Improving your home’s appeal

  • Property
  • Saturday, 21 Feb 2015

WITH the current property market slowdown, selling your property to an eager buyer might not be as easy as it was before, but it is not impossible.

In light of the current market situation, improving the marketability or appeal of your home is vital. Here are some ways to do it, without breaking the bank.

All about cosmetics

It’s no surprise that a home that looks well-maintained would be more appealing than one that appears dilapidated.

SK Brothers Realty Sdn Bhd general manager Chan Ai Cheng says keeping your home neat and clean is the easiest way to improve its appeal.

“When it’s messy and dirty, it gives the impression that it’s not being taken care of. This could actually end up affecting its resale value.”

Sometimes, even having an old, beat-up vehicle that’s rotting away in your porch could have a negative impact, says Chan.

“If there’s a rusty car that’s not been driven in ages in your driveway, it might not bring down the property’s value, but it won’t improve it either.

“Potential buyers want to have an impression that the property is being looked after well,” she says.

Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president Siva Shanker concurs that when it comes to improving the look of your home, much depends on cosmetics.

“Before deciding to sell, you need to try and imagine what the buyer wants,” he says.

Fix it now

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint or fixing a leaky roof or tap would make all the difference, Siva adds.

“In other parts of the world, buyers tend to fix up the place before putting it up for sale. But unfortunately, it’s not the case in Malaysia for a lot of sellers.

“People who are looking to rent only wait until they get a tenant before deciding to fix up the place. But when a potential tenant comes and looks at the place and sees the condition of the property, they will be deterred more than anything else!”

Siva reiterates that it’s the little things that make all the difference.

“Get your house done up. Sometimes, the repairs might be minimal and won’t even cost much.”

Be creative

According to Forbes in “10 Cheap Ways To Increase Home Value,” a cheap way to increase your home’s value is to “invent” a room rather than add one.

“Main-floor master bedrooms, baby nurseries and crafting rooms are desirable, but many homes don’t have them. If you have a den, attic, or bonus room, decorate it ... your realtor can tell you what clients in the area are looking for.”

Forbes adds that having more space or storage is something that buyers are always looking for.

“Buyers want storage and sellers need homes that look open, organised and spacious.

“Even a basic wire-rack closet system will make a basic closet look like an efficient storage space – and adding a freestanding wardrobe to a room that lacks a closet, such as a den, allows you to present it as a nursery or guest room.”

Upgrade the landscape

For those living on landed property, sprucing up the backyard can help make that difference. Says Chan, “Small add-ons to the landscaping like adding a gazebo can make it more appealing.”

According to US-based home-customisation expert Elite Craft Homes, by creating a backyard space that is perfect for entertaining, you’re helping potential buyers visualise all the good times they could have if the space was theirs.

“Improving your backyard area doesn’t have to be overly expensive or a major undertaking. By simply adding some new patio furniture, a fire bowl, potted plants and exterior lighting, your space becomes inviting and ready for guests.

“Don’t forget the importance of a well-manicured lawn and garden area too.”

The market determines its value

Siva points out that while making tiny amendments to your home can help improve its appeal, at the end of the day, it’s the market that determines the value of the property.

“There’s so much that an individual can do to improve the property’s value. That’s determined by the market. To use an analogy, replacing your car’s audio system with an RM5,000 one doesn’t make your car RM5,000 more expensive.

“So, there is actually very little that a buyer can do to move the price upwards.”

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