Home Insights & Advice Preparing your house for sale – the key steps

Preparing your house for sale – the key steps

by John Saunders
10th Nov 21 3:32 pm

First impressions count in most aspects of life, and it’s certainly true when selling your home.

Whether you are trying to sell your home through an estate agent, a property auctioneer, or a fast cash home buyer, one of your top priorities should be making sure your house or flat looks its best first. A shabby looking property with an overgrown garden, broken windows, chipped paint and untidy interiors can attract lower values than a home kept in pristine condition.

Thankfully, many of the important steps that you can take to prepare your freehold or leasehold house or flat for sale are either zero or low cost and shouldn’t take much time, requiring only a little work on your part to get your home presentable for any potential buyer.

Other steps to get your property sale ready might require significantly more time and money, such as fixing major structural problems like subsidence. In those instances you’ll have to prepare a budget and assess whether it makes more sense to invest in those fixes and therefore seek a higher home sale price, or whether you should simply try to sell the home as is and realise that you’ll likely have to accept a lower sale price. The choice that’s right for you will depend entirely on your own budget, timeline for selling, and possibly other personal factors.

The experts at fast home buying company LDN Properties have plenty of knowledge and experience with house and flat sales, and they offered up some key steps for how homeowners can best prepare their homes for sale. Following their advice could help to make all the difference in how fast you find a buyer and the price that they offer.

  • Look at your property’s defects with a new perspective

If you have lived in your home for a long time then there could be a number of minor faults that you simply accept or plan on eventually get around to fixing. This could be anything from a squeaky door to faded curtains in need of replacing. The issue might have gone on so long that you no longer even think about it, but buyers will be sure to spot it on viewings.

That’s why a fresh look at your home, inside and out, can be a wonderful idea for homeowners before trying to sell. Tour your house or flat trying to use the perspective of someone seeing it for the first time, because it could help you to identify problems that might hinder a sale.

  • Make sure the outside of your home looks its best

The outside of your home is the first thing that people will see, and that’s why you should make sure it’s in pristine condition before trying to sell it. Look for small but noticeable problems such as chipped paint on the window ledges or front door, weeds growing in your front garden if you have one, broken roof tiles and similar issues and spend time and money to fix them.

None of those problems should cost too much to resolve, but you will doing your home sale a major favour because a perfect exterior will be far more enticing to a potential buyer.

  • Keep the interior of your property free from clutter

You should make sure that furniture or other items aren’t taking up too much space in each room of your home, because the aim is to make the property to look as large as possible. People are always looking for more space in their homes, and if you can rearrange furniture to show off the full scope of your bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and more, it will benefit you.

Buyers will be more likely to show an interest in a house or flat with rooms that show off plenty of space for their future plans, rather than cluttered rooms that make the home seem smaller.

  • Hide some personal touches to create a blank canvas

When prospective buyers come to tour your home, they’re doing because they want to see whether they can imagine themselves living in the property. That includes picturing how they would decorate rooms, which can be difficult for visitors to do in cluttered and overly personalised houses or flats. When it’s time to sell your home, you should consider storing items that might be off-putting to potential buyers and make it look as neutral as possible.

Although this can be something that you might find hard to do, it’s essential to give potential buyers as much of a blank canvas with your home as you can. Your goal is to make your home trigger a buyer’s imagination so that they fall in love with the property and want to buy it.

  • Keep your pets out of sight during any home viewings

Although many people enjoy have pets in their home, they can be problematic when you are trying to sell your flat or house. If people are coming to your property on viewings and see animal hairs or smell pet odours throughout the home, it can discourage them from wanting to buy it — particularly if they are allergic to certain pets and have a reaction whilst there.

Taking care of this issue is relatively straightforward; keep your pets out of sight of buyers during the time that they are on your property. Vacuum every room to make sure you have removed any pet hairs. And consider using air fresheners and opening windows to remove any animal odours from your property well in advance of anyone visiting it on a viewing.

  • Identify any troublesome odours and address them

It’s not just pet odours that you have to worry about; you should also check each room of the house or flat to make sure that there are no bad smells anywhere on your property. Dry rot, damp and other common problems can create unpleasant odours in a home, and if someone is on a viewing and smells them, they will likely not want to consider buying the property.

Try to identify the source of the odour and take steps to treat it. For example, if the smell is due to damp, then you might need to consider corrective action before putting your house up for sale. Air fresheners can also be useful, along with opening windows ahead of any viewings.

  • Get as much natural light into your home as possible

Always try to ensure that viewings take place during the day when you can get as much natural sunlight into the house as possible. Open curtains and lift blinds so that visitors can fully appreciate how bright the property can be. You don’t want buyers to come to your home and see poorly lit rooms with closed curtains, as it will make the home appear smaller.

Unfortunately, potential buyers can sometimes turn off from liking a property based on one single issue, and you don’t want the reason to be that the home appeared too dingy.

  • Take time to make any small repairs inside and out

If you can spare some time to repair small faults with your home then you should, because buyers will think your property is less valuable if they come to view it and the problems aren’t fixed. Small-scaled problems can include issues such as a broken roof tile, torn curtains, overgrown gardens and other faults that don’t need much money or time to fix.

Putting in just a little bit of effort and cash can pay dividends for your sale, because if the problem is no longer there, it can no longer detract from your home’s perceived value.

  • Decide whether to invest time and money in major repairs

Of course, some problems with a property can be significant — think of major subsidence, widespread dry rot and similar issues. These flaws will detract from the overall value of the home, because prospective buyers will want to offer you a lower asking price, knowing that they will have to pay for the corrective work if they were to purchase the property.

Calculate whether you can afford to invest the money and time necessary to fix the problem before trying to sell your home. If you can, you should strongly consider doing the work so that you can seek a higher asking for your property. If not, you might have to accept a lower sale price in exchange for finding a buyer who is willing to purchase the home with the problem.

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