Maximising the value of your property makes perfect sense, why wouldn't you? So it is crucial that home-owners do everything they can to make their house, flat, bungalow or maisonette as attractive as possible to viewers. Every stop really should be pulled out if vendors want their property to stand out for all the right reasons.
With that in mind, here are a few ways in which you could help make your property look more appealing to buyers and achieve the best market price.
First impressions really count
It's a well-worn piece of advice, but one that remains ever true: first impressions do count. We make up our mind within seconds of meeting someone or seeing something - and that same mentality applies to property. Thus it's important to put yourself in the mindset of a viewer and consider what your first impression of the property would be.
Imagine you are driving up to the property for the first time with a view to buying it; what is immediately noticeable? Hopefully, it is something both pleasing and inviting: a trimmed lawn, a jet-washed driveway, a neatly painted garage door or clean windows. If not, then make the necessary repairs. Don't forget that problems could also be included in the surveyor's report, jeopardising your chances of a sale. It's worth remembering what attracted you to the property in the first place and if still relevant, try to emphasise those points.
Tailor to your target market
If it's possible, try to discern what demographic is likely to be interested in your property - most probably it will be people like yourselves - and cater to their needs. For instance, if you think families with young children will view your home, transform one room into a playroom/ nursery. If you are targeting professionals, convert one into a study. Perhaps that under-stairs cupboard would better serve your target market as a downstairs toilet? Doing so could add value and grab the attention of more buyers.
As you will no doubt be aware, when someone views a property, they try to visualise their furniture in the room to see not only if it would be a fit practically, but whether it would be a fit emotionally. Therefore it's essential that you make the room as clear as possible in order that they may do so.
They won't be able to see past a wall of framed family photos or an expansive knick-knack collection, so de-clutter the property to remove any overtly personal effects - at least for the duration of the viewing. This may also mean rearranging or storing bulky items of furniture to maximise the space and allow your viewers an even better opportunity to imagine themselves in the room. It helps also to let as much natural light in as possible, so think about removing any net curtains and/or opening blinds.
No matter how active an imagination some viewers may have, large numbers will be put off by what they might consider a garishly-painted room or busy-wallpapered feature wall. Many will immediately consign the property to their mental reject bin because it needs considerable work. Our preferences vary significantly, so it could be extremely beneficial to redecorate in some neutral hues instead. Magnolia might be deemed unadventurous, but it provides a blank canvas upon which your viewers can work with ease. It will also make the house appear fresh and less lived-in.
Clean, clean, clean
Research suggests that women make the final house-hunting decisions and, arguably, it is the women that notice the finer details, thus it is recommended that you keep the place immaculately neat and tidy. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom, taking care to scrub any limescale from the chrome-work, cleaning the oven until it gleams, bleaching the grouting and ensuring there is no mould on the walls.
The aim is to present a home which someone could move straight into, without having to do too much work. Keeping a clean house indicates that you have loved it, looked after it and that you are decent people - all serving to create a positive impression on the number one decision-maker.
It's the little touches
Once upon a time, vendors were advised to bake fresh bread on the day of their viewings, in order to fill the house with a familiar and comforting aroma that was designed to prompt interested parties into making an offer. While most people are aware of this cliché, it doesn't hurt to add a few little touches here and there - in fact, it could make a real difference. A pretty vase of flowers, some new candles, ironed sheets on the beds and fresh towels in the bathroom are all appealing and show that you care. For inspiration, refer to an interior design magazine to achieve optimum effect.
No matter whether or not your viewers are animal lovers, no one will want to buy a property which possesses an ingrained odour of wet dog or cat food. It's therefore advisable that you remove all traces of your pet while your prospects are being shown round and give the house a thoroughly good airing beforehand. Remember that some viewers may even be allergic to animal hair, so vacuuming is essential - otherwise you might as well let that person sneeze straight out the door again.
Tidy the garden
When it comes to creating a great first impression, your front garden could be the icing on the proverbial cake. Ensure that it is neat, the lawn is mowed and it looks inviting. Jet wash the drive and path so that they are clean and free of moss. Perhaps think about planting some pretty (low maintenance) shrubs to create that homely effect. Extend your horticultural efforts to the back garden, too. If you can present it as 'another room', one that can be used for entertaining, relaxing and spending time with the family, you're onto a winner. If you have outdoor furniture, why not set it up with some pretty lights or candles so that viewers can see your garden's potential?
Emphasise what's nearby
If your home is located within close proximity of a school, train station, bars (unless if you are targeting parents!) or the town's biggest employer, emphasise it. Location is a crucial consideration and if the home boasts easy access to important amenities, then this should be flagged. Similarly, if you receive a strong broadband signal, it's worth highlighting as this too has become an important consideration for modern property-buyers.
Of course, there are many factors that determine the value of a property, most of which are beyond the control of the vendors. However, by considering the points above, you could significantly maximise the value of your home and sell it for the asking price.
Lastly, when you've made the requisite amendments, take time to walk around your home once more and be objective about what you see