Preparing your home for sale doesn’t need to involve power tools, plumbers and plenty of cash. Although, it can! Bushy Martin, author of Get Invested and an award-winning property investment specialist says there’s five cheap ways to maximise the price return. “I call them the Price Principals,” explains Bushy. “And, if followed, you can increase the return on your investment considerably. We followed these Price Principals when we sold my mother’s home. We got an appraisal for $480k for the 37-year-old brick home. But, after a few tweaks and handy work, we sold the house for $560k.”
Here, Bushy explains the five principals.
“Positioning is all about timing your property sale,” explains Bushy. “Make sure you are selling it at that time that people want to buy. If it’s a beachside suburb, summer might be the best time. Or, spring might have a good vibe in your area.” Bushy says positioning can also be affected by a great auctioneer. “If it’s the right property and you are selling at a good time of year, a good auctioneer can often squeeze even more out of buyers. I’ve seen FOMO – fear of missing out - add $10k-20k to the property selling price with the help of a great auctioneer.”
2. Remove, refresh and renew
First impressions count, but you can use this to your advantage – and add value to your property before potential buyers even step foot in the house. “A cheap and easy way to improve instant appeal to your buyers is to consider what the property looks like on arrival,” explains Bushy. “Think about the garden, landscaping and maintenance. My mum’s cottage had a busy flower garden that was overgrown and looked like high maintenance. We spent $600 and one weekend fixing the garden. We removed the busy flowers and added ‘architectural plants’ - these are sculptural in appearance, and easy to look after. Think ‘yucca’ plants. You only need a few yucca plants to break up a low maintenance mulched area and transform the garden into a clean, green, fresh space with instant buyer appeal.
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“There’s lots of really cheap improvements, like changing light globes, that can have a big impact,” explains Bushy. “For example, low watt light globes can make a property feel dark and gloomy. Brighter wattage globes will instantly brighten and make the space feel more cheerful. Likewise, my mother’s house featured old and outdated light flush ceiling light fittings, which we replaced with new contemporary lights. Similarly, we removed the original dark and heavy curtains and replaced them with sheer, light and billowing curtains. We spent $1000 on the curtains, lights and light fittings, but combined they totally transformed the space to make it brighter, lighter and feel more open.”
We’re not talking lippy and blush… but we are talking about simple tweaks that can beautify in a flash. “Mum’s original house featured the old exposed brickwork that was popular in the 80s,” explains Bushy. “We painted the walls white, and that, combined with the new curtains and bright lights, really lifted the place. We also painted the cupboard doors. We used laminate paint to paint the laminate benches and cabinetry in the kitchen, and we used tile paint on the tiles. These paints are easy to use, durable and modernise a dull space in a flash.”
Steer clear of trend colours and feature walls, warns Bushy. “Stick to plain colours – think ‘art gallery’. If walls and benches and cupboards are neutral, the space feels timeless. It allows the buyer to imagine what the space will look like when they add their own sofa, and colours, and furnishings.”
Those crochet cushions… yeah, pack them away! Same goes for teapot collections, artworks and any other home décor bursting with your personality. “Existing artworks, furniture, memorabilia, it becomes polarising,” says Bushy. “Instead, get an interior stylist in – they’re a cost effective investment to transform your interior space – for the better. We paid $2,500 for a stylist to fit-out my mother’s house for sale. Stylists are very clever with the furniture they use to prop the space. They feature pieces that add personality and show buyers what they can do with the space and how to dress it.”
And one last tip before the auction hammer falls…
“Don’t go for the cheapest real estate agent in the area – go for the best,” advises Bushy. “The best agents can show you what properties they sold, at what price and how long it was on the market for. And if you try to negotiate their fee, take note. If they crumble quickly and drop their rates, they’ll likely have those same negotiation skills when selling your house. An agent who stands firm and believes in their price is the one I’d be going for.”