Not only should you choose your Estate Agent carefully, but you should also "prepare" your home, so it sells well and quickly. You would probably wash your car before buyers view it, so think about giving your home a spring clean too.
Selling your home can be long and stressful, but there are ways you could reduce the length of time your house is up for sale. Here are some obvious (and not so obvious) tips for selling your home.
Outside: Make sure the gardens are neat and tidy, weed the driveway or path, clean exterior doors, windows, window ledges and, if you have one, the garage door. Make any necessary repairs, and maybe tidy up any exterior paintwork on fences and fascias.
Hallway: Remove all clutter from entrance and exits to ensure you don't have that awkward "tango in the doorway" when viewers arrive. Restrict family members to one coat, bag and pair of shoes in your coat storage area and put the rest away out of sight.
Living Area: Turn off the TV , especially if you have a widescreen one, as its size could make it the focal point of the room and may distract viewers from the real issues. Organise your furniture so the room is easy to walk around. Try not to block natural paths, such as the route to the window from the door. Again, remove any clutter, empty waste paper bins and make sure the room is not too hot or too cold.
Kitchen: This room, along with the bathroom, could be the deciding factor in whether your viewers will buy. Always make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink, food left out (unless it's for display purposes) or rank smells in the air! Make sure everywhere is clean, and we mean clean - showhouse clean. Remove any pet food bowls from the floor, empty the bin and if you have integral appliances, make sure all your cupboards are tidy inside ,as viewers may stumble upon any mess you are trying to hide when searching for your dishwasher.
Bathroom: Again an important room and again it's got to be clean. Always put the toilet lid down, and put out your best, fluffiest, colour co-ordinated towels and bath / pedestal mats. Try not to leave the bathmat on the floor as it can make the floor area look smaller - try draping it over the side of the bath instead. Open a window - just a touch - to ensure no smells remain. Get rid of all your toiletries stashed on window sills and sides of the bath and put them out of sight. Just leave out a few more decorative bottles etc that perhaps match or complement your bathroom colour scheme.
Bedrooms: Make the bed with fresh, clean, ironed sheets. Make sure mirrors and wardrobe doors are clean and free from fingerprints. If your wardrobes don't go to ceiling height, make sure anything stored on top is stacked neatly and is free from dust. If you can see under your bed, make the area more attractive with pretty boxes or baskets.
General Tips: If you have teenagers or a computer-mad husband, try to coax them out of their respective hidey holes before viewers arrive. Viewers may feel like they are invading if they go into an already occupied bedroom or study and will beat a hasty retreat. Your lovely pet Alsation may be their nightmare, so lock him away!
Look Up: When was the last time you looked at your ceiling? Check for cracks and deal with them ASAP. Remove cobwebs, and clean light fittings, tops of curtain pelmets, swags, boxes and any other dust-trapping items above eye level. Give light switch plates a good clean too.
Look Down: When vacuuming your carpet, vacuum the tops of skirting boards as well. Viewers may want to check out where your electrical sockets are, so vacuum behind all furniture.
Clean out Your Cupboards: If you have built-in wardrobes, viewers will want to see how big they are inside. Good storage is always a winner, but if it's stuffed to the hilt with all kinds of junk, then it will look smaller and less appealing. Don't forget the cupboard under the stairs either, so have a clear out. If you get rid of all your old unwanted stuff you'll have less to pack up when you do move!
Pleasant Aroma: These can help sell a house. The scent of fresh flowers, coffee, vanilla and baked bread can create a warm, cosy feeling in your viewers that they will remember. Flowers are obviously an easy option and have the benefit of looking pretty as well. Go for Oriental Lilies as they go with any decor and give off a heavenly scent. Freesias are also lovely and come in all colours of the rainbow. If you are going to offer viewers a drink, put on a pot of freshly ground coffee to tempt them. There are lots of flavoured coffees available to fill your home with a cosy aroma. If it's winter and your central heating is on, you could place a tea-light holder on the warm radiator and add a few drops of your favourite fragranced oil to give the room a pleasant background aroma. It's not a good idea to spray rooms with perfume or air freshener, as these are a bit too powerful and not to everyone's taste. Stick to gentle background aromas of natural elements. As your bathroom won't benefit from the smell of flowers in your living room or any aroma-creating tools from the kitchen, try one of those air fresheners with a sticky pad that you can discreetly place out of sight for a pleasant smell every time you open the door.
The Big Questions: Do you show viewers around yourself or do you let them wander about? Well, there are pros and cons to both. If you show them around, they may not feel free to comment to each other about what they like and don't like about your property. On the other hand, if they wander about on their own, they can chat to their hearts' content, but can't ask you any questions and you can't point out any special features etc. The best thing is to first introduce yourself, then start from the entrance and go to the first door (always closed) you would see from entering the property. Open it and allow them to walk in before you, then state which room it is - e.g. this is the lounge - and then introduce any remaining family members. On to the next room, and so on, until you have reached the end of the tour. Then ask them if they want to go around again on their own while you make them a drink. They can come for a drink in their own good time and they'll know where to find you if they have any questions. A relaxed informal atmosphere is a must, so try to avoid telephone conversations, visits from neighbours, crying children and excitable pets. Think about the questions viewers will probably ask, such as how old the property is, if there's a history to the house, where the nearest school is etc. Do some research if necessary, and make your house and area is an interesting place. Links with the community are always appealing - for instance, mention a nearby school or church that has a summer fete or bonfire party every year. There's usually lots of local stuff going on if you know where to look for it.
What do you say about the neighbours? If you have great neighbours then praise them by all means, but don't overdo it!
Why are you moving? It's a fair question and your answer can be a deciding factor for the viewer. If it's because of a new job in a new location or moving closer to other family members then you sound like you are serious and want a quick sale. If you say because you just fancy a change, then you don't sound so serious and they may think you might back out if you change your mind. Make your answer to suit your needs and don't forget to ask them why they want to move either.Try and find out and agree to their timeframe- they will not want to get involved with a 'difficult' seller.
Final Thoughts: I know cleaning the house from top to bottom for people you don't know and who will probably only stay a few minutes sometimes does seem redundant but remember, if your home is clean, tidy, well-organised and pleasant-smelling, they will remember! If you surprise people every time they open a door, they'll come back again. You aren't only trying to sell a house, you are also trying to sell a lifestyle. Viewers will also remember more any mess, bad odour, shoddy DIY and dirt, so clean up and sell up!
And finally, dont forget to instruct Roderick Price to sell your home.
Contact Roderick Price