How can I make my home more valuable and sell faster?
Making sure your property is ready for viewings, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will ensure your property is sold faster, but can also potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.
Declutter and tidy
- Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage, sell it, give it away or bin it.
- People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them.
- Don’t make it look too generic; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do.
- People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle.
- Consider removing any bulky furniture like big sofas or televisions that dwarf the room and replacing it with smaller furniture.
A fresh coat of paint
- Giving your walls a fresh lick of neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger.
- It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs.
- It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green.
First impressions count
- Kerb appeal creates a lasting first impression – most buyers make up their minds in the first few minutes of arriving at a property.
- The most important things are well-maintained windows and a roof that appears in good condition. A well-maintained front garden, pathways and fences and a well-painted frontage are also important.
Fix and clean
- Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this.
- Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there.
- Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualise themselves using the garden.
The all important kitchen
- The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It is worth the most per square foot and can make the difference when buyers are unsure.
- Consider replacing your kitchen cupboard doors if they’re a bit worse for wear. This is much cheaper than installing a new kitchen.
- Upgrading kitchen counter tops is more expensive, but can add serious value if they’re looking shabby.
- Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances, like an ugly old microwave for example.
- Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value.
Light and airy
- Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways.
- Clean windows inside and out, and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive.
- Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners.
- Putting a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow.
- Try to use warm coloured bulbs rather than clinical bright white light bulbs that can make things look cold.
Make it look attractive
- Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones (e.g. from Ikea) if necessary.
- Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and also smell wonderful. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter.
Make your house smell nice
- Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets.
- Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee.
- If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire if you have one. Consider burning some pinecones for the delicious smell. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean.
- You’ll have chosen a good estate agent (see our article on how to do this), so let them show the property.
- It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay.
- It’s better for you to not be present during viewings. Viewers will feel more relaxed and will give your agent more honest feedback about what you may need to improve.