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How to sell your home: seven tips to get your house ready for the property market

An estate agent’s ‘for sale’ board stands outside a residential building in London. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images
An estate agent’s ‘for sale’ board stands outside a residential building in London. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re selling your property in a buyer’s market, you’re in for a lot of competition, so you really need to make your house stand out from the crowd if you want to secure a sale.

Just glancing at some of the adverts on popular property listing sites shows how badly people get it wrong.

Some sellers show little care or attention to their property even though they are trying to convince someone to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds buying it.

And if you want to get as close to the asking price as you possibly can, it’s important to go the extra mile and make your home sing when its for sale.

Here are seven simple tips on how to get the most out of your home when it goes on the market.

Declutter and deep clean

Get rid of all the ‘noise’ in your house by decluttering. Make sure there aren’t any shoes lying around, no coats thrown carelessly over bannisters, or overflowing washing baskets. Hide all the wires.

It’s fine if you want to keep all your vases, ornaments, souvenirs and so on, but box them up and store them away when you’re trying to sell.

Keep the property looking sleek and simple to show off the space. Buyers will struggle to see past all the clutter if you have too much and may leave the property with a negative point of view.

Once you’ve decluttered, deep clean. You want your property to sparkle and shine.

Buyers might be turned off by any grime or grubbiness knowing they’ll have to clean it themselves later on.

And it might make them think you’ve not looked after the property well.

Get gardening

If you have a front or back garden, or both, they can be huge selling points.

It is disappointing for a buyer to turn up and find overgrown bushes, long grass, weeds, junk, broken sheds, and so on.

The front garden is the shop window. If a buyer turns up and sees a mess at the front, they’re instantly going to feel negatively about the property.

Out the back, where people like to spend time in the spring and summer, you want the buyer to imagine themselves out there enjoying the sunshine.

You don’t have to pay heaps for landscaping. Just throw on some gardening gloves, get out the lawn mower, and take any rubbish to the tip.

Tidying garden areas up so they look neat and inviting is enough. But if you’ve got a flair for gardening, there’s no harm in planting a few beautiful flowers to brighten things up.

Let there be light

Get rid of anything that blocks the daylight. Take down large vases or picture frames from window sills, throw out the net curtains, roll up the blinds and pull back the curtains for viewings.

People love light and airy properties because they feel more welcoming.

So fill yours with as much natural light as possible. It will make the property feel more spacious too—an added bonus.

Add homely touches

Once you’ve decluttered, you should think about a couple of homely touches to add some warmth and feeling to the place.

Nothing garish, just a simple bunch of flowers in a vase on the table will do. And perhaps in the bedrooms.

You could go a little further and give it the full hotel treatment, with well-presented beds, folded towels, triangled toilet paper, and so on.

Snagging

The process of snagging only ever happens in new builds to rectify any minor problems after construction is completed.

But it’s a good idea to carry out a bit of snagging on your own home before you put it to market.

Go through your house and correct or repair any small faults that you’ve learned to live with but which might put off a potential buyer.

Perhaps a door handle is broken, or a cupboard needs its hinges tightening, or maybe there’s a dimmer switch missing. Whatever it is, sort it before you sell.

These minor details will play on a buyer’s mind when they look around and may lead them to make a lower offer than you’d like.

Take decent photos

If you’re going through a traditional estate agent, they may well send round a proper photographer to do the photos.

But if you have to take your own photos, ask around to see if there are any friends or family who are photography hobbyists. Perhaps they can take a few great photos of your home for you.

Or you can do it yourself. With modern photography technology, you should be able to take your own photos that are decent enough even if you only have a smartphone camera.

Get the room exactly how you want it to look. Make sure your images are properly focused. Avoid flash if possible and rely on natural light instead.

Take photos with the light behind you otherwise you’ll end up with a silhouetted room. And take lots of photos so you have a selection, then choose the best.

Avoid editing them too much or at all—a little touch up might be fine, but don’t go mad otherwise they’ll look inauthentic and odd.

A lick of paint

Touch up any scruffy marks or scrapes on your painted walls. Skirting can also look tired if it hasn’t been painted in a few years, so give it a fresh coat if needs be.

You don’t need to redecorate the whole house. You buyer will want to put their own mark on the property.

But you can smarten the place up by going over any marks and restoring its former glory without breaking the bank or your back. It could pay off in the end.

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