First impressions matter for many things in life, and property sales are no exception. With only a small investment of time and money you can ensure you are displaying your property at its best, and maximise its selling price accordingly.
Spring and Autumn are traditionally the peak times for residential property sales, but homes sell all year round. If you are considering selling and your property is ready to market, then go for it!
Before you can market your property, you will need a Home Report. This comprises a Single Survey, an Energy Performance Certificate, and a Property Questionnaire. One thing to watch out for is your property being marked down on the Home Report for minor repairs: before commissioning the survey, make sure you get around to all those niggling little maintenance issues you may have been ignoring – otherwise they could cost far more than you bargained for when you come to sell.
While not all minor maintenance issues will get your property marked down on the Home Report, they can still leave buyers with a poor impression. That dripping tap, that loose handle, the dirty grouting in the bathroom…now is the time to sort them all.
If you are selling your home, you might love it the way it is, but prospective buyers need to see how it fits with their lifestyles. You need to balance presenting your property as a comfortable home with maximising space and possibilities. Donate unwanted goods and furniture to charity shops (some will even uplift large items if you ask), and avoid stuffing clutter away in cupboards or the garage: prospective buyers will want to take a look at these too. Remove excessive personal items, and consider putting large items into storage if doing so will improve the look and feel of a room.
Remember you are not just selling a house – you are selling a lifestyle. Consider who might be interested in buying your property and what their needs might be. You might like to think about reinstating the dining room or spare room if you are currently using it as a study or children’s playroom.
I would advise to avoid complete redecoration unless a room is in particularly poor condition – it can be very expensive and is generally not necessary. If you do decide to redecorate, keep it simple: neutral colours and plain wallpaper will suit most tastes. One thing you can always do though is attend to chipped woodwork or wooden floors: this can generally be done at minimal cost and makes a huge difference to the look of a room.
having the roof checked over and replacing slipped or broken slates is worth considering. Depending on the cost, it might also be advisable to attend to leaking gutters and downpipes – whether or not your property is “wind and water tight” will be covered in the survey for the Home Report.
If you cannot afford to carry out significant repairs or improvements to the outside of your property, do at least repaint the front door and any other external woodwork: this effectively gives an impression of care at little cost. Other options for the outside of your property include employing a gardener to get the garden looking pristine, or (if money is an issue more than time) doing it yourself. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and make sure the borders are well-tended. If you have a patio, power-wash it and invest in some attractive garden furniture and colourful plant-pots to create an outdoor paradise which you can take with you when you move.
Freshly ground coffee or baking bread always smell delicious, and add to the favourable impression of your home. Fresh flowers have a similar effect and bring a splash of colour, too. Do not dismiss the power of the subconscious in encouraging buyers to fall in love with your property! Conversely, avoid cooking immediately before viewings, and ask a friend to look after your pet or pets – an aromatic pot of fish soup or an overly friendly wet dog will have just the opposite effect on buyers.
Another reason to send the pets away for the day is that having your home full of strangers can be stressful – for the whole family. If you have children, consider making arrangements them to spend the day with friends or family, and if you yourself cannot bear the thought of the viewing, we can arrange for one of our experienced viewing agents to manage it for you.
If you have any doubt at all about your property’s lighting, put all the lights on prior to the viewing. Switching a light on as you enter the room with a potential purchaser only emphasises how dark it is. You might also like to open the windows to get some fresh air in.
Before the viewing, clean, dust and polish everything. No matter what the physical condition of the property, if it is clean then it will be shown off to its best. Small touches make a big difference: replace worn rugs, put fresh towels and some attractive soaps in the bathroom, and add some new throws or cushions to tired soft furnishings. However, avoid getting carried away with cleaning prior to the surveyor’s visit – he or she is not interested in running a finger along your mantelpiece, and in fact issues such as wet floors can cause problems with carrying out the survey.
If it all still looks like a bit too much, we can help. Our Estate Agency team can advise you on everything from marketing strategies to dressing rooms and arranging your furniture. We can also manage viewings, and recommend a range of reputable trades people – from roofers, plumbers and joiners, to decorators and gardeners.