1. Work out the value vs time
It’s hard to value your home. To you, it can be priceless, full of happy memories and clear advantages. But try to look at it from the outside – what would you see if you were looking with fresh eyes? You can ask an estate agent for a valuation (or get a few to value it and get an average) and look at similar properties in your street to see what they have sold for. Now be aware of how much you want/need to get for your property, and how long you’re willing to wait. Those hoping for a quick sale may be willing to lower their asking price.
2. Locate the positives about your home
What are the great things about the property? Maybe it speaks for itself, is in great condition with lots of space, light and a well kept garden. But knowing what makes your property appealing will help it sell. Is the location advantageous? Are there good schools nearby? Are there likely to be updates in access, with new train lines or improved services? Depending on whether you use an online or high street agent, you probably won’t have to sell your home to potential buyers yourself, but knowing what makes your home special will allow you to value it appropriately, and know what price you’re willing to settle for.
3. Identify the issues
This can be both obvious and invisible. Firstly, think of what jobs you were planning on doing to your home. How long have they been left? Whether it’s a chip in the skirting board or a door hanging off the bathroom cupboard, take the time to fix these issues. Not only will it make life easier, but it’s one less negative for potential buyers to notice. Simple things, like neatening up the garden and replacing anything that looks dingy or broken can make a big difference. Your home is making your first impression – if you’re the sort of person who leaves broken things broken, what does that say to a potential buyer about the state of your boiler, or your electrics? The more things are taken care of, the more trustworthy you seem as a home owner.
4. Clear the clobber
The truth is, that you’re going to have to clear it all out when you move anyway, so why not do it before the house goes on the market? That way you don’t have last minute throwing away whilst trying to pack up your house and find somewhere new to live. Sell the things you don’t want, donate to charity, throw away and generally free up space. This also means you can identify which items might sell well on Ebay or a similar site, and will have the time to do this, rather than being rushed as the completion date draws near. Photographs want to showcase space, rather than tat. And potential buyers are more likely to be impressed by your home if they don’t have to climb over your bike or peer around the door of a cramped storage room. Make like Marie Kondo and let your empty spaces bring you joy!
It can be hard to consider the idea that perhaps not everyone is going to like your taste in décor. Whether it’s bright pink walls, leopard print duvet covers or the room with the chalk board paint, it’s time to make friends with neutrals. Buyers want to imagine themselves in your home, and they’ll have an easier time if your sense of style isn’t bashing them over the head with a multicoloured throw cushion. Repaint rooms cream, or light colours. Make the most of the light you have, take down any intense art, tacked up posters and remove the family photographs.
6. Dress it up
This works with neutralising – have you ever been to show home? How it makes you feel invited, but you couldn’t imagine anyone actually living there? You’ve stripped away the personality, now you have to put in the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. This is called staging. Arrange your rooms to allow for the most light and space. Buy some plain, light duvet covers and a few throw cushions to tie the room together. The same with the sofa – cushions and blankets, in neutral colours. A bowl of fresh fruit on the side can bring colour to a kitchen counter (just remember to replace it if the viewings go on for a while!) and be sure to remove signs of pets. You may love your pooch, but buyers are thinking about the smell staying in the carpet.
When you sell your home you’ll be asked for all sorts of paperwork you had no idea you even had. Start looking for it as soon as you can. If you had any extensions or work done to your home, if you had the boiler serviced, or the electrics replaced, or anything else was changed by a professional, you’ll have to show proof. Similarly, make sure your EPC is available, and remember that they last 10 years, so you may need to replace it before you put your home on the market.
8. Keep it clean
It seems silly that one of the biggest things that puts off potential buyers is something so easily fixed, but if your home doesn’t look clean, it’s less likely to sell. Obviously you still have to live in your home, so there is going to be evidence of your existence, but try and keep it tidy. Issues like overflowing bins and dirty toilets can give buyers the wrong impression.