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Preparing your home for sale

The multitude of property programmes on TV all emphasise the importance of presentation when looking to achieve maximum values and a quick sale. Location and marketing price are obviously key factors in the decision making process. However, the number one reason why two identical houses in the same street might achieve wildly differing values comes down presentation and whether the buyer can actually visualise themselves living in your home.

The Interior

According to research, it usually takes around 20 seconds for a buyer to decide they like your home after walking into it. Making sure that all entrances are uncluttered, warm and welcoming to create a good first impression. Doors should open properly and porches should be cleared of coats, boots and junk.

Kerb appeal

Purchasers can form quick and strong impressions about a home from how it looks from the outside.

Repaint exterior woodwork as this can significantly improve the look of a family home. Remember to paint at least six weeks before placing your home on the market, as the smell of fresh gloss is a dead giveaway.

Keep lawns, beds, borders and shrubs in trim and use a pressure washer to clean drives and paths. Visit your local garden centre and buy two dramatic planted tubs, and use these to frame your door or porch if there's room. It has been suggested that a well looked after garden can add thousands of pounds to the value of a home.

Polish door furniture. It gives the impression of a home that is cared for.

Be ruthless with the contents of the garage and shed.


You can create the illusion of a much larger space in your hallway by strategically placing a mirror to maximise light.

Hang a couple of tasteful prints to create interest on a plain wall.

If space allows it is a pleasant touch to have a healthy houseplant or fresh flowers on display.

Living room

Dark or heavily patterned carpets will dominate a room making it smaller so replace those that are dark, old or dirty with either completely new flooring or the judicious placement of rugs.

If your floors are carpeted and only mildly stained, hire a carpet cleaner to improve the pile. If you have wooden flooring, give it a polish.

Throw out old or worn curtains and invest in some brand new ones. There are plenty of quality made-to-measure curtains at affordable prices.

Use a throw and large scatter cushions to brighten up a tired old sofa.

De-personalise by clearing out all clutter and family photographs.


If have an inexpensive-looking kitchen but haven't got the budget to change it, it may be possible to transform an outdated look with replacement worktops and new cupboard fronts.

Freshen up tired grout to give tiles an instant facelift.

Dispose of old fluorescent lighting and replace it with new, modern lighting fitments.


If you have basic taps and handles, changing them for smart-looking chrome or brass fittings will transform the look of the suite.

Make a feature display of some quality soaps and oils.

Ensure all sanitaryware is in pristine, clean condition.

If you have a coloured suite, you may want to consider replacing it with clean, light, space-enhancing white - the preferred choice for homebuyers.


Make all beds before buyers visit.

Tidy away clothing, personal effects, books etc.

Reposition furniture to give the effect of maximum space.

Keep a jug of fresh flowers on the dressing table.

Open the windows and air each bedroom half an hour before the viewing.

First impressions really do count.

Terms and Conditions

In Summary…

Every effort should be made to prepare your property for market. However, what is practically possible will depend on the timescales involved, the budget available and importantly the time you have available to carry out work yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t have funds to undertake a major project there are many less expensive ways of helping your property the edge when it comes to achieving a good selling price. Remember, in the short-term you can make your property more attractive to potential buyers by simply freshening up the decor and having a general tidy round both the house and garden.

At the end of the day, given two identical properties, the one in the better decorative condition will almost always sell first.

Consider what buyers are looking for…

When a buyer is looking for a property they aren’t just looking for a generic small, medium or large property with x bedrooms. Each prospective buyer has their own personal considerations eg they may be looking for a home that is family friendly, they may be a keen gardener, they may be looking for a home where they can move straight in without any work….. they are looking for a combination of key ingredients.

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