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Top Tips: How to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure your property is sold faster, but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value

Declutter – but don’t depersonalise

  • Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend
  • 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 like a generic hotel; 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 that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture

A fresh lick 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
  • Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint

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

Update the 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 refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective
  • Upgrading kitchen counter tops is expensive, but can add serious value
  • Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances
  • 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

Light a fire

  • If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. 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

Make it look pretty

  • 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

Get the right smells

  • 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
  • If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it
  • 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

Showing the property

  • You’ll have chosen a good estate agent (see How should I choose an estate agent?), so let them show the property
  • It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay
  • They are also effective at answering those tricky questions about the noisy neighbours

Obvious conversions

  • If there are any obvious conversions – adapting the garage into extra rooms, or going up into the loft – and you have some spare cash, why not take advantage of this cash cow rather than letting the new owners make easy money out of improvements. You should usually recoup your money
  • If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway

 

The HomeOwners Alliance provides members with guidance on selling their homes. To see how we can help, find out more about the benefits of joining the HomeOwners Alliance.

 


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26 Comments

  1. Selling your own house when it is not in a good condition is a very difficult task. After going through your tips I found it very useful. Thank you for helping me in making my house look pretty.

    Comment by CardPalooza — April 25, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

  2. Clear out the unwanted furniture is a great idea the less clutter the more space and airy feeling it will give

    Comment by With van — April 15, 2016 @ 7:16 am

  3. Hiring a professional photographer is also a good idea if you plan to stage the house anyway.

    Comment by Chen Case — December 9, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

  4. A clean and spacious home is what sells best. The author is absolutely right about how to sell a property real quick. Buyers nowadays are wise, they do not just look at the free property listing, but they make sure they take a tour and see the property for themselves. Proper home staging is the best way to sell and upgrade the value of your homes.

    Comment by Reena Esquieres — November 13, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  5. Excellent tips you have shared . This is some really good tips to know about top tips how to make your home more saleable and valuable

    Comment by safeassetmanagement — November 7, 2015 @ 5:31 am

  6. A clean and well-staged property is what sells the most. So what most real estate owners should do is to do soe refurbishments to give the property a clean fresh look before having them enlisted in some real estate company’s free property listings.

    Comment by Reena Esquieres — November 6, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

  7. Selling a real estate property is really daunting. To be able to sell the house fast you need to do a lot of hard work. The property should be clean, all electrical and plumbing should be repaired and sometimes you need to bring some walls down to make it airy and spacious; this is what we call home staging.

    Comment by Reena Esquieres — October 26, 2015 @ 5:52 am

  8. Information and tips are good, thank you

    Comment by fathiwady — October 4, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

  9. Agree with the comment about getting a professional cleaner in – if you’ve been living in a place a long time you sometimes don’t notice all the dirt!

    As for smells – pet owners may want to bear in mind that bedding, food, litter trays etc might be off-putting to a non pet owner.

    Be ready with a list of answers to possible questions about costs of running the home – council tax, utilities, ground rent and maintenance charges if a leasehold flat, as well as buildings insurance if a share-of-freehold flat.

    Do your homework beforehand and ‘sell’ the location to prospective buyers – so if it’s a single person/young couple tell them about bars, restaurants etc; if it’s a family tell them about schools and family-friendly activities.

    When I bought my flat in London many years ago it wasn’t the best flat I saw, certainly not in the best condition, but it was the only one where the owner tried to ‘sell’ it to me as one with a history and ‘personality’, in the context of a community, where the neighbours were introduced to me by name and anecdote. I immediately felt at home – and I’m still here nearly 20 years on.

    Comment by Christine — September 14, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

  10. I have just found this site. Thankfully we were already aware of these and we sold our house in 2 days, at the asking price. Location helps of course, and we had fitted a new boiler 6 months prior, out of necessity, and go for one with a long guarantee. Keep all FENSA certificates if you have anything done. The same with alterations. If you have those details to hand, it shows you as someone who keeps things in order. One further tip, look at websites of houses for sale, see the features and room pictures of things that put you off. Another tip, way before you sell, it takes years to get a garden looking nice, so always get that started early. Finally, keep maintenance up to date and don’t tolerate getting the house into a mess and clutter in the first place.

    Comment by Andrew — August 28, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

  11. Awesome tips !

    Comment by Howart Ti — August 11, 2015 @ 8:07 am

  12. Another great post. Selling property is like selling anything. Give your house the wow factor and sell fast.

    Comment by Ray Purchase — July 14, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

  13. Great set of tips here and some things I’ll bet a lot of people don’t even consider.

    Comment by Bean — July 5, 2015 @ 3:15 pm

  14. Some really great ideas here. Most of these points are inexpensive but can make a huge difference. De cluttering the house can add huge amounts of value to the property as it makes the rooms look bigger. Plus it’s completely and utterly free….

    Comment by Izzy — July 3, 2015 @ 9:55 am

  15. There are many ways to add fragrance in the home that makes your rooms more appealing to the senses. Thank sharing, Great

    Comment by Jenny P — June 19, 2015 @ 7:55 am

  16. Great tips, thanks for sharing with us. Making your property look presentable is the key and will result is a quicker sale.

    Comment by Megan — June 11, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

  17. really great. thanks for sharing such useful tips

    Comment by bayareapropertybuyer — April 28, 2015 @ 4:49 am

  18. Hire a cleaning service to really scour your place, top to bottom. You want buyers to see your home at its best, and a thorough cleaning is a great start. Experts say buyers are more likely to purchase a home that’s immaculately clean than one that feels “lived-in.”

    Comment by Kelly@ApartmentforsaleinBrisbane — April 23, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  19. Nice Tips your blog is well written and beneficial for getting profit.

    Comment by Rohan Gupta — April 10, 2015 @ 11:47 am

  20. Hi

    Great tips to sell your property!

    After reading Matty’s comments, I would say that price has to be an important part of your marketing strategy.

    If a property is sensibly marketed at a reasonable price, it is likely to sell.

    Buyers need to justify the price in their minds. If another like-for-like property in your street sold for say £100,000 your property needs to be marketed at £10,000 or offers over £95,000.

    Starting with an asking price of £110,000 can be a dangerous strategy because buyers will stop paying attention to your property because they will ignore your listing on Rightmove or Zoopla portals!

    I would say that have sealed bids at offers of £90,000 could get very interesting and you could get a lot more than asking price.

    Comment by Saddat Abid — April 3, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

  21. Good list of tips. I’d say you shouldn’t try too hard on the kitchen. According to what I’ve read so far, most people renovate the kitchen after buying the new home according to their taste. That means you might spend a large amount of money on making the kitchen perfect, just to block people from envisioning it the way they want to. Who knows, you might even lose a potential client that way. I’d also like to mention the closets. You should clear them of any junk as well. People would definitely check the closets. It won’t make a good impression if they find your junk there. After all, this will not be your home for much longer so might as well, get used to the though.

    Comment by Christian Reese — March 25, 2015 @ 10:43 am

  22. These are some great points, but I must say I am not sure I agree with the point about the kitchen. It is a bit of a dangerous choice to spend what is quite a lot of money whichever way you look at it on a new kitchen which may not be to someone else’s taste. Perhaps it’s better to build in some room to negotiate on the kitchen than to spend the money?

    My wife and I had our house on the market for 8 months in 2013. Initially our agent came in and gave us what we thought was an amazing valuation. We were really excited as it meant that we could afford to look for exactly what we wanted in our new home in the countryside. However, despite numerous price drops, and after months of viewings we were not getting any bites and the number of people viewing thinned out to nothing. Then, 5 months in we had an offer which was a good 25% less that the price we started at. It didn’t stop there however, after 3 months of waiting and chasing news the buyer pulled out as his sale had fallen through. 8 months of our lives living in limbo for nothing!

    We’d heard about these companies who offer to buy your house fast for cash, and with a great deal of scepticism we approached a few. Clearly some were more professional than others, but we settled on one so that we could sell and move on with our lives. Funnily enough, the price they offered (and stuck to!) was near enough the amount we had accepted after 5 months of waiting for a buyer using an estate agent, only to have it fall through 3 months later. The major differences to selling via an agent being the sale completed in under 28 days and we were kept up to date by a lovely lady called Sarah the whole way along without having to chase anyone for updates.

    I guess depending on your circumstances you need to do what is right for you, but as this industry seems to get negative press because of a small few, it’s worth knowing there are some nice and professional people out there who really can help you out of a difficult situation.

    Hope that helps some of you out there, my wife and I just wanted to share our experience.

    Comment by Matty — February 24, 2015 @ 10:12 am

  23. Thank you for sharing these ideas. 🙂

    Comment by kelly — February 23, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  24. Fantastic tips. Really good for vendors who are looking for a checklist for a quick house sale. Even estate agents overlook these basic facts.

    Comment by Saddat Abid — February 21, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  25. Omg, I fell for this. I just bought a lovely flat that was light and airy, had mirrors, was decluttered, has a recently (beautifully) done up kitchen, smelt lovely and it was spotless clean, spotless. They also had the heating on, it was a chilly autumn’s day. I think they read these tips!
    The main incentive to buy this property was the fact that we wouldn’t need to do anything urgently before moving in (apart from getting rid of that magnolia). Most places I’ve viewed for more or less the same price have at the very least needed a new bathroom and kitchen, new carpets etc. And the smells have been.. interesting. Get rid of the smells people, esp if your property is currently tenanted.

    Comment by V — October 31, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

  26. Dear Home owners alliance, thank you for doing the research and sharing your distllied wisdom. I have found this knowledge you present, very clear and easy to read and touches all the key points for selling a property. it is very helpful and i am glad i came across this information. it is really a good bench mark and insightful.

    Comment by Steve — May 4, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

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