From business meetings to blind dates, we know that a great first impression plays a crucial role in a successful outcome. The same goes for investment property—landlords or renters form an opinion about a property within the first 7—10 seconds of arriving. When it comes to real estate, first impressions are heavily influenced by the appearance of the home, which is why it’s important to make it as attractive as possible. With the countless numbers of home renovation shows on television, many of us think that making a home more appealing involves a team of designers, contractors and a large budget, however, there are several cost-effective ways you can spruce up a space to make it shine.
From the Outside In
We’re all familiar with the old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” however, the majority of us have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. Have you ever been drawn to a house by a “for sale sign,” only to be disappointed by its lack of curb appeal? Unkempt yards, grimy windows and overgrown lawns can deter visitors before they even reach the front door. Property management companies offer staging services and can give you tips on how to avoid these situations. Be sure that toys, garbage or recycling bins, building materials, small items or any other foreign objects are properly stored and out of sight. Request that your property manager have the yard landscaped. Trim back bushes and shrubbery, and keep the lawn and garden well-watered at least a week leading up to the open house, to ensure that visitors see lush greenery upon their arrival. Also, windows should be washed and the front porch, walkway and driveway should be given a good scrubbing. Small things like cleaning dirt off the front door, garage and trim, and polishing the house number can make a huge difference. Remember, curb appeal wraps around the house—be sure to have the backyard, including patio furniture and the barbecue clean and tidy.
Less is More
Keep in mind that potential landlords are looking for investment properties that are tenant ready and mismatched furniture, clutter, and dated colours can make it difficult to visualize a home’s full potential. This paints a crowded picture in their mind and gives a sense of a small space. By going for the minimalist look, rooms appear more spacious. Neutral paint colours should be used on walls and any art should be used as accent pieces—this means replacing family pictures from the 80’s with a painting or print that complements the rest of the space.
Perform a walk-through of the home and make a list of things require cleaning. Pay particular attention to the foyer, which is the first space visitors see, as well as kitchens and bathrooms. Cupboards and countertops and floors should be spotless, as well as appliances. This is where a hiring a professional cleaning company can pay off, especially if you’re pressed for time. Also, performing minor repairs can make a world of a difference. Broken hinges and or chipped paint give the impression of a home that hasn’t been cared for and can be a huge turn-off.
Let’s face it—time has become a commodity and we’re constantly looking for ways to save it. More often than not, both renters and buyers browse online before they even consider driving out to view a property. Now that your house is show-worthy, take photos of it. Use angles that capture natural light and show the home’s best features. If you don’t think your iPhone will cut it, hire a professional photographer who is experienced in real estate photography. Remember, these initial images are meant to create emotion in buyers. You could be missing on a lot of selling/leasing opportunities if you neglect this area.
Home staging does involve time and work, however, when done properly can minimize the amount of time a property spends on the market as well as increase its sales price by thousands. For more tips on making a property sale or rent-worthy, contact HighGate Properties today!