10 tips to make sure your home stands out to buyers

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

Property sellers tend to have one thing in common: they want to sell their homes as quickly as possible. Buyers, on the other hand, won’t rush the process. So if you are a seller, eager to part ways with your property, how do you make sure that buyers a) find you and b) fall for you?

Crispin Inglis, co-founder and CEO of Property Fox, South Africa’s customer-focussed online selling company, says that understanding how a buyer shops for a home is key. “Luckily a lot of research has been done into this around the world. We waded through some of the stranger research findings – for example that in the UK if you live at number 13 you are likely to sell for a whopping R110 000 less than numbers 12 or 14 – and found some very useful tips.”

Property Fox combined these with their own experiences and came up with 10 top tips for helping seller grab a buyer’s attention in the best possible way:

Package your property for exceptional digital curb appeal

Buyers are online – in fact 80% of buyers conduct online research into median housing prices and value trends in an area, before they even contact an agent. So the way your home is ‘wrapped’ digital’ is critical. When selecting an agent or online selling company look at how they treat the digital marketing process and choose one that makes its properties easy to find and very attractive.

Insist on fabulous photos

When you are selling, professionally shot photographs will showcase your home best and are likely to send a lot more prospective buyers your way. So work with a company that uses professional photographers to capture your property – a blurry smartphone pic of a corner of the shower is never going to do your home any favours… 

Choose an agent that offers digital tours

To further increase the appeal of your digital package, make sure a video tour of your home is filmed.  Video gives good insight into a home’s layout, flow and atmosphere.

Highlight the amenities in your area

Especially in South Africa, where many people are jostling to be part of specific school zones, the area you live in can really help your home sell. Be sure to highlight the special aspects of your neighbourhood to the company selling your home.

Internet connectivity is key

The Absa Homeowner Insights report shows that many millennials prize fibre over pools, making ‘fibrehoods’ an upwards property trend. Even if you don’t have fibre in your property, investigate whether it is available in your neighbourhood, or set to be installed soon - and include this as part of the online description.

Natural light sells homes

There is no recorded evidence of a South African buyer requesting a dark home – living in a house with natural light is a shared need for us all. If your house is slightly dark, trim back plants, open curtains and blinds and lighten up furnishings. Even consider repainting walls and cupboards to white to lighten up the environment.

A neutral palette

Buyers can struggle to picture themselves in a home if the décor is very bright. Brightly coloured walls and tiles in particular can be off-putting - so if you’re looking to sell, it’s worth repainting in neutral shades. It may be a financial outlay in the short-term, but this will very likely be made up by the speed of the sale.


Minimalism has modern aesthetic appeal and, again, it helps people picture themselves in the home. As much as you love your granny’s porcelain dolls, pack them away safely until you move on.

Zero tolerance for mess

A messy or even dirty home is incredibly off-putting.  UK realtor Rightmove found that dirty kitchens and bathrooms were the biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers. Clean your place very well and pay careful attention to things you don’t really see anymore, like mouldy tile grouting and flaking wallpaper. A viewer who sees mess online is less likely to trust that the home has been well maintained structurally.

If you have a view, make the most of it

After equipping house buyers with eye-tracking goggles, Viledafound that 95% of buyers made a beeline to check out the view. A view doesn’t need to be the sea or mountain, it can also be your garden or courtyard. Getting these into great shape before you begin the selling process can be a powerful sales tool.

While you may still receive some unusual requests – like whether your lovely ginger cat can be thrown in with the sale – following these 10 steps should help position you well for most prospective buyers.

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