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Ready your house for sale

Tips for making your property as attractive as possible and maximising its value

Before putting your house on the market it’s important that you get it ready. Small things you can do can make sure you get as much for your home as possible. First impressions matter, so it’s vital that it looks its best as soon as you’re ready to sell.

Who are you selling to?

It’s important that you have an idea of who might be interested in your house and market it to them. If you’re in an area where young professionals live, presenting your second bedroom as an office might help, presenting it as a baby’s nursery probably won’t. This may mean showing rooms for something that you haven’t been using them for.

First impressions matter- outside

Kerb appeal can be very important. The first impression a prospective buyer will have of your house is their view from the street, so it’s vital that it looks its best:

  • Paint the front of your house. Depending on the size it may cost between £100 and £1000 but it could add £5000 to its potential value.
  • Tidy the garden. If it looks shabby it will put off buyers. Think about getting a professional in to trim any hedges and cut the grass.
  • Replace old fencing or at least paint or varnish existing ones. The cost will be worth it to create a great first impression.
  • Your front door should offer a welcome. Make sure it looks it’s best by painting it or replacing the letterbox. Make sure the house number is visible from the street. Stainless steel or brass numbers are inexpensive but can make a difference.
  • Think about replacing your driveway, monoblock driveways add to the look of the house. If parking is at a premium locally consider paving the entire front garden to provide more.
  • Ensure your gutters and windows are clean.

It’s not about you

Depersonalising your home is essential. Once it’s on the market it needs to look like a potential home for someone else, not like the house you’ve lived in for years. Take down any family photographs or children’s drawings and put away ornaments and personal items. It may be hard to put aside your emotions but remember that soon this will not be your home. You’ll have to pack things up for the move anyway so think of this as a head start.

Clean and tidy

It won’t be a surprise that a clean tidy house is far more appealing than a cluttered one. Mess and clutter make your rooms look smaller.

  • Make sure everything is clean. It’s not likely that a buyer will move your couch and inspect down the back but it’s not worth the risk that they do. The house will need cleaned before you leave anyway so why not get a professional in to do a deep clean now? This could cost around £300. It’s essential that you keep it spotless: dust and vacuum daily.
  • All surfaces should be clear. Empty shelves, bookcases and table tops encourage potential buyers to imagine their things there.
  • Make the most of your space. Remove furniture and place in storage if necessary, an emptier room will look bigger.
  • Make sure curtains and blinds are open. Natural light gives an airy feeling and gives an impression of space.
  • Cupboards should be tidy too. Storage space is important to buyers so they will look inside. If the cupboards are bare they’ll look bigger. You’ll find a lot of stuff can go straight in the rubbish, ask a friend to store what is left.
  • Hang clean towels in the bathrooms and place fresh flowers around the house to brighten up the space.
  • A smell can make or break a buyers’ view of your home. Place scented candles around the home in advance of any viewings. The smell of fresh home baking is appealing, the smell of the fish you just cooked isn’t.
  • Send pets to stay with a family member or friend. Seeing your pets with the run of the house may put some people off and contributes to the feeling of this being your family home. Keeping the house tidy with pets around is difficult. You may not be bothered by cat hair but other people will be.
  • Ask a colleague or friend who hasn’t been in your home to walk round. Their impartial opinions will give you an idea of what buyers’ impressions might be.

State of repair

Unsurprisingly your house will draw more interest if it’s in a good state of repair. Most buyers do not want to spend time refurbishing a house and those that do expect a significant reduction in price. Even if a buyer loves your house, they’ll offer less if there are visible defects.

  • Broken light bulbs could give the impression of electrical problems. Make sure every bulb is working.
  • Minor issues that you’re used to may be problems to people who haven’t seen them before. A sticking door might not be a big issue to you but it will still put people off.
  • Fill cracks and holes and repaint. Touch up any damaged paintwork if you’re not completely repainting.
  • Check the hinges of doors and fix any squeaks.
  • Fix drawers which jam in the kitchen, potential buyers may look inside.
  • Major problems are better fixed before you sell. If a buyer has to deal with repairs themselves they’ll take more than the cost of the repair from their offer. Get quotes and at least you have control over how much they cost. You won’t be able to hide potential repairs as they’ll show up in the survey.

Home improvements

Spending money on home improvements is a good way to add value to your home, either while you’re still living there or when you’re trying to sell. This could be as little as redecorating or as much as converting your loft into a bedroom with en-suite. You can find more information on ways to add value to your home.

This article is intended as general advice only which is not intended to cover specific circumstances and needs. The information in this article is also not linked to any of the products offered by Yorkshire Bank.

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