Presenting a home for sale is about more than cut flowers in a vase, or the smell of freshly baked bread in the air. It’s serious business, and can be the difference between a disappointing sale price and a spectacular result.
These days, there are a range of sprucing-up services and options that promise to achieve top dollar for your home’s sale. And in a market tinged with uncertainty, it might be just the sales pitch you need.
According to RPData, the current average time on the market is about 39 days for homes and 31 days for units, with the average level of vendor discounting at around 5.5 per cent – both indicators of a relatively healthy market.
But there are also subtle signs of ‘slowth’, with auction clearance rates continuing their sluggish performance. In May, capital cities recorded their second consecutive month of single digit annualised growth, suggesting the strong surge in property prices of the last 18 months may have run its course.
According to Richard Armstrong, Director of The Makeover Group and author of Sell Your Home for More in Any Economy, an uncertain market doesn’t mean vendors need to settle for lower prices. In fact, a little sprucing up of the place can go a long way to securing a much improved price tag.
What is it worth?
So just how much difference does a pre-sale makeover make? Armstrong has seen clients achieve an increase in sale price up to ten times what they’ve spent on presentation, but says you can comfortably expect three dollars back for every one dollar you invest.
“If you’re expecting to be able to enhance the price by $30,000 then a $10,000 investment is not unreasonable,” says Armstrong. “Where it gets dangerous and you start overcapitalising is when you start getting to have the best house in the street. [But] if you sell it without sprucing it up to at least the average standard in the street then you are literally throwing away money.”
Armstrong says the greater the value of the property, the less risk there is that you’ll overcapitalise, and the more you should invest in it. “A $1.5 million house in a good suburb with a good bathroom instead of an average bathroom – it makes a $100,000 difference easily. Whereas if you do the same case study in a suburb where the average house price is $400,000… you might get an extra $40,000.”
Either way, at the median price of a mid-range new bathroom sitting at $10,200, it’s a return on investment that commands attention.
A quicker sale?
It’s an investment that could also help to avoid a lengthy, expensive and disappointing period on the market.
“The more buyers you turn off by not having it properly presented, the longer it will take to sell,” says Paul Davies, Managing Director of One Agency Real Estate. “That can mean advertising dollars, and also we’ve found statistically that the longer a property stays on the market, the less a vendor may receive because the market views the property as [one where] something may be wrong with it.”
Creating a favourable first impression with a buyer is crucial in securing their confidence in the property. “If you don’t create a positive first impression then you have to ignite their interest further into it, and reverse their initial impression,” says Davies. “That’s much more difficult to do.”
If your home is already on the market and not dressed for success, don’t despair. “There’s new buyers in the marketplace all the time so there’s always a new opportunity,” says Davies. “It’s never too late.”