One benefit of having a good agent show buyers around your home is gaining honest feedback, something I seek out during and after the viewing and share with the sellers. Along the way I’ve gained an invaluable insight into what buyers will value, and what might put them off.
These simple tasks can be completed at little or no cost and will help your property stand out from the competition, with the potential to add thousands if not tens of thousands to the perceived value of your property, and achieve a quicker sale.
You’ve created a beautiful home – show it off!
I often hear sellers say “people need to take the house as it is” and understand they do not want to invest time and money in a property they are about to sell. I also often hear buyers tell us their house needs the right buyer to fall in love with it. However, many buyers don’t have the vision to see past what’s on show so it’s worth making some simple tweaks that can help buyers fall in love with your house.
1. Refresh paint work
Touch up scuffs and stains on walls and doors with leftover paint you may have kept, or with sample pots that match the colour.
Consider repainting old or bold paintwork in white or a bright neutral colour.
This is probably the most controversial point! No-one sees their belongings as clutter, and indeed your knick-knacks and decorations may be beautiful and definitely sentimental. However, they can be distracting and make rooms appear smaller.
The less there is to distract a buyer, the more able they will be to imagine their own belongings in the house and picture themselves living there. Knick-knacks will need to be boxed up anyway, why not make a start and pack away some of the things that may stand between a buyer and an offer.
3. Finish those maintenance jobs
Finish any maintenance work you’ve been meaning to do or are halfway through. Fix broken door latches, taps, curtain rails and dead light bulbs, consider replacing a damaged worktop.
The stain from a past water leak can spell trouble for a buyer, and will inevitably be questioned. It could be the water tank has been replaced, however precious time will have been spent addressing a seemingly negative point rather than focusing on the positives. A buyer may even forget the detail and remember your house as ‘the one with the water leak’.
We want your house to be perceived as pristine rather than unloved.
4. Spring clean
A good clean can help brighten rooms, remove musty smells and make the house look fresh and feel inviting.
Clean windows inside and out, clean the carpets, cooker hoods, architraves, de-scale taps and attend to all those nooks and crannies that get overlooked in the weekly clean. You may not notice these things but a buyer might.
5. Tidy the garden
Trim overgrown bushes to showcase a spacious, beautiful garden buyers will want to sit in. Pressure clean the patio, remove weeds, fix broken fences or gates and scrub off any mould.
Remove empty pots or fill them with plants, mow the lawn, lay out the garden furniture making best use of patio and decking areas.
In winter, lay out any winter-proof furniture and enliven bland areas with seasonal plants.
6. Make sure every room has a purpose, and the right purpose
You may have rooms that you don’t use anymore. Lack of furniture can make a room look smaller. Virtual staging is an option (speak to your agent about this), or you may be able to repurpose furniture from elsewhere in the house.
If you’re using the lounge as an office and the dining room as a spare bedroom, it can be hard for buyers to envisage how these critical living areas will work for them. Consider repurposing these rooms to show off the space you have.
7. Curb appeal
Buyers often drive past a house before requesting a viewing. So why doesn’t every one of them book a viewing? It could be the area isn’t for them, or it could be the exterior of your house didn’t motivate them to look inside.
We walk in and out of our homes every day, so take an objective look. Walk down your road past each house and take note of how they are presented. What did/didn’t appeal to you? The exterior presentation sets the tone, so check it is clean, tidy and inviting.
Tidy the flower beds, cut the grass, repaint the front door, fix gates, fences or walls. Place a few feature pots with plants if the exterior looks a little bare.
8. Neutralise house smells
Every house has a smell, but we won’t notice the smell in ours because we’re used to it. Be sure to eradicate the smell of smoke, pets and mustiness by cleaning thoroughly – even curtains if they’re old, and carpets if you have pets. Put some subtly scented plug-in air fresheners around the house and light candles before viewings.
9. Add some ‘staging’ touches
Along with presenting a clean and tidy house for viewings, consider adding some extra touches that give the house a luxurious lifestyle feel.
A room can be updated with on-trend cushions and throws, dated bedding can be replaced or covered up with neutral sheets. Fresh fluffy towels and minimal premium toiletries in bathrooms, a bowl of fruit in the kitchen and fresh flowers in living rooms. A lit scented candle in the hallway will help with a great first impression as your viewers arrive.
10. Ask for advice
Importantly, ask your agent for advice before doing any work. Often what sellers think needs doing is different from what a good agent knows buyers will appreciate and can save you spending money on the wrong tweaks.
It’s worth seeking advice well in advance of putting your property on the market, to give you time to carry out any work required.
Likewise, if you’re planning a major renovation and/or extension with a view to adding value, ask an agent for their opinion on the market value of the work you have planned.
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