By Neil Maguire, director at the Bromley office.
When selling your home, how it is presented can really make a difference. Clients often ask us for any useful tips prior to going ahead with the marketing and we rarely suggest spending money on the property, a bit of time and effort can make a huge difference to the saleability and, ultimately, the price that can be achieved.
Clearly, every home is different, but here are some basic tips which would apply to most properties.
How the property looks from the road is all important. Many buyers will make a drive-by visit before they decide whether they would like to book a viewing and, when potential buyers do come along to view, it’s the first few minutes of the viewing that make the biggest impression. Therefore, give the frontage plenty of attention. Trim the hedges, remove any weeds, jet wash the pathways. If necessary, consider giving the front door and the windows fresh coat of paint. It’s also worth buying new some pots or hanging baskets to frame the front porch. With flats, it can often be worth speaking to the managing agents, or discussing with the other residents, if the communal areas are due an overhaul.
Generally, our usual advice is simply to declutter! Most of us have too much ‘stuff’ and excess clutter makes a room feel smaller. Overall, the idea is to try and get as close as you can to that ‘show home’ look. Although generic (some may say boring!), the well finished, neutral look really works. Removing any piles of old magazines, paperwork and the kids toys can make a huge difference. Also try to thin out the collection of family photos if there is an excess of them. Buyers need to imagine the property as theirs and, unfortunately, too many of your personal items on display won’t allow them to do that.
Make sure the best features of the room are highlighted and shown to their best, like fireplaces. If you’re marketing in the Winter, it’s nice to have the fire or woodburner going at the time. Allow the daylight to flood in by pulling back the curtains and removing any items that might block light such as vases or photo frames on window sills. Whatever the season, be sure to regularly open the windows to let fresh air in. Get some fresh flowers on display and , during viewings, turn off the TV and any music that might be distracting.
Again, de clutter! Clear away an excess of toiletries and the like that have accumulated. For viewings, remove any children’s bath toys and put out some fresh, clean towels. Bath and shower fittings should be spotlessly clean and it is worth re-grouting and applying a fresh layer of bath sealant if any mould has appeared. Also open windows to clear away any excess moisture.
Clear the worktops as best you can leaving the main items, such as microwaves and coffee makers, in place. Buyers want to see that there’s plenty of space to prepare food. Also give everything a good clean. It may be worth investing in a professional oven cleaning firm to give the oven and hob, and extractor hood, a spotless finish. Pet bowls should, ideally, be cleared away for viewings, and always let in some fresh air to clear any stale cooking smells.
While all rooms are important, most of your efforts should be focussed on the master bedroom. It should be a welcoming and comfortable space and buyers should be able to imagine sleeping there! De-clutter and clean, make the bed and, if necessary, invest in some fresh bed linen. Kids rooms should also not be overlooked, de-clutter, clean and clear as much floor space as possible to make the room feel larger. Buyers tend to like to walk to a window to see the view out, so leave the space clear for them to do so.
A weekend spent in the garden prior to selling the house can make a huge difference. Cut the grass, weed the pathways, and cut the hedges and bushes back. It might be worth buying some new plants and pots to go on the patio and, if it’s the right season, maybe some new garden furniture to set the scene – you can take it with you when you move!