Prepare Your Home for Sale - 9 things you should do
Selling your home can be a stressful experience. Keeping it tidy for viewings and photos is hard work! So here are 9 things you should do to prepare your home for sale and get the maximum return on your investment, agree a sale as quickly as possible (and keep those viewings to a minimum!).
As a former Estate Agent, I’m going to let you in on a secret. The vast majority of people viewing a house for the first time find it hard to visualise themselves in it. It’s your job, as a seller (or Vendor if you want the technical term) to make it as easy as possible for buyers to see the potential that they can live in your house and make it their own. Here are 9 things you should do to prepare your home for sale.
Maximise the light and space of each room by taking out anything and everything that isn’t essential to your daily life. It’s perfectly acceptable to start your packing before you’ve even put your house on the market. I would advise packing away non-essential items and storing them off-site.
You can rent storage units by the week if you can afford to. Or I once had a vendor who kept her clutter in boxes in the hallway and any time she had a viewing booked she would pack them into the car and park it around the corner! She only had to do it 3 times as the house sold to the third viewer!
Rooms feel more spacious with less in them and a tidy space shows the potential buyer that you have cared for and maintained the property. Try not to strip it completely though, a balance of some homely items gives a lived-in feel which is desirable.
Just so you know, people look in cupboards... all of them. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. They lift the lids on toilets too (no comment).
Decluttering is also essential for the Estate Agents' photos too so it’s a good idea to get ahead and prepare your home for sale. It’s not like instagram where you can move all the clutter out of the shot – every angle of every room needs to be ‘gram-worthy for your home listing online and in the Agent’s window!
2. Freshen up
A fresh lick of paint can work wonders to help prepare your house for sale. I’m not suggesting you paint the whole house magnolia – clean and neutral is ideal and a splash of colour here and there can add character to a home.
In my experience, most people don’t mind if the decorating isn’t to their taste but they do appreciate being able to move straight in without having to get a wallpaper stripper out! The wallpaper-stripper brigade are a completely different audience – unless you’re selling a complete do-er upper then tidying up the paintwork is a job worth investing in.
3. Kerb appeal
First impressions count. Be honest, how many houses have you scrolled right past on Rightmove or Zoopla because they’re not pretty enough from the outside? There are things you can do to improve the kerb appeal of your home and get people through the door for a viewing. Just as it’s important to present the interior as well loved and maintained, so too is the outside.
Clean windows and doors – don't forget the doorstep and pathway or front garden if you have one. But also stand back and take a good look at things like the guttering, fascias and roof. Are there any loose tiles to fix? Or is there moss growing there? It’s all about attention to detail – you may have got used to that small garden growing in a section of guttering but a potential buyer will just see the cost of fixing it!
4. Fix it
On that note, it is definitely worth getting through that list of small DIY jobs you’ve been meaning to do for months. A squeaky door or dripping tap can be very off-putting. Try and walk through the house as though you have never seen it before – what jumps out to you? Maybe get an honest friend to come and make up a snagging list. And while they’re there...
5. Tackle bad smells
Get said friend to assess whether there are any lingering smells you’ve become ‘nose-blind’ to. Pet smells, bins, toilets, musty carpets or rugs, the fridge (because people do look in there I promise you). Make it a priority to address bad smells. Try not to just mask them with strong room perfumes as that can be just as off-putting to a viewer. Neutralising bad smells and introducing subtle smells such as fresh coffee or bread can create the right feel and advertise your home as appealing.
6. Upgrade lighting
Lighting, whether natural or artificial is your best friend when presenting your home. Dark rooms look much smaller than they are so this is especially important if you plan to be on the market during the winter months. Maximise natural light with curtains that pull right back from the windows or blinds that draw right up. Try to have a good mix of artificial lighting too, floor and table lamps create a warm, friendly ambience. A mix of warm and cool lights work really well too – try buying a daylight bulb for the ceiling light and mix with warm lamp light around the rest of the room.
7. Adjust the flow
Ask any interior designer or architect and they will tell you that the flow – or how one room leads onto the next in layman's terms- of a house is uber-important. You may not be able to change the layout of your home but you can influence how people move around each room. Move furniture so you (or a viewer) are able to move around the space with ease. If that means you have to add a few furniture items to the storage container then it’ll be worth it.
Keep key items like a sofa and dining set to show how they scale into the space well. Consider the entrance hallway carefully, if it’s narrow, consider hanging a mirror to make it feel more spacious. Definitely de-clutter here as it will be the first impression of the interior.
8. Home office
Rightmove have reported a big rise in demand for houses with home offices (or the potential to create one) in 2020. We’ve also seen a demand for multi-purpose furniture as more of us are spending more time than ever at home. Even if you don’t have a spare room you can create an office space in even the smallest corner to promote the work from home idea. Read more about Working From Home Tips here for inspiration.
9. Tidy up the garden
Finally, since 2020 has been all about the spaces closest to us, spend some time sprucing up the garden if you have one. Even if you’re not green-fingered, at least make sure the grass is mowed and any boundary fences or walls are in good repair. If you don’t have an outside space then bring the outside in with house plants – read more about Creative Indoor Garden Ideas for tips.
A few small changes can make a big difference when it comes to how you prepare your home for sale, I’m not suggesting that this stuff will add value but in a competitive market it will help to attract interest and hopefully a quick sale! Good luck!