Of course you will want to have the place clean and tidy, but there are further simple steps you could take. You may have a small financial outlay, but it’s likely to be worth it.
First impressions count
Make sure that a potential buyer’s first view of your home is inviting. Clear and tidy the front garden, prune any unruly shrubs, replace missing paving stones, weed between them and so on. The various bins many of us now have to sort our rubbish into can be quite an eyesore, so try to keep them out of sight when you are showing the property.
If showing in winter, a light over the front door makes the approach less intimidating in the dark. Make sure the bell is working, too! If the front door itself is looking shabby, a smart lick of gloss paint will give the impression that the property has been well maintained.
For more tips about how to present the exterior of your property, take a look at our guide to kerb appeal.
Once inside, try not to force viewers to squeeze past bikes, school bags, tennis rackets and overflowing coat hooks in a cluttered hall. Of course, many halls are fairly cramped, but if the first space your buyer enters appears calm, it will set the scene for the rest of the property.
Throughout the house you should probably remove much of your stuff. If you have piles of things waiting to be sorted, lots of trinkets on display, or drawers visibly bursting with clothes, get rid of them. What to do with it all is another question, but at the very least, put it into boxes and out of sight - in the loft, a friend’s house or rented storage space. Most removal companies have storage space available for you to rent.
Remember, your removals quote will be cheaper if you have fewer boxes to move, so when de-cluttering, it is a good idea to get rid of large items before you move, rather than paying for them to be moved and then disposing of them.
Even things in daily use need some attention. It may be inconvenient not to have all your toiletries easily accessible in the bathroom, but no one wants to see your toothbrush or deodorant, so if these are normally out on a shelf, see if you can keep them in some kind of container for the viewings.
While most of us are likely to have too much of our gear on display, it is important not to go too far in the opposite direction and have everything stripped bare. Minimalism is not the same as emptiness, which can give a forlorn impression. Try to make sure that you have a little colour and texture in your home. A few pictures on the wall, some cushions on the sofa and a small number of objects on the mantelpiece will add warmth to the décor. Some pot plants or fresh flowers on the table will help to bring the room to life.
You have been living in your home for a while and could be blind to the message it is sending to others. It can help to ask a very honest friend over to give you the brutal truth. Or, if you can afford it, there are many companies that will do this for you for a fee. They can be totally dispassionate and usually add many times the cost of their services to the selling price of your property.
Remember, it can be stressful keeping your house to showroom standards. The more attractive you can make it, the less time you are likely to have to put up with the situation!