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Styled To Sell: The Vendor’s Guide For Getting A Great Price

By Holly Sprott

Here are 7 expert styling tips to secure a better sale by Saturday!

“Be ruthless in your cleaning, culling and neutralizing,” advises Sam Scally, Co-founder of Scally Duggan Styling – a Melbourne-based interior styling duo specializing in pre-sale projects. “We have seen the results of excellent preparation for sale securing our clients in excess of 20-30% their asking price,” she says. “Preparing a home for sale correctly really is the best example of how hard work pays off in the end.”

1. Be Your Own Biggest Critic
Although you may have been living in your home for a lengthy period of time, try and see it with fresh eyes. “Make a checklist of all repairs needed, room-by-room,” suggests Sam, “and be critical.” For example, you may have been able to live with the cracked window or wobbly door handle for years, but this sore spot could sour a buyer’s first impression of your interiors. “Check the condition of walls, door hinges, and chips or cracks to fixtures, replace light bulbs and clean light fittings too,” Sam adds.

2. Be Prepared To Invest
Re-polishing the floors or repainting and wallpapering the walls may seem like a major pain in the hip pocket, but think big picture advises S.D.S Co-Founder, Penny Duggan. “This initial outlay will remunerate itself – and then some,” she says. “It’s all about creating a clear, as-good-as-new canvas any potential buyer can visualize themselves working with.”

3. Cull + Cleanse

“Check hard rubbish collection, book a skip or rent some storage space to get rid of excess furniture you won’t be taking to your next address,” Penny says. “Go through room-by-room and start to cull, leaving no stone – or wonky, unwanted stool –  unturned,” she says. Although this may sound extreme, it will make each room seem bigger, more welcoming and malleable for potential owners to work with.

4. Look Deeper
Once you have removed unwanted furniture from sight, go one step further and cull the content of cupboards, the fridge and pantries too. “You would be amazed at how many people revel in opening up cupboards and scrutinizing storage space,” Penny points out. Ensure each internal cavity only contains a small display of what is appropriate for that particular space.  “We all know that it’s almost impossible to live this way day-to-day, but the potential buyer would like to imagine they can and this will add to the seduction of the house,” she says. “If it works for IKEA, it can work for you!”

5. Erase Yourself
“Eliminate any trace of you or your family from the home, whilst still keeping it welcoming,” Sam advises. “The potential buyer is only interested in visualizing themselves in your space, and although you may think little Johnny’s finger painting looks adorable on the living room wall, this only creates a disconnect with the buyer if they don’t share your sentimentality”. Store away personal photographs cluttered pin-boards, trophy and doll collections and bedside reading material and introduce warmth via generic items such as flowers, plants, scented candles and an uplifting quote or two on the fridge. “Kitchens and bathroomscreate the most emotional connection within a home, so ensure these are the most thought through rooms when it comes to creating a beautiful palette,” Penny adds.

6. Straighten Up
This is the simplest – and most important – final step encourages Sam. “We always encourage our vendor clients to ‘tap’ everything in each room to ensure they are all lined up, straight and symmetrical.” This includes straightening the sofa, chairs, rugs, books, visible kitchen bench-top items and group ornaments. “Straighten upbed covers and pillows; open curtains and straighten their hang,” Penny adds. “Extreme? Maybe! Effective? Very!!”

7. Check It. Twice
Before an Open For Inspection, you need to go over everything twice, Sam and Penny note. This may seem painstaking, but when you think that it may be worth tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not so hard. Better yet, get the kids to chip in and knock a few chores off for the week!

– Sweep paths and the front door entrance: “The outdoor area is the first impression when setting foot on your property so keep it as clean as the interior,” Sam says.
– Clean toilets, dust bench tops and clean all light switches and doorknobs.
– Light scented candles, put on floor lights and change flowers to create an emotional atmosphere.
– Freshen up hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom, empty the dishwasher and display items in the fridge and pantry facing forward to really impress all the sticky beaks!

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