PREPARING TO SELL YOUR HOME
by Ron Hastings
amazing the things we are prepared to put up with in our "normal"
daily lives but come the day you decide to sell that is a different
matter. To get the best out of your sale it is often a good idea
to put yourself in the buyer's shoes and, to paraphrase Burns "see
ourselves as others see us". If you are hoping to maximise
your profit and get a good sale it makes sense to swallow your pride
and put in a concentrated effort, which can help achieve a quick
sale allowing you to relax. It also pays to remember that the camera
never lies and no matter how good the selling agents are you will
always get the best results if you put in some effort to tidy and
present the house to "Showhouse" standards for the photographer.
Arriving at a house and having to tidy up or wash the dishes before
even pointing the lens is not the best way to start the selling
process. Remember that at the end of the day the seller has the
most to gain from achieving the best price.
it would seem that some straight talking would be appropriate. The
following is a miscellany of "betes noir" and other pointers
to make the sale process a bit easier and may even assist to preserve
some sanity all round.
up. Some people manage to live naturally tidy lives but most of
us mere mortals require an incentive to clear up. It goes without
saying that an untidy room will not appeal to the discerning buyer
and while they are not buying your stuff it is difficult to be
enthusiastic about buying somewhere that the sellers themselves
Clean and polish, ventilate and scrub and if necessary replace.
It is well known that scented candles don't clear a smokey room
and often only alert a buyer to the problem. Open windows and
if possible banish the smoker to the end of the garden for the
duration of the marketing.
Consider sending your pets out for a walk during viewings (goldfish
excluded) or better still arrange for them to have a holiday with
some loving relative or trusted friend. It will not help your
sale prospects if the dog starts to bark from the moment your
viewers arrive until they leave not planning a return visit. It
also pays to think about the parts of the house that the dog gets
to lie around. Pet owners, like any proud "parent",
may see no wrong in their little darling and fail to understand
why anyone should think otherwise, no matter how clean and well
looked after they are. Don't let fondness for a pet blind you
to the problem. A "doggy smell" can make an unfortunate
first impression. Before we leave the subject let's totally alienate
pet owners and say that it is not a good idea to let your dog
use the back garden as an open toilet, particularly as sellers
may walk in the garden and back into the house!
Kerb appeal is important as buyers often drive by before arranging
a formal viewing and however much effort you have put in to present
the interior it will be to no avail if the buyers don't get over
the doorstep. So no matter what time of year it is show your best
front; mow the lawn, cut the hedges and sweep up, clearing away
the fallen branches and other debris from past storms. Don't leave
last year's withered remains hanging in the baskets at the front
door; either take them down or add some colour with window boxes
as suitable plantings are available year round. Select early flowering
plantings or bright foliage that looks good at the time you need
it to. Planting them up to await the summer won't do as you may
be the only ones to admire them while your would be buyers sun
themselves in foreign parts.
De-personalise your rooms. Lose the cuddly toys, fridge magnets,
kids "drawings", family photographs and dust gathering
ornaments no matter how nice and sentimental they may be. The
more you personalise the more difficult it is for buyers to see
themselves in your house. De-cluttering will also give a better
impression of space for the all important presentation you hope
will attract the viewers.
Think neutral décor. A bold or heavily themed room is going
to have the same effect and may deter buyers. So if you really
want to sell you need to get serious and appeal to someone else's
better taste. You can always do your own thing once you move!
It is quite amazing how dark rooms can look due to inappropriate
décor and particularly with modern houses you may need
all the help you can get to persuade buyers the "generously
proportioned accommodation" is up to the agent's enthusiastic
Do all the little jobs you have been meaning to do for the past
10 years but never got round to. Whether it is replacing or cleaning
the stained sealant in the shower, touching up the paint work,
fixing the dripping tap, loose door handle or replacing the dud
light bulbs they are essential jobs you don't want your buyer
to notice and wonder what else has been neglected.
Present rooms with appropriate furniture. If you use the fourth
bedroom as a study-cum-spare room try staging it with a bed, particularly
if the dimensions are such that the buyer may be sceptical. Give
the solutions not the problems. Likewise a breakfasting kitchen
should be shown with table and chairs in place.
Finally try to get everyone in the family on side and make it
a family project. There is nothing worse than having a daily fight
leaving you too stressed to deal with your viewers possibly losing
you a potential sale as they pick up the wrong vibes.
the preparation is all too much remember that there are professional
firms prepared to do the hard work from gardening to cleaning (there
is even an oven valet service!). You may find the cost involved
pays dividends. And finally if you simply can't face the trauma
of showing strangers round your home speak nicely to your selling
agents and they may agree to show viewers round while you go for
a pleasant walk in the park where you can all smoke, bark, argue
and complain about being evicted as much as you like content in
the knowledge that everything is under control.