MOVING HOME: Preparing your house for sale
Updated: Feb 13
Nowadays, buying a new home starts with internet browsing. Potential buyers can make up their mind whether they are interested in a property, or not, based on what they initially see online - so it's important to present your home in the best possible way.
You are selling a dream and a lifestyle, so it pays to make sure that yours is the home that they fall in love with.
I know its hard to spend time and money on a property that you are about to leave, but a neutrally decorated, well presented and inviting property can add thousands to your asking price.
Here are some tips for getting your home ready to sell;
GET MENTALLY PREPARED
Moving house is stressful, and no matter how many times you have done it - it's still hard to cope with on top of our already busy lives.
The more organised you are, the less stressful it will be. Minimise house move stress with our tips below, and if you need some hands on help and support please get in touch.
Create a moving folder to plan and hold all move related paperwork and information - checklists, contracts, etc. Moving is stressful enough without a way to organise the flood of information coming your way. Use a ring binder with dividers that you can use for different categories - such as removal company, estate agents etc, and a budget.
Be as realistic as you can and prepared to spend more time and money than you are considering now. (If there is any left over, it'll be a bonus). Moving home is not cheap. Work out a budget for what you can afford to spend. Moving by itself is an incredibly stressful time, and no-one needs to add financial stress as well. Little things can add up to large amounts.
DECLUTTER AND ORGANISE
Decluttering is the most important thing when preparing your home for sale, and can make all the difference to how fast and for how much your home sells.
Buyers are looking for space that they can fill with their dreams, their lifestyle and their 'stuff'. They need to see that your property can offer them this. A home presents much better when it is simply presented and clutter free.
Its a fresh start for you as you're moving anyway, so it makes sense to declutter anything that is no longer loved or needed and create that much-desired feeling of space and calm.
Review each room and remove anything that creates visual clutter - that's too many ornaments, the collection of fridge magnets, piles of toys and excess pieces of furniture. Clear out the paper clutter, electronics and anything else distracting the buyer's attention.
If you are not ready to completely let go of items, you could start packing some items away ready for the move.
Kitchens are the money rooms when selling your home. Your Kitchen needs to look as clean and organised as possible. Clear as much as you can from worktops and islands. The same principle goes for bathrooms. Keep surfaces clean and organised, and store your products in cabinets or cupboards.
Make sure that the pathways throughout your home are clear so that potential buyers can walk through and around easily.
That may mean clearing drawers and cupboards to make room to stash personal items when potential buyers are on their way over (Don't leave your toothbrush out!).
Decluttering and organising your home will also make it much easier to pack and unpack when you move.
Help a buyer to visualise themselves living in your home by removing any overly personal items such as family photos, children's drawings, holiday souvenirs and memories.
Your decor might be lovely, but if it's too personal or if there is too much of it, it gives a powerful message "This is MY home" and will make it difficult for the buyer to visualise themselves, and their own possessions, living in your home. Family photos are fine in the bedroom, but keep them to a tasteful minimum.
DEFINE THE SPACE
If you've got three bedrooms and you want to sell your home as a three bedroom property, they need to be presented as such ( not two bedrooms and a spare room with no obvious function other than to store clutter). And if you've got a living room and separate dining area, they need to be presented as such, and not seen as the kid's playroom or ironing area. Buyers are aspirational and need to be shown the lifestyle that they could live if they were to move into your property, which is likely to including entertaining - even if the usual mealtime routine is more likely to be TV dinners than dinner parties.
DIY AND DECORATING
Any unfinished DIY jobs ring alarm bells for potential buyers as they send out a subliminal message that your property could be high maintenance and will alert them to look out for other outstanding jobs, which they could use against you to negotiate a lower price.
Potential buyers will often do a 'drive-by' before deciding to arrange a viewing, so creating curb appeal is vital. Tidy the garden, repaint the front door if necessary, make sure that curtains are symmetrical and window sills are free of clutter.
Add some colourful plants in pots or hanging baskets by the front door. In other words, make your property look as instantly inviting and welcoming as possible so potential buyers want to come in and see more.
Once you've got them through the front door, buyers need to feel instantly at home. Help them literally see themselves in your home by placing a mirror in the hallway. This will also help introduce an additional light into what is often the darkest part of the house. Remove all coats, shoes and sports bags from this area as a cluttered hallway can set a buyer into thinking that there isn't enough storage in the property.
It cannot be stressed enough that a spotless home always creates a good impression and reinforces the message that the property is well maintained. Clean the kitchen and the bathroom until they sparkle. Shine the windows and make sure that the home smells fresh. Pet and smoke odours are big turn-offs for buyers. To create a brighter atmosphere, turn the lights on and have plants or fresh flowers in most rooms for viewings.
If you really want to see your property through the eyes of someone else, take photos of each room from different angles and then take a cold hard look at them. It will be pretty obvious what needs to change. Today's buyers are attracted to clean, bright, clutter-free spacious environments with aesthetic appeal. Buy a few home decor magazines as they give good examples of what people find attractive today. You'll also see how good accessorising can enhance the look and feel of the room.
Depersonalising doesn't mean boring, attractive focal points in each room will make your property memorable for all the right reasons.
What you should be aiming to achieve is a look that instantly has a broad appeal right across your 'target audience', for example, the kind of buyer, who is likely to want the style of property that you're selling, whether it's young professionals, a family moving up the housing ladder or perhaps someone downsizing to a smaller property.
MENTALLY MOVE OUT
Staging makes it appeal to the largest number of potential buyers, but it can be tricky when you are still living there.
Living in a property that is for sale is not the same as living in a home that you've settled in. Keeping your home decluttered and neat whilst you are trying to sell your home requires commitment and complete family involvement. As hard as it is to live in a 'show home' it's not forever. The more effort that you out in, the quicker you will reap the rewards with a sale at the best price. This will give you more to invest in your new home.
Present your property to its full potential and you can soon look forward to creating your personalised space again, just as you like it, in your new home.