No matter how appealing, clean and comfortable you think your house is, when it comes to viewings from potential buyers it will need to be at a whole new level.
However, a house is still a home - so don't feel pressured when it comes to 'clutter' or personal belongings and whether to remove them.
That said, you should allow your prospective buyers the room and breathing space to visualise themselves living in your home.
How to sell your house
So, you've made the decision to sell. But now you need to consider how to prepare your house for sale.
That means removing bias and looking at your property from a buyer's perspective:
• What are its good points?
• What could be improved?
• How does the space function?
What are the main selling points away from the house itself, like its proximity to rail or road links or good schools?
All of these factors, and more, can affect the value and appeal of your home. And while you can't change a school's Ofsted rating or location of a train station, you can do everything possible to make sure your home meets the needs of buyers by staging it and showing off its best points.
Staging a house for sale
You may have heard of ‘property staging’ before, but what does it involve?
Essentially, staging your home means preparing it for viewings so that it stands out to buyers. Think of it like you would dress yourself to look your best for a friend’s wedding, or a birthday bash – by dressing your home, you can make it appear its best in the eyes of buyers.
Preparing your house for sale – a checklist
Making sure your home gets noticed and makes a great impression in the minds of buyers is key to getting it sold.
When preparing your property for sale, make sure you tick off the following list:
1. Clear away clutter – but not everything
2. Boost your lighting
3. Set a comfortable temperature
4. Tidy up your outside space
5. Update your kitchen
6. Remove odours
7. Ensure your property is sparkling clean
8. Take security seriously
How to stage a house for sale
Here’s more advice on those seven things you can do to make your property more appealing to buyers…
1. Be choosy with clutter
While clutter in your home generally will impede a buyer's ability to see it as their own, removing everything considered 'clutter' could actually make your property feel cold and unwelcoming. The general rule of thumb is to 'neutralise' a property as much as possible when setting it up for viewings.
So, that means removing all family pictures and toning down any decoration that could be considered garish to buyers.
But if your home is a family property, why not show it off as such? That could mean leaving a few well-placed and happy family photos in key spots around the house to show how happy your property made you.
However, adequate storage is always high on a buyer's wish list so ensure any toys or children's clothes that don't fit in cupboards or wardrobes are removed before a viewing.
2. Light up your home
The amount of light flooding into your home can make a huge difference to a buyer's early impressions.
Of course, much will depend on the time of year or the unpredictable British weather, but getting as much natural light into your property as possible is a key selling tactic.
Ensure your windows are sparkling clean and move any large furniture that blocks light coming in through the panes.
Draw back curtains and lift blinds while also switching on lamps and side lights to help add light to darker corners of your living space.
Good lighting will help your home feel warm and inviting.
3. Control your temperature
While what buyers see in your home will form the bulk of their opinion, how they feel will also have an effect.
So, if your home feels cold in the winter or like a furnace in the summer, try your best to regulate the temperature ahead of a viewing.
Top-floor apartments and flats can bear the brunt of a warm summer.
So, open windows and draw curtains or blinds in the hours before a viewing to keep the temperature down.
Then open everything up to let in all that glorious light just before your buyers arrive.
In winter, keep your heating at a comfortable temperature that shows off your home as a cosy winter hub for the family.
4. An appealing outdoors
Even if it's the middle of winter, making your outdoor space appeal to buyers is key.
Make sure the front of your property is clean and tidy and looks welcoming, so buyers form a positive opinion of your home from the minute they arrive.
And once they have seen how great the inside of your property is, don't spoil the smiles by showing them an overgrown, unusable garden space.
Trim back hedges and bushes and make sure the lawn is looking its best. If your garden is lacking an entertaining space, considering laying a patio or putting decking down - both of which can be done fairly cheaply but will make a huge difference.
5. The heart of the home
A modern, functional kitchen is one of the first things buyers look for when scrolling through properties for sale on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla .
So, if you do have a budget for some pre-sale home improvements, it could be best spent in the kitchen.
If you already have a large family kitchen-diner space, then half the battle is won! But look at your units and worktops and consider if they need updating.
If your space is on the smaller side, again consider some cosmetic updates. Only spend big on a full kitchen refurbishment if you can be sure you will get your money back with an increased sale price.
6. Remove those odours
While showing off your home as 'lived in' (to an extent!) can actually be beneficial when trying to secure a sale, potential buyers won't want to play a guessing game on what you had for dinner the night before.
Avoid overly fragrant food in the lead up to a viewing and if you do have to eat a spicy dinner, get the extractor fan running and open some windows.
Even if you can't smell the scent of dinner, your buyers may be able to.
And if you smoke or have a dog in need of a wash, open windows and a diffuser can help eliminate any lingering smells that could put buyers off.
7. Make sure your property is sparkling clean
It sounds obvious, but ensuring your property is gleaming ahead of viewings really is essential to make a good impression on buyers.
Spend time on the areas that can attract dirt and grime, like your kitchen and bathrooms.
If buyers arrive to be greeted by an unclean home, it can be difficult to look past and may leave them wondering how well looked after your home really is.
8. Home security
Security, along with energy efficiency, are big issues for buyers in 2021.
So, if your home has some impressive security features, such as CCTV, show them off during a viewing.
And if it doesn't, consider installing things like security lights or perhaps a new front door with a deadlocking feature.
These things can be done on a reasonably small budget and could make a huge difference in the eyes of buyers.
One great way to make a positive first impression on buyers is to coat your front door in a fresh lick of paint. Take a look at some of the most popular front door images on Instagram for inspiration!
When moving, it’s important to be organised, so take a look at our guide to all the documents you’ll need.
And if you’re moving in the next few months, you might be worried about the ongoing coronavirus restrictions – our guide to moving home during lockdown includes everything you need to know.