Preparing Your House for Sale: how to make it a truly desirable property


So you’ve decided to move, have a valuation price and estate agent that you’re happy with, and you’re looking forward to viewings and that all important offer. But if you’re serious about making sure your property doesn’t linger on the market for too long and you want to achieve its full sale potential, you’ve still got a bit of work to do!

Buyers are fickle things. If you’ve been looking at properties yourself, think about how you respond to untidy rooms, dusty surfaces, broken fixtures and fittings, weeds on the path. First impressions count – many people can’t see beyond a neglected garden or the peeling paint on a front door and will form a negative opinion of how well you’ve maintained the property – so it’s well worth doing everything you can to present your home in the best possible condition.

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer viewing your property for the first time

Start by looking at your property from the outside. Does it look tidy and inviting? How does it compare to neighbouring properties? Quick wins include:

  • Mowing the lawn and weeding borders.
  • Pruning overgrown trees/bushes – particularly if they affect how much light gets into any of your rooms.
  • Cleaning out gutters.
  • Wash windows.
  • Painting window/door frames.
  • Clean paths/decking with a power washer.
  • Ensure the number or name of your property is clearly visible from the road.

Walk through your home and scrutinize it room by room. Stand in the doorway and look carefully. You’ve probably collected all sorts of things in the time you’ve lived in the property, much of which you may no longer actually want. A few trips to charity shops, car boot sales, the local tip or some eBay listings is a good way of decluttering and will make your move much easier, too.

  • Consider whether less furniture in the room would make it look more spacious.
  • Do you really want to keep all those books, CDs, DVDs and ornaments?
  • Keep kitchen surfaces as clear as possible of appliances.

If there are items that you can’t bear to part with, but you know the room would look better without, just pack them away in a box and store them out of sight.

Depersonalizing your home is also part of the process. Photographs and all the other paraphernalia that stamps your personality on the property needs to go or, at the very least, be reduced. No one expects your home to look like a hotel, but buyers need to be able to imagine themselves in it and you don’t want to obstruct that vision.

At this stage it’s also worth thinking about the fixtures and fittings in each room. If there are things that you know you’ll be taking away when you move it’s often safer to remove them so that they do not become a contentious issue during sale negotiations.


Pull on the Marigolds!

Having decluttered, it’s time to clean and tidy… everything!

  • Clean/dust skirting boards, light fixtures and furniture.
  • Remove cobwebs.
  • Clean all windows.
  • Vacuum carpets and curtains.
  • In the kitchen scrub and clean like there’s no tomorrow, even to the extent of making sure the fridge is spotless and the oven gleams (someone will check!).
  • Polish mirrors and taps.
  • Clean tiles and, if need be, bleach grouting.

Once you’ve done a really thorough deep clean you just need to keep on top of it. And don’t forget to check that rugs properly positioned, curtains and blinds are tidy, and that your towels are clean and hanging neatly. People will also open wardrobes, cupboards and drawers (well why not?!), so these also need to be tidied.

As you work through each room take note of any jobs that need to be done – leaky taps, broken lightbulbs, loose curtain rails, old shower curtains, doors that don’t close and so on can all be easily dealt with.

Regretting the colour scheme you chose?

Not everyone will appreciate vibrant colour schemes or whacky wallpaper. If you’ve made a statement in any of your rooms it might be wise to redecorate and use more neutral colours.


Do the sniff test

You might be a wannabe contestant on Bake Off and delight in baking fresh bread whenever you have a viewing, but life has a habit of getting in the way. Pleasant smells work on a subliminal level and can make a property feel very welcoming. Lighting scented candles for a while before a viewing works, or even just opening windows to let in fresh air. Spraying air freshener everywhere is not so good, and the smell of smoke or pets can be a real turn off.

One more thing to consider

We’re all accustomed to arranging a building survey when buying a property. But it can also be a very positive step to take as a seller, especially if you live in an older property or know that there may be some issues that could jeopardize its sale or final price. Investing in a property survey now could mean that you can undertake some remedial work that will ensure you achieve a decent sale price. A survey will also give you confidence that your property is being marketed at a reasonable price and its findings can always be used when negotiating with your buyer.

If you’re trying to sell property in London, Surrey or the Home Counties and think a building survey might be useful, why not give us a call on 0800 980 3113.