These things to do before selling your house will hopefully speed up the process of selling but more importantly it will help you get the price you want for the house.
It can be extremely stressful showing your house to others especially when people don’t want to buy it but these 10 ways to improve your house for reselling will help get you a buyer quickly:
1) Give it a MASSIVE clean (so obvious but still people don’t do it)
Cleaning your home is such an obvious one, we were tempted to not even include it but when we did our research and when we were buying our first home it was so obvious that not everyone does this, some houses were dirty and it wasn’t just a few crumbs it was sticky kitchen tops, mould in the showers and so much more. Give each room a full clean and ensure you’re using the best methods of cleaning to avoid overspending:
- Get your oven professionally cleaned – Buyers are strange they will look at things like this and if it’s immaculate then people will trust you look after the rest of your house as good as your oven. Of course, a DIY solution will be cheaper and most supermarkets offer a solution but we found Over Brite worked really well.
- Check dirt around appliances like Kitchen Hobs, use a knife to remove or an old toothbrush with some baking soda
- Dirty grouting? Buy a grout brush & spray some Mould Spray to tackle most stains, consider a dedicated grout cleaner
- Old silicone around bath tub, sink etc? Remove it with a knife, ensuring you don’t damage anything. Then buy a sealant gun, white silicone & a Fugi then reapply it
- Discoloured bathroom floor? Replace with a cheap but effective vinyl
- Cobwebs in corners of places like landing/hallways/utility rooms/garages
- Wash your windows both inside and out with a MicroFibre cloth & some cleaning solution, remember to do this not in direct sunlight as it will take longer + use more product and remember to spray onto a cloth and not directly on to the window as excess on the window can drip and damage other surfaces. Consider hiring someone to do the outsides or if you fancy a DIY approach that will save you money long term buy a decent Telescopic Pole, DI Vessel & some ion Exchange Resin this is what a pro window cleaner will use and it will filter the water so it doesn’t leave any marks. No need to dry it off.
- Other things to bookmark: 7 Brilliant Cleaning Life Hacks | The wonder of bicarbonate of soda aka baking soda
Use this printable to tick off the things to clean: (download full resolution version here)
Remember there are loads of things you should be doing on the day of your viewings see No10 in the list for details.
2) Consider a refresh of paint
Lots of estate agents suggest you don’t start repainting before trying to sell especially if you’re planning on selling in the next couple of weeks but of course if there are issues with the paintwork then it probably is overdue a touch-up.
75% of experts suggest repairing paint chips/wallpaper will make a difference when selling your home 1
Fence panels, garden furniture (even if you’re taking it), window frames, front door all will look more attractive after a fresh coat of paint.
3) Add an extra room
Imagine you’ve got a 3 bedroom house and a room that might be classed as a study, den, playroom etc. By adding a built-in wardrobe you’ve suddenly turned your house into a 4 bedroom house, those that only need 3 bedrooms will soon realise they can swap it back to a 3-bed house if required. It might add an easy £3-£10K to your house price, consider adding a spare bed from a friends house whilst you attempt to sell the house so you can pretend it’s used.
Extra: 10 questions you should be ready to answer
You may consider doing a print out for potential buyers of common questions or offer to write them down when asked but you should be ready to answer all of these questions:
- Which fence boundaries belong to who?
- What are the average utility bills?
- What council tax band is the house?
- How old is the boiler? Is there a warranty? Serviced?
- What appliances have warranty?
- Windows / Conservatory / Soffits / Double Glazing guarantees?
- School Catchment area?
- Cavity Wall / Loft Insulation?
- Age of property?
- Run down on the neighbours?
4) Hire an electrician or plumber for a few hours and/or finish those other DIY jobs
Loose/bare cables, water leaks etc all start alarm bells ringing in prospective buyers heads, get these fixed and sorted ASAP, ensure you also clean up any long term marks these issues may have caused.
Having paperwork proving the safety of the wiring is also a great bit of evidence that you looked after the house well.
Check & repair things like squeaky doors, damaged fences/gates and locks.
A full professional carpet clean of your whole house is probably well worth it regardless of whether it looks dirty or not. Consider covering any major carpet damage with good value rugs. It’s recommended that you don’t install new carpet in a home before moving as some buyers may want to rip up a corner to take a look underneath anyway and/or replace it regardless.
Failing that you may consider buying a DIY Carpet Cleaner instead as it will be cheaper long term.
Use ice cubes to remove any dents from carpets/rugs from furniture moves
6) Add light
Consider adding an eye-catching chandelier or another pretty light in rooms that are lacking interest, they don’t have to be expensive to look good but can draw the eye between rooms which is important
During viewings, you will want as much light in the house as possible so ensure you have all the lights on in the house and all the blinds & curtains wide open.
7) Depersonalise – Remove knickknacks, toys, small appliances, family photos & bathroom products from the house
Your potential buyers don’t want to see your personal belongings and more importantly, these small items can make your house feel smaller or more cluttered. Buy some decent storage boxes and hide them away when you have a viewing or until you’ve moved home.
