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The best thing to do when selling a house

Stylist Melita Bruvelis has some tips for vendors. Images: MBM Styling Co.
Stylist Melita Bruvelis has some tips for vendors. Images: MBM Styling Co.

Open houses are places of hopes, dreams and cheeky sneak-peeks inside other people’s lives. But for vendors who don’t bother cleaning up, they can also be a missed opportunity.

The single best thing homeowners can do when trying to sell a house is a simple clean and declutter, creative director of MBM Styling Co. Melita Bruvelis told Yahoo Finance.

“Seeing everyone’s stuff everywhere is never a good thing,” she said. “People want to be able to understand the property and the space there is.”

The next step to improving an open house on a budget is to just open the house up: light rooms always feel bigger and more comfortable.

“Lots of natural light [is great]. Let as much natural light in as possible,” she said.

“If you have dark spaces, use lots of lamp light and make sure that you’re using warm light globes over cool.”

The same goes for dark furniture: if you have a dark or bold-coloured lounge, throw some lighter cushions on it to brighten the space. And, if you can, add in small pops of colour.

“Little pops of colour are always good, but not too much colour saturation.”

And if you’re on a really limited budget, one of the best things to do is to focus on the areas that are going to be photographed.

That generally includes the master bedroom, the living room and the external parts of your house.

“People are going to see that online, and that’s what people are going to be attracted to to come and look at the property… so put your budget there.”

What to ditch

On top of the clutter, Bruvelis says there are two things vendors should be wary of when trying to sell their home: personal photos and art.

“Anything that is stark or shocking, I would take away,” she said.

“Lots of personal photos are a big no-no for having your home opened because people just get interested in looking at who lives in the house, rather than imagining themselves living there.”

Artwork can also be jarring, so it’s a good idea to keep any artwork as neutral as possible.

“Basically, you’re just trying to make it appeal to as wide a market as possible, so think neutral, simple. Don’t overcook it.”

What difference can it make?

While steps like adding throw cushions and lamps can be done on a small budget, those who have a bit more cash to splash could consider hiring a professional stylist.

At Bruvelis’ company, one bedroom styling packages cost around $3,300, which includes furniture hire, delivery and collection fees, insurance and styling.

Bruvelis recently worked on an old two bedroom property in Gladesville. After a fresh coat of paint and carpet, both in light colours, a professional stylist and good agent, the sellers were already receiving offers of more than $100,000 over ask.

And this is standard: anything from $50,000 to $150,000 over ask is normal after using a stylist, Bruvelis said.

The trick is that stylists know how to help buyers understand the functionality of the space: what things fit, how places work and what it could be like to live in that house.

“If you’re putting only $10,000 investment into updating the place to sell and you can potentially get $50,000 to $150,000 out of it, it’s definitely money worth spent,” she said.

“Even just styling - good styling will detract from daggy paint colours and carpet, so it’s definitely worth investing.”

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Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club
Yahoo Finance Breakfast Club