Even in a good market, it is imperative that your property looks and feels at its best when the all important call comes through to say you have a viewer. Buyers have a wide choice of property to choose from so you have to put the effort in and make sure that you present your home in the best possible way. A quick hoover and making the beds will not be enough!
- Avoid strong food odours - don't cook food such as fish or curry before a viewing as the smell will linger. The smell of freshly-baked bread or fresh coffee though is said to provide a welcoming feel to a home.
- Soft lighting and open fires create atmosphere. If it's a dark day or an evening viewing, don't just put lights on as you go round the house, make sure the whole house is well lit and use lamps rather than central light fittings where possible.
- Ask friends or family to look after any pets during viewings.
- Try and make viewers feel comfortable. Offer them a coffee and ask them if they need any further information about bills or local amenities.
- Don't talk too much. On a first viewing it is important to make them feel relaxed. Let them wander around and then ask them if there is anything they would like to know.
Here are a few tips that are well worth the effort and don't cost much in either time or money.
- Paint walls - a pale, plain shade maximises the feeling of light and space and enables buyers to imagine their possessions in the property. Research shows that most buyers prefer natural, earthy colours to bright, bold shades. Although there's a wide range of paint colours available, magnolia is still the top-selling colour.
- To prevent rooms looking too bland, use strong colours for accent walls or cushions and accessories.
- De-personalise your rooms by removing personal items, such as family photographs and children's drawings, which may distract potential buyers. Buyers should be looking at the property not the owner's possessions, so hide these items until the property is sold. Removing clutter also makes it easier for buyers to imagine their own belongings in a room.
- Plant pots can provide colour in your garden. If you don't have the time to fill your own, you can always get some ready-made.
- Flowers and a bowl of fruit will brighten up a room and provide a pleasant smell.
- Organise rooms - a property will be more appealing if rooms have a specific purpose and this allows buyers to see the full potential of the property.
- Revitalise a bathroom with a green leafy plant and new taps, shower curtain and light pull. All these items can be picked up cheaply from DIY warehouses.Coloured bathroom suites are out and old-fashioned white is back in vogue. If you've got an avocado or pink bathroom, consider investing in a white suite. It will add value to your property.
- Restoring fireplaces and period features, such as ceiling roses and cornices, can add thousands of pounds to a property. If you don't have a fireplace then a striking picture can work equally well. If you decide to install a fireplace, look for an original period grate and surround in reclamation yards.
Repairs & Maintenance
- Finish off small DIY jobs - touch up chipped woodwork and replace washers on dripping taps.
- Before a buyer steps into a house, they will have already formed an impression. A well-kept garden, pathway and fence are immediately appealing.
- Water can cause major problems in unwanted places. Check your roof and guttering, replace broken tiles and repair the lead flashing. It's worth casting an eye over the drains too. A drain cleared before a blockage occurs is easier on the nose and the wallet!
- A regular lick of paint will keep a property looking good and keep deterioration at bay. A newly-painted front door with shiny brass fittings always creates a good impression. When selling, a surveyor will be able to spot if attempts at 'sprucing up' your property are simply quick fixes - he'll be much more impressed by ongoing maintenance.
- Cutting the lawn can be a last-minute pick-me-up. Feeding it a couple of weeks beforehand will brighten it up and make it look healthy.
- If your fitted kitchen units look tired, simply replace or paint and varnish the doors. This will be much cheaper than buying a totally new kitchen. If the units are in fairly good condition and only look dated, just replace the doorknobs, handles and taps. Another economical trick is to fit good solid worktops on to existing units.
If you are looking for further tips on improving your value and making your property more saleable then we recommend you read our blog post "Tips to help you sell your home for the best price"