Preparing your house for sale

Make sure that the outside of your house is looking as good as it can be. If any work needs doing, attend to it before you put your house on the market – you could have an email from a customer who saw your advert on the My Property For Sale website within the first few hours, be ready.

We recommend that you go and stand outside your property and have a good look and see your property from a buyers point of view. Also walk up and down your road and take in all the other properties; see how they look, what properties stand out more than others and why. Instant improvements can help a sale; a nice fresh coat of paint on your door, or new upvc facias can really make an impact.

If you have a front garden and path leading to your front door, invest in a few flowers, place them in a pot or hanging baskets to brighten up the area (This is a good idea when you take your pictures for your advert) also attend to the path, clear all the weeds and any stray litter or leaves, also sweep up outside your property. Let your perspective buyers see that your house has been looked after! Also remember you can take all the flowers to your new property so you cant lose.

When you reach your front door there are still a few checks to be made;

  • Does the front doorbell work
  • If it has a doorknocker, is it sturdy and polished
  • Does the door open smoothly and quietly
  • When you have let a potential buyer in can you close it easily
  • What comes into view in your property next

By running through this short and simple check list and attending to any problems that arise, you have already got past the first step and the biggest. If your property does not look good from the front, people will just browse when they drive past and may not bother even knocking the door at all. Even worse, if they did ring your doorbell but you couldn’t hear it because you never replaced the batteries when you said you would. You must be prepared to move from that property in the next 6-8 weeks so anything that needs doing, do it now.

If you do not follow our guide you are leaving yourself open to a much lower offer than what your property is actually worth. People want to buy your house and move straight in and relax, not arrive with their toolbox to start work immediately, do it all for them, it is well worth going that extra mile.

The Entrance

Once the front door has closed you need to show people around your lovely clean bright property. That’s right, we did say lovely clean bright, because that is how it will be on the days leading up to your sale. Buyers may wish to contact you and wish to view the property the same afternoon, and you need to be prepared for that. This is so important because a lot of people cannot really take in the size of the rooms that you have to offer when they are all filled up with personal belongings, try not to have to many family photos on the wall either, as these can be very distracting to buyers who will end up looking at all the photos instead of the house.

Right, back to the closing of the front door

A nice rug to wipe your feet on is a good idea, after that, look around, are you standing in darkness, does it look to plain, should you brighten it up. It is okay if someone call in the day to view your property, but what if they call at night; is there enough lighting in your hallway to really brighten it up. A simple fix is to check the wattage of your light bulbs and replace them with brighter ones if needed. Always make sure that your light fittings have lampshades if required, a hanging bayonet with a bright light bulb is not the affect you are after.

Okay so we are walking down the hallway, are the floorboards squeaking on your every move, is the carpet moving a little, or worst of all is the hardwood floor gently lifting in any areas. When you are showing people around your house, always introduce them to the room and let them go into the room first, this way they get full impact of the size and decoration rather than you standing in the way. All the rooms must be in tip top condition.

The Living Room

The first room to be viewed is generally the front room, this is where most people sit down with their families and relax, so you need to have the mood set for this, nice lighting is essential, no matter how nice your rooms look, if you have not got the right lighting it cannot achieve its maximum potential. We suggest softer lighting for the front room; some nice tall floor standing lampshades can give a fantastic effect.

The carpet needs to be 100% clean, either call in a professional carpet cleaning company, or you can hire the equipment from your local hire shop. You will be amazed at the dirt they suck up. Remember that you need a day or so for the carpet to dry thoroughly.

During the day curtains should be evenly separated and tied back to the wall. All unnecessary items should be removed from the floor to give the impression of space. A good tip is to have some nice relaxing music in the background. If you can when you clean the carpets, you can get your sofa and chairs done at the same time. If the chairs are a little scruffy who could always cover them with a neutral coloured throw.

Stand in your own front room and look round and see for yourself what catches your eye, maybe you can enhance on this or if it need be, store it away. Make sure that there is no paint on any of the electrical sockets or light switches in the house. You can remove this with a filling blade or scraper. Check for fingerprint marks around the sockets as well, you can normally remove these with a cloth.

