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Selling your residential property: make that all-important first impression count

This five-bed home in Serengeti Golf Estate in Kempton Park is on the market through Pam Golding Properties for R9,5-million.


Whether you are moving on to a larger property to accommodate your growing family or wanting to buy a more manageable property, it is likely that you will need to place your home on the residential property market at one point or another. Considering that a home is such a significant investment, it follows that you will also want to obtain the best possible return on your investment while selling the home as quickly as possible.

Veshad Pooran, manager of the Pam Golding Properties Johannesburg East office, says that the property market in Gauteng at present favours the seller and now is a good time to place your property on the market. He notes that the residential property market has enjoyed ongoing growth with prices rising by an average 4.6% over each of the past five years. Pooran points out that residential property prices in Gauteng have marginally outperformed the national average, with average annual increases of around 5.3% recorded during the same period.

“Certain residential areas of the country are performing better than others so it is always a good idea to do some research on your local property market before putting your home on sale,” advises Pooran, whose branch covers the Boksburg, Benoni, Brakpan and Kempton Park areas. “Sellers may consider developing a relationship with a trusted property professional who knows their area. They will assist the seller to get a feel for the local market, and advise on how the best possible return on investment can be achieved.”

Pooran points out that regularly maintaining and, if necessary, upgrading your property can assist in ensuring that you achieve value when selling. With a little thought and planning before show day, you can also do a lot to make your home more appealing to a potential buyer and greatly improve your chances of making a quick, seamless sale.

“Impression, impression, impression!” emphasises Pooran. “It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make a good first impression on the potential buyer. Properties represent a considerable investment and buyers will only purchase a house that meets their needs, and that they are able to identify with emotionally as a potential ‘home’.”

“You do not want to lose out on an opportunity of making a sale of what is very likely your largest personal asset as a result of overlooking a few minor faults that may create a bad impression,” he adds. “Chips and cracks in the paintwork or something as simple as marked walls could give the buyer the impression that the home needs more work done to it than it actually does. Buyers today are on the lookout for value and do not want to have to spend their time or cash on repairs.”

Doing a little work to correct any flaws and improve the appearance of the property on show day is therefore well worth the effort, maintains Pooran. If the house or garden requires repair, you should seriously consider whether you can factor the costs of these enhancements into your asking price.

Security is also important to many South Africans and for this reason it is well worthwhile to ensure that the alarm, electric fence and garden beams are all in good working order. If your security is flawed, you may consider whether improving it will enhance the value of your property.

“For a potential buyer having to do repairs on cracks in the walls, chipped paint, damp, cracked windows and damaged baths or fittings can be off-putting. A coat of paint or simply cleaning walls can make a world of difference to the appearance of a home.”

“Simple basics like ensuring that the property is well lit, bright and sunny and painted in neutral tones can assist in creating a good first impression,” suggests Luthuli. “It is well worth creating a fresh, blank canvas so that new buyers are able to easily envisage their furniture in your tasteful space and see themselves living in your home. One step you can take to achieve this, as well as improve the appearance of your home, is to remove unnecessary clutter to maintain a clean and tidy show home. Uncluttered spaces tend to appear more spacious and bright.”

However, when styling your home for sale, take care not to overdo it and in the process take away the warmth or distinctiveness of the home. Tasteful personal stylings and interior designs can also create a unique sense of style that some buyers will appreciate.

“Your garden is also important to prepare ahead of a show day. This should be mowed, weeded, landscaped and kept immaculate. Don’t forget to pay some attention to your verge, the area in front of your home, as this is the first part of your property to be seen and creates that first impression.”

Luthuli also advises sellers to make their front entrances, patios and verandas as attractive and presentable as possible and to ensure that all creepers are cut back. Swimming pools should be well maintained and crystal clear.

And finally, be sure to choose an experienced and trusted agency to assist you with the selling of your home. They should be able to provide advice on how you can best prepare your home for sale. It is also important that they know your area, can market your property appropriately and can assist you through every step of the transaction, notes Luthuli.