Preparing your home for sale
You’ve decided to sell, but it’s likely there are a few things to do before we can take the photos, prepare all of the marketing materials and get the property listed.
Buyers will critique your property online before deciding to book a viewing so the first few clicks are crucial. And when buyers come to view for real, they’ll come with a critical eye, so it’s vital we present your property in the best possible light. Here are a few steps we’d recommend you take in preparing your home for sale.
Start with the exterior
We’ve all heard the term ‘kerb appeal’, well it really does make a difference, once viewed online the next step for many buyers is to simply drive by before actually booking a viewing. Tidy up the garden, make sure the bins aren’t overflowing and your windows are clean. If you’ve been meaning to paint the front door then now’s the time. First impressions do count, and you want your buyer to feel confident about your home even before they step inside! And if there's a back garden, now is a good time to tidy or remove the children’s toys, bikes, balls, goal nets and if possible the trampoline. Organise any hose pipes, mow the lawn and trim hedges so that your garden looks its best. If you have a patio give it a sweep and put out the tables & chairs to show the ‘indoor-outdoor living’ potential, even if the weather is a bit unpredictable when marketing.
Over the threshold - First impressions
The entrance hall creates the 2nd ‘first impression’ really, make sure it is the right impression. Paint it in a neutral colour if possible, remove any bulky furniture, upgrade the lighting and if you feel it needs some colour, add accessories, a rug or flowers.
It might be tempting to wait until you need to start packing to move, but de-cluttering now will make your home all that more alluring to any potential buyer. You can give away or recycle old clothes, furniture, and knick-knacks – who really needs thirty different mugs anyway? Chances are you won’t want to take some things to your new home, so get them on eBay or off to charity now.
The more you can get rid of, the better – less furniture opens up space and fewer ornaments will be less distracting. Store the extra furniture, toys, books etc. you want to keep in the loft or garage, or away from the home if possible.
Oh, and if you have fitted wardrobes people may be inclined to see how big they are, so do keep this in mind, perhaps some jumpers, shoes & coats can visit the loft until you move.
This is still your home, but for a while, it’s also a canvas for the new buyer, helping them imagine it as their own. Click here for our blog on decluttering your home.
Spruce it up
We've talked about getting rid of, let’s talk about adding. Mirrors brighten and expand a room, as does a fresh coat of neutral paint or woodwork gloss. This is a good opportunity to fix anything broken that you haven’t gotten around to, such as cracks, and creaky doors. Finally, see what needs freshening up – perhaps replace old curtains (especially a shower curtain), add a couple of new cushions or throws, fresh indoor plants, and maybe a new welcome mat.
Clean like never before
We’re talking light fittings, your fridge, that weird mark on the ceiling that no one knows how it got there – it’s time for a truly deep clean. Grout in the bathroom, dust on the skirting boards, and the scaly showerhead. If you have pets remember their beds, leave no cushion unturned. It’ll leave your home fresher and quieter for any overly scrutinising buyer, oh and once viewings begin, clear the worksurfaces, and empty the bins before people arrive.
What's the room's purpose?
Are you showcasing every room to the best of its abilities? You may be using the 3rd bedroom for storage but it could be a home office or gym, what is going to help get the best price and sell your house? Make sure each room has a clear purpose and if it’s being marketed as a bedroom it should include a bed. Discuss with the selling agent if you are unsure at all.
And if you have the luxury of 'free space', perhaps a large landing area that's currently unused, consider a comfy chair and side table and present this as a cosy nook for reading. Private or simply 'quiet' space is increasingly important in today's homes.
The photos (and video) used to market your property need to be representative when buyers view your property. We don't want them to be disappointed having already decided they like it online. So it will mean a big effort and not a little inconvenience keeping every room looking super tidy each time the agent brings people to view your home.
Talking of viewings, let the estate agent take the viewing. Prospective buyers might feel uncomfortable with the homeowner hovering over them, so give them the space to talk freely and without feeling like they need to walk on eggshells with you there. A good estate agent knows exactly what to say, when, and will help the buyer consider everything they really need to. Especially if the agent has viewed other properties with these people and knows their likes & dislikes, what they really want, (and even what they don't yet know they want!), what they may be prepared to overlook and how much imagination they have! Sometimes people need help to see a property as their potential home.
Updated January 2021
Fri 20 Dec 2019