How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

11 October 2018

There is a lot involved in selling your home, and before you can even begin the legal process you need to have received and accepted an offer from a buyer. The look and feel of your home will go a long way towards achieving the right price and agreeing a sale within the right timeframe.

Preparing your home for sale can be a very daunting task and you may not know where to start, so we've put together our top tips to help you get it right.

1. Make Your Home a Blank Canvas

You want viewers to picture the home as their own and you don't want them to have to look past all of your personal items to do that. Depersonalise the entire house, removing family portraits and kids' drawings, etc.

Remove all clutter, as this will also make it more difficult for prospective buyers to view the home as their own. This is a good opportunity to start decluttering anyway, as the more you own when you complete on your house sale, the more you'll have to pack up and take with you. Items you no longer need could be sold or given away on community forums, donated to charity or thrown away if they are completely worthless (although you might be surprised at what other people will want to take off your hands!) Anything that you are keeping should be stored neatly or stashed in the loft until viewings are over.

If your home is a vivid reflection of your vibrant personality, you may want to consider giving it a lick of paint in neutral colours. This will help prospective buyers to see it as a blank canvas, ready for them to put their own personal stamp on. Remember that, although it is still your home, it is now a commodity that you are wanting to sell.

2. Deep Clean Everywhere

A thorough, deep clean can give a house a new lease of life. As well as giving the floors a vacuum, scrubbing the bathroom and cleaning the kitchen sides, also clean everything else that needs it including the light switches, skirting boards and door handles. Air the house out thoroughly so that it smells fresh, don't use air fresheners to mask odours. Treat your bathroom to fresh towels and a new shower curtain and bath mat.

Put fresh, ironed bedding on all of the beds and clear out any rubbish or clutter from underneath them. Replace any curtains or rugs that are faded or worn.

Tidy the garden (if you have one) to make it attractive and make sure the front of the property is inviting, as first impressions count.

Remember, you need your home to look like a show home until it's sold, so once you've got everything spic and span, keep it that way. You could get viewings booked in at the last minute so it's important to always have your home looking its best.

3. Do Those Repairs You've Been Putting Off

Complete all those finishing touches that you've been putting off for ages. Tidy up that section of broken flooring, replace the broken fence panel in the garden and sort out the door that's catching. If there are any cracks in the walls then fill these in and replace anything that's missing or broken. If a leaky bathroom caused a stain on the kitchen ceiling 5 years ago, then now's the time to repaint that ceiling (assuming you've also fixed the leak!)

If you're not very confident at DIY, then call in the help of a handyman for the day to do all these odd jobs for you. If you find a reputable and trusted tradesman then it shouldn't cost the earth but it'll make a huge difference to the feel of the house.

If carpets are looking really tired or outdated then you might even want to consider replacing these before you market your home. This will also make a huge difference to the look and feel of your property.

4. Maximise Natural Light

A lighter, brighter home will feel more spacious and will be more appealing to buyers. Clean all of the windows inside and out, open all curtains and blinds fully before viewings and remove anything that's stuck on to the windows. If trees or shrubs are casting shadows or blocking any natural light then cut these back.

Make sure that all of the lightbulbs are working and are a high wattage. If you have under cupboard lighting in the kitchen then make sure this is all working correctly too. Paint over any areas that are a dark colour in a bright, neutral shade.

5. Think About Your Selling Agent and Timing

Consider whether you wish to use a high street estate agent or an online agency and compare their marketing strategies and terms and conditions. For example you may be asked to agree to the agent having exclusivity for 12 weeks.

Whilst you can market a property at any time of the year, spring and autumn are the easiest times to sell. If you are selling a property on behalf of a deceased person's Estate you do not need to wait for the Grant of Representation to be issued in order to market the property (but you will need this to exchange contracts).

6. Make Yourself Scarce

While viewings are taking place, if possible make yourself and the rest of the family scarce. This also includes pets. Take the family out for the day and ask a friend or family member to look after your furry friends while viewings are going on. Viewing a house with the owners at home can be off-putting for buyers and can also be a logistical nightmare with you all trying to avoid getting under each other's feet.

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