Apr 26, 2015

Get moving

It may seem counter intuitive to spend time and money on a property you are looking to move from, but you have to keep in mind that a buyer is looking at it with fresh eyes. A few hundred pounds spent can reap a few thousand in return and not all improvements need be costly either. Here are five quick, easy tips to ensuring the best price for your property.



Object of desire

Whether you are doing individual viewings or an open day, this will be the first time that potential buyers see your home so you will need to make it a positive sensory experience. Dead flowers in the front garden and peeling paint will not make the best first impression.  A quick tidy of paths, shrubs pruned and a coat of paint on the front door and windows will do the trick. If you have time, a quick tidy of any street litter beforehand is also time well spent.

Back gardens are equally important as they can add ten per cent to the value of the property. Tidy paths and patios; prune trees and bushes; mow lawns and reseed any bald patches; weed flowerbeds and buy a few supplementary flowers that are in season to give boarders a boost. Brush down any garden furniture and make sure benches and seats are in pretty areas that get sunlight through the day. It will give the impression that you spend a lot of time enjoying the garden and buyers will aspire to the same. Take care not to make the garden look as though it is high maintenance though, buyers may not be keen horticulturalists and be put off at the prospect.

Sea of calm

Inside, it is essential that your home is clean, tidy and clutter-free. Buyers need to feel that your home is somewhere they could sit down and spend time, somewhere they would feel comfortable and relaxed. If the first thing they are greeted with is jumbled coats, dishes in the sink and storage areas bursting at the seams they are unlikely to feel that this mess could ever be their home.

‘Stage’ each room, as you walk in, what catches your eye as looking cluttered? If necessary rent a storage facility for any excess possessions and furniture, items such as freestanding heaters, foot stools, extra chairs and side tables. Keep things minimal to show off the space.

You should even consider tidying inside cupboards and wardrobes as buyers will look. If things are stored, stacked high and cluttered then buyers are likely to feel the property doesn’t have the storage space they need.

Light and bright

Bring as much daylight in as possible, pull up all blinds as far as they will go or consider removing them, take down net curtains completely and replace any heavy curtains with lighter ones. In addition, make sure the windows are cleaned, inside and out. Buyers want to feel the house is airy and fresh with lots of natural light and they will pay more for a property that offers this.

It is true of the décor too. Light, neutral colour schemes will allow provide a blank canvas for the buyers to imagine how they will decorate, where they will put their furniture and belongings and imagine themselves living there. If surfaces are covered with too many personal items or the décor is too colourful it can be an overpowering statement of your own personality and buyers are unlikely to be able to see past it let alone be prepared to pay the best price.

The sweet smell of success

Making your property a positive sensory experience includes scent. There will be smells that are fine for you or you may not have even noticed that could put a potential buyer off, for example if you are a smoker or have dogs. While you are in the process of selling it might be helpful to think of the property as though it isn’t yours ­­- smoke outside, provide a comfortable kennel in the garden for the dog and have all the soft furnishings cleaned. It’s only for a short time and will be worth it.

Another thing to consider is whether you could benefit from ‘welcoming scents’ such as freshly baked bread or brewed coffee. A housebuilding company recently found that the scent of white tea and fig boosted its sales dramatically. Though you should be careful not to overdo it, artificial scents can be overpowering and set off allergies and sneezy viewers will be in a hurry to leave. If you have any wood burning stoves or working fireplaces, burning pine wood and pine cones will also generate a welcoming scent, however, in the heat of the summer this option may not be practical. If it is a nice day then make sure you also open a few windows and let the fresh air in.

Lessen the damage

Kitchens and bathrooms are the two areas that buyers pay most attention to because they are the areas that cost the most to replace. Moreover, buyers tend to over-estimate the costs associated with renovation.

For the bathroom if the colours are already light and neutral, it could be as simple as giving the suite and tiles a good clean and the walls a fresh coat of white paint – buyers will be more forgiving about ‘living with it for a while’ if it looks clean and fresh. If the suite is a strong colour however, and you aren’t prepared to replace it then make the rest of the décor as light and neutral as possible, including having the room retiled with plain, white tiles to lessen the imposing nature of the suite. Buyers will be less worried about replacing the bathroom set if the rest of the work is done.

For the kitchen, you may also be able to get away with a fresh coat of paint on the cupboard doors and walls so long as the sink and appliances are all clean. If that doesn’t do the trick then consider new neutral tiles, new cupboard doors and a new work surface. These can be bought and fitted cheaply. Remember, a few hundred pounds spent can add a few thousand pounds to the price buyers are prepared to pay.

Lastly, fix any miscellaneous things that you have been living with and meaning to get done, such as a leaky gutter or broken tap. You can guarantee that this is something viewers will spot and will haggle a disproportionate amount from the asking price for.

Absolute Property can share their best tips on how to ensure your property is dressed to sell. Please give us a call on 020 7372 7272 or drop Amanda an email at Amanda@abprop.co.uk and we shall be more than happy to advise.

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