Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure your property is sold faster but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.
De-clutter – but don’t depersonalise
Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend
People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them
Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do
People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture
A fresh lick of paint
Giving your walls a fresh lick of paint, neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger
It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs
It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green
Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint
Fix and clean
Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this
Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there
Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualize themselves using the garden
Update the kitchen
The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure
Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective
Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value
De-clutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances
Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value
Light and airy
Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways
Clean windows inside and out and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive
Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
Putting a soft light bulb in the bathroom can create a warm glow
Light a fire
If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean
Make it look pretty
Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones if necessary.
Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and they also smell delicious. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.
Get the right smells
Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it.
Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee
If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms or going up into the loft – and you have some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.