Advice and Opinion

Staging your home for sale in a competitive market

Estate Agency generic

“It’s a very competitive market out there,” says Grant Rea, Certified Residential Specialist at RE/MAX Living, whose office services the Cape Town CBD and surrounds. “If you are considering selling your home you need to make sure it competes favourably with other homes on the market,” he adds.

Rea notes that that one way that sellers can make their home stand out in the minds of buyers is by staging the home. “There are many ways to improve the first impression created by your home. You will not be sorry if you spruce up your home before selling because it will give you an advantage over sellers who have not taken the time to do this,” he advises.

The trick is to consider what most buyers are hunting for and to give them exactly that. Of course, you may want to go the route of appointing a professional decorator, but few of us will want to go to this expense. So here are some easy ways to add value and leave a lasting impression:

The kitchen and bathrooms

Often referred to as the heart of the home, an updated kitchen will spark buyer’s interest. Old kitchen cupboard doors can be replaced with new ones. If the existing framework of the cabinetry is used, the entire kitchen will look brand new at a fraction of the cost a completely new kitchen would cost. Ensure grout in tiles is clean and presentable, this can be easily cleaned with detergents. In bathrooms, if you happen to have outdated, oddly coloured sanitary ware and tiles, these can easily be improved by re-enameling in more neutral colours. Do it yourself or call one of the numerous companies who can this for you. It’s surprisingly inexpensive, but make sure you shop around. These companies offer a guarantee as well. Spruce up your bathroom with a couple of cleverly placed accessories.


Dark rooms can be extremely off-putting to buyers, so create a light, natural and airy impression. In older homes using creative lighting is a good bet. Advances in skylights also allow you to harness natural sunlight via a ceiling installation.


Experts claim that a garden can add around 17% to the value of property. Many buyers are excited by the thought of having a garden. However, it needs to be well kept and maintained. Ensure that the lawns are trimmed and neat. Cut down vegetation that blocks out light from your home. Pebbled areas can be very effective in creating a modern and low maintenance garden, particularly in water scarce times – a garden that needs minimal water would be an attraction for many buyers.


Clutter is the enemy when it comes to selling, so pack away as many personal items and unnecessary trinkets as possible. Use stylish storage baskets for items lying around or pack them away completely.


Security is a big consideration for the majority of South African home buyers. It is money well-spent to have a security consultant highlight the more vulnerable aspects of your home and make the best and cost effective suggestions to upgrade your security. Perimeter control measures are particularly popular these days without being too unsightly.


Ensure that the home smells great when buyers enter. While you may love your dog, bad odours caused by pets could cost you the sale. The same goes for smoking or anything else that could cause the home to smell bad – eliminate odours or you may eliminate a good buyer.

Rea provides a few quick fire pointers for sellers to consider:

Buyers don’t like:                                                                            

  • Poorly done DIY jobs.
  • Foul smells.
  • General untidiness and clutter.
  • Unruly pets.
  • Too much furniture.
  • Very bright and loud colours.
  • Dark, boxed-in spaces.
  • Very labour intensive gardens that require major watering

Buyers like:

  • Bright open spaces.
  • White, natural bathrooms.
  • Off-street parking.
  • Neat, tidy gardens.
  • Wooden floors, natural and plain carpeting.
  • Neat and clean kitchens.
  • Plain tiling.
  • Secure environments.
  • Grey water systems and energy efficient environments

“Remember the first impression is vital. Act like a buyer and look at the home as objectively as possible. Also get close friends and family to give a brutally honest opinion from your front gate to the back garden. You only have a few critical seconds to make that wow impression on a buyer,” Rea concludes.