Experts tell us that within 15 seconds of entering a property, we’ve already decided if we can make it our home.
That may not always be the case, but it does emphasise how important first impressions are!
Look at the front of your property with a critical eye. Forget that you are the owner who has walked through the front door hundreds of times, not noticing the slightly chipped paint, weed filled lawn or dripping pipe. Imagine you are a prospective purchaser on a viewing or doing a drive-by. What will their first impression be?
Here are things to look out for:
- Check that the house name or number is clearly visible.
- Keep the grass cut and hedges trimmed.
- Is there a wall or fence that needs attention?
- Remove weeds – especially anything growing in the rainwater gutters!
- Even if it doesn’t need re-decorating, give the paintwork a wash.
- Make the windows sparkle.
- Clean paths and paving.
- Remove anything that doesn’t need to be seen, including dustbins and plant pots if they’re not in flower or looking their best.
The rear garden is also important, but most buyers will want to see inside the house first.
We all know how important it is to declutter, but not everyone is able to do it properly. Think of it as a head start on the packing you will have to do anyway. If it cannot be sold, donated or recycled then plan on having somewhere to store it – preferably away from the property.
Here are some other ways you can declutter:
- Clear hallways of coats and shoes.
- Remove pieces of furniture if it makes it easier for two or more people to walk through.
- Halve the number of pictures and ornaments.
- In bedrooms, take out unseasonal clothes and hang shirts together, trousers together and jackets together – just in case buyers can’t resist having a peek at how much storage there is.
- Show a room off at its best by positioning furniture correctly to maximise the feeling of space.
Create a welcoming ambience
There are numerous websites giving advice about how best to present your house for sale and they all stress how buyers are attracted to clean and spacious rooms. You’ll want your home to be as clean and tidy as possible, to make sure you’re showing the property to its best importance. It’s an obvious point, but makes all the difference!
Here are a few things to consider:
- Vacuum and dust the house more regularly and use furniture polish for that rich aroma of feel good nostalgia.
- Dark wall colours can make rooms appear smaller than they are; consider repainting walls in lighter neutral tones. Bright colours are best avoided too; you don’t want to be remembered as ‘that house with the fluorescent bathroom’!
- Eliminate unpleasant odours with fresh flowers, scented candles or air fresheners – nothing overpowering, just enough to offer a pleasant ambience, especially if there is a lingering aroma of wet dog or stale tobacco in the air.
- It is not unusual for homeowners to go as far as shampooing carpets before the house is put on the market for sale. You may be surprise by the difference this makes.
For most people the kitchen is the centre of their home; a practical working area and a comfortable living space. There are lots of little things you can do to breathe new life into this hub of the home:
- Clean or whiten tiling grout on the walls.
- Straighten wonky cupboard doors and drawers.
- New flooring is a relatively inexpensive way to lift a tired kitchen.
- Replacing old appliances or the kitchen sink is more than many vendors would want to do, but they need to be clean and in working order.
- Invest in new hand towels and tea towels, but don’t leave too many hanging around.
- Remove cat and dog food from the floor – it’s clutter and the smell is a turn off.
- It’s be nice to display children’s school artwork or friends’ postcards on the fridge door, but it’s distracting for buyers and best avoided.
- Don’t overload the cookery books, perhaps just the latest Jamie or Nigella, even if you haven’t opened the covers since receiving them the Christmas before last.
- Organise cupboards by disposing of outdated tins and half empty packets to make the cupboards appear more spacious.
- Last but not least, give the kitchen a sprucing on viewing days.
The back garden might be the last thing a buyer looks at, but it certainly isn’t the least important. For many this will form the final impression of the house, so best make sure your back garden is looking its best. Here are a few things you can do:
- As with the front, keep the grass and any plants or hedges looking neat and tidy.
- Clear away dustbins, pots and anything that does not need to be there.
- If you have paving, give it a power clean to blast away any stubborn dirt.
- Only keep out patio furniture if it’s in good condition.
- Explain to your children that in a small garden climbing frames and trampolines may need to be taken down whilst the property is on the market.
- Place a suitable mat by the front and back doors on which prospective buyers can wipe their feet or leave their shoes.
Last but not least, learn to let go
The buyers are purchasing a lifestyle as much as the bricks and mortar. They should be encouraged to imagine themselves living in your property and this is best achieved with as few traces of the current owners as possible. This might sound harsh when you are selling your home but try and disassociate yourself.
Make a mental decision to let go and imagine handing over the keys to the new owners. Follow our advice and then you will be ready sell your property and your property will be ready to sell!