The Dining Room

Try to achieve the effect that you are having your buyers round for a meal; lay the table with your best plates, put all your cutlery on the table, lay some napkins, really lay it on. Some nice candles will really help as well, this will make the room look fantastic. Make it so potential buyers will want to sit and have their meals here in the future; again some soft music can really set the mood and nice side lighting.

The Kitchen

We will now visit everyone’s favourite room, the kitchen, the heart of the property. You can really sell your house here if you play your cards right here. This is a room you should really make you proud.

Stand back for a while and study your kitchen, is it full of pots and pans that you never use, blenders and mixers that were used on the first day of purchase and then laid to rest. If the answer is yes box, them up and put them in the loft or out of the way. You need a kitchen that they could produce a TV cookery show from.

Remove all items from your work surface and your sink; clean the surface and all taps and splash backs. Next look in the cupboards and see what you can do without; you need to do this because your buyers will be doing this to see what storage space they have available, and you need to show them that you have plenty. The cooker should be next on the agenda, empty it out and put all the shelves to soak, clean the oven inside and out as best as you can and replace the shelves, set correct time.

Next, we need to look at all the white goods that are going to be left with the property, i.e. washing machine, tumble dryer, fridge freezer, dishwasher, all of them will need cleaning and remove any out of date or smelly foods from the fridge and throw them away.

Add some more colour to your kitchen by introducing some fresh flowers in a nice vase, little things really do make a difference. Clean the windows inside and out and wash the floor so it not sticky or greasy. If you have wall units with lighting underneath switch them on and turn your main lights off, it really looks cozy and relaxing. We know everyone says the same but offer your buyers a drink and put a fresh pot of coffee on or even better, have it on just before they come round so as soon as they come in the front door they can smell the aroma.

Closets

Downstairs bathroom is next on the list, this needs to be cleaned thoroughly so get stuck in.If your bathroom is small, it is often a good idea to decorate it in light colours or all in white, if you have a towel rail then hang some towels on it, and choose a nice coloured toilet roll to decorate the room, again some flowers can do the trick.

Going Upstairs

If your property is a house, we will now carry on with the checklist upstairs; walk up your stairs and check for any creaking noises. Again, clean the handrail and polish, remove any family photos that you may have hanging up and replace them with various prints.

After the climb up the stairs, take 5 minutes and look round, but look around through the eyes of a buyer. What takes your attention; is it the crack in the wall or the mirror that has never been straight, note it down to be fixed. If you have children maybe they have put stickers on the doors, these will need to be removed and washed and maybe painted.

The Bedrooms

We shall now enter into the main bedroom. Everyone wants to have a nice bedroom especially a large one, so if you have any large wardrobes that are taking up to much space or light remove them and all the other personal things that you have lying around; space is what we need to show.

Always make sure that the bed is made and is dressed with your best covers, if the viewing is taking place in the evening, put your bedside lights on and turn the main light off. Let them walk in the room first so they can see what a relaxing room it is, then you can turn the main light on if needed.

Take a good look out of your bedroom window as well and look at the view, is there anything in your garden that you didn’t spot at ground level but you need to attend to. Remember, if you can see it, your buyers will as well. There is no need to go through every bedroom detailing what to do because this small reference is enough to cover all the bedrooms in your house.

Outside

The garden is our next stop. To get this in ship shape is not an overnight job, it requires a bit of time and work, but it will pay off. Most of us have grass in our gardens, this will need to be cut and all the verges need to be trimmed. All dead flower heads need to be removed and thrown away, if you can fork the soil to generate some air and body into the soil, it really does make the flowers stand out more.

If you have decking in your garden make sure that it is not damaged in anyway and if possible, give it a fresh coat of preservative; decking is a good selling point in the garden.

Ponds need to be attended and kept clean by removing all weeds. Your garden shed needs to be tidy and sometimes you can hang your garden tools on the walls of the shed to give more space on the floor. Pathways and stones need to be kept clean from weeds to give your property an overall first class appearance.

The last thing on the list to prepare for selling is the garage; nowadays figures show that most people don’t actually keep their cars in the garage anymore. Garages are generally being used for storage or as a workshop. It is still worth giving it a sweep and if you do have a flat roof, check its condition; if it is damp get the necessary work carried out before you show to any buyers. Some flowers in a basket look very attractive on a garage wall.

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