Preparing your house for sale
First impressions count when you’re selling a house. Preparations you make before you put your home on the market can add value to your home and sometimes even small investments can make a big difference to the selling price.
The front of your house is the first thing a prospective buyer is likely to see. If it looks shabby they’ll probably take that view of the whole house.
- Tidy the garden. Hedges trimmed, grass cut. At least consider having it professionally done. It’ll be money well spent to create a great first impression for any potential buyers.
- Paint the front of your house. It may cost £100-£1000 but it might add as much as £5000 to the value of your property.
- Replace tired or shabby fencing.
- Ensure windows are clean and gutters are unblocked.
- A monoblock driveway creates a great first impression. If parking is hard to come by in your area, consider paving the whole front garden to provide more.
- The front door should be welcoming. A new brass letterbox or house numbers won’t cost much but create a great look.
Who is your target?
Who is likely to want to buy your property? If it’s a one bedroom top floor flat, you’re not likely to appeal to families, so presenting your box room as a home office rather that a nursery would make sense. Know your target and appeal to them.
Once your home is on the market it needs to be organised to appeal to the buyer, not you. Take down family pictures and put away personal items. You want the buyer to imagine themselves living there, not you. Remind yourself that this will soon not be your home and try not to be emotional. At the very least it’s a head start on packing for your move.
It goes without saying that buyers will be put off a house which is dirty. Even clutter makes your home look smaller and will discourage buyers.
- Clean everything. Buyers aren’t likely to look on top of your cupboards but why take the risk? Ideally have a professional cleaning company perform a deep clean before you start showing your property. This may cost around £300. Once it’s clean, keep it clean. Vacuum and dust every day.
- Declutter. All surfaces should be clear, put away ornaments and personal effects. This will give the impression of more space.
- Aroma can be important. Light scented candles before potential buyers visit. The smell of home baking is pleasant; the smell of fried food or last night’s takeaway is not.
- Ask a friend or family member to look after pets. The lingering aroma of someone else’s wet dog is unappealing, as is cat hair on every surface and having them there during viewings adds to the feeling that this is your home, rather than a prospective home for the buyer.
- Maximise space. Consider taking furniture out to make rooms look larger.
- Fresh flowers can make a room more welcoming.
- Hang clean towels in each bathroom.
- Open all curtains and blinds. Natural light gives an airy, spacious feeling and makes rooms seem bigger.
- Tidy inside cupboards. You might think cupboards are a safe place to throw objects when tidying but they aren’t. The buyer is going to want to know how much storage there is. If cupboards are full it will seem inadequate. Emptying them out will create an impression of more space.
- Once you’re ready for viewings have a friend or colleague who doesn’t know your house well take a walk round and give you their impressions. Their unbiased opinion can let you see your home as others see it.
To maximise the value of your house make sure it’s in a good state of repair. Most people want to move into a house that is ready to live in. If they see problems which need fixed they’ll expect to pay less to compensate.
- Make sure all light bulbs are working. Even a blown bulb can give a poor impression.
- No job is too small. That drawer that jams might not really bother you but it will likely bother a buyer.
- Holes and cracks might suggest bigger problems. Fill them and repaint if necessary.
- Squeaky doors can be annoying. Check the hinges and make sure they open and close smoothly.
- Don’t leave major problems for the next person. They’ll definitely turn up in the survey. If a buyer knows they have work to do they’ll subtract more than the cost of the job from their offer. It will be cheaper to get quotes and have problems fixed.
Home improvements ranging from a lick of paint to an extension can add value to your home. It may be that remodelling your kitchen or bathroom will help or that landscaping your garden might be a positive move. Our guide on ways to add value to your home can give you ideas of what might make your house more valuable.