Preparing your home for sale - handy hints and tips

Date Published 20 January 2017

When most people bring their house to the market, they will have been considering it for some time. We often speak to clients who have given their home a complete de-clutter, and sometimes they've even redecorated, or put down new carpets in order to really make the most of their home. In this week's blog, we are looking at what you do, and don't need to do, to prepare your home for sale.
For the preparation of the sales particulars:

• Try to think of about what you would want to see if you were a potential buyer – have a walk around your house before you do anything else, and do so with a critical eye – things which seem familiar to you, may make it difficult for a viewer to envisage themselves in your home – lots of knick-knacks are a classic example of this.

• Make your beds. This might seem obvious – but lots of people don't think about how their bedroom might look in a photograph. Nobody will be expecting your room to look like a hotel, but if you would normally keep personal items – like medications – on your bedside table, it's worth just putting them away for the day when the photographer is coming.

• Save yourself the embarrassment of seeing your private possessions on display in your bathroom. Many people forget that the photographs will be seen by thousands of people online. Have a look around your bathroom to check that you've not left flannels hanging over the bath, or empty loo rolls out.

• In your kitchen, work surface space is a premium! The one thing that buyers are really looking for is space. Even the least willing cooks allow themselves to dream that they will one day be cooking up feasts for family and friends. If you've got gadgets out on your work surfaces – find somewhere to put them out of sight. Even if you just move them temporarily whilst the photographer gets the shots they need.

• Pay attention to the little things – make sure that any blown lightbulbs which are changed. Little things like this will really notice in the photos – and in the winter months, it's likely that the photographer will want to have the lights on in each room to get the best photographs. You don't need to spend a fortune on fixing things in the house – if you're moving out, you probably don't want to spend a lot of money for someone else to enjoy, but small things can make a big difference.

• If it's winter; remove rain covers from garden furniture – patio heaters, garden table and chairs, and barbeques. It can crowd pictures of the garden to have big blocks of coloured plastic covering these things, whereas the items underneath can make the garden look bigger – if a buyer can see that a patio holds a table and chairs to seat six, they can imagine their own things in the same space. If you have a washing line, it's a good idea to remove it for photographs. Although you barely notice it there, it will be obvious in the photos. Similarly your waste bins – they're something that everyone has, but they don't give the best first impression.

• Keep your driveway (if you have one) clear of cars. It makes it difficult to get a good front shot of your property if there are cars obscuring the view. If you have street parking outside your house, this can sometimes be very difficult, but if it's your cars parked directly outside, you can move them when the photographer arrives, and move them back again as soon as they've taken that all-important front shot.

• Use common sense. If you have a room in your house where you normally put all the bits and pieces you don't need – suitcases, clothes airers etc – just move them out of that room for the photos, and into another room, whilst the photographer shoots that room. They can be moved back again whilst the photographer does another room and means that each of the rooms will be shown in their best light.
For viewings:
• When your agent calls to book in a viewing, it is likely that to start with, you will panic and start manically cleaning the house. After the initial flurry of viewings, it can soon become tiresome to always be clearing up when viewers are coming round, and vendors can start to turn down short-notice requests for viewings. Sometimes those viewers are really keen buyers. They want to view at short notice because they're really excited about seeing the house, and it's a good idea to capitalise on this.

• Don't worry too much about making the house look immaculate. Viewers understand that you live in your home and you can't be expected to live in a show home throughout the duration of marketing – as long as a viewer can get a good feel of the space and layout of the property, it's much better that they have the chance to look, than putting off viewings to tidy. That said, of course the tidier it is kept in general, the bigger it will appear to your potential buyers.

• If you work from home, or are at home when we book a viewing, don't feel as though you HAVE to leave. Viewers often prefer to look around just with the agent, so that they can ask questions where necessary, which they may not wish to ask the owner – such as what sort of price you might accept. If they have questions for you, they can always ask at the end of the viewing.

Hopefully these handy hints and tips will help you to prepare for your sale, but if you want to discuss in further detail, just give us a call 01442 248671.