It takes a huge amount of effort to get your house ready for sale and those pesky open inspections require your space to look pretty darn perfect for all to see; serious buyers and sticky beaks alike.
With an interiors stylist’s eye, here is my two-penneth on some of the superficial things that turn people off your home, and a few quick tips on how to fix them:
1. Ditch the happy snaps and the fridge magnets. Potential buyers want to imagine themselves living in your house, not the life you’ve already lived in it.
2. Don’t de-clutter to the point of being devoid of personality, otherwise your home will end up resembling a hotel lobby.
3. Speaking of de-cluttering, don’t stuff your cupboards with too much junk. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen when your decades old but never used golf clubs land on someone’s head. If you must keep it, consider renting yourself some short-term storage space.
4. The Grand Final’s over, so it’s time for any sporting memorabilia to go. Same goes for anything that came free with a slab of beer (that includes you, Boonie doll!)
5. An oldie but a goodie: when I’m styling a home for a magazine shoot, I like to get a lovely big serving dish or wooden platter and pile it with a single type of fruit – something firm and sculptural like lemons, pomegranates, artichokes or bright green apples. It makes an impactful and colourful statement (and sure looks better than a bowl of old bananas!).
6. When it comes to fresh flowers, less is definitely more. After all, this is an open inspection, not a wedding. Instead of one big arrangement on the dining room table, consider creating smaller installations for each room. For instance, a bunch of lush herbs in the kitchen, single freesias in old science beakers or vintage milk bottles in the bathroom, and a small posy of lavender and fragrant roses beside the bed creates a more considered, stylish look.
7. Personally, I think that grinding fresh coffee just before the open house is a waste of good coffee beans – as many Melburnians would agree. What’s important is that your home looks and smells clean. But by ‘clean’ I don’t mean there should to be an all-pervading scent of Eau de Domestos. Not even a whiff.
8. If you have a fire, light it. Unless, of course, it’s 40 degrees outside. Fires are seductive.
9. Shine a light: some rooms just look better to the naked eye when they are lit – so turn on the lamps in your darker rooms (and deal with the enormous electricity bill later).
10. First impressions count. What people see when they walk through your front door for the first time creates a lasting memory, good or bad, and it sets the tone for the rest of their inspection.
If you have the space, place a nice piece of art over a console, add a lush green Monstera leaf in a simple vase and perhaps a single bowl to suggest this is where you keep your keys. If your entry is restricted in the space department, a low short bench topped with a couple of nice coffee table books and a tall plant such as a cactus is the way to go. And it doesn’t have to cost a bomb – there are some great art prints around and IKEA even has a few good, well-priced pieces.
When it comes to bringing out the best in your home and impressing potential buyers, it’s the little things that count.