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Get your house ready to sell – 5 tips for homeowners.

There were more homes sold in July than in any other month this year. At the moment, the housing market is still healthy, with prices remaining high. It’s very much a seller’s market, with demand for houses outpacing the supply of available homes. But the cost of living increases and uncertainty about the future have led to some buyers being a little more cautious.

If you have your house on the market, you’ll want it to sell as quickly as possible, for the highest possible price.

In this blog post, we’ll look at a few things you can do to make your home as appealing as possible to a prospective buyer and increase the chances of them making an offer at the price you want.

1. First impressions count.

A house viewing starts the moment the prospective buyer can see your home – and that’s normally from the kerb outside. Lots of buyers will do a drive by before they even arrange a proper viewing, just to get a feel for the area and the house.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself, what will they see when they drive past? How does your home compare to other properties for sale in the neighbourhood? What will they see that will make them feel good about your home and what will they see that might put them off?

Outside of specific requirements like size, type of property, number of bedrooms, and off-street parking, much of house buying is subjective and some buyers are easily put off by what you might think is a minor flaw.

Make sure the windows are clean. Keeping your windows spotless can be a bit of a challenge, depending on the time of year and weather conditions, but make sure they’re free of obvious marks, dirt and grime. Consider giving the windows – and the front door – and fresh coat of paint.

Move the rubbish bins out of sight, so they’re not the first thing a potential buyer sees. Make sure they’ve been washed down too, and aren’t overflowing with rubbish.

If you have a garden, then make sure it’s tidy and presentable. Keep the grass neat and as free of weeds as possible. If it’s the wrong time of year for any flowers to be in bloom, consider adding a few potted plants or small, simple ornaments.

Clean and brush down any pathways and make sure they are free from obstructions.

The impression the inside of your house makes is just as important as the outside. Go through the same process as you did when looking at the external presentation. When they step through your front door and over the threshold, what are they going to find and how is that going to make them feel?

Remember that trick used by supermarkets, where they use pleasant and comforting scents, like the smell of fresh bread, to make you feel at home and to encourage you to buy more? Some property professionals recommend baking some bread or cookies, or brewing fresh coffee when you have viewers coming round, but that’s not really necessary and it could even distract your potential buyers.

Certain scents can help to create a pleasant environment, but keep things subtle. Stick to standard, popular scents like citrus, pine, fresh cotton, or vanilla. A simple plug-in, scented candle or reed diffuser will work perfectly.

Tidy away any shoes and coats that you normally keep by the entrance, and remove any mail, keys, wallets, or other bits and pieces that you usually leave on the side table by the door. Consider adding a new doormat, as this can add to the welcoming feeling.

2. Keep it clean.

It sounds obvious and should go without saying, but make sure your home is clean and tidy. Give it a good and thorough clean from top to bottom. Consider getting professionals in to do a deep clean if you think it’s needed. It’s certainly worth paying a little extra to get carpets, curtains and sofas steam cleaned to remove any odours or stains that might have built up over the years.

Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom areas. We mentioned the effect that smells could have, and you’ll want to eliminate any unpleasant odours that can come from bins, drains, cookers or fridges. When cleaning the bathroom, make sure mirrors and glass are free from smears and tiles and seals are free from stains or mould.

3. Fix the little things.

When it comes to making home improvements before putting your house on the market, it’s generally not going to be worth completing any major jobs, like fitting new kitchens or bathrooms. Although these items can add value to the sale price, they often don’t add as much as you might think, and you’re unlikely to recoup the money you spent getting the work done. And besides, your choices might not be to the taste of the new buyer.

Instead, save the big home improvements projects for when you get to your new home – the money will be much better spent this way.

You should sort out any minor jobs that need doing – such as replacing missing lightbulbs, filling in minor cracks, fixing broken door handles or cupboard hinges, or repairing dripping taps.

These small jobs become big jobs in the mind of a potential buyer – they’re inconveniences, things that they’ll have to sort out when they move in. They’ll naturally start to think about the hassle and the cost of making those repairs, and will knock that perceived cost off the asking price when making an offer.

4. Make the most of light and space.

One of the most important selling points of a house is the space it offers. Buyers are looking for a home that has enough space for them to be comfortable in and make their own, or to grow into as a family. You can’t change the dimensions of your home, but there are several things you can do to maximise what you have and make your home appear more spacious.

Make the most of the light. Light rooms appear more spacious. Keep the curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible. Lamps or uplighters can be used to illuminate darker corners and create a sense of space, especially if you are receiving viewers in the evening or during the winter months.

Keep things minimalistic to create more space. A room with less furniture in it naturally looks bigger, so consider moving some items of furniture out of the house and into storage. Make sure that the furniture that remains fits the room – for example, having a double bed in a small bedroom can have the effect of making the room look cramped and uncomfortable.

It’s also worth changing rooms back to their original purpose. So, if you have changed a spare bedroom into a home office, consider changing it back – an additional bedroom is generally seen as more valuable and appealing than a home office.

If you already have a spare bedroom, then make sure it is a spare bedroom – not a home gym/walk-in wardrobe/airing room/storage cupboard with a bed in it.

Think about your storage spaces, too. As well as cleaning and tidying, you should also de-clutter as much as possible. Not only will this make your eventual house move easier, but it will also allow you to show off your home’s storage space to the best effect. Don’t have cupboards, drawers or fitted wardrobes stuffed to capacity – some customers will open them to have a peek inside and if it looks like you don’t have enough space for your things, they might think that they won’t have enough space for theirs.

5. Let them see your house as their home.

Prospective buyers are more likely to make an offer on a property if they can imagine themselves living in it. They need to make a connection with the house, and see the potential for making a home there.

But they can’t do that if they are constantly reminded that this is your home.

As part of the de-cluttering process, you should also depersonalise your home. Remove any personal items such as family photographs and children’s drawings. It sounds harsh, but it has to be done – and it’s not permanent, you can always put everything back where it belongs in your new home.

If you have animals, then try to minimise their presence – we understand that you love your pet, but a potential buyer might not. Tidy away any litter trays, dog baskets, bowls and toys as these can be off-putting to some buyers. Consider having a friend or family member look after your pet when people come round to view your home.

If you have bold or “unique” furniture or ornaments, then consider putting some of these items into storage. Buyers tend to respond more positively to neutral colour schemes and conventional decorative choices, as this allows them to imagine their own preferences and tastes and start seeing the home as theirs.

That doesn’t mean everything has to be totally bland. If your home has a particularly interesting feature or focal point, then you can highlight this with a feature wall, a painting, lighting, or plants.

6. When you move to your new home, talk to us about your new mortgage.

We hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you keep them in mind when putting your house on the market, then you should have no trouble in attracting potential buyers and making the sale.

When it’s time to move to your new home, then make sure you’ve got the right mortgage. Contact us and speak to one of our qualified mortgage advisers today.

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