It is surprising what a difference a little bit of preparation can do for your sale. But this isn’t just a case of a once over with the duster and kicking some dirty clothes under the bed, oh no, this is something that takes time and know-how. But, lucky for you, we have created this handy guide to ensure that your property is up-to-scratch and to help you gain the maximum price for your property, as quickly as possible.
So, where shall we start?
The first thing that a potential buyer will see is the exterior, so curb appeal is a very important part of your homes preparation:
The curb appeal is how aesthetically pleasing your property looks from the street outside. If your front door is falling off, strange stains splatter the exterior like some peculiar Jackson Pollock, and you have to trample a few weeds to get inside, then you probably will find it difficult to lure a potential buyer out of their car, let alone inside the house.
The front exterior of your property is the very first impression that a buyer will have and therefore it is highly important that it is a positive one. But how can you make sure that your property entices buyers inside?
Here are some things that can help to improve your home’s curb appeal:
- Weed’s give the impression that the owner doesn’t care for their property, it makes the exterior look old and ignored. By simply removing any weeds from the front it will immediately make your property stand proudly and look much fresher.
Mow the Lawn
- If you have a front garden, make sure that it is well kept. Get out the lawn mower and cut the grass back to a manageable and aesthetically appealing height. It is the same with the weeds, it will make your house appear as if it is something you are proud of and will make it seem a lot more welcoming to potential buyers.
- When was the last time you cleaned your gutters? Although this isn’t something that many people will notice, dirty gutters are a sign of a badly kept property. Neglected gutters can turn into a nightmare. Clogs can result in water damage to both the interior and the exterior of your home. Obstructions can also become the home for unwanted pests such as birds, bees and rodents. Not exactly what people are looking for in their next home.
- Giving your doors and window frames a fresh lick of paint can make a world of difference. It will add a freshness to the property which can make a dated house look much more modern and new. Bold colours are very popular, with greens and yellows adding some brightness to your property and to your potential sale.
- Does your pavement look as if someone has been recently buried underneath it? That isn’t exactly what potential buyers want to see when viewing a property. Getting your slabs straightened can make your property look well kept, and it might stop buyers tripping over when they come to visit. Nothing says a failed sale than a broken ankle.
- Flowers are a great way to spruce up a property. They are easy to take care of, cheap to buy and don’t take up much space. They can also be moved around easily, so you can position them where you like and go for a little change every now and then to keep it fresh.
Clear House Number/ Name
- Make it easy for potential buyers to find you by making sure that your house name/number is visible and clean. You could even go out and buy a new one if your current sign is beyond repair.
While we are still outside, let’s take a look at the garden. Keep in mind the above points and apply them to your garden. When was the last time you mowed your lawn and got rid of the weeds? Is the outside looking a little, jungle-esque? Well, you can always hire a landscaper if you don’t consider yourself to be a gardener, but if you have green fingers then take some time to give your garden a little TLC. Flowers will make a property look much more cheerful and improve the overall aesthetics. Tidy away those toys and clean the garden furniture. Space is key and keeping it clean and fresh can only be looked positively upon by a potential buyer.
When selling your house, it is important to think of it as a house and not a home. Afterall, it soon won’t be your home. So get into the mindset early, doing so will help you to see it as potential buyers will and therefore give them what they want. So, although that finger painting that your son did is really adorable and the picture of your husband holding your daughter when she was born is beyond cute, they need to go. Grab a box and some bubble wrap and pack them away. You are going to have to start packing sooner or later, so consider this a head start. Potential buyers need to be able to see their own life in your house, not yours.
TIP: Don’t completely de-personalise your house, it still needs to feel like a home. Getting the balance right is key, so play around with removing and keeping certain items.
