Follow these simple steps to get your home sale-ready.
1. De-clutter and de-personalise
Don’t wait until move day to embark on a big clear-out. Start before the viewings begin.
And when you’ve thrown out (or sold) all you can, hide as much of what’s left as possible. This means clearing coats and shoes from the hallway, storing everyday bathroom products in cupboards and ridding kitchen surfaces of appliances, jars and bottles.
Buyers need to be able to visualise themselves in your home, so it could be worth going one stage further and putting away personal effects such as ornaments, photographs and your children’s drawings.
2. Spruce up the decor
When your home is as decluttered as it can be, give it a fresh coat of neutral paint and re-grout any tiles where necessary. If your kitchen is old, you don’t necessarily need a new one. Replacing cupboard doors – or even just door handles – can make a huge difference.
Make sure all spotlights and other light bulbs are working, present the beds nicely and add some plants in bare corners for a homely feel.
A deep-clean of your home by a professional cleaning company, which tackles things like ovens, shower doors and underneath sofas, makes a huge difference – and could be cheaper than you think.
4. Don’t forget the garden
A recent poll found that more than a quarter of potential buyers would be put off by an overgrown garden, so ensure yours is neatly mown. Position a table and chairs in a spot where buyers could imagine having a morning coffee. Think about what your home represents. Remember it’s not just ‘bricks and mortar’ they’re buying, it’s a lifestyle and you need to demonstrate this.
5. Sacrifice your parking space
If your home comes with an allocated parking space, leave it free for prospective buyers to use. It’s convenient and offers an experience closer to the reality of what it’s like to live in your home.
6. Hire the right estate agent
When it comes to getting the right sale price for your property, it’s a good idea get three agents round for a valuation. But don’t automatically plump for the one who gives you the highest – this is an old trick used to win instructions. Find out how and where your agent intends to market your property, make sure they are knowledgeable, locally active and you have a good rapport with them. And above all, are they interested in you and how they can help you move on: it shouldn’t just be about that new instruction for them.
7. Get on top of your paperwork
Instruct a solicitor to kick off the conveyancing process early. Ask them to break down and fully explain all costs associated with selling and, if you can, get a fixed upfront fee for their services. Check with your mortgage lender if you can transfer the same deal to a new property, or if any redemption charges will apply. Gather all the paperwork on your current property together, such as building certificates for any structural work and guarantees for double glazing, boilers or fireplaces.
8. Be smart on viewings
When it comes to viewings on your home, ensure the agent does this for you – they know their job and can ask the questions you can’t such as ‘how does it compare with others you’ve seen?’ or ‘could you see yourself living here?’. As the owner, you should ideally vacate. Viewers are rarely comfortable when the owner is there and often they simply focus on being a good guest, rather than focussing on the house they could be interested in buying. This is the opportunity your agent has to discuss any concerns your viewers might have – whilst they are still in the property. Handling objections afterwards is often much harder. If you must conduct viewings yourself, have a plan of which rooms you are going to show first – the best ones should be first or last. Be impartial and ready for any questions.