‘It’s sold! Your first property investment has turned out to be a winner!’ Drumbells, champagne and a bit of wannabe-Beyonce dancing was definitely needed. Now, granted, I know not a whole lot of careergirls at the age of 26 out there are able to buy, and sell their first property. The mortgage system in Sweden is a lot ‘easier’ than in other parts of the world and I am aware of this. But whether you’re renting, owning, living with friends or in the process of buying your first property, I thought to hand out some first-hand experience tips from this newbie seller.
First and foremost, your apartment or house should be a place to live. However, be sure it will not only be a good place to come home to, also make sure to check out the market and future markettrends to see whether your property could potentially turn out to be a comfy pillow in the bank later-on. Cause when it’s time to sell, it’s really time to sell it.
- Most properties won’t sell themselves (don’t trust realtors telling you otherwise). Sure if you’re owning in Central Stockholm, Amsterdam or Tokyo, your chances of an easy sell are higher due to housingbooms. But make sure to at least have the idea of putting in some effort into your sale. Effort equals returns.
- You’re not selling the square meters. You’re selling the feeling. Styling is everything. This is where Swedes are greatly raising the bar for sellers all around the world. Ever heard of Fantastik Frank? For a few thousand dollars they come and style your house before they put it on the market. Granted it’s a lot of money, money that I’m not willing to invest in a stylist, but their Return On Investment is skyrocketing. I feel especially Dutch people are quite bad at house photography and styling for Funda.nl. That property-ad you’re putting out there is everything! Hire a good photographer.
- Take on a neutral palate for your place. Orange pillows? pink curtains? let’s take those away shall we. People need to be able to envision their own design in your place. Colours mainly clutter that. So go for an easy-on-the-eyes look.
- Lighting. Perhaps lighting should come in first. Lighting is KEY. it creates the entire ambiance.
- Clean your kitchen and bathroom, end if needed: fix it up. Those are the main rooms buyers will look at. Everything else (floors;walls;wallpaper) is easily replaceable or renovated. But kitchens and bathrooms often need a big sum of money to renovate. If you happen to have one of those plastic mats in your bathroom instead of tiles (like I had), you can paint it over with special floorpaint in a simple white or grey: instant upgrade. Make sure the kitchen and bathroom are cleaned to the brim: Every corner, every nook, shine your sink, redo your cabinets, align your towels. Hygienic = comfortable living.
- Take away all your personal pictures. Take away all dishes, cups, pots, pans, ‘stuff’. Decrease the amount of clutter and furniture. Up to the extreme of: styling out/away your kids’ room(s). Even though you might not see it, it can still be messy.
- Check if you can redo the lining in the bathroom. Shining bright white sealing is much better than 2 year old ‘yellow’ sealing. The only thing you need is one of those tubes, an hour or two and a steady hand. If you do have dirty old mould and grout taking over, even just a little, clean it out like a maniac.
- You might find your leather dining chairs a-maaa-zing. Chances are most people, including me, find them rather ugly. Swap ‘m out for ‘generic’ ones. Same accounts for rugs. Make sure to send yours either to the drycleaner’s, or swap it out for a fresh ones.
- If you’re a smoker: paint everything! all the walls and ceilings, swap out any any fabrics (curtains, chairs, linen) for fresh ones. You can get simple IKEA ones, or might be able to borrow from friends. Keep your windows open daily for a month before your viewing. You might think I’m overboard here, but no-one want to buy a smokers house, not even a smoker. You might think the smell isn’t so bad. IT IS!
- Add some flowers. No explanation needed.
- As with the kitchen and bathroom: rinse your cabinets. People pull closets open out of curiosity. And guess what: who wouldn’t want to have in a perfectly colour coordinated wardrobe
- Put cinnamon in the oven for about an 20 minutes on 150 degrees before your viewing. You’re kitchen will smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns or cookies. No one can resist that feeling!
Those were some of my personal tips. I think cleaning and fixing walls are definitely no-brainers, but best to repeat than to forget. Often real estate agents will give you the advice of putting out 10 lemons in a vase. Well, I don’t really buy that bullsh*t, but think for yourself if there’s something you can add; candles, fresh herbs, flowers. Or perhaps you have more tips on making a place sell-ready?