Would you sell a car without giving it a quick wash and brush up? No, so why do it when trying to sell your home?
Homes are most peoples biggest asset, naturally we expect a good price and under the right circumstances it should be possible to get it. But if you put your property on the market with a “let’s see what happens” attitude you are not likely to achieve your price expectations. Would you sell a car without giving it a quick wash and brush up? No, so why do it when trying to sell your home?
Give it kerb appeal
First impressions count massively in a buyers decision to view a property let alone buy it. Poor agents photography is something that can be blamed in some instances but you will do well to spend some time on the kerb appeal. Our suggestions to do this are:
- Perk up your path and drive - power wash and weed it
- Paint the door and windows if they need it
- Add some colour with some potted plants, hanging baskets or better still some topiary
- Replace the hardware - new door handle, letterbox plate and door knocker.
- Give the house a name and put a name plaque on the wall.
- Clean the gutters - you want some colour but not there!
Spend time on the Entrance Hall
This is the first and last place most viewers will see when they get inside. A hall isn’t the right place to store a bike or a pram so even if that is what you have been doing then it is time for a change if you are going to maximise your chance of getting a buyer let alone getting a good price.
One very good trick, if you have a small hall is to buy a big mirror. It will give the impression of more space. If the hall is where you hang your coat and like many homes we see, the coat hooks are straining under the weight, have a thin out and leave just a couple of coats on the hooks.
The dreaded ‘de-clutter’
The groaning noise is deafening but if the viewers can’t see the wood for the trees then they will feel that the property is smaller than it actually is and may also think that they will have to spend more money to make it their own. Enough said - just do it.
Kitchens and Bathrooms sell houses
This has been a fact for decades and it still remains the case. A small investment of time and money spent on these two areas of the house will reap massive dividends when it comes to speed of sale and the level of offer you will receive.
We are not suggesting that you spend a fortune refitting these two rooms just to leave them behind but if these two rooms are looking tired or if you have already refurbished them, but they aren’t very tidy then get to work. Things to consider are;
Buy new bed linen & headboards
This might seem extravagant but the good part is they are something that you can take with you to your new home. Get rid of patterned duvet covers and replace them with some neutral coloured alternatives and buy some extra cushions. A tall headboard gives a bedroom the boutique hotel look and together they are a relatively cheap way to give a bedroom the wow factor.
Dumb down the colours
Nearly everyone has had phases in our lives where we have been bold with our colour schemes but dark or vibrant colours are not the thing to show to house viewers. Lighten up dark rooms with soft neutral colour schemes and keep it simple. Bright orange, deep red or Navy blue should all be avoided. Children’s bedrooms are often the place where we come across some very ‘individual’ choices so use your best parenting skills to persuade them that it is time for a change.
It doesn’t have to be the developers favourite shade of magnolia - there are lots of soft colours out there to choose from.
Hide the pets
Some love them, some hate them and some are allergic to them, so make sure that on the viewing they are out of the house to prevent one of three things happening:
- Pet lovers will pay more attention to your pet and less attention to your home.
- Pet haters will feel uncomfortable, completely on their guard and rush round your property leaving as soon as they can.
- If you have a buyer that is allergic to animals, a reaction will put them off your home.
- Remove all pet bowls, baskets and (most important) litter trays. Ideally, get someone to take the dog(s) for a long walk rather than turning them out in the back garden.
Viewers like to stand in the garden to see the back of the house and look at the level of privacy. It is preferable that they can do this without Fido jumping up at them or worse still lifting his leg on theirs!
The back garden
What is the first thing people see when they walk out to the back garden?
- An unkempt garden?
- Loose concrete slabs?
- A forest of weeds?
- A broken fence?
Your back garden should look like a space for entertaining. We are not talking about something that would sit well at Chelsea flower show!
If need be, buy inexpensive but good looking patio furniture, potted plants and install some outdoor lighting to tie it all together. A great outdoor living space is something that more and more people are putting on their wish list so time and money invested in this is very well spent and will be returned when you get a better price and a faster sale. Do not under estimate the importance of this advice. Again, the good part of this suggestion is that you can take all the free standing bits with you to your new home.
Even just making sure the grass is cut and borders are neat and weed free makes a difference. Ideally you should do this before your agent takes the marketing photographs.
Our final tip might seem like the most obvious one but believe me when I say that in 30 years of going into potential sellers homes on a daily basis this is the one that is the most dificult to convey and need to be discussed most often.
Keep it clean
For those of you with OCD cleaning standards please skip this section. For those of you with a more relaxed attitude please read on! Buyers expect to see an immaculate home with no signs of dirt or neglect.
- Do the washing up
- Hoover right through
- Put the loo seats down
- Clean the bath and sinks
- Spray air freshener or buy some plug-ins
- Make the beds
- Tidy up the kids toys
- Get rid of any mildew in the bathroom
- No dirty underwear on the bedroom floor
- Hang clothes in the wardrobe
- Open all the curtains
- Get the washing off the line
- Cut the grass
Potential buyers need to imagine themselves living in “your” space, your perfectly clean home!
I have already said that this needs to be done for when the agent takes the marketing photographs so when you have done this just make sure you keep on top of it and it won’t be such an oenerous task every time you have a viewing.
Hopefully, because you have made the effort to start with it won’t be too long before you get an offer.
Article written by Simon Dee MRICS - partner of Dee Atkinson & Harrison and valuer for over 30 years.