Preparing your house for sale

James Rippon James Rippon
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So the time has finally come to sell the family home. Maybe the kids have flown the nest and it's time to downsize, or maybe your family has outgrown your current home and you need some more space. Whatever the reason may be, the task of selling and moving house is undeniably time consuming and tedious. Just like buying a home, there are a few essential guidelines to stick to, in order to maximise the sale, and minimise the stress.

The act of preparing a house for sale on the market is called home staging. Depending on your budget, you can enlist the help of a home staging professional to get the job done efficiently and effectively. Ultimately, the goal of selling your home should be to maximise the sale price, and every aspect of preparing for the sale should keep this goal in mind. Remember to look at the house in the eyes of a prospective buyer, and the things you would be looking out for, when in the market for a new home for you and your family.

To help those in the process of preparing their homes for sale, these 7 tips will help you on the way to a seamless transition out of your home, all the while bagging the best price. With sale prices in the UK currently nearing their highest ever, maybe now is the time to put your house on the market.

First impressions count

The old saying “first impressions count” rings true in so many aspects of life, and your home is no exception. On inspection day, what is the first thing people see when approaching the front door? If the exterior and surrounding gardens aren't up to scratch, you may have lost a serious buyer before they've even stepped foot inside. Tidy up the gardens, and replant if you need to. Wash the façade, or give it a fresh coat of paint if it's looking tired. Fix the gutters, mow the lawn, trim the hedge, and sweep up the leaves. Don't be afraid to spend money when preparing to sell, as there's a near guaranteed return on investment. It is of utmost importance to begin seeing the home in the eyes of somebody who is in the market for a new house, and what you can do to make your house stand out from the rest.

Depersonalise

Clarendon Works, Notting Hill, London: modern Living room by moreno:masey
moreno:masey

Clarendon Works, Notting Hill, London

moreno:masey

All the little elements that make a house a home surely look great in your eyes, but in the eyes of a potential buyer, they are a distraction from the house itself. Prospective buyers want to imagine their lives and their family in the house, and forget that somebody actually lives in it at the moment. Let their minds wander.

Declutter

The next essential step is to declutter; this goes hand-in-hand with depersonalising the home. The inevitable bits and pieces you have collected and accumulated over the years needs to go. Whether you decide to find somewhere to store them, sell them off, give them to charity, or simply chuck them away, you will be glad you did when the time finally comes to pack up and move on.

Clean up!

The next obvious step is to clean! This is one of, if not, the most important points for selling. Go over every corner of your house, literally. Get down in the corners behind doors, and the corners of the ceiling. Get into the oven, and in the grout of the tiles in the bathroom and kitchen. Once you have decluttered your home, the idea of cleaning may seem a little less daunting now there are less bits in the room. If time is restricted, remember there are always professionals who can get the job done fast, and do it right.

Repair, restore

Southview || Classic Travertine: modern Bathroom by Floors of Stone Ltd
Floors of Stone Ltd

Southview || Classic Travertine

Floors of Stone Ltd

If you have lived in a house for years, you may be used to the tiny imperfections, and brushed them aside, forgetting that they exist, or that they ever worked properly at all. It's these tiny details that potential buyers are scouting, so don't think they won't notice. Buyers are looking for a home they can move into straight away, and not spend time fixing themselves. Don't pigeon hole your house into the “fixer-upper” group by not fixing everything in your home before it goes to market. If you overlook repairing, buyers will automatically expect a cheaper sale price. Little details such as broken lights, leaky taps, creaky doors, cracked paint, and odours caused from pets or cigarettes, can all greatly effect the selling price.

Natural light is your friend

Broadgates Road SW18: modern Bedroom by BTL Property LTD
BTL Property LTD

Broadgates Road SW18

BTL Property LTD

This step is so easy, yet so effective: let in natural light. Simply by opening a curtain or blind, your house is all of a sudden overwhelmingly more inviting and enticing to buy. Other small elements like trimming back branches that might be blocking windows, add mirrors to small or dark rooms, and give the windows of your house a good clean.

Neutral colours

Broadgates Road SW18: modern Bathroom by BTL Property LTD
BTL Property LTD

Broadgates Road SW18

BTL Property LTD

In conjunction with depersonalising your home, a house that will soon go to market should be decorated and painted in neutral colours. This is important to make your home more appealing to a wider range of clients. Painting is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to make a big impact. Steer clear of darker tones as they rob a room of light, and paint the ceiling white for an instantly brighter space. Wallpaper should most certainly be avoided, and paint the all the rooms in the same one or two neutral tones, to create unity throughout.

If you have lived in your house a long time, remember to take photos to remember the family home. Don't cut yourself short, and be sure to leave plenty of time to get the job done right. Break each task into smaller, more manageable parts, and write lists, ensuring you tick off points as you go. Good luck.

If you’ve sold your home in the past, what’s one tip you could give others that are about to sell their properties? Let us know your thoughts below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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