How to give your property the best chance of selling!
So, you've had your property valuations, you've listened to the different estate agents 'waffle' on about why you should instruct them to sell your most prized possession!! You've considered their valuations, their fee and their service (remember its not about instructing the cheapest estate agent or the one that has quoted the highest asking figure, you need to ask what their service includes, check out their reviews and ask your friends, family for recommendations and about their experiences with agents) and you have instructed the agent who you feel will do the best job!!!! You have taken the plunge to do it!! Now the fun really starts!
Getting your home 'viewing fit'!
Without wanting to state the obvious but it really is the simple, basic things you do that will help you in preparing your home for viewings.
- First impressions - They say that a viewer will know within a matter of seconds upon entering a property whether it is right for them, or not. First impressions are important but these don't just happen during a viewing, first impressions start from the very moment a potential buyer first looks at your property, usually on-line. It is, therefore, crucial that when your estate agent attends to measure up and take photos of your home that it is presented to its best. If the rooms look untidy, cluttered, scruffy or dirty then that potential buyer may well have dismissed the property without even stepping over the threshold. Ensure the beds are made, sofa cushions are plumped and lovely throws can add a nice touch! Put the toilet seat down and turn the tv off (theres nothing worse than seeing photos with Jeremy Kyle on the telly)!! Remove the grubby tea-towel or oven glove hanging off the cooker! Place some fresh flowers in vases! Dont forget to make sure that you tidy up the garden too! Cut the lawn, fill the tubs and pots with fresh plants and flowers, remove rubbish or anything else which is not necessary in your outside space.
- Kerb appeal - The front of your home should also be presented at its best. Again cutting the front lawn, jet washing paving, removing weeds, tidying borders, hedges, hanging some fresh baskets out. Repair any worn fences, carry out any painting which may be overdue - walls, rendering, front door, garage etc. Clean and clear gutters and down-pipes, replacing any broken bits. Its so important, as often potential buyers will carry out a drive-by viewing before an internal viewing and if the front looks scruffy then they may just keep on driving and never schedule a viewing inside the house.
- De-clutter - We are all guilty of leaving unnecessary items hanging around, 'collecting' things that we dont need, leaving stuff on our surfaces, piles of shoes chucked on the hallway floor! Make a conscious effort to put things away when they are not in use and start getting rid of items which no longer have a purpose or that you will not be taking with you when you move. Picking up kids toys and putting away, packing away items which are personal to you but don't necessarily enhance the presentation of your home. Think about putting things into storage, for the duration of marketing your property. As well as the small items also consider larger, bulkier items like that over-sized sofa or dining table which makes the room feel small! De-cluttering is something you will need to do prior to moving, so make a head start on it, early on.
- Decorating - Ask someone you know and trust to walk round your home and give you their opinion on areas which may be looking 'tired' and of which you, yourself, may not have noticed!! Also, consider those rooms that you decorated to your personal taste but it may not be to everyone's taste, ie; that aubergine feature wall in the lounge or the bright orange bedroom!! Its worth investing in a few tins of neutral coloured paint and re-paint those areas or rooms. A freshly, neutrally decorated home will be more appealing to a buyer and will also give a sense of space and light in the property.
- Odd jobs - Those small repairs you've been meaning to do but just never got round to!! Make the effort to fix that loose door handle, re-hang the kitchen cupboard door, replace that cracked or missing wall tile, replace the scruffy kitchen floor lino with rips in it!! All of these jobs wont cost a fortune and will be well worth doing in order to get your home viewing ready.
- Clean - As obvious as it seems, your home should be clean and that means everything!! As well as your daily cleaning routine, you should pay attention to the other areas which could do with a deep clean! That grotty carpet which you've been meaning to clean for a while (or replace it if its beyond cleaning)!!! The oven!! Think how embarrassed you would feel if a potential buyer took a peek into the oven and saw the burnt on residue from all those lovely home cooked meals! The grout in the bathroom which has gone black, give it a good scrub or even replace if its too far gone! Dont forget your windows too, including the frames and sills, inside and out!
- Room purpose - Ensure each room has a purpose. The kitchen should be a kitchen and not a toy room, the spare bedroom which has become a dumping ground (we all have one of those!), the dining room which is currently a multi-use room (office, playroom, family room!) - remove what shouldn't be in there and set it up as the room it should be! Remember, you dont want a potential buyer to think that your house is small as 'theres not enough room'. Again, consider putting furniture into storage (or getting rid of it all together) if necessary. Taking a walk-round the house, with an honest and critical eye will help you to see your home how others will view it. Again, ask your trusted friend or family member to do a 'walk-through' and ask them to be truthful and objective, brutal even, and tell you where you can improve! And make those changes!!! Each room should easily be defined as to what it is.
- Atmosphere - Consider the general 'atmosphere' and pay attention to your senses. If the house feels chilly, pop the heating up a few degrees dont tell a viewer that you just tend to put an extra jumper on! Is the house light and airy? As well as making sure the windows are clean and decor fresh and neutral, replace any light-bulbs which dont work, use lamps to create a cosy ambiance or put brighter bulbs in where required. Placing mirrors on walls will also create a sense of space. Use your sense of smell too!! If there is a bit of a 'whiff' then do something about it!! Whether this be a drain, sink, kitchen bin, cooking smell or your teenage sons bedroom then fix it! Open the windows, clean everywhere, use subtle air fresheners, plug-ins, diffuser's and scented candles. And dont forget the fresh coffee!!!!!! Each room should feel welcoming.
If you follow these simple but effective guidelines they will put you in the best selling position which will not only lead to positive feedback but may just help you to achieve the best price for your home!! Good luck!!