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Top Ten Tips to Sell your House

Top Ten Tips to Sell your House

This week we learnt a valuable lesson (never count your chickens before they've hatched). In other words, our buyer pulled out ! "So annoying." The sad part was that the buyers were just as gutted as we were. They loved everything about the house, but unfortunately the loft was too small and isn't able to be extended.

Anyway - onward and upwards.

All that aside, I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason, and I don't doubt for a second, that our house will stay on the market for long.  This doesn't mean however; that we can be complacent. If we want to sell our house quickly, for a good price and with a minimum of fuss and viewings, we need to ensure we keep the house looking at its absolute best all of the time.

If like us, you're thinking of putting your house on the market anytime soon, here are my top ten tips to help get your house sold (disclaimer - other great tips are available). 


Image from Home Interior Design — House of roses islington, London

Image from Home Interior Design — House of roses islington, London

1- Kerb Appeal is  Everything...

Without a doubt, first impressions really are everything. A large percentage of buyers will make up their mind about a property before they even step one foot in the door.

With this in mind, stand outside your house and take a really good long hard look at it. How does it look? What stands out? 

  • Do the windows need a good clean?

  • Does the guttering need fixing?

  • Are there tiles missing?

  • Could the front door do with a lick of paint?

  • Have the weeds on the driveway got out of hand?

  • Is it just a bit plain?

All these little things might not seem like much of a big deal on their own, but put them all together and what do you have?  Yes that's it - one big ugly first impression! 



2- De-Clutter & De-Personalise... 

I'm sure the vast majority of you will agree with me, when I say that there is nothing more off putting than walking into a messy house. Potential buyers will want to walk into a bright, light house with lots of space and not a dark, cluttered house with old magazines and papers lying around, not to mention lots of little knick knacks covering every shelf in sight.

Use this as a great excuse to have a big clear out, why not have a garage sale and make some money, and what you don't sell you can give to the charity shop. Everyone's a winner !

The general decluttering can be used to great effect on the other half too.  This could be a great time to persuade them that they do not need 150 royal doulton figurines, a collection of guinea pig models, a stack of 5000 piece puzzles that will never be completed or that greasy cylinder head from a 1973 triumph dolomite.

Another big buyer turnoff is family pictures, the odd pic here and there is OK but gallery walls and children's artwork all over the kitchen cupboards is a big no no! When you have potential buyers come to view your house, you want them to be able to see themselves living there and that's not going to happen if all they can see is your kids school photos from the last five years trailing up the stairs.


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3- Deep Clean...

On our house hunting travels we have viewed a fare few grubby houses. Some of which have been quite shocking, and I'm not talking about the odd dirty dish in the sink either. Now I understand we all have busy lives but if you want to get your house sold you need to get the marigolds out.

Take it one room at a time, be ruthless get into every nook and cranny. Once you have finished not only will your house look amazing but buyers will be able to look at your house and not the dirt! If you really cant face the thought of cleaning it yourself why not hire a specialist cleaning company to come in and do it for you?  It could actually save you money in the long run?

If you are feeling brave then set aside the time you need, get in all the chemicals, cloths and brushes you will require.  Limescale remover is a must, shiny taps can be like jewellery in a bathroom.

Buyers probably don't want to be thinking that before they could move in properly they would need to spend days cleaning.

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4- Pets, Not everyone likes them!...

With 12 million households in the UK owning pets, we really are a nation of animal lovers.

However, when it comes to selling houses, buyers want to buy your house not your pet. When people are viewing your home, they want to smell the homely aromas of fresh coffee, baking bread or the scent of a soft floral candle. They don't want to smell dog, reptile vivariums, algae ridden fish tanks and they definitely don't want smells where tiddles goes tiddles. 

When you know you have people coming to view your home here's a handy little check list for you.

  • Remove the cat climbing tower and scratching posts.

  • Ensure litter trays are out of the way and 'freshened up regularly.

  • Use pet deodorisers.

  • Give the dog a bath.

  • Wash all the dog/cats bedding.

  • Make sure the carpets are flea free.

  • Pick up after your dog.

  • Try and get the pets out of the house when viewings are taking place.


5- Kitchen...

When it comes to buying a new house the Kitchen is one of the main places that buyers will probably want to change.  This is normally because when people buy their dream home they want to put in their dream kitchen.  Slight problem though is that the kitchen is usually the most expensive too in the house to refurbish.  Huge numbers of units, electrics, gas, appliances, worktops, plumbing, waterproof surfaces, task lighting etc.  

The fact is that for most of us, once we have pleaded with the bank to lend that extra bit, and after we have duped them into thinking we can afford the repayments, the refurb of the kitchen is just going to have to wait.  So that brings me to the actual point of this, the kitchen how it is now really does matter.   What the buyer will want to know is that the kitchen is clean, functional and in good working order and that it has purpose for the interim period.