Things like toothbrushes, kids potties etc all need to be hidden away, try and aim to make it appear as if your home/bedroom/bathroom is a hotel suite they’re visiting for the first time, fresh linen towels folded ready, generic shower gels on display etc.
You may love the pictures of your family & pets all over the home but this distracts buyers and doesn’t let them feel like it could be their home, consider swapping these pictures to generic artwork or simply removing them completely.
Saying all of the above you don’t want to remove all the personality from the house, a house devoid of any personal photos may have a negative effect on some buyers, consider having one or two photos of your family together this will show you’re caring and human.
Kids toys (especially large outdoor ones) may really put some buyers off, buy some large storage boxes and store the majority of the toys at friends/families houses for a few weeks.
8) Make it look lived in but ensure you focus on showing off the attributes
If your dining room has a focal point like a fire or nice decorative brick wall then ignore this but if your dining room is lacking an interesting focal point consider getting the posh plates out and setting the dining room table for dinner, it sounds stupid but it can be extremely effective. Of course, this might not suit everyone so don’t feel pressured into doing it but if you do it and get questioned on it just say you’re having a dinner party this evening.
If it’s winter time and you have a fireplace light it!
If you have tons of clothes in your wardrobe (who doesn’t?) grab some decent vacuum bags and store them in the loft at family/friends houses as you need to show off the space you have and not fill it with things. The same is true for garages, basements and lofts.
9) Produce a binder/folder
Proving you have taken good care of your house is important as it builds trust, trust that may give you the advantage in a price negotiation! Consider creating a folder full of important information such as major repairs remember to include who did the work, dates, receipts, their contact details, warranty/guarantees, before and after photos etc. A list of paint colours is extremely useful to buyers along with labelled paint cans in the garage etc, a copy of the home buyers survey from when you purchased the house might help as well (depending on age of it / relevance).
Hopefully, this will allow prospective buyers to tick off any major financial worries if the big stuff has been done recently (roof, boiler, kitchen etc), when you leave the house just leave this binder there for them to continue to use.
For extra points take photos of the house throughout the seasons, if there are certain shrubs/trees/flowers that look amazing in Spring but you’re selling the house in September it may help you to sell the house on its future perks.
Include photos of local parks, pubs, attractions, walks etc for those buyers new to the area. This is all about building trust with the buyers and being as helpful as possible.
10) 10 ways to improve your home on the day of showing it to potential buyers
- Fresh cut flowers around the house, candles (ensuring they’re not powerful odours) burning in the lounge, dining room &/or entrance way and ALL the lights on in the house to make it appear bright, fresh and airy even in the darkest of rooms. Make sure the house isn’t too warm or cold either, 18.5c is the perfect temperature for a home.
- You should have already done a big clean but make sure you don’t overlook the day-to-day cleaning, crumbs on breakfast table, toothpaste marks in the sink, rubbish bins full etc. Walk around with a decent duster to double check.
- Bake some bread, cookies or cook/burn some vanilla extract this make your home smell amazing but also make it feel more homely. Pour two caps full of vanilla extract (you can use other oils, such as lemon and lavender) in a coffee cup (or oven proof dish), then place it in the oven at 150c (300f) for one hour. The smell will start to spread after around twenty minutes and encompass the whole house after the hour duration. Should last for at least a day. 2
- Focus on the positives of the house – It’s sometimes easy to become critical of the house to show you’re not hiding things. Talk about all the positives, why you purchased the house, the great neighbours etc. Don’t bang on about every improvement you’ve made to the house as this can be overwhelming unless of course, the buyers ask.
- Make them feel comfortable and be personable, remember buyers will probably be looking at 5-8 houses so may be tired and not themselves. Remember to NEVER judge a book by its cover, the rude and grumpy people might be the ones willing to give you the full asking price!
- Start and finish the tour in the best room in the house, it will create the best possible first impression and leave a great lasting impression too. Depending on whether you’re going with an estate agent or not you might want to stand in this room whilst they’re looking around anyway.
- Remove your pets for the day and remove the smell of them. Consider not everyone will love your pet as much as you do – a dog jumping up at a potential buyer may put them off the house completely especially if they’re scared of dogs. Be careful removing the smell of them with air fresheners as some people will be allergic to these, open windows instead but if you have a busy road or other noise nearby you don’t want to draw attention to with the windows being open so condsider buying a decent air filter to remove smells, you can always move it to your new home.
- Consider moving your cars – If you only have space on the drive for 2 cars then consider parking one car in a street nearby or at neighbours, this will give the sense of more space and less issues for them to park when they own the house.
- Hide the rubbish bins and anything else that is undesirable from outside your home, especially if it’s viewable from an interior window.
- Declutter the house – Removing things like dishcloths from sinks, oven gloves from oven doors, paperwork from desks etc will all help you sell your home.
Remember you’re inviting strangers into your home, remember to lock away valuables such as tablets, jewellery, perfumes, medication, financial paperwork etc as these could go missing. Also, remember to password protect your computers and other devices just in case.