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We are ren­o­vat­ing our house and are con­scious of re­sale. Should ev­ery­thing be in neu­tral colours?

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Tracey Strange

Keep it sim­ple

The rea­son real es­tate ex­perts claim neu­tral colours — white, taupe, cream — work best when selling is that a less colour­ful pal­ette bet­ter al­lows buy­ers to pic­ture them­selves and their fur­ni­ture in their prospec­tive new home. But most peo­ple buy houses for lo­ca­tion and price first and only then look to dec­o­ra­tion. Just a few will re­ject a prop­erty be­cause a bed­room is painted or­ange. They might, how­ever, turn away if the en­tire kitchen, cab­i­netry and all, glows like the sun. Kitchens and bath­rooms are ex­pen­sive to re­place and un­less you in­tend to stay in your home for decades, it’s sen­si­ble to keep them neu­tral if only to max­imise re­sale.

But the rest of the house is fair game. How you dec­o­rate re­flects you and how you live. And if you do need to sell — non-neu­tral walls and all — here are a few sug­ges­tions on how to max­imise the value.

De­clut­ter. De­clut­ter does mean de­clut­ter. Hire a large stor­age unit short-term and use it to store ev­ery­thing you don’t need for three to six months. Panini-maker? Off to stor­age. Out-of-sea­son clothes, ditto. Toys, tools and out­dated tech­nol­ogy ... hide them away un­til you move. Strip the house right back. When a prospec­tive buyer opens a cup­board, he or she should be fo­cus­ing on how much stor­age space there is, not how much stuff you have.

Spring clean. Com­plete all those un­fin­ished jobs. Sham­poo the car­pets. Add some flow­ers and plants. If the house looks well loved, buy­ers are less likely to be anx­ious there’s any­thing wrong with it.

De­fine use. The way you live in your home might not be the way oth­ers will. If you’ve turned a third bed­room into an of­fice, you run the risk of buy­ers see­ing the house as two-bed­roomed, not three. Ditch the study and re­turn the room to its orig­i­nal func­tion. Hire ex­tra beds and fur­ni­ture from stag­ing com­pa­nies.

Ac­cen­tu­ate the house’s ar­chi­tec­tural best bits. A great view is a draw­card, but if the room is messy or the win­dows grubby, buy­ers are less likely to be im­pressed. Don’t let un­tidi­ness be a dis­trac­tion.

De-per­son­alise. You don’t have to store away your favourite ob­jects but do be ob­jec­tive about fam­ily pho­tos and knick-knacks. Selling a house is hard enough with­out you feel­ing ex­posed. De­tach­ing your­self from your home will also make it eas­ier to deal with any of the “feed­back” you don’t want to hear.

Paint­ing ev­ery­thing white isn’t nec­es­sary when selling a house but de­clut­ter­ing def­i­nitely is. Pare back rooms to es­sen­tials and en­sure their use is de­fined ap­pro­pri­ately. A touch of luxe in the form of a beau­ti­fully made bed doesn’t hurt ei­ther.

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