Cleaning will only get you so far, you still need to get people in the door, and if your kitchen is a vision of 80's pine with brown tiles with a hay and bread motif on them, that's probably not going to work for most buyers.

  • Giving the kitchen doors a coat of paint will instantly refresh the tiredest of kitchens.  

  • If you can afford to change the tiles that will help to update the look. If you cant afford to replace the tiles you can buy tile paint which will do the job just as well.  Failing that you can get grout reviver, its usually the grout that looks awful before the tiles do.

  • Replacing tired old kitchen lino will also help to instantly update your kitchen. 

  • Sometimes less is more in a kitchen, so if you have a lot of cabinets on the walls why not take a couple down and put up a large clock or a couple of shelves - you'll be amazed at how big and open it will make it feel. 

  • Last of all keep the worktops clutter free, you want to give the impression there's lots of storage and space.


6- Time to Finish all those little odd Jobs...

Whether you've lived in your home 30 years or 3 years chances are you have a list of odd jobs you've been putting off. Well now is the time to get them done.

If there are things that bug you every time you walk in the front door, chances are that a buyer will spot it too.  It is all about creating the right impression and that the house has been a home and has been loved, cherished and looked after.  You could think of it as points for positives and negatives, and this section is all about eliminating those negative points.  

7- Garden...

According to a 2016 Zoopla report Just under half of buyers said they would knock 20% off a property’s asking price if the outside looked messy. Based on the average UK property price in 2016, that was c.£60,000.  This means that if their expectation is to knock you down by that much, and you are unwilling to drop that much, they will not be your buyer.  If you cannot afford to lose that much, spend a tiny fraction of it and transform the garden.

With this in mind here are a few tips worth knowing to get your garden looking buyer ready.

  • weeding (not just in the flowers beds, but in the patio, on footpaths, and edges of the house)

  • cut the grass - including edging the lawn - sharp edges look nice!!

  • cut back over grown hedges, trees and shrubs.

  • Raising the crown of specimen trees, to open out underneath the tree and let the light in - helps keep grass greener under it too.

  • get rid of unused or broken (and therefore dangerous) kids play equipment and garden furniture 

  • repair any missing or broken fence panels

  • make sure gates shut and stay shut

  • tidy up borders and plant a few seasonal annuals to add some quick colour.  Buyers will feel happy - now that cannot be a bad thing.  


Image by Little Greene

Image by Little Greene

8- Give each Room a Purpose ...

Have you ever heard that old saying if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck. The same thing applies for the rooms in your house. If you're going to market your house as a 4 bed with two bathrooms a living room, kitchen and dining room then that is what buyers are going to expect to see. Make sure you show each room dressed accordingly and to its full potential.

If you have rooms that you do not use, or the house is empty, then it is important to make the room appear that it has a purpose and not just a cold empty space.  Not every buyer has the vision that you lovely people do.  This is where staging comes in, think of it as a theatre, and there are backdrops, props and costumes.  The same applies here, make it look like the room it is supposed to be.  You can hire furniture, borrow a spare bed from a  friend, buy some cheap second hand furniture and paint it.  In this scenario, almost anything is better than nothing.

While we are on the subject, we viewed a 6 bedroom house advertised the other week, and thought that's great for that price in that area.  Then we saw the floorplans.  A 6 bedroom house is likely to have a fair few people living in it, and this house had turned 2 of the ground floor reception rooms into bedrooms.  This actually makes a really disproportionate house, and was an instant turn off.

9- White Bedding

One small but very important tip to remember, never underestimate the power of a well made and dressed bed with fresh white linen and accent cushions / throws.

I will allow ivory - don't worry.

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10- Always be Ready for Potential Buyers  

Make sure your house is buyer ready every day. This means keep on top of the laundry, the washing up, the hoovering and make sure all surfaces are clean and clutter free. It may be a bit of a struggle at times but trust me it really will pay off in the end. 

Image via Emily Henderson 

Image via Emily Henderson 

Just imagine you are at work, and the agent calls in the morning saying a cash buyer is in the area and your property is one of two that they want to view TODAY.  Ask yourself whether you will be happily chatting over a sushi lunch, or driving like a bat out of hell as you know you have left a pile of dirty washing in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Take no chances people!!!



If you are thinking of moving house or are in the process, I hope you have found my top ten tips useful. If you're not selling your house any time soon, it may still be useful to keep on top of things, just in case someone knocks on your door and makes you an offer, wouldn't it be great if it was an offer you couldn't refuse!!  

Thanks for reading...

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