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How to make your house appeal to buyers – furnished or empty

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When selling your home, should you show it “as is”, with all your furniture and belongings in place, or wait until it is empty?

According to Gerhard Kotzé, managing director of the RealNet estate agency group, buyers react better to homes that are furnished as it helps potential buyers visualise living there.

“In an empty home , they often have trouble making sense of the layout, or working out whether their furniture and appliances will fit into certain spaces.

A home that has been empty for some time could also come across as neglected and cold, and an overgrown garden, dusty floors and dirty windows add to that impression.”

This is why developers will often go to the expense of furnishing a show unit when launching a new development, he says.

“Even if the furniture in the showhouse is not what potential buyers like, it gives them a feel for what goes where and whether the size and layout of the units would suit them.”

However, homeowners will sometimes find themselves having to sell an empty property, possibly after a tenant has moved out. Kotzé offers the following tips for giving it appeal to prospective buyers: Give the property a thorough clean.

“You may also want to hire professionals to steam-clean carpets and wash all windows and it is never a bad idea to fill in any picture nail scars on the walls and paint the whole interior in one neutral shade.

“If you live elsewhere and are unable to work on your property yourself, a professional estate agent should be able to recommend reliable and wellpriced contractors, and may even be prepared to manage the process on your behalf.” Homeowners will also need to deal with the dwelling’s exterior.

“It’s worth hiring a gardener or garden service to keep the lawn cut and the leaves raked up while the property is empty, particularly just before show days and weekends,” Kotzé says.

If there is a pool, it should be cleaned and maintained regularly. “Examine the front of the house to see if it also needs sprucing-up. A loose gutter or a faded roof could cost you a sale, but fresh paint and varnish says ‘This home is ready for you’ to potential buyers,” he says.

Air the house for a few hours before anyone views it.

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