Three ways to take advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to prepare your house for sale



Selling a house amid the coronavirus lockdown comes with some extra complications, but it’s not impossible.


Agents have adapted quickly to operate within the current legislation by offering private viewings. The most serious buyers are attending inspections and agents have more time to spend time with each potential buyer.


While the latest restrictions might mean some vendors put their plans on hold, other home owners don’t have the luxury of time.


Neville Katz, of Katz Vendor Advocates, has some clients who have to sell now including those who recently bought a new home and need to sell their old one, as well as separating couples and deceased estates. “People should just persevere trying to sell if they can get a reasonable price,” he said.


PS Property Advisory director and QLD spokesperson of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia Scott McGeever says, even under normal circumstances, many vendors decide to sell without adequately preparing their home.


“If you are a seller you want to make sure your property is absolutely tip-top,” he said. “You can take advantage of going on the market as soon as things pick up.”


Preparing a home for sale can take some time, which many home owners now have in abundance.


Here’s how sellers should be making use of the lockdown to get their ducks in a row.


Prioritise presentation


Katz says presentation is always important, but for vendors looking to sell in the current market, it’s critical. “In a booming market you might get away with not the best presentation, but if your property is going to stand out now it has to be schmick,” he said.


Consider all the elements that will have an instant cosmetic effect in your makeover. The most effective updates include:

  • A deep thorough clean
  • Decluttering and depersonalising
  • Gardening or landscaping
  • Repainting the facade and fences
  • Repainting interior walls and ceilings


Handy home owners may take on some tasks themselves, while bigger projects or specialist jobs can be handled by tradies, who are still operating.


Katz says vendors should consider having the property professionally styled. “Get some good advice to make sure your house is as presentable and as enticing as it possibly can be,” he said.


Arrange a building and pest inspection


The prospective buyer usually arranges a building and pest report if they are serious about buying a property.


However, it may be to a vendor’s advantage to have the building professionally inspected to uncover any potential problems that can’t be seen.


McGeever advises sellers to put themselves in a better position by addressing any repairs before putting the property on the market. “By doing the building and pest inspection in the first instance, they can fix all those things in the property, so when the time comes to sell … they can show that all those things have been rectified,” he said.


If the property is no longer going to auction, having an inspection done minimises the chance of problems coming up in the cooling-off period, when buyers would normally arrange inspections. Instead, buyers will have more peace of mind, potentially putting the vendor ahead of the curve by removing a barrier to purchase.


Be smart with online marketing 


While always an important element of reaching potential buyers, McGeever believes the quality of online marketing materials will be crucial from this point forward as it will be the main way buyers evaluate a property.


“Going to physically inspect a property will be just a bit of a check method,” McGeever said.


Quality property photography, floor plans, videos and virtual walkthroughs, as well as online inspections, will help properties stand out from the crowd and will be key to getting buyers to take that next step of requesting a private inspection. 


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