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Dress your home for success

Bringing houseplants into your life


Like many other players in the décor world, houseplants too are subject to trends. For those who like to keep their look upbeat, here are some need-to-know:





Yes, the fuddle leaf fig is waving goodbye – after a long run and many auspicious moments. In its place experts are predicting the rise of the weeping fig which with an elephant trunk, generous canopy and delicate leaves, take easily to make a grand statement as well as a miniature bonsai.







The foliage trend has seen a comeback in ferns, and with many of the species not minding the low light of typical indoor spaces, the playing fields are actually wide open  for inventiveness and creativity. From delicate maidenhair ferns and 70s style asparagus ferns to larger leafy numbers such as the birds nest and stag horn fern are having their time in the shade. There are plenty to choose from - The indigenous Blechum fern, the holly fern, variegated ribbon fern and Boston fern being just a few.





Big, bold and exuberant, the current tropical vibe will remain very much with us over the winter season and dramatic green features will include locals as the delicious monster and other philodendrons, banana tree, fern palm, rubber tree and other large and leafy numbers. Eye catching and dynamic, these are great for domestic and office use.



Air Purifiers


Power plants, as they are now being called, air purifiers are plants that are able to remove toxins from the air. While all indoor plants purify the air to some degree, some do it better than others. Particular status has been given to plants that have been found to remove harmful household toxins and helps decrease ones risks of cancers, asthma, allergies, auto-immune disorders and other diseases. The list includes aloe vera, English ivy, gerbera daisy, dragon tree, peace lily, bamboo palm, the umbrella tree and etc. Try suspending cascading ivy from a hanging planter, popping a Boston fern on a pedestal plant stand, adding a pop of colour with some gerbera or welcoming in calm with a peace lily.



TIP: Striking containers make houseplants stand out, so take the time to pair your plant with the perfect pot. Container rends include raw wood, earthenware and cork.


When home improvements go too far


It makes good financial sense to make improvements to your home that will add value – think bathrooms and kitchens. Gimmicky additions will have the opposite effect.


There are a number of good solid reasons why people choose to renovate their existing homes during an economic downturn as opposed to buying a new property. The big question is - will the proposed changes add value when it comes time to sell or could that heated swimming pool you thought would be a must-have for future buyers turn out to be the very reason you struggle to sell at a price you have had to inflate in order to recoup the money spent on its installation.





How you improve your home is of course your choice, and depends largely on your pocket. We scoured the web for some ideas and were amazed at some of the lengths people who live overseas will go to in order to enhance their homes. Developers have also joined the trend and, in an attempt to lure buyers, some offer an assortment of previously unheard of amenities.


Want to keep the children amused? A development in Miami in the US offers an ice rink, a surfing simulator, a football field, bowling alley, movie theatre and a Formula One racing simulator. Someone has to pay for all of this, which shouldn’t be a problem in this particular complex which also offers a Wall Street Trader’s Clubroom. A development on Staten Island in New York is the ideal spot for those who truly want to embrace the idea of community living. It includes a 4 000 plus square metre urban farm, a communal gourmet kitchen and every bee-keeper’s dream - an apiary on the roof. There is a resident chef who holds gourmet cooking classes and tastings and teaches the residents the art of preparing sushi.


Technology has revolutionised the world as far as security goes and although many homes and complexes in South Africa boast security features akin to those at Fort Knox, a development in Miami takes this to a whole new level. The measures there include facial recognition, biometric safes and for those who are concerned about hijackings, there is a fully automated robotic car parking system (with rapid retrieval time) available. Fossil fuels are so yesterday and to accommodate those who are doing their bit for the environment, there are Tesla charging stations in place for electric cars. Not everyone wants to share though and some have chosen to convert their private homes into virtual palaces. One home, situated in Washington, Utah boasts two movie theatres, a sports pub complete with suspended score boards, a two-lane bowling alley and a spiral slide to transport people between floors. The Las Vegas strip is famous for over the top designs and casinos in particular go to extraordinary lengths to attract customers. However, it’s not just business people who take outlandish routes and one home in this desert state features a full-on water park complete with a lazy river, sunken bar and a desert island.


The problem with extravagant additions to a home is that it restricts the number of potential buyers to not only those who can afford the property, but also to those who actually WANT to use these weird and wonderful options. Gimmicky additions also tend to become stale as time passes so while the allure of having an in-house movie theatre or your very own ice rink may initially appeal, the novelty soon wears off. In other words, these become white elephants which are seldom used. While few can afford to go to such extreme lengths to improve their homes, this doesn’t mean that some don’t make mistakes and end up over-capitalising. Our advice; research before you start in order to ensure that the renovations you have planned won’t only appeal to buyers but that you won’t be pricing your home out of the market by making improvements which inflate the value to far above that of other properties in your neighbourhood.


Making your home appealing to potential buyers


While every property has good points, most have aspects that would benefit from improvement. With a little thought and energy you can make the most of the good points and cover up the less appealing aspects. Presentation is everything and it’s often what sells the emotional appeal of a property.





The first impression is second to none


Your Harcourts consultant will organize some simple tips to help show your property off to its best advantage. Apart from the more obvious ones like making sure your garden, grounds and exterior are well-maintained it’s often the little things which can make a big difference. And first impressions count. Amazingly, it is estimated that over 50% of houses are sold even before the prospective buyers open your front door. The immediate ‘road appeal’ can have a huge visual and emotional impact and create a large influence on the way your property is perceived upon closer inspection.



The tips that follow are a few practical ways in which you can make an instant, positive impression


  • Ensure your pets are secured so that they won’t annoy visitors
  • Attend to any little maintenance jobs such as sticking doors or windows, dripping taps, etc
  • A general spring clean will freshen the look and the air
  • Ensure your kitchen is spotless and the working areas are uncluttered
  • The delicious aroma of brewing coffee or freshly-baked bread will convey the impression that your home is there to be enjoyed
  • Bathrooms and toilets should be gleaming – a dish of scented potpourri or soaps add a nice touch
  • Make sure wardrobes are tidy to highlight a sense of space
  • Mirrors in smaller rooms can also convey a feeling of spaciousness
  • Place freshly-cut flowers throughout your home
  • Interesting knick knacks, books or artwork in feature areas can encourage visitors to linger
  • Turn the radio or TV off in favour of a restful CD
  • Outside lighting is a must for evening inspections
  • Make sure the temperature inside is comfortable
  • Don’t hover around – it potentially may make visitors uncomfortable


If you are around when prospective buyers come through don’t make apologies for any faults. This will only draw attention to something which may never have been noticed. Your Harcourts consultant knows what the buyer is looking for and how best to present your home. Above all, remember that a long inspection is a good inspection.



A final checklist


  • Open blinds and curtains
  • Open windows to let in the fresh air
  • Check your flower arrangements
  • Turn on lights in dark rooms or at night
  • Light the fire in winter
  • Display your best towels in the bathroom
  • Clean and straighten rugs
  • Empty rubbish bins
  • Pick up any dirty clothes
  • Deodorize pet areas and secure pets
  • Vacuum and dust each room
  • Tidy grounds and garden



To download and read more in-depth articles on making your home more appealing to potential buyers, click on the following links (PDF Format):



Before and After (Staging tips)