While the boxes are getting filled, why not throw some of your random clutter in there as well? Again, think of it as a head start. Getting rid or packing away some of your stuff, allows for the space of the house to be revealed. If prospective buyers cannot see the full potential of the property then they are unlikely to want to go ahead. When I say de-clutter, I don’t mean just shove everything in the nearest cupboard or under the bed, viewers may open those cupboards and they won’t appreciate being buried under an avalanche of Sylvanian families. You can use this as an opportunity to either sell, donate or throw out unwanted accumulated bits and pieces, like that top you always said you would wear one day or the Christmas cards from 5 years ago that you forgot to send. However, if you are particularly attached to those Christmas cards then you could consider renting some storage space. This is a great idea if you have lots of bulky furniture, or a running machine you bought 20 years ago and never used. This will open up your house and allow it to fully show its potential.
Now you have made some space, it is time to get to work.
I have already mentioned this in regards to the outside, but paint can have a fantastic impact on the inside of the property as well. The biggest mistake that you can make, however, is using paint to cover something up. This is not the way to use paint and, more often than not, the buyer will be able to tell what you have done and will be severely turned off from agreeing on a sale. Paint is good, however, for brightening up a tired room. Neutral colours are key, as they allow a fresh canvas for the buyer to project their future desires onto. Beiges and creams also bring a lot of light to a property and can make a room feel bigger and brighter, it also removes attention away from the walls to the room itself.
Noone is going to buy a dirty house. Cobwebs in the corner and black and dusty skirting boards will turn a potential buyer away very quickly. Here is a basic list of things that you need to clean for a viewing, however you can always hire a professional to clean for you.
- Take that feather duster and tickle every single surface in your house. Get into those cracks and corners, brush over light fixtures and every piece of furniture.
- Wash and polish, inside and out. Make sure those windows are sparkling clean
- Whether it is washing or hoovering, make sure that your floors are completely dirt free!
- Bathroom and Kitchen
- Get rid of any limescale, bleach the tile grout and make those taps sparkle!
- Viewers are notoriously nosey and often a little judgy, so don’t just shove everything in your cupboards, make sure that they are empty and clean. Invite them to snoop as they are about to buy a house, that’s a pretty big deal.
Small repairs can make a big difference to a potential buyers impression of the property. Most people like the idea of moving into a house that needs minimum work, apart from making it theirs; not everyone enjoys DIY. You can either hire a professional or get your hands a bit dirty and do it yourself. Repair those odd cracks and fill holes that have been made throughout the house; it will make your property look less like it is falling apart… Do you have a door that creaks? A kitchen drawer that often gets jammed? Well, those quirky features won’t help the sale of your house. Buyers love to see a property bathed in light, and if your house lacks numerous windows then it might be a good idea to replace those dying light bulbs to brighten up the place.
Now that your property is sparkling, it is time to make it even more inviting. Staging is a common practice when selling a house. It is essentially turning your house into a stage home; you know the one, where the estate agents show you around the perfect house before showing you the building site that you are actually purchasing?
Staging needs to be subtle in order to be effective. Your house needs to look perfect, whilst looking lived in and homely. It is a difficult balance to achieve but there are plenty of guides out there to help you to create the perfect stage to show your house.
The Little Things
There are some little adjustments and changes you can do which really make a difference.
Opening the curtains and blinds and letting in as much natural light as possible is great for photos and viewings. It will illuminate the positive aspects of your house, and also show the great work that you have done. Make sure the temperature is right. Inviting people into a cold house isn’t the most welcoming of gestures. Turn up the heating a little, or open some windows to make sure that house feels comfortable and fresh. Get rid of those pets! Not completely, just for the time being. Pet hair, beds and most importantly, their smell is a huge turn off to people viewing houses. Your Great Dane might be the cutest dog in the world but your potential buyer might consider it a deal breaker. Speaking of smells, a baked loaf of bread might be a cliche but it really does make your house smell like a home. Some fresh flowers dotted around the property will bring colour and floral smells which are highly appealing to potential buyers. It is all about creating a pleasant atmosphere that will leave your potential buyers wanting more. Last but not least, give up your parking space. Let your viewers drive right up to the house as if they were living there. It will make them feel like it is there home before they have even walked through the front door.
And now you are ready to sell!