I have to admit that along with a good proportion of people in Australia, I am obsessed with real estate.
I spend a large chunk of my time looking at what's on the market and keeping up to date with what is happening in the world of architecture and design. I love searching Domain to see what has come onto the market from week to week, where the prices are sitting, different floor plans, and how people are presenting their homes and gardens.
When it comes to preparing a property for sale, I am often surprised by how many homeowners are just not getting it right. I often see houses that could potentially achieve much greater sales results with some extra effort put into presentation. When you consider that your home is more than likely your biggest financial asset, it is well worth making the extra effort.
Buyers will pay more for a property that looks and feels clean, fresh, well maintained and ready to enjoy. With the help of some experts, I have put together my top tips for styling your property to achieve maximum results at sale time.
1. First impressions are everything
Jenny Conroy, senior property stylist at Coco Republic, says: "Street appeal is vital to ensure that prospective buyers are enticed to take a look."
There is a lot you can do to make a big difference at the front of your home. Jenny's advice is to make sure the lawns are mowed, garden beds are mulched and weeded, windows are clean, the exterior of the property is clean with no peeling paint, paths and driveways are high pressure cleaned and swept for each open for inspection.
You can spend a little bit of money here adding plants in pots, that can be taken with you when you leave and add an inviting bench with cushions if you have a verandah.
If the facade is looking tired and budget permits, consider having the exterior repainted. Repainting in a modern colour scheme can take years off your home.
2. Give your home a fresh, neutral palette
Any bold paint colours or feature walls can polarise your potential buyers whereas white walls allow buyers to imagine living in your home and bright, fresh walls help create a sense of space.
The same goes for carpets. If you have been living with dated carpets, consider replacing them with a soft neutral carpet. Keep your bed linen neutral too. Crisp, white bed linen is always a winner and you can add some colour with throws and cushions. Think of your property as a display home while it's on the market, one that will appeal to many different people and not alienate anyone.
3. Clean, clean, clean!
Give every surface a really good scrub until the whole house sparkles, particularly the kitchen and bathrooms. Prospective buyers will forgive an ageing kitchen or bathroom, but never a dirty one.
Add some indoor plants or flowers in both rooms, new fluffy towels in the bathroom and new soap dispensers. Make sure that carpets and floorboards are vacuumed and mopped for every open for inspection. Give light fittings a once-over and clean away any cobwebs and dust.
4. De-clutter and de-personalise
Be ruthless and clear away everyday mess, personal photos and any clutter. Give potential buyers as much opportunity as possible to imagine themselves and their belongings in the property. Jenny Conroy, from Coco Republic, suggests minimising curiosities around the house to create a simple, minimal space.
5. Consider staging your home
Lee-anne Maher, from Brisbane property styling company Seek. Style. Love. says: "Selling an empty house is a challenge. Staging your home can take the guess work out of the picture for those who struggle to have vision. You are selling a lifestyle, not just a space."
If your own furniture isn't hitting the mark with current trends, consider renting all of your furniture for that curated, styled and cohesive scheme. The use of artwork, mirrors and accessories help to layer a room too.
Natural light is a huge advantage for your home so make sure windows are clean, blinds and curtains are clean and opened up for inspections, and trees and bushes are trimmed.
Consider carefully the placement of table and floor lamps to create mood in your home. Turn on lights for inspections and make sure your globes are all warm white, not cool white. This will give the home a much warmer feel.
7. Outdoor space
Paul Richards, Director at real estate agency Bekdon Richards, believes that "Australians see our outdoor spaces as an extension of the home, like another room. It must therefore present well and allow for opportunities to entertain and relax."
Make sure fences are fixed and painted, any old junk is removed, get rid of the old rusty clothesline and replace with a more modern sleek one and make sure the landscaping is maintained. Adding a small deck can create that outdoor room feel and if you already have one, clean and oil it and your outdoor furniture. The sky is the limit with an outdoor space as you can add as many pot plants, outdoor cushions and lanterns as your budget will allow and really create a wow factor that is hard for buyers to resist.
One last, invaluable detail: Allow a small budget each week during your sales campaign to have fresh flowers throughout the property. Have scented candles burning and a large bowl of fresh fruit on display in your kitchen for some added colour.
This article was originally published by Domain on 5 August 2016. It represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.
Renovating and reselling properties can be a good money-making exercise, or a very expensive one if you go in unprepared.