as spacious as possible. While you can hack the bushes back and cut some tree limbs down, do you really know how to do it?
Every type of tree and shrub has a different growing habit. Unless they are pruned properly, you could end up with spiky branches sticking out without foliage or a scalped lawn that won’t recover in time for your open houses.
Professional gardeners know how to prune plants to keep them healthy and looking their best. They can also suggest ways to quickly revamp your garden to enhance its beauty, such as what to plant in that dank dark corner or what will thrive in that dried-up flower bed in the baking sun.
Has the kitchen sink been getting blocked? Is there a weird smell coming from the laundry drain? Is a recessed ceiling light blinking away enough to give you migraines?
Maybe you can do some of these jobs yourself, such as using a drain cleaner or changing light bulbs. But you shouldn’t mask plumbing and electrical problems, because a pre-purchase inspection will turn up the issues and buyers will either see unwanted upcoming additional expenses, or will try to use problems to negotiate a lower price.
We all know plumbing and electrical work must be completed by a licensed tradesman, so don’t attempt any of the serious jobs yourself.
TV programs show us the “wow-factor” of astonishing makeovers, often completed on a “strict budget”. What they don’t reveal are the discounts the stylists receive, or the paid product placements.
In the real world, it can be daunting to look objectively at your own house and imagine the potential. DIY styling may mean carting out the old furniture and completely replacing it temporarily for show. Some furniture-hire companies specialise in home staging furnishings, but this can take a lot of time and expense.
Home stylists know what target buyers will find appealing and can use their industry connections to source inspiring furniture and accessories to achieve a pleasing look. You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by hiring an expert.