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The old adage, ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression’ certainly applies when selling a home, so it definitely pays to make the extra effort to up appearances


It takes a person on average no more than 10 seconds to make up their minds about whether they want to buy a property or not, which is not much time to kick-start the imagination when walking into an empty home that’s too sterile to stimulate real interest.

When prospective buyers view a property, there are many factors they take into consideration, but few are as important as whether or not it resonates with them and “feels” like home.

“Ultimately, people don’t just buy a house, they buy a home and a lifestyle,” says Steve Thomas, secure estate specialist, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, “and it’s therefore essential that when they view a home, they can imagine themselves living in the space.”

For most of us, however, it’s hard to make that critical emotional connection when the property is empty and devoid of all signs of family life, especially if a few maintenance issues have been neglected as they will be more obvious in the emptiness than in a warm, furnished family home.

“You don’t need a fully furnished home to create some atmosphere and ignite a buyer’s imagination. There are smaller, inexpensive staging tricks that will make a home seem more inviting than soulless – you just need to pay attention to detail and add a few props to transform an empty shell into a potential home,” Thomas says.


Leave the utilities on

Having lights on, especially in darker areas and rooms, will add warmth to the property and, on a practical level, potential buyers will want to check that light switches, taps and fitted appliances are working.

Mind the kerb appeal

It’s easy to let the lawn and house exterior get unkempt if you’re not there every day to notice it, but the garden and exterior of your home are the first things a buyer sees and therefore create that all-important first impression.

In addition to keeping the lawn mown and shrubs and bushes trimmed, you can also stage the exterior of your home with a few simple upgrades like a fresh coat of paint on the front door, a pot plant or two, a new welcome mat and new house numbers.

Strategically placed rugs

These will help to define spaces and add a splash of colour. Ensure that the size of the rug you put down is proportionate to the size of the space.

Neutral walls

Boldly coloured rooms are off-putting to many people, so a fresh coat of neutral paint will be a lot more inviting and viewers will also be easier able to imagine their own photos and art on the walls.


Small tables and lamp accessories

These create warmth and help to define a space, show buyers how a room is intended to be used without blowing your budget.


Well-placed mirrors will brighten and lighten a room. When placed strategically, light bounces off them, reflecting around the room and making everything feel that much more open and spacious.

Bling the bathroom

The cold, hard surfaces of a bathroom are softened with a few simple and inexpensive additions like neatly folded fluffy towels, quality hand soap and lotion and a pretty shower curtain.


Kitchen savvy

Arrange a couple of accessories on the kitchen countertop to show off counter space and help the viewer imagine creating family meals in the space. A bowl of fruit will add a touch of colour.

Blooming colourful

A vase or two of fresh, sweetly scented flowers, especially at the entrance, will add colour and make the home seem more inviting.

Ensure all necessary small repairs are completed

Take care of scuffs on walls, replace missing light bulbs and fill wall cracks. Don’t allow prospective buyers to start wondering what else could be wrong with the property by neglecting to do small, inexpensive repairs.


Take high-quality pictures

You cannot afford to skimp on photo quality to show the property at its absolute best. A listing with high-quality photos will always capture more interest and should lead to more showings.

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