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How to get your home ready for selling

How to get your home ready for selling

The property market in most parts of the country remains very active, but when selling your house, how can you attract a buyer quickly, whilst at the same time achieve the best possible price? The starting point is to ensure your home is in the very best possible condition and here we offer some of the key tips to help you succeed…

Introduction

When it comes to selling a house, presentation is absolutely critical to success – after all, it stands to reason that prospective buyers will make an offer (or not) based upon their perceived valuation of the property and, from an emotive standpoint, how much they want it. However, it’s surprising how many vendors fail to properly take this in to account and, as a result, don’t secure the very best asking price for their property.

So, how do you best prepare your house, ready for sale? Well, the good news is that a relatively small amount of extra effort on your part can reap significant dividends, both in terms of how quickly you sell, and how much you sell for.

Create the impression of space

Firstly, it’s important to make your house seem as large as possible, and conveying the impression of space will help buyers to be persuaded that your property is the one for them. After all, potential buyers understandably want ‘as much house as possible’ for their budget.

A declutter is one of the most effective things you can do to create space and prepare your house for viewings. If you need further convincing about the merits of decluttering, take a tour of a new build show home. Once you’re consciously looking, you’ll quickly notice how little clutter there is in these homes and there’s very good reason for this – it significantly helps create the impression of space.

When decluttering, start with the things that are potentially going to free up the most space – principally furniture. Firstly, decide what items you want to keep for your next home and what items you don’t. When evaluating this, try not to be too emotive, and consider whether you’ll honestly want the items in your new home. Moving house is a fresh start and so take away any sentimental feelings about the furniture and just be objective.

Discard any items that fall into the unwanted category, and in doing so you will free up space. Ideally sell the items but, failing that, charity furniture shops will usually be grateful recipients.

Once you’ve identified the furniture that you’re keeping, the next thing to consider is whether any items can be temporarily moved out of the house – again, to give an impression of space. For example, a coffee table is practical and useful on a day-to-day basis but removing it whilst the property is on the market creates more space in the centre of your living room.

Other larger items of furniture can help free up even more space. Again, for example, you could remove:

  • An armchair from the living room
  • A dresser unit from the kitchen
  • A wardrobe from a bedroom
  • A console table from the hallway
  • A double bed from a bedroom (and replace it with a single bed)

You’ve been living with this furniture for years and so subconsciously you may almost feel that it’s part of the house, but a potential buyer with a fresh pair of eyes will look at things very differently.

In terms of where you store the items, if you have a garage then this is a possibility, although of course buyers will want to look inside and won’t want to see clutter in here either. Additionally, of course, if they see lots of furniture piled in to the garage, they understandably might begin to question how spacious your house really would be, if all of this furniture were to be inside.

Therefore, for any pieces of furniture that you definitely want to keep, but want to temporarily remove during viewings, it’s best to find some ‘off site’ storage. Friends or family members might well be able to oblige but, if not, a commercial temporary storage facility is another solution. Yes, it will cost money, but any expense should be offset if you achieve an optimum sale price for your home.

Decluttering the smaller stuff

Clearing some items of furniture is the first major step towards creating more space and after you’ve done this, it’s time to look at some of the smaller things. Much like the furniture, you’ve been used to living with these smaller items for years, but buyers will see some things for what they really are – clutter. It can take many, many forms, but look at your house with a critical eye and remove items from the floors, walls, shelves, worktops and window ledges that might fall into this clutter category.

If you want to keep these items, discretely store them in cupboards, or away from the property but again, ask yourself whether you truly want the hassle of packing up and moving these things to your new home, and will you actually want the items once they’re actually there.

You don’t necessarily need to completely depersonalise your house and you certainly want to ensure that it still looks homely. However, extraneous items don’t help to sell a property. Even day-to-day items such as dog bowls or cat litter trays can put some buyers off and so try to be as objective as possible and clear away anything that may be construed as clutter or mess.

Time to spruce things up

Decluttering is a major step, but there are other aspects of the property’s presentation that are also important. Although of course you’re looking to move, it might be worth considering redecorating some rooms. This could be rooms that are in particular need of sprucing up, or you could ‘decorate strategically’, picking rooms that are going to sway buyers the most.

For example, the hallway or entrance area to your house is often a good place to start, as this will be a buyer’s first impression of your home’s interior. The kitchen is another worthwhile area of focus, as this room can often influence a buyer’s overall perception of the property.

A small amount of aesthetic improvement can work wonders, and even quick and easy things like introducing some new curtains or cushions to a room can really enhance the appeal of the interior.

Fix obvious faults

As well as sprucing up some rooms, it’s undoubtedly worth applying superficial fixes where faults are clearly evident, and this includes addressing any issues such as mould or damp patches.

That dripping tap that you’ve never got around to fixing? The crack in the bedroom wall? You may have got used to living with them but they’re exactly the type of issues that will start to create the wrong kind of impression with those who will be viewing your home.

It might initially seem counter-intuitive to spend money on a house that you’re soon going to be moving out of, but things that you can easily spot will also be seen by potential buyers and will either dissuade them from making an offer, or will influence them to make a lower offer than they otherwise would.

Give the garden some TLC

Whilst decluttering and improving the appearance of the interior is extremely important, the same can be said for the exterior and, most notably, the garden. The basics, such as ensuring the garden is tidy and the lawn is cut, always help. However, you may also want to consider removing some shrubs and bushes, as this will instantly create the impression of a more spacious garden.

Ultimately, you need to aim to create ‘curb appeal’, so that the very first impression that buyers get of your home is a positive one. This is especially important, as buyers will often make a decision about the property before they’ve even set foot inside the door.

And finally, don’t underestimate the appeal of a clean house

In addition to decluttering, decorating and fundamental fixes, it’s also essential that the property is clean. There’s an array of things to do in most houses, but some of the key items to address include:

  • Cleaning the windows, both inside and out, including the frames
  • Dusting everything
  • Vacuuming all floors
  • Cleaning the oven and kitchen (it’s a particularly important room for most buyers and at the same time one that’s more prone to dirt and stains than most)
  • Emptying the bins
  • Polishing taps, door handles and mirrors
  • Cleaning facias

A standard clean may suffice but, depending on the condition of your house, it might be worth investing in a deep clean, including carpet cleaning, as this can often reinvigorate a tired décor.

It’s also worth remembering that ‘the smell can help sell’ and so think about using air fresheners, lavender sticks or fresh flowers, all of which can help positively stimulate buyers’ senses.

Summary

Presentation is everything when it comes to successfully selling your house. Well-presented homes generally sell more quickly and for a higher value, and so every effort you can make to improve your home before putting it on the market will give you the most favourable chance of selling quickly and for the very best possible price.

To look at it another way, for a minimal investment of time and money you could add thousands to the selling price of your house, and so it’s well worth the effort.

Looking for furniture for your next home?

Unni and Evans is an independently-owned, online only furniture store. We offer a number of unique ranges that aren’t typically available in traditional furniture shops, including a broad selection of reclaimed furniture sets and high quality, modern dining chairs. We always aim to provide a thoroughly enjoyable shopping experience, which starts by promptly answering any questions you have about our products and extends to free and friendly delivery throughout mainland UK.




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