Sell property

How to prepare your house for sale

Putting your home on the market and instructing an estate agent is just the first step in selling your home. To ensure that you get the best possible price for your property, it helps to know how to show it off in its best possible light - preparation is key!

Read on to find out how to prepare your property for sale and at the right price as well as keeping your sanity along the way.

1. Hire an Agent who knows the market

Unless you want to sell your property without any professional help, the first step is to find a good real estate agent. Of course, many property owners want to avoid hiring a real estate agent to save on paying the real estate commission. But an experienced agent will expose your house to a much wider. While tempting, the risks of going it alone likely outweigh the benefits, in most cases

2. Fix the issues

Don’t fool yourself in thinking that you can hide any major problems in your property as most likely any issue will be discovered in a buyer’s survey. The choices here are: price the property below the market value to account for any issues; fix the issues beforehand or list the property at the market price and offer the buyer a credit to sort out the problem.
Many buyers like the idea of a home with low maintenance or renovation costs so if problems are not addressed in advance, you may be eliminating a number of buyers. It might even be worth considering having your house inspected prior to putting it on the market to save surprises further down the line.

3. Declutter, clean, paint and stage

Be ruthless! Collect all clothes not worn for at least a year and give them to charity. Only keep the books you loved reading. Sort out the kitchen and bathroom drawers and cupboards. Give your home some space to breathe! Once you have decluttered you can then give your property a deep clean including cupboards and drawers. Dry clean curtains and cushion covers. Using professional cleaners can help save time and it also ensures that the job is done thoroughly. Ensure all stains on furnishings are removed. Sweep and mop under beds, fridges and freezers. Clean the roof and paths using a power spray. A new lick of paint on tired walls can transform how your home comes across, but keep colours neutral (such as whites, tans and greys). Finally, homestaging can be the ‘pièce de resistance’ - put some fresh flowers in vases, add a few throws on sofas and chairs, put out some smart coffee table books on tables, hang some decent artwork on the walls – this will make an impact and that all important first impression.

4. Organize cupboards & wardrobes

Keen buyers are going to look in every nook and cranny to ensure that they are very familiar with what potentially could be their new home. They will be taking a look at kitchen drawers, wardrobes and even under your bed (see above). To avoid any embarrassment in the case a wardrobe is opened and the contents come tumbling out, sort out as much as you can in preparation for visits. If your clothes are stuffed into a space, remove any excess clothing and put them (neatly) in the garage or storage, or even in the car boot as a temporary measure. Fold and hang clothing (think Marie Kondo), leaving a bit of space to make the wardrobes look bigger. Empty your refrigerator, remove any paraphernalia and make sure it is thoroughly cleaned. Try to keep kitchen surfaces sparse, remove phone chargers but keep aspirational appliances such as coffee makers and juicers (remember, people often buy into a lifestyle).

5. Replace old fixtures and fittings

If you are cleaning and painting then dated fixtures like door knobs, lampshades and handles can stand out, and not in a good way! Replacing old taps in the kitchen and bathrooms can make an old space feel new again.

6. De-personalize

Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in your property, so removing any personal photographs and (children’s) artwork will help. Many sellers only do this inside their property and forget to remove personal items in the garden or terrace. Remove items such as gnomes, christmas lights, flags and ceramic animals and store away any kids’ toys. Also, put away garden tools as well as items such as wind chimes, recycling bins and footballs. Simple, attractive gardens and terraces with well maintained plants and flower pots will appeal to every buyer.

7. Lighten up

A bright and airy home will always feel and look more spacious, cleaner and happier than a dark home. Opening up blinds and curtains is one of the most effective and easiest things to do to achieve this. Cut down any shrubbery around windows which may darken the room. Adding a lamp or installing new lights in darker areas can also make a big difference. All this will also ensure that your marketing photos look better.

8. Smells that sells

Air fresheners and scented candles are probably not what buyers want to smell when they step into a house as the smells can be overwhelming. The key is to have a neutral, clean fragrance. To do this, remove or hide anything that hangs onto strong smells such as running shoes, pet items and gym bags. Clean and fresh is the way to go, but you might want to add some undertones of scent. For example, think about citrus, jasmine, or cinnamon.

9. Collate all the warranties and legal papers

If your appliances come with the home, it is useful to have all the warranty information ready to pass onto buyers. The sooner you do this the better, as moving home can become quite hectic. It is also a good idea to get together any legal information that you will need for the house sale, such as tax documents and proof of purchase. Once you have collated all the information, keep them in a safe place (like a top drawer in the kitchen).

Good luck! To get started, contact our property advisors

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