Getting your property ready to go to the market

Getting your property ready to go to the market
Getting your property ready to go to the market

Guest observation

Most people seeking to sell their house want to do so quickly and for the highest possible price.

But not everyone takes the steps required to make this a possibility. While buying a house is a major, long-term commitment for most, it is still a decision that is often ruled by the heart. By making a few additions, repairs and alterations to your home, you can make your property attractive to the widest range of prospective buyers possible.

Make first impressions count

It's unlikely that a prospective buyer is going to decide they want to buy based on the outside of the house, but they may make the decision not to after looking over the exterior.

Good impressions should start from the minute people pull up outside, yet too many sellers forget about ensuring the façade of their homes are presentable.

This means everything from the driveway to the garden to the front door should be ready to impress.

  • Keep your lawn mowed at all times
  • Schedule a regime of weed and leaf clearing
  • Plant some flowers or shrubs to complement the season
  • Remove any unnecessary items from your garden and pathways
  • Make sure your windows are clean and in a good state of repair
  • Check for missing roof tiles and slates
  • Walk up to your door and imagine yourself as the buyer. What's your first impression? Would you want to take a look inside?

Attend to repairs  

The last thing people, especially first home buyers, want to be worrying about is costly repairs right after moving in.

Unless you're targeting property developers, you'll need to make sure that the obvious, niggling repair jobs that you've been putting off are all attended to in a professional manner. They may seem like quick fix jobs, but a broken doorbell or loose floorboard just gives buyers another excuse to walk away.

If they're easy enough for a new buyer to fix, they should be easy enough for you to fix first.

  • Make sure all your internal doors close properly, and that all the door handles in your home work as they should.
  • Attend to cracks in the walls and ceilings before painting or papering over them. But be sure to seek professional help from a builder or a structural engineer if the cracks appear serious.
  • Fix dripping taps and leaks.
  • Replace broken fly-screens.
  • Check that all your light fittings are working and that they are fixed with the appropriate light bulb.

Modernise and minimise

Keep things simple. While you may have loved the bright colours and quirky items of furniture in your home, the truth is that buyers often respond more favourably to neutral tones and colour schemes.

Buyers need to be given the freedom to imagine their lives in your home, and that can be difficult if it's adorned with patterned wall-coverings, too many personal photos and trinkets and ornaments from your last holiday.

  • Redecorate with neutral tones - magnolia, and shades of white are ideal.
  • Remove overly personal and niche item
  • Remove excess furniture and clutter, including newspapers, magazines, and children's toys
  • Avoid stuffing cupboards and drawers with clutter, as buyers may want to take a close look at the storage space available
  • If necessary, hire some storage space for items that aren't necessary to daily life. This will allow you to create the image of space, and allow your home to be the star of the show.

Get cleaning 

A quick flick of a vacuum cleaner and some light dusting won't cut it when you're showing your home to potential buyers. It's important to remember that your home is probably one of dozens in the area for sale, and even the slightest issue with cleanliness can be enough to scupper your chances of securing a quick scale.

When people are looking for a new home they want a fresh start -- so make sure the property reflects that.

  •  Clear every room of furniture and perform a detailed clean on areas that would otherwise escape your attention.
  • Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom where dirt and grime show up easily
  • Think about hiring a professional cleaning service just before you start inviting buyers into your home.
  • Remember that your home should be ready for those last-minute inspections that are an inevitable part of the selling process.

Consider hiring a 'home staging' service

Sometimes, particularly for premium properties, even the most subtle of details can be enough to strike a chord with a prospective buyer. It might be an inviting smell, the way the light flows into a particular room, or the flow of your home's main reception room.

Although hiring an expert to 'stage' your property for viewing comes at a price, the premium it can deliver in the form of a higher sale price could be worth it.

There may be a lot of competition for the attention of buyers in your area. But with some careful planning, maintenance and staging, you can make sure it's your home that stands out on the market.

Zoe Pointon is the co-founder of real estate startup OpenAgent.



Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?