Closing the Deal

Closing the Deal
By Scott Bentley

Closing the Deal

A useful guide to presenting your home in the best possible light, for sale

The business of buying and selling real estate has evolved enormously in the past few decades. Back in the 1970s, the typical home sales process involved a small advertisement, usually with no photos, in the local newspaper, then having an agent (almost always male!) collect you from your own home, in his flash car and take you by private appointment to this or any other properties he thought might appeal, within neighbourhoods that had caught your fancy.

There certainly weren’t ‘open homes’ as we know them today. In fact, the owner often stood around awkwardly during inspections, waiting to hear your (discreet, of course) feedback. In some cases even an awkward cup of tea was involved!

As a general rule, properties in those days were presented in their exact current condition, which could mean dark and dingy, or in a positive case, perfectly attractive.

Of course, times have changed now, and here at First National Marlborough we have a very relaxed, yet well-organised attitude when it comes to showcasing your property.

We can help and advise you as to what you should - and shouldn’t - do whilst offering the property for sale and believe us, it goes a whole lot deeper than the typical advice about opening windows and doors, roasting coffee, and baking bread at open-home times - all in the hope of drawing in potential buyers!

Salesperson Bridget McNamara says that TV decorating shows and social media such as Instagram and Pinterest have conditioned house-hunters to expect a very high standard of presentation.

“We are all time-poor and most buyers are seeking a house that’s easy to live in and in my experience vendors who spend some time, and possibly some money, on getting their property into shape for selling often get vastly superior sale prices and a faster time taken to sell.”
At the end of the day, it’s the very basic stuff that home hunters notice – not just the nuances. It might be a leaf-swept veranda or an overgrown and unruly front hedge. Even the most basic considerations such as dirty windows or greasy kitchen ceilings can actually make the difference between a sale or worse, a non-sale in an generally active market.

When it comes down to the basics, you simply cannot go past the simple process of having your home completely cleaned from top-to-toe prior to listing. And needless to say, intensive decluttering is generally considered another vital ingredient of pre-sale preparation. It looks a bit bald having no books in a home, for example, but do commit to donating and selling at least half of your collection before listing the property, bearing in mind that less generally equals more.

Family photos are another issue that frequently invites passionate discussion. Some experts believe that seeing marks of the vendor’s own life is off-putting. At First National Marlborough we think that there’s almost always a happy medium.

Some recent buyer feedback has suggested that having too much furniture in a room could potentially stand between a successful outcome for both parties, and we think that this should really be an easy problem to fix.

Bridget McNamara says that in this particular case, the excessive furniture made the room feel smaller than it actually is, and this was reflected in buyer feedback.

“I recommended that the owners move some items out and we rearranged the layout.

“The next week buyer feedback was vastly improved and we soon had the property in contract.”

Coffee-making and bread-baking aside, it’s vital to ask for and consider your agent’s advice when embarking on such an important life-experience. At First National Marlborough, we’re presentation-focussed agents, here to help in many ways and we really want you to make the most of our expertise for a mutually positive outcome.