“We have to sell our home but in this terrible economic climate is there anything we can do to ensure we get our asking price?”
A well presented interior can mean the difference between selling or not selling your house in this competitive market. A house that doesn't present well at best will cost you a big drop in your asking price. Spending $10,000 on an interior revamp may seem a lot, but it can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced offers and is a worthwhile investment.
Top Ten Tips to create an interior that will sell your house:
1. Look at your interior with an objective eye and see it as a prospective buyer would (this is where an experienced decorator will be able to help you). Look at your furniture, your walls, your window dressing and your surface clutter.
2. If your furnishings are out of date, the chances are your house will look old too. Hire a removalist and storage company to store your furniture while your house is being sold. Furniture hire companies will hire contemporary furniture on a weekly basis and will provide everything from furniture to bedding, towels, artwork and accessories. Remember that you are selling your property not the furniture, so the furniture should be artfully kept to a minimum. Ask a decorator to style this for you. This will make the rooms look more spacious and give your house a more contemporary look.
3. If your walls need painting (and they will once you've removed outdated pictures from the walls), get an expert in to advise you on contemporary but neutral wall colours and repaint them. Buyers are instantly put off by cracked and peeling paint, dampness and mould. Fresh new paint can immediately brighten a dark room. Keep the colours light and if you use feature wall colours keep these neutral too.
4. Steam clean dirty carpeting or replace it totally if it looks worn and stretched. It may seem like a waste of money but it's not if keeping the old carpet is the one thing that puts off a prospective buyer.
5. Unless you have new, streamlined, window dressings, like roller blinds, remove all existing curtains, sheers and drapery. Out dated curtains harping back to another era will instantly date your house. Rather leave windows totally clear of all window dressing. This will allow more light to enter and will make the rooms look larger.
6. Keep surfaces clear of clutter as this will make the rooms look more spacious, easier to keep clean and create a clear and neutral palette in which your prospective buyer can imagine his possessions. Buyers can be put off by collections that may appeal to you, like shrunken heads from the Amazon, flying ducks in the hall, or inappropriate artwork.
7. Kitchens and bathrooms are prime focus areas so keep these looking clean and clutter-free. If your kitchen is old, you can give it a quick facelift by changing or painting the cabinet doors while retaining the carcasses, and replacing the door handles to simple stainless steel ones. In the bathrooms arrange new white towels, remove plastic bath mats, rubber ducks and wall decals and keep the toilet lid down!
8. Don't forget the garden. Ensure this is newly trimmed and pruned. Rake up leaves and fill in empty spots in the garden with new plants, mulch or pebbles. Throw out or store away empty plant pots and if you have potted feature plants, plant some flowering groundcover or small plants to give colour around the base.
9. While Lulu the poodle or Felix the cat may be part of your family, ensure your house doesn't smell like them and hide away signs of their food bowls, litter trays and bedding. The prospective buyers may not be animal lovers.
10. Lastly, on show days, make yourselves scarce and leave the showing of your house to the experts. Buyers like to imagine the house as theirs as they walk through it and don't want to know the owners are nearby and anticipating their every move!
In each issue Deborah will address a decorating problem, so send in your questions (photos will help too) and we will feature a solution in each issue.
Deborah Atkins of Red Door Interiors can be contacted on 0400 590 045. She operates in all areas of the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney.