We all know the expression ‘first impressions count’, and no more so when it comes to selling your property! Prospective buyers can make a judgement – favourable or not – just a few minutes in to a viewing. And while that emotional connection that people often look for when they walk into a home and just feel it’s ‘the one’ isn’t something you can necessarily influence, there’s a lot that you can do to make your property more appealing.
To help you present your home in its best possible light, we’ve put together a list of tips and ideas. Some may seem obvious, while others, like the alluring smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the kitchen every time there’s a viewing might be a cliché (or frankly, impractical), but you might just find the inspiration you need here to help make prospective buyers connect with your home, enabling you to get moving.
- Get great kerb appeal
The very first impression will be created upon approaching your property. A little landscaping can be transformative, so get your gardening gloves on, spruce up any pathways, fencing or hedging and add some potted plants to ‘dress’ the area. Clean your windows, give any paintwork some attention and a fresh lick of paint on your front door (especially in an on-trend colour) is easy and affordable update.
- A hall that enthrals
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to create an immediate ‘welcome’ and a sense of space. Even the smallest of hallways and vestibule areas will benefit from decluttering, a neutral coat of paint and clever lighting. Perhaps add a mirror to help reflect light and if you need to inject a little colour consider adding rug or accessories, but remember, less is more.
- Depersonalise and declutter
To maximise your home’s saleability, viewers need to be able to imagine how the property would work for them and suit their lifestyles. Clutter will only cloud their vision, so ruthless though it sounds, go through your home and remove all the excess bits and pieces you’ve accumulated to depersonalise it (including photos, keepsakes, ornaments, anything that’s overtly political or religious.) Bulky furniture too will make rooms feel crammed and do you no favours. Think about recycling or selling items you no longer need and boxing up and packing away the things you want to take with you when you move on. If you don’t have loft space, short term storage may be an option.
- A fresh lick of paint
Remember your sense of style may not be shared by everyone! Décor and colour are such personal choices, so try to give potential buyers as blank a canvas as possible to work with. Paint over rich hues with more neutral tones. It will also make spaces feel cleaner, lighter and airier. Keeping a little personality is fine, with carefully chosen accessories, just don’t make it overwhelming! If buyers feel they could move right in to your home without lots of redecorating work to do, it’s another box ticked.
- Make minor repairs
We all have small maintenance jobs that we’re ‘planning to get around to’ but if you’re marketing your property, be sure to tackle them. Broken door knobs, a cupboard door that needs rehanging, cracked tiles, tired carpets… they can be off-putting, make your home look tired and spell ‘work’ for potential buyers.
- The big clean-up
Dirt is a no-no. It goes without saying that your home needs to be sparkling clean and fresh. Keep on top of the housework so that your property can be very quickly viewer-ready with a quick hoover and minimal tidying. Eliminate any odours, open the windows to aerate, give carpets a clean and in particular, ensure kitchens and bathrooms are immaculate. Get rid of limescale, clean or replace discoloured grout, wax or polish floors. It does mean putting in the extra effort while your property is listed and keeping it ‘show ready’ for buyers, but it’s worth it.
- Give each room a purpose
Make it easy for potential buyers to see how the space works for modern lifestyles. If you have an open plan property, delineate the space with furniture into clear dining or living areas. Instead of presenting a cluttered box room that’s currently used for just storage, create a home office (highly desirable given that so many people need to work from home these days.) Or if you’re looking to attract families, turn it into an attractive nursery or child’s bedroom.
- Make the most of green space
Outdoor space is increasingly important, so if you’ve got a garden, flaunt it! Well-maintained lawns, fencing and hedging will make it appear low-maintenance, and why not dress the space with garden furniture, lighting and a few pots and outdoors accessories? Not only will you be able to enjoy the great outdoors yourself while your home is on the market, you’ll be presenting extra entertaining space that buyers are often looking for.
- Put the furry friends away
Not everyone is an animal lover; some people have allergies and when it comes to viewings, pets can be a big distraction. If possible, remove pets from the home altogether or at least ensure that they are safely ‘contained’ when potential buyers visit. Remove pet odours and hair with thorough, regular cleaning and be sure to put away feed bowls, toys, beds and of course, litter trays.
- Do your homework
It can be helpful for potential buyers to have information about both your property and the surrounding area. Do some prep’ work in advance so you can answer questions about practicalities, such as the running costs for your property, utilities, your council tax band etc. And be ready to ‘sell’ the location to buyers with information to suit about transport, local schools, shops and amenities, the community and details of local walks, beauty spots or recreational facilities.
- Be realistic about price
More homework, but it’s worth going online to check listings and market value for comparable properties (size, age, location and features). Look at both those that are on the market currently, and those that have recently sold. Also take advice from your estate agent, if you are marketing your property through one, for local market insights. The ideal is to secure the best price for your home without pricing-out or limiting buyers.
- Be ‘on point’ online!
The internet is typically our first ‘go-to’ for property searches these days, so make sure your home has great online presence. Photography is important; well-lit rooms and quality images can present your property at its best and floorplans are very useful for buyers considering layouts and living spaces that will work for them. An estate agent will include these as part of the package when marketing your home, but if you are selling your property yourself, it may be worth hiring a professional photographer.
- Point out potential
You may have already maximised your home’s potential with an extension, loft or garage conversion or through the addition of a conservatory, orangery or garden room. If not, and there’s scope to do so, be sure to highlight these possibilities to potential buyers. Attaining planning permission(s) in advance makes the opportunity to add value appear more viable.