By Clare Parrack of Clarify Interiors
First impressions count and buyers make up their minds in the first few minutes of a viewing. These days, the property market is like internet dating — full of ‘armchair browsers’ who choose what they want to know more about purely on the basis of what’s online. Follow these tips to make sure yours is the house they fall in love with!
Buyers invariably look for more space and they need to see that your property has plenty of room to store their own ‘stuff’. Pack away anything that creates visual clutter — too many ornaments, the collection of fridge magnets, piles of toys and excess pieces of furniture.
CLARE’S TIP: You’re moving anyway so it makes sense to start packing things away now and create that much-desired feeling of space and calm.
2. Depersonalise your home
Help a buyer visualise themselves living in your home by removing any overly personal items such as family photos, children’s drawings and holiday souvenirs. They all give a powerful message “This is MY home”, and a buyer will find it difficult to imagine their own possessions in your home.
CLARE’S TIP: Family photos are fine in the bedroom but keep them to a tasteful minimum.
3. Add ‘come on in’ kerb appeal
Potential buyers will often do a ‘drive by’ before deciding to arrange a viewing so creating kerb appeal is vital. Tidy your garden, repaint the front door if necessary, make sure that curtains are symmetrical and windowsills are free of clutter.
CLARE’S TIP: Add some colourful plants in pots or hanging baskets by the front door. Make your property look as instantly inviting and welcoming as possible so potential buyers want to come in and see more.
4. Make your entrance entrancing
Once you’ve got them through the front door, buyers need to instantly feel ‘at home’. Help them literally ‘see’ themselves in your home by placing a mirror in the hallway – this will also help introduce additional light into what is often the darkest part of the house.
CLARE’S TIP: Take all coats, shoes and sports bags out of this area as a cluttered hallway can set a buyer thinking that there isn’t enough storage space in the property
5. Do that DIY – now!
Any unfinished DIY jobs ring alarm bells for potential buyers as they send a subliminal message that your property could be ‘maintenance heavy’ and will alert them to look out for other outstanding jobs. This could be used against you to negotiate a lower price.
6. Clean until it gleams
It can’t be stressed enough that a spotless home always creates a good impression and reinforces the message that the property is well maintained.
Clean the kitchen, bathroom and loo until they sparkle, polish the windows and make sure that the home smells fresh.
CLARE’S TIP: Pet and smoke odours are big turnoffs for buyers.
7. Define the space
If you’ve got three bedrooms they must be presented as three bedrooms — not two bedrooms and a box room crammed with clutter. And if you’ve got a sitting room and a separate dining area they need to be presented as such and should not be seen a living room-cum-kids’ playroom or ironing room.
CLARE’S TIP: Buyers are aspirational and need to be shown the lifestyle they could lead if they were to move into your property, which is likely to include entertaining (even if they end up having TV dinners rather than dinner parties!)
8. Redecorate where necessary
It can be hard to justify spending time and money on a property that you’re about to leave, but if it’s neutrally decorated, well-presented and inviting you can add thousands to your asking price.
9. Set the stage to sell
If you really want to see your property through the eyes of someone else take photos of each room from different angles and then take a cold hard look at them. It will be pretty obvious what needs to change. Today’s buyers are attracted to clean, bright, clutter-free, co-ordinated and spacious environments with aesthetic appeal.
CLARE’S TIP: Buy a few interiors magazines as they give good examples of what people find attractive today.
10. Mentally move out
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice. You’ve decided to move so do all you can to help yourself achieve a quick and profitable sale. Remember, living in a property that is for sale is not the same as living in a home you’ve settled in so don’t worry if the new look of your property is not to your taste — it doesn’t matter, you’re moving out anyway!
CLARE’S TIP: An initial consultation with a home stager need not be expensive (we charge £100-£150 for a detailed report with room by room recommendations) and could be a cost effective investment.
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