Preparing your house for sale
Preparing your house for sale is a key part of the moving process. Most buyers begin their property search online, trawling websites such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Estate Agent websites on a daily basis in their quest to find their dream home. Buyer behaviour is competitive and portals know this – that’s why most websites allow you to register for instant notification when a new property matching your search criteria is placed on the market.
For sellers, this means that the photos of your home will be a potential buyer’s first, and maybe lasting, impression of your home. They will decide whether to book a viewing based on how your property looks in the photographs – so it’s worthwhile investing time beforehand to make sure your home looks its best.
So, what can you do to make your property stand out from others? Here are our six top tips to preparing your house for sale:
Tip 1 – the camera never lies
Use your phone or tablet to take photographs yourself, before your Estate Agent comes. This is a great way of quickly showing you the things you’ve missed in your preparation so far; the suitcases not pushed under the bed far enough; smears on mirrors and windows; crooked pictures and cushions that need plumping to name just a few! That laundry basket in the corner of the bedroom may not look that appealing either. Doing your own dummy run will also give you a feel for the natural lighting in each room and will identify any corners that might benefit from some extra lighting.
Tip 2 – sell a lifestyle not your life story
Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in your home, not struggle to see through how you currently live in it. Declutter and depersonalise – you want to create a positive picture of what their life could be like in your home. For example, a laptop or iPad open on a clear and tidy desk will be more appealing as a place to work than piles of paperwork fighting a PC base unit, keyboard and mouse for work surface. The same applies to the kitchen as buyers want to see how much space they have to prepare meals, not how many small appliances you have yourself.
Tip 3 – if you’ve got it, flaunt it
Think about what it is about your home that has made a buyer want to view it. And then showcase this feature at its best. If you’ve got a kitchen that’s great for entertaining, set the table for a dinner party. If your garden’s a sun trap, sell the sizzle to sun worshippers with garden furniture to suit.
Tip 4 – home comforts may not actually be that comforting
We’re not suggesting that your home should look like an operating theatre, but it’s wise to consider whether some of your own home comforts should be put away for photographs and viewings. Slippers next to the bed, dressing gowns on the backs of doors and reading glasses on the bedside table are really best avoided if you want a viewer to seriously visualise your bedroom being theirs.
Tip 5 – let it shine
The golden rule is to clean, clean and clean again. Consider a really deep clean and thorough tidy before you have the photographs taken. You don’t have to do this yourself – plenty of cleaning companies offer competitive deep cleaning one-off services. Not only will it make your house look its best to potential buyers, it will also be easier for you to keep on top of things whilst you’re on the market so that every viewing doesn’t send you in to a blind panic.
Tip 6 – learn from the pros
Finally, if you’re struggling for inspiration, visit some show homes to see how the professionals stage a home to sell it. You’ll pick up some great ideas free of charge and you’ll also see the latest popular interior design trends first hand.