Selling your home is an art. If you already own, and if you’re moving to a new home, getting it sold is the first stage.
Before you get an estate agent in to view, or put your property online, think who the likely buyer is. What attracted you to the area/that home? Was it because you were young and wanted to be close to a town? Was it the arrival of a first child, or a third? Was it space?
To sell quickly it helps to ‘dress’ the house ready for that person to view.
Of course, the person who buys it may have completely different reasons to you, but if you consider who the home will appeal to, it will make your life (and decisions about how to present it) a lot easier.
Here are our top ten tips to make selling smoother:
Have you been living with a lifted stair rod or broken bannister? A chipped window or door held with string? We all get used to things that don’t get dealt with. Look at your home through visitors’ eyes. Treat any damp. If your budget doesn’t allow for the fixes, accept that this may reflect in any offer price.
There are few things that give a greater impression of disrepair. Fix, hide, throw or store!
You may be moving because you have more children or family than you started out with. Maybe you’re living in a small minimalist apartment. Maybe you’re downsizing. Whatever your reason, your buyer needs to know that they and/or their family will fit.
Carefully box up what you don’t use or need and store it away. Use external storage if necessary. You’ll not only have given yourself more space but given yourself a headstart on packing to move when the time comes.
Put away as much as possible to maximise surface space. But leave out things that will appeal to the new buyers.
I once saw a large family home for sale with a beautiful healthy cookery book left open on a stand. The kitchen was average, maybe a little small, but it gave the illusion of a health-conscious family living a really healthy life. And you still need to live while you’re selling your home. Don’t hide the kettle – it’s an expected necessity. Do, however, hide the fridge magnets. They tend to make things look more cluttered.
What nasties lie in your bathroom? Is the toilet brush manky? Get rid and replace with a new one. Is the clothes washing bin overflowing? Do something about it. Do things match? What can you quickly and cheaply replace to make the bathroom look inviting? Candles on shelves? Put away the extras we all have (toothpaste, shampoo etc), and replace with lifestyle items.
A little cheat hint: a shower or bath space with luxury toiletries, all matching, give the impression of current owners with great taste and enough budget to keep the house well maintained.
We may love Bonzo or Kitty with all of our hearts, but it’s a sad truth that we get ‘nose blind’. Now’s the time to de-fluff the sofa, and wash the blankets and cushions they inhabit. You can’t put your pet in storage, but cleaning up behind them is essential.
You can almost guarantee that Kitty will make a beeline for the person who hates cats, or that Bonzo will spread his legs for a good lick whilst visitors are there. Check in advance if potential buyers like animals before they come. If not, can someone pet sit for the time of the visit?
Even if they love animals, treat your pup to a grooming parlour so they smell great, and use the Febreze liberally – but well in advance – don’t choke anyone! (Other smell removers are available.) And don’t forget to empty the kitty litter.
Did you ever take advice from Laurence Llewellyn Bowen? Did you ever undertake a home decoration project that was a bit off?
Anything very bold and specific may be a problem for potential buyers, who often have difficulty visualising what a space COULD be. You may choose to hire or store them.
That bright red entrance hall. The dark purple dining room. However fabulous they look, if someone has furniture to bring with them, these things may be a put off, and for the price of a couple of tins of magnolia or white paint, you can make it easier for visitors to visualise their own furniture there.
If you’re not selling to a family audience, the children’s masterpieces may also need putting away.
Things I’ve seen that have absolutely turned off buyers include stuffed dead animals in glass presentation tanks; pictures of the owner naked; and an 'over the top' collection of china dolls in every nook and cranny - so many that it became spooky and unnerving for visitors.
People have sometimes made their mind up before they even come into a house.
Is your entrance tidy? Are any plants trimmed back and tidy? Are any lawns mowed back? I personally love things looking slightly wild and prolific, but most people prefer an orderly, well-kept appearance.
Are there bits of furniture or old cars waiting for repair on the front lawn? It may be time to make them disappear. Fix or even take out broken flagstones. Fix or repair broken gates – and paint if required. Along with any flaky paint on windows. And is your front door clean and polished? It needs to be.
Empty the bins – at the dump if required!
Whilst ‘Home Information Packs’ were scrapped a decade ago, they weren’t a totally bad idea. You have to provide an energy certificate by law, but why not impress your potential buyers by producing a small folder with instructions for the things that are staying, like boilers, kitchen fittings etc.
You can anticipate that buyers will have questions about costs. Why not make a list? Include council tax, utility suppliers’ name number and average bill size etc. You’ll need this list for yourself anyway (as people to advise of the move), but help your buyer say 'yes' by helping them out!
You’ve kept manufacturers guarantees and instruction leaflets all this time without ever referring to them. Now’s the time to clean them out. That drawer you store them all in? Time to empty it. Make yourself some space by getting rid of some of them. (Old printed computer manuals were really bulky and you don't want to pay for them to move with you.)
You could even include details of local facilities like swimming pools and gyms, fast food delivery services. Don’t go overboard – you have a lot of work of your own getting ready to move, but helping your buyer without bombarding them makes a lot of sense.
Yes, it really is a word, and an old one at that. It’s a hasty tidying and cleaning of your home when visitors are due.
Our advice would be to deep clean your home just before you get the agents in to look and/or take pictures. Get in specialist cleaners if need be. Remove or cover spots on the carpets. Clean the window. Wipe the doors. Scrub light switch panels (safely – not with water!). And then read the riot act to all inhabitants, so that they keep things clean and tidy too.
Which means that all that’s required when visitors are coming is a scurrying, clean and tidy. And you’re likely to get a better price for your well-presented home.
Don’t forget: at easyStorage, we’re always here to help back you up and meet any storage needs, temporary or long term – and we come to you, help you pack, and even help with an inventory of what you're entrusting to us.
(We should also just mention here another business in the easy family: easyProperty - an online service that makes selling easier.)
Renting out not selling? See our Guide: Moving House and Renting Out Your Home
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