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Five ways to spruce up your home for spring

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

It is not surprising so many homeowners choose to sell their homes in spring. Suburban gardens are at their colourful best, and home hunters are emerging from their winter hibernation, with most keen to get into a home before Christmas.

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Spring, however, also means more properties on the market, which spells greater competition. So how do you stand out in the crowd?

house

A house with front has strong appeal. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Focus on the front

Director of Hocking Stuart Real Estate Balwyn, Toby Parker, argues street appeal is paramount and buyers should ask a friend for honest advice on what needs to change at the front of the home.

“You drive up to your house every day and you may not see the tree that needs to be trimmed back,” Mr Parker says.

“Some buyers will keep on driving if they don’t like the look of a home from the outside.”

Mr Parker says buyers should pay attention to the front stoop – planting an annual in a pot, re-painting the door jambs – as agents spend a lot of time talking to buyers at the door and they will notice any shabbiness.

2. Think small

Mr Parker urges sellers to concentrate on the small jobs, as costly kitchen and bathroom renovations may not be worth it.

“If you fully renovate you run the risk of over-capitalising or even choosing a style that does not appeal to the buyer,” he says.

“You are better off giving the kitchen and bathroom a minor facelift by changing the cabinetry doors or painting tiles.”

Mr Parker also recommends mulching the garden and oiling the deck so it looks brand new. “A can of oil paint can cost as little as $50,” he notes.

Windows should be washed and crystal clear, lawns mowed regularly and any superficial cracks in the walls patched up.

Blue room

Make your home inviting, but not personal. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Make it impersonal

Owner of Brisbane-based Stylus Home Staging, Katrina Gibbons, says many sellers make the mistake of not removing enough personal items.

“I advise all of my clients to remove photos of themselves, even if they are family pictures framed on the wall as art,” she says.

“A buyer needs to walk in and see themselves living there.”

Fridges, too, should be kept free of magnets, bills, or any personal items that make buyers feel like they are trespassing.

Mr Parker agrees that family photos are distracting.

“Often buyers spend more time looking at the people in the pictures, rather than spending time looking at the home,” Mr Parker says.

4. Create space, or the illusion of it

If you are selling a home with small rooms, Ms Gibbons says there are tricks to make them look bigger, but removing all of the furniture is not one of them.

“A small amount of furniture can actually make a small room look bigger,” she says.

“If it is a small bedroom then perhaps you use just a double bed with some side tables and a nice lamp.”

Ms Gibbons says it is best buyers place their excess furniture in storage during the sales period, although many homeowners opt for the garage.

“I would be careful about cluttering up the garage too much, however, as men like to walk around them at inspections,” Ms Gibbons says.

5. Move with the times

Fashions change, and home presentation is no different. Remember the craze for feature walls? Ditch them, according to Ms Gibbons, who recommends using a neutral colour – such as Antique White U.S.A from Dulux – instead.

Ms Gibbons also cautions against baking bread or brewing coffee in an attempt to create a pleasant aroma, as these tricks have been done to death, she argues.

And no scented candles either.

“You run the risk of putting people off, as some people may not like these smells,” she says.

Although, you can never go wrong with beautiful fresh flowers in your home, she adds, particularly if they have been picked from your spring garden.

Johanna Leggatt is a Melbourne-based freelance writer.

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