Preparing your home for market
Date of Article
Mar 25 2014

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25 March 2014, The housing market is enjoying a seasonal resurgence and our national obsession with property shows no signs of abating. Tony Wright, head of residential agency in Yorkshire for national property consultancy Carter Jonas, offers some advice on how you can make your home stand out from the crowd.

We all know that a well-presented home is more likely to sell – and fast – and yet many homeowners still neglect this simple fact.

While many of us fancy ourselves as property experts – encouraged by the dozens of property shows aired on television each week – a significant number of sellers continue to overlook some of the basic improvements that could help sell their house.

From tidying away the children’s toys and giving the walls a lick of paint, to repainting your front door and sprucing up your garden, a few simple steps could make all the difference when it comes to completing the sale and reaching your asking price. 

First things first, take a step back and be honest. Living in a house on a day-to-day basis can blind you to some of its shortcomings. Your will need to forget your personal attachments and consider how a potential buyer will view your home.

Next, make sure you understand your target audience and present your home in a way that is most likely to appeal to them and their aspirations. For instance, if you are currently using your fourth bedroom as an office but are looking to appeal to families, turn it back into a bedroom and move the workstation elsewhere.

Take some time to consider your home’s kerb appeal. Many buyers will drive past your house to see if they like the look of it before they even book a viewing.  Paint your front door, wash the windows and ensure the guttering is clear and the front garden well kempt and weed-free.

Now move your attentions inside. A thorough spring clean, neutral décor and a clear out of clutter will help your house feel cleaner and bigger and enables buyers to visualise how their own belongings will fit the space.

Pack away ornaments and put things you don’t use on a daily basis into the attic or storage. Where possible, remove overly large pieces of furniture to make rooms feel bigger – particularly in the hallway, kitchen and bathroom.

A fresh coat of paint, new tiling or carpeting can smarten up a tired-looking property. Re-grouting will give tiles a new lease of life, while replacing heavy dark curtains with lighter fabrics will instantly brighten small or dark rooms.

Make sure kitchens and bathrooms are spotless, inviting and hygienic. Add fresh white towels and a healthy looking plant. Clear out cupboards to emphasise available storage space and make sure your garden feels like a great space for entertaining and relaxing.

Head off any potential maintenance concerns by paying attention to all the small jobs around the house, such as fixing that cupboard door or replacing the light bulb in your outside light.

If you have family pets keep them out of the way on the day of the viewing, and make sure you have cleaned up after them.

Take a tip from successful retailers and make your home smell good – use flowers and pots of herbs, but try and avoid the well-known clichés of coffee and fresh bread smells.

Dress your home for both your agent’s brochure and for viewings to show a lifestyle that can be achieved by buying your home. If you can encourage your cat to sit in front of the Aga so much the better! The idea is to set the scene for how prospective purchasers could live in your house.

Be house proud, but don’t overdo it, as your house still needs to feel like a home and buyers often want to put their own mark on the décor and design.