When it comes to selling your home, quickly is often the order of the day. No-one wants to be waiting for months, or perhaps even years to sell a property especially if you’re under time pressures because you’re up, or down, sizing, or perhaps because you’re emigrating or leaving the country.
Whilst there’s always an element of luck (and the housing market) at play, there are a few things that you can do to help make your home more attractive to potential buyers. And the best part? They don’t cost the world, are quick and easy to implement or execute, and you probably already have all the tools you need at home already!
So, shall we get started?
A is for Animals
Some people aren’t keen on cats and dogs. Try to make pets scarce before a viewing and remove all evidence of hair, toys, food, beds, etc. If your neighbours have any noisy pets, try to explain that you are expecting a viewing and that you’d be grateful if they might take them for a walk at that time.
Freshly baked bread is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The smell is welcoming and nostalgic and creates and atmosphere which cane help the viewer imagine themselves living there. Another of our favourite tips for staging your home on a budget is to simmer a pan of water with cinnamon and vanilla before your visitors arrive to make your kitchen smell like cookies!
Clean, clean, and clean again. Research has found that dirty kitchen and bathrooms ranked highest in a list of 4000 buyers’ biggest property turn-offs. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most personal areas of a home. Buyers may have difficulty imagining themselves living in a property that doesn’t meet their standards of cleanliness.
D is for De-Cluttering
Even if you have no money to spend on staging your home, just make sure that everything is tidy and out of sight. Only leave things on surfaces that should be on display there, like in a show home.
E is for Entrance
First impressions are important, and if the entrance to the house is cluttered, cold, and uninviting, this will put potential buyers off. Give the front door a wipe down, tidy and weed your pathway, put any pebbles or stones back in their place, and add a few potted plants, if you can.
F is for Furniture
Furnish empty rooms. This can be cheaply; forage charity shops or even borrow a bed from someone. If you’re selling a two-bed house, both bedrooms need to contain a bed to help the buyers visualise the available space. Pick up a cheap bed base and stick a dressed air mattress on top to give the impression of useable space.
G is for Guttering
Make sure all of your guttering is clear of leaves, mulch, and other debris. This will help to minimise leaks and damp issues.
H is for Heating
If you have a viewing on a cold day, make sure the heating is on in time to make for a cosy visit. This makes the house more inviting and removes any concerns about having to replace boilers and heating systems. If you have a real fire or a wood-burner; light it! These are high on buyers’ wish lists.
I is for Interact
If you are showing the property yourself, awkward silences and one-word answers can make for an uncomfortable viewing and potential buyers may be in a hurry to leave before viewing the house properly. Offer information about your home, and start up a conversation. Feel free to share tips about that amazing bakery around the corner, or the quiet park at the bottom of the road.
J is for January
The best time to sell a house is in the spring, so a good time to start thinking about making changes to the house is in January. This means that you’re ready to hit the market at the optimal time.
K is for Kids
It’s hard to sell a home with kids around. Don’t trust them to clean their own rooms, and find something to keep them occupied, such as the TV, whilst showing people around.
L is for Lighting
If there are darker rooms in the house, or you have an evening viewing in winter, make sure the house is well-lit. It may seem a little excessive to turn all the lights on, but it’s surprisingly effective. Take a look through those glossy “for sale” pics and you’ll notice that all the lights in a room are always switched on.
M is for Mould
If you have damp problems, it’s important to get these resolved. It may just be as simple as re-pointing some brickwork, which you can do yourself. If it’s not instantly fixable, temporarily clean any visible mould from window frames or walls with soapy water.
N is for Noisy Neighbours
If you have noisy neighbours, try to arrange viewings at time you know they will be out. If you’re on friendly terms, give them notice so they can turn it down. If you’ve never mentioned it to them before, they may not have even realised they were so loud.
O is for Open House
If you’re tight on time and want to whip up some bidding competition (or perhaps you want to keep visits to a minimum, see: noisy neighbours/animals/kids), have an open house viewing where multiple buyers visit on the same day.
P is for Paint
Touch up any little scuffs and scratches on paintwork. Buy tester pots for small areas to be more cost-effective.
Q is for Quiz
Quiz family and friends on what they think could be changed or improved. Try not to be offended, it just helps to get someone else’s perspective and buyers are often difficult to pin down for feedback.
R is for Refurbish
Refurbish old furniture. If you can’t afford to replace old-fashioned furniture, sometimes a lick of paint in a modern colour can change the entire look of the room.
S is for Smell
Small things like putting your bins out before a viewing or emptying any ashtrays can make a world of difference. Even if the smell isn’t all that noticeable it may give buyers an underlying impression of your house as unclean.
T is for Toilet
A clean and well-flushing toilet is important. Prospective buyers may ‘nip to the loo’ just to test this and may be put off if they’re faced with potential plumbing issues.
U is for Underlay
So, you can’t afford new carpets, but new underlay could give your carpets a new lease of life, making it comfier to walk on, look plusher, and keep more heat in.
V is for Vacuum
Spend just a couple of minutes a day vacuuming to keep on top of it in preparation for any last-minute viewings.
W is for Windows
You can’t sell a nice view if you can’t see if through your grimy windows.
X is for X Marks the Spot
If you are doing the viewings, really try and sell the house based on what’s great about the location, the local amenities, schools etc. Doing your research here will really pay off.
Y is for Yellow
Yellow painted walls in kitchens make for a decrease in the value of offers made on a house. However, yellow accessories in the lounge (for instance cushions, throws, rugs, or flowers) can make a North-facing room feel sunnier.
Z is for Zoom
If you are taking your own pictures of the house, keep your finger off that zoom button. Close-ups of the lovely flower arrangement, or the corner of an empty room tell the viewer nothing and they may get bored and skip the rest of the photos.