Make Your House Ready to Sell in 7 Easy Steps

Once you've decided you want to move, you want it to happen as quickly as possible.

No-one wants their house to be sitting on the market for months on end with few or no viewings and little happening.

There is plenty you can do to make your home sell fast.

Just follow our 7 step guide to getting your home ready to sell.

Of course, everyone has their own taste and ideas of what makes the perfect home, but there are lots of ways you can make your house as appealing as possible to make a quick sale more likely.

Here's how to make sure your house sells as quickly as possible by doing the prep before the for sale sign goes up:

1. Declutter

One of the main reasons people sell up is because they have outgrown their home or simply run out of space.

But you don't want to let prospective buyers know that the house they are buying will soon be too small for them.

Don't be tempted to jam everything into cupboards either.

Buyers do open doors and don't need to be confronted by rammed cupboards full of your clutter.

Whether you are on your own, empty-nesters or have a family, clearing out the clutter will make your home look more spacious, more appealing and a much better prospect for viewers.

Whether you have a good clear out or simply put it all into storage is up to you, just make that space!

2. Carpets & Flooring

Dirty or old-fashioned carpets are one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers.

At the very least hire a carpet cleaner and gets yours spruced up as much as possible.

If they are outdated or would definitely need replacing by new owners consider buying new yourself.

Most people will be prepared to live with a kitchen that needs replacing for a year or so, but would rather replacing yucky carpets quickly.

Possibly a large expense.

Even if you only get the cheapest carpets, it will look cleaner and neater and your buyer won't be put off by the idea of having to shell out on new carpets soon after they move in.

Don't overlook wooden floors either, replace any that need it, or give everything a good wax and polish.

And pay attention to skirting boards, plug sockets and other bits that might be neglected.

Dust, wash, re-paint, and replace if necessary.

Skirting boards from Skirting World

3. De-personalise

TV property gurus will often tell you to completely de-personalise your home for selling.

While I totally agree that your beloved orange and purple striped walls need to go, this is your home you're selling, not a show house.

Showing your own style is great, as long as it can easily be changed by the new owner.

Consider showing colour in cushions and soft furnishings rather than a giant wall mural.

De-clutter certainly, but leaving a few key pieces and some evidence of your happy life is essential.

In a way you are selling a lifestyle with your home, your lifestyle.

So make it look as impressive as possible - ditch the goofy pics, but leave your surfing shots up; hide the ready meal packets but display your best recipe books.

Sell, sell, sell!

If people can see that you have enjoyed happy times in the house they can imagine themselves and their family doing the same.

So keep up photos or paintings of your family, your wedding, your dog playing, but don't go overboard.

Aim for clean simplicity with warm touches rather than clutter.

If you're not sure how much to leave out, ask a friend to walk round with you and give their honest opinion on what you can leave out and what needs to go.

4. Target Your Market

It sounds very businessy, but research your target market before listing your house.

Will your flat appeal only to busy professionals, or your couple's 3 bed be better suited to young families?

Is there anywhere to eat?  Can you add a small table and chairs?

Turn your spare bedroom office back into a bedroom by hiding the paperwork and adding a bed and wardrobe; or take the dining table out of the small kitchen-diner and put it in the downstairs playroom.

Think carefully about what your target market will want from their new home and show how your house gives it to them.

5. Outdoor Maintenance

An overgrown or untidy garden is a huge no-no for buyers, so spend a weekend getting the jungle under control.

Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, define or repair the boundaries, and create a blank canvas outdoors that your buyer can put their own stamp on.

Even if your garden is already done, take a look around and do everything you can to make it neater and tidier.

Invest in seasonal plants as blooming colour will appeal to buyers year round.

Tidy up dead leaves, rake the grass, and keep flower beds tidy and weed-free.

Maintain trees and shrubs and make your garden look as appealing as possible.

An hour each weekend will make a huge difference.

Add outdoor furniture to show how the garden can be used.

Everyone is looking for an outdoor lifestyle, even if it's just a cup of coffee in the morning.

Clear out the gutters and give them a clean, make sure drainage holes and downpipes aren't blocked, clean air-bricks and check the roof for any leaks or loose tiles.

Remove any moss or vegetation that has taken root in the roof tiles or masonry, and power wash drives and patios.

6. Indoor Maintenance

Check behind furniture for dust, dirt and mould and deal with whatever you find.

Check window frames, door surrounds and skirting boards to see if any need repairing or replacing.  

Installing new woodwork will really lift the room.

Check out these various architrave designs for inspiration.

Sweep the chimneys and check any gas or electric fires are in good repair.

Take the time to do a proper deep-clean everywhere, or engage someone to do it for you.

Re-grout the bathroom tiles, hide your products away, and leave your best towels out - or buy some new ones.

Make sure all the light bulbs are working throughout the house, and make sure everything is spotless.

Clean your windows inside and out so they let in more light and put up mirrors to make the rooms look airier and brighter.

Clean blinds and wash curtains then remember to keep them open during viewings to maximise the light.

Open windows year round to promote clean air, and use essential oils to make your home smell clean and fresh.

Many buyers will make up their mind about a house within less than a minute so wow them with your porch, hall and entrance.

Clean, wash, polish and tidy.  Put coats, shoes and bags away.

Add a console table or bookcase as an obvious place to put keys etc, and make it as warm and welcoming as possible.

In the sitting room, plump up the cushions, then head upstairs to make all the beds neatly, and don't forget to put your loo seat down!

Buy fresh flowers before viewings to give your home more wow.

7. Kerb Appeal

Of course, size and layout is the most important thing when buying a new home, but you have to get prospective buyers over the threshold first.

Kerb appeal is especially important in an age when most people will do their initial searches online.  

Those first photos that scroll by are your shop window, so get the outside of your property as appealing as possible.

Make your home look more attractive from the pavement (or the car or internet) by tidying up the garden, use the pressure washer on the drive and walls, add some pots of flowering plants by the front door, and clean your front door.

Re-paint if necessary and polish or even replace the letterbox and door furniture.

Invest in some window boxes or hanging baskets to make your home look more inviting, and keep the bins clean, tidy and out of sight.

Preparing to Sell

Once your home is ready to wow, invite a few estate agents round to give you a valuation.

But don't just go with the highest valuation.

Check over the information they give you and look at a few of their online listings.

Are they well-worded and without spelling mistakes?  How good are their photos?

Ask them how and where they will market your property.

Chat to your agent to find out how good their local knowledge is, and also to see if you get on well with them.

Try not to get tied into any exclusive deals, and be prepared to go with the next agent if they are too pushy.

Negotiate on fees and always get the final fee in writing.

When you have decided on an agent, ask for your listing to go live on a Friday as this will put you at the top of the property search engines ready for those looking over the weekend.

Try to keep your home in pristine condition ready for viewings all the time and be flexible and available both to your agent and any prospective buyers.

This isn't the time to have your phone on silent!

Waiting for a Sale

Remember not to cook too much smelly food, keep the kitchen and bathroom clean, tidy washing up and laundry away, and vacuum every day.

You never know when the right buyer will be about to walk through your door!

Put the word out that you are selling, to friends, neighbours and local shopkeepers, you never know who might be asking around.

Spread the word on social media too, it might help get your house in front of the right person.

As the days go on, remember that you are employing your estate agent to sell your house so don't be afraid to chase them up every few days to see what they are doing to sell it.

Be professional and expect the same from others

 Around a month should be long enough to see what your agent can do, then either take them to task or move on to another agent.

And finally, make sure you have all your paperwork ready.

No last minute scramble for deeds, planning consents and inspections, building certificates, and guarantees for boilers, windows etc.

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