Date Published 12 November 2020
As my mother said, 'No one buys bruised fruit'. And this applies to your home too. Getting your home prepared for sale is vital to not only sell faster but by potentially adding thousands to its value too.
Declutter – but don't depersonalise
Over the years we accumulate so much STUFF. Get rid of it! Either store it, sell it, give it away or bin it.
Some people find it hard to imagine what it would look like if they were living there, so make it easy but offering clear, clutter free spaces for them to envisage.
Don't go all ZEN and leave it too sparse though; leave some of your personality behind. Give potential buyers something of the lifestyle you are offering, people often buy into this as much as the property.
Scale back any bulky furniture that dominate or makes the room feel small. People like space, not being crammed in like sardines.
'A new broom sweeps clean'
Clean properly! I mean a real deep clean. Cobwebs hanging off lights and hair tumble weeds don't say 'I love my home'.
Go neutral or at least have very good taste in home decor. Purple walls may have been rock and roll at the time, but a neutral palette will make rooms appear brighter, bigger and give buyers a blank canvas to make their own mark minus the expense of correcting your purple passion phase.
You only get one chance to make a first impression
As soon as a buyer approaches your home they have already decided if it's the one for them. Kerb appeal creates a lasting first impression. A good estate agent will tell you the truth.
A survey by the Home Owners Alliance revealed the most important features for kerb appeal were well-maintained windows and a roof that appeared in good condition. A well-maintained front garden, pathways and fences and a well-painted frontage were also important.
Make do and mend
Mouldy grout in the shower, holes in walls, broken door handles, cracked tiles, worn carpets… if's worn, broken or unsightly, sort it out. Buyers want to know move in without making changes, so allow for this.
Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn't add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualise themselves using the garden.
Service your boiler and if you have open fires or log burners, have them cleaned too.
A kitchen is at the heart of every home
And this is where your money is. The kitchen is the most valuable room in the house and top of the list when it comes to what buyers want.
If you can't afford to replace an old kitchen, try just replacing the doors and counter tops. This cost effective and will still add value.
Aesthetics are important so accessorise simply with a bowl of fresh fruit and some fresh cut flowers.
Not many buyers can see past an avocado or pink suite to see the potential of a bathroom. People can also be put off by a bathroom that only has a shower and no bath (and vice versa).
A basic white suite will suffice and help make the room feel bigger and brighter giving the bathroom an updated look.
Remove carpets! Not only are they impractical and people will worry about them potentially being damp or smelly - especially around the toilet area! Replace with lino or tiles depending on your budget.
Get a bath and a shower: Many people like either one or the other, so if you can't fit in a separate shower cubicle and a bath, then consider installing a shower over the bath.
Bright and light
Large mirrors make a room look much bigger and bounce light around, especially in smaller rooms or hallways.
Clean windows make a world of difference to the light coming in. Always replace light bulbs as a light that doesn't work might make people think the property hasn't been maintained if you can't replace a simple light bulb.
Ambient lighting can make a room feel warm and cosy, such as side lamps on in a lounge.
Ensure there is plenty of outdoor lighting too, one to show off your garden when the nights draw in and so your house can be clearly identified from the road.
Dress to impress
Cushions, throws and a rugs can really lift a room making it more welcoming, adding colour and making it feel like it's been styled.
Undressed windows look naked and unloved. Ensure poles are secure and curtains are clean and hang properly.
Green potted plants add warmth and depth to a room softening empty spaces, which otherwise could feel cold. Fresh flowers add colour, scent, and brightness to a room.
Bad smells are the biggest turn off for any buyers. Empty bins, especially the kitchen one, bleach drains, clean and flush toilets, open windows and make sure bedding is freshly laundered. and smelly dogs need to go to the pooch parlour or remain outside.
Cigarette smoke is a big no no but if you are a smoker, you can eradicate the smell by placing bowls of vinegar around the house and leaving out for three days. Then open all the windows and you will find the flush of fresh air will take the vinegar aroma and stale cigarette smoke out too.
On the other hand, good smells do wonders for your home. Fresh coffee, a scented candle or simply fresh flowers make your home smell welcoming and arouse the sense of home.
If it's a cold evening or even chilly day, light a fire if you have one. Burning pine cones creates a delicious smell and the warmth is inviting.
Obvious use of rooms
Conservatories are often neglected uses of space, either used as a dumping ground for exercise equipment or kids toys! Make the space purposeful, either as dining space, additional lounge or even as a home office space.
If your budget allows, make obvious conversions to maximise the property and add value.
Adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft can add a lot to the value of your home.
If you don't have the cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.