5 Tricks Sellers Use to Get Higher Prices for their Houses

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  • Author Jenny Wright
  • Published December 2, 2011
  • Word count 748

There are a number of tricks that a seller can use to make their house more attractive to buyers. Whilst these are not exactly trade secrets, it is important for a buyer to be aware of these sort of changes so that they know how much sway they give. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can discount these and offer a lower price as a result, because if other competing buyers are influenced by these factors then you are in the same market.

This is not an exclusive list, but it includes some of the more salient ones:

Clean the house

Kerb appeal

Update the decor

De-personalise

Add On Fittings

Clean the house

I know this sounds very simple, but a good deep clean is a great way for a seller to give the impression that the place is well looked after. Buyers don’t exactly go round looking for the dust on the window ledges, but they are peripherally aware of the background cleanliness of a house when they view it. Other factors can also influence their decision that are related to cleanliness. These factors include the smell when they enter a house - despite popular opinion that coffee or bread baking are good scents to have, some researchers claim that actually the scent of furniture polish is a better impression maker. Another factor is that clean windows (inside and out) allow more light into the house, which makes it appear brighter and more appealing. The third factor is that making the place clean removes a barrier to sale for people who want to move somewhere where there is not much work to do and clean carpets, skirting boards and exterior all help to impress this opinion.

Kerb appeal

When you are selling a house, first you have to get people in the door for viewings. Even in this day and age of online information, people still do "drive bys" to get the feeling of a house and where it sits in the neighbourhood. Improving the kerb appeal of the house by making sure the outside is clean and tidy, grass is mowed and borders weeded, is a great way of making the house look welcoming and increasing the percentage of drive bys that turn into viewings. As a buyer you should also notice that houses for sale have pots of flowers or plants outside the door (even in the dead of winter) which is again to improve the kerb appeal.

Update the decor

Clever sellers know that they need to appeal to the widest range of buyers. They may repaint parts of the house into more neutral colours or change carpets to more calming shades. They understand that a house doesn’t want to be a completely blank canvas, but that buyers do want to be able to picture themselves there and imagine it with their stamp on the house. Again, updates will be made to the house that would be maintenance issues for future buyers, such as fence repairs, external woodwork painting, paving problems or faulty lighting. This once more is designed to appeal to buyers who don’t want to do a lot of work on a place when they move in, either through lack of budget or lack of skills.

De-personalise

An important facet of selling a house, as has already been touched on is that the house should feel to a buyer like they can see themselves there. Canny sellers de-personalise their homes, removing personal items like photographs and esoteric collector’s items so that it is a more neutral space and easier for a buyer to picture their own items in the house. They will also generally de-clutter so that there are fewer items around the house for buyers to fix on.

Add On Fittings

Another quite subtle trick is to exclude things from the sale and add them in later (for an increase in asking price) e.g. semi built in wardrobes, slide in cookers etc. When going through a house you can’t assume that items will be left behind, so read the details carefully to work out what is included and excluded. As a buyer look at items that you might want in the house and be prepared to offer slightly more if the items are left behind. Don’t be afraid to ask about semi built in items that fit in well. The seller may well like the improved offer in exchange for not moving items.

Jenny L. Wright is a freelance writer, writing about a range of real estate subjects. She is currently writing for Estate Agents Waterlooville and Rowlands Castle.

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