Top tips for selling your home

Put your property ahead of the rest with some simple changes

selling-houseNow is a popular time of year to try to sell homes, as buyers are looking for that most important of all criteria – to be in by Christmas.

But it’s still vital to make a good first impression, especially after a recent survey* shows potential homebuyers view for just 33 minutes before making a decision.

So here are some top tips to help make your property stand out to buyers.

Space, the final frontier

One of the key ways to add perceived value to your home is to maximise the feeling of space and light. Interior designer Julia Kendal, who has worked on TV shows DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover with Peter Andre, says, “Texture of any kind absorbs light, so consider simplifying the window treatments by replacing heavy curtains with shutters, woodslat or flat fabric blinds. And replacing a carpet with a hardwood floor or a good quality laminate alternative will provide a more open feel.”

Heart of the home

Kitchens and bathrooms are key rooms, so if yours would have to be replaced by any new owners, consider doing it yourself – during those precious 33 minutes of viewing, the thought of the upheaval and expense of doing it themselves can be overwhelming for buyers. However, while it’s tempting to tick as many wishlist boxes as possible for buyers by installing items like a range oven, island unit, solid surfaces, walk-in shower etc, it’s best to keep the style and quality in line with the rest of the house.

Wonder wall

Tempting though it may be to wallpaper a room just before it goes on the market, just hold that paste brush for a moment. “It’s rarely a good idea as it is a risk to assume potential buyers will like your taste in wallpaper,” says Julia. But it is worth removing any ‘barriers to purchase’, so if your walls are in a bad way, consider getting them re-skimmed and re-painted. “Most buyers are pretty savvy these days and can see if a new coat of paint is disguising a bad surface,” says Julia.

Back to basics

And while you’re at it, why not tackle all those small jobs you’ve been meaning to do? Fix that leaky roof, which will only get worse in the colder months; paint the gutters and any other shabby-looking exteriors while there is still some good weather; and tidy up the garden before it gets too wet and cold.

Lights fantastic

Good lighting is key to showing a home at its best, both in creating the illusion of space and to produce an interesting and ‘designed’ look. “Use quality fittings to highlight good features and move the emphasis away from the less impressive,” suggests Julia. “A statement chandelier or contemporary piece will add sparkle and raise the tone of the property substantially.” And if you have evening viewings, consider using lighting to make areas look snug and inviting as the nights grow longer.

Picture this

Make sure your estate agent chooses a sunny autumn day to take photographs, especially if you think it’s the outside space that will help sell your home. Poor light and grey skies in the background could have buyers skipping over pictures of your property without even seeing it among all the other, better-lit homes for sale.

Julia Kendell will be at The London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show at Olympia, London, 26-28 September.

*Survey by Aviva

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