Written by Vicki Holder
With his skilled eye, he quickly recognises any of the negatives that detract from a home’s appeal and saleability.
“If you want to make money out of what is probably your biggest asset, then you have to spend it. I know how to add value,” he says.
“Selling can be stressful,” he adds. “We can make that process easier by minimising the negatives so homeowners can walk away from the deal feeling satisfied they have got the best price possible.”
As a practical handyman who has worked on superyachts in the Caribbean, Ian can lend his hand to most trades. But with high demand in the busy real estate season, he has gathered a supportive team of good tradies who he relies on to do any job well, no matter how big or small. Ian has his finger well and truly on the pulse with bright ideas when it comes to working out a solution for a homeowner’s problem.
“Gardens are possibly the last thing homeowners consider when putting their property on the market,” says Ian. “Often they are forgotten and become overgrown during the winter period. But they’re where you make the first impression.” So, it’s vital they look ship-shape as you go to market.
“We go in and give them a full clean and tidy so they look cared for.”
Ian starts every project by visiting the site to see what needs to be done, both inside and out. Before he enters, he takes note of what the house looks like from the road and checks what buyers will see as they arrive.
Homeowners have become so familiar with their home and neighbourhood, he says, they don’t notice the rumpty shed next door, or the sad rock boundary wall that’s crumbling away or the diseased box hedging in need of a serious spray and feed.
“You may not see it, but the buyers will,” he warns.
“I spend an hour or so with the client going through the whole house and I get to know their objectives. We discuss why they’re selling, their motivation, when the best time to sell will be and the timeframes we’re working to. Before we start, I help them understand the whole process and we discuss whether they’re going to stay or leave the property during the sales campaign.”
His ideal scenario is visiting several months prior to the homeowners putting their property on the market. Six months is not out of the ordinary. But if there’s more urgency, he can kick the process off more quickly.
“It takes time to put things in place and get the ball rolling. It’s quite a process. But it’s a personalised service, tailored to individual property owners’ needs. If you’re going to sell, it’s best to contact me early.
“I’m here to help people who are busy and time poor.""It’s about understanding your property and what it needs to get it market ready so people feel comfortable going to the market with their best foot forward. I make sure they start off the right way. I’m a great believer in getting the maximum price for a client.”
He often works with Ray White salespeople who are on the same page when it comes to getting a home beautifully updated and presented, ready for sale.
A typical outdoors project will involve general maintenance like pruning the trees and trimming shrubs. Ian lays new bark or wood chips and under-plants to create a lush effect in gardens.
“Often there is garden lighting to deal with, especially in the more high-end homes. We fix and make sure it’s all working. Then there are water features to get working as well.
“Usually tiles need cleaning after winter neglect. Sometimes they need re-grouting and re-levelling. It’s common for busy people to neglect their pathways. Often we lift and relay the tiles so they look like new.
“We spruce up lawns with weeding and feeding.""For an instant impression, we often lay artificial turf these days. It gives a whole new outdoor area that dries quickly in the rain. While it looks just like turf, it’s very easy to maintain, never gets any prickles and it doesn’t attract the bees.”
Ian’s team will wash and treat decks so they look fresh. If they’re really weathered, they may need to be completely rebuilt. And if there is no deck but the home’s indoor outdoor flow could be improved by adding one, then that’s no problem.
Grotty garden furniture that has been left to weather in the rain is removed. Ian’s exterior home staging service fills the gaps to make patios and courtyards inviting. Everything from the furniture to a range of planters, troughs, sculptures and water features are available for hire to complement the interior home staging - from simple entry level packages of two planters and a riot of colour for immediate impact to a complete package that gives a feeling of continuity throughout creating a beautiful serene environment.
“Every situation is different. My job is to go through the home, see what improvements can be made and to give the client options." "At the middle level - from $1m to $2m - it’s usually a quick tidy up. But at the exclusive multi-million dollar property end, it often involves a full re-landscape of the garden.”
It’s impossible to ascertain exactly how much value the service adds to a property when it sells. A video on the Market Ready website shows a property with a registered valuation of $670,000 before the makeover. After Ian had waved his magic wand for the makeover, the same property sold for $1,150,000.
Of course, there are no guarantees. But Market Ready makes it easy and stress-free for busy people to raise the bar on the level of presentation to eliminate any obstacles put up by buyers.