When it comes to selling your biggest asset, it’s all about maximising the value. You could close your eyes, cross your fingers and hope for the best, but that would just be leaving it to chance.
The truth is if you want to increase the value and saleability of your home, you need to put in some effort. It needn’t cost the earth, and there are many small things you can do to increase your chances of selling for the top price.
So, let’s take a look at the things that make a difference between success and failure.
It’s time to dress to impress. No, we aren’t talking about your clothes. We are talking about how your house impacts potential buyers from the roadside. If they don’t love what’s outside, they won’t love what’s inside.
The first thing to do is to take a step back and look at your house. What do you see? Is the garden neatly trimmed, with stripes in the lawn and the hedges manicured?
If the exterior of your home looks like it needs some love and care, what message are you giving about the interior? Think of a viewing like a job interview: you would never dream of turning up in your jeans and a t-shirt if you wanted to make the right first impression. Likewise, your house exterior only gets one chance to impress
One of the easiest ways to improve the outside of your home is to plant new shrubs and flowers. It gives an immediate impact and doesn’t cost a small fortune to achieve.
Moreover, if you see peeling paint on the porch and window frames, it’s time to get your overalls out and get to work.
Another way of enhancing your kerb appeal is to paint your front door. And try not to choose the same colour as your near neighbours. Remember, it’s all about standing out, not blending in.
And the colour you choose makes a difference too. When your viewers sit down that night to discuss the houses they’ve seen, they will often use visuals as a way of picturing it: “Oh. was that the one with the red front door?” and “I really loved the colour of the porch.”
Another neat trick is to give your house a name. It could be your surname or a local landmark that you choose, but it’s a great way to capitalise on standing out from the crowd. It will give your home a slightly upmarket appeal without breaking the bank.
Why spend all that effort getting the outside right if the inside lets it down? Nothing shrinks a room like clutter. People like to see straight edges and clean lines, but they find it hard to visualise a space when their attention is drawn to your mess.
Plus, it also gives the wrong impression. It informs the potential buyer that if you make no effort to sell your home, what else have you neglected?
We understand that not everyone lives in a show home, and the house has to have a degree of that lived-in feeling, but it should be managed carefully. If you have kids, scattering a few toys creates the right impression, but emptying the entire contents of the toy box is overkill.
The same can be said of pets. You are trying to create mood, atmosphere and homeliness. People buy houses, not homes. Once they move in, the homemaking begins. It’s the colours, the scents, a carefully placed plant, a picture hung on the wall.
These are all the triggers that make us feel safe inside our homes because they are stamped with our personality.
Step out of the room, close the door and count to five. Then, re-enter the room and take stock of what you see. If you think something looks out of place, it probably is. Another way to look at it is to imagine the Queen is coming to lunch.
Is your home presented in a way that you feel comfortable receiving Her Majesty? If the answer is yes, pat yourself on the back and wait for that invitation to the next garden party to land on your doormat.
If the answer is no, you have some work to do before the Queen pops round. A great tip is to make a list of the must-have things and the not-needed items. This should help you reduce your clutter by at least 50%.
Another top tip is to ask yourself when was the last time that you used an item. That way, you quickly learn which things you need around and which items can be stored away.
If you have a garage, buy some cheap storage boxes and start packing things away. If anyone asks, you can say you are preparing for the house move by being efficient.
Also, when you declutter, you might discover problems you didn’t know existed. Piles of belongings can easily disguise spots of damp. Mould and mildew hide behind the mess. You only spot them when it’s too late after the buyer makes the discovery and decides it’s not the house for them.
Catching these issues early is the key to rectifying them, and no one needs to be any the wiser.
Last on your list is smells. Bad odours come from all directions. Drains can smell, carpets and curtains allow dirt particles to cling to them, and if you have pets, your home might already be a bit pongy.
We once had a seller fry bacon just before a viewing to get rid of the smell of three sweaty giant poodles. It might have been better to open some windows and use Febreeze rather than cover up sweaty dog odours with sweaty bacon.
Minor repairs can become tomorrows significant task if they are left unchecked. If you see cracks in tiles, splits in door and window frames, and missing roof tiles, get them repaired. Nothing quite says “disrepair,” like a potential buyer opening a kitchen cupboard and it comes off the hinges, or the handle falls off.
A five-minute fix is the difference between your potential buyers thinking your home is well maintained instead of full of defects.
It could also affect your property value. Buyers view your home with a critical eye. One simple handle repair in the kitchen is cheap and quick, but to your buyer, it means the entire kitchen needs replacing. What should be pennies to repair has now just cost you thousands.
And when your potential buyer costs up a new kitchen or bathroom, they are not working to the same budget as you. These are all weapons to get you to lower your price.
Some jobs are simple DIY tasks that most people can handle, but others may require the services of a professional. A good example of this is when you get clouding between the panes of glass on your double glazing.
Even if one window has faulty seals, your buyer sees that as a warning sign that every window in the house needs to be replaced. What might be a £100 repair is now running at thousands inside your buyers head.
By taking care of these repairs, you are ensuring the maximum return on your investment.
They say the kitchen is the heart of a home, so focusing your energy on making that room the best it can be should be a priority. Likewise, the bathroom has the potential to be another “wow” room.
Time and again, these two rooms have been proven to be the reason for securing a quick sale. They are among the most heavily used rooms in the home and the ones that buyers connect with the most.
This is partly due to the high expense of replacing a kitchen or bathroom, but also because they buy into the dream of owning your fantastic kitchen.
You don’t need to rip out the old kitchen and replace it with a new one to create impact. Some simple things can make all the difference. Replacing the worktops could be the answer, or slapping some white paint on dark, or dated kitchen doors can lift a space and brighten it.
The same decluttering rules apply to your kitchen as they do to the bathroom. Clear away any surfaces, storing things neatly in the cupboards. Give everything a thorough clean to remove streaks, limescale and dull metalwork like sinks and drainers.
If you have tiled splashbacks, check the grout for mould and mildew and replace it if necessary. Fill a bowl with fruit and place it on the kitchen work surface, and fold some new fluffy towels and place them strategically in the bathroom.
What you are trying to create is the idea of “lifestyle.” People often buy into the concept of “lifestyle” as much as they do the practicalities of your home. Try and think of it like buying a new car. No one gets excited over the brakes or the seatbelts, but they do when it comes to gadgets like BlueTooth and rear parking cameras.
No one likes dark spaces unless you are a vampire. If Count Dracula is coming to view your house, ignore this advice. But for the rest of us mere mortals, getting as much light into our homes is crucial.
If your windows need a clean, get them sparkling to let the light in. Remove net curtains as they significantly reduce the amount of light inside your home. If you have heavy curtains, make sure you tie them back, so as much light enters the room.
If you have blinds, pull them up, so they don’t restrict the light coming through the window. If you are selling your house in mid-winter, sometimes the weather may be dreary, limiting the amount of light inside your home.
You can counteract this with some carefully placed lamps or by replacing your dull bulbs with newer, brighter ones. How you use artificial light in your home can make a huge difference. Have you ever heard the term “mood lighting?” It’s something you hear designers talk about a lot.
Strategically placing lamps in a darkened corner illuminates and helps create an atmosphere. It can transform a dull room into a warm and inviting space.
If money is no object, you could consider fitting skylights. They provide instant light and help to brighten the darkest rooms.
If you want to achieve the best price for your home, these tips can make all the difference. When you invite people into your property hoping they see the value of living there, you are trying to convince them that it is the perfect place.
You are not only selling your home, but you are also selling the dream, and to achieve that, you need to put in some hours to increase the saleability of your property and to maximise the value.