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Tips to make your home more valuable and sell faster

Preparing your home for viewers is important. It will not only ensure your property sells faster but for a higher sale price; potentially adding thousands of pounds to its value.

Here are our top tips to prepare your home for sale so it shows well and helps it sell faster and for the highest value possible.

1. Declutter – but don’t depersonalise

Get rid of items that have accumulated. Put it in storage, sell it, give it away or bin it. Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture.

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.

But, 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.

If you’re looking to clear items check out our partners at AnyJunk, the household rubbish removal service. They send two crew members to clear junk or bulky waste from anywhere on your property and can arrange same day collection in most cities.

2. 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.

3. Maximise kerb appeal

Kerb appeal creates a lasting first impression – most buyers make up their minds in the first few minutes of arriving at a property.

Our survey of more than 2,000 UK adults conducted by YouGov, revealed the most important features for kerb appeal were well-maintained windows and a roof that appeared in good condition. A well-maintained front garden, pathways and fences and a well-painted frontage were also important. See how much it costs to do some simple updates to the exterior of your home to enhance its kerb appeal and value.

kerb appeal

4. Fix and clean

Make any minor repairs – 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 odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there.

Tidy 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.

Need to find a tradesman to help spruce up your home? Try our checkatrade tool

5. 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 that you aren’t using.

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.

6. 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.

7. Light a fire

If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean.

8. 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 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.

9. 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 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.

10. Showing the property

Choose a good estate agent (see How should I choose an estate agent?), and let them conduct viewings.

It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay.

Find and compare local estate agents with our free tool: compare typical fees, success rate, speed of sale and track-record achieving asking price

Find and Compare Local Estate Agents

This form will take you to for the results

11. Virtual viewings & Open houses

Virtual viewings are becoming more popular. There are various options, from a pre-recorded video, to a snazzy 3D or 360 degree tour or a simple 1:2:1 video viewing.

Hosting an open house is a brilliant way to create a buzz about your house sale and get plenty of potential buyers through the doors in one go. See our how open house viewings work and our advice on how to host an open house.

12. 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.

Significant home improvements are expensive, so it’s important to consider how your plans will add value to your home. Our recent research with the Federation of Master Builders and estate agents from the Guild of Property Professionals has identified 10 home improvements that also add value to your home.

If you don’t have enough spare cash to make the conversion, consider getting planning permission anyway.

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