Whatever the motivation for moving; whether you have outgrown your beloved home or you can’t wait to begin again somewhere new, you have to make somebody fall in love with your property enough to buy it.
The first thing to do is to mentally divorce yourself from your property and see it as a commodity – that way the feelings you have about the property won’t influence how you make the quick fixes to sell your home. Begin by looking at the place with fresh eyes. If you were a perspective buyer entering for the first time what sort of impression would you form about life in this property? Does it promise to offer an easy, comfortable, stylish lifestyle or would you have months of remedial and DIY work ahead of you? It may be easier to get an objective and honest opinion of a friend.
Your prospective buyer will expect is a clean, bright, spacious property so these are the first elements in your preparation.
The first step in the cleaning process is to de-clutter. Remove anything broken, not used in the past year, ugly, or superfluous in your life. Clear all surfaces for cleaning and polishing. This should be applied to any outside spaces your property has, so dispose of any broken flowerpots, dead leaves and plants and trim hedges and lawns.
The aim is to get all possessions that aren’t ornamental in cupboards and out of the way. Kitchen cupboards need to be able to contain everything in the kitchen – no food on show, as do the wardrobes – no clothes hanging off the doors. Take a look and see how much space you’ve got and ask if it’s being used effectively. If you have an odd corner – give it a purpose now. A slim desk could transform it into a study and buy you another room in your property. De-cluttering also means limiting yourself to one or two personal photographs as you are now relinquishing ownership to someone else; in essence de-cluttering removes too much personality, which could alienate people – but more of that later.
With everything out of the way you can clean, clean, clean. Take special care with the kitchen and bathroom, ensuring surfaces gleam and smell fresh. Clean the windows, doors (around the door handle is a classic) and light switches. Take an honest look at any carpets, do they need a deep spring clean or even need replacing?
Week Three & Four
The clean windows are letting lots of natural light into the property – another winner in the house selling race; don’t hamper it with heavy or shabby curtains or blinds. Windows not only let in light but frame a view outside, make sure it’s pretty with a well tended front garden or window boxes if you can’t improve the view outside opt for a sheer fabric voile or blind to keep the light coming in, and introduce your garden indoors by way a plant or some flowers. With natural light flooding in does it make your paintwork blush? Sometimes it takes a lick of paint to refresh a room opt for something light but not too cold – especially in North facing rooms.
You want to offer your buyer space so think about room layout – do you have too much furniture for the room? Would removing or repositioning some items give you more floor space and easy circulation around the room. Look at furniture arrangement, does it resemble a doctor’s waiting room – seating lined up in a row all perfectly positioned for the TV? If you have another focal point, use it such as a pretty window or fireplace.
To the issue of lifestyle; you want to promise your buyer a hassle free life so make sure everything is in good working order; light bulbs, a good strong shower, no dripping taps, doors closing smoothly no comedy door handles, etc. Remove any ominous signs of disrepair even if remedied – old water marks may leave the buyer thinking that there’s a problem. Fit things that buyers would expect to find, such as towel rails and loo roll holders.
The finishing touches; you’ve now dealt with the essentials and you’re left with the bare canvas, it’s time to reintroduce some personality in to the property – the right personality and not too much of it. This stage also has you using clever psychology to entice your buyer!
The colour scheme is neutrals, greys, and stones, with intelligent accents of colour limited to cushions, artwork and ornaments. This will create restful and balanced feeling.
Different textures add interest and warmth, cushions added on sofas, rugs on hard flooring, crisp linens, plump pillows and soft throws on beds, fluffy towels in bathrooms.
Your property needs to appeal to the broadest of audiences, however, within that there will be certain groups that will be looking for your type of property. Identify the target market for your case, if you’re unsure ask an estate agent for advice. This is important as you can speak to your target audience directly by having the right accessories in your property.
For a flat or apartment think modern and introduce a sophisticated look that will appeal to young professionals. The kitchen is a good showcase for aspiration elements; a restrained dressing of the kitchen counters can now be made to count, trendy appliances – espresso machines, toasters etc and luxury food items in designer packaging can create a subliminal message of a high-flying lifestyle.
A family home can benefit from staging too. Children’s bedrooms can showcase an edited selection of only the most beautiful toys and books. This is especially important if the buyers are looking to start a family and how only an idealised view of what family life is like!
Provide a generous dining space for those family meals and get-togethers, a subtle family group photo in a frame could be appropriate in this case.
Your eight weeks are up, you’ve done all you can, one last tip – keep it up! Keep the property looking clean and bright, and try to be prepared for a viewing at only half an hour’s notice. It could be the last minute viewing that will sell your property!
Suzanne Aldridge of DesRes London
Tel 07775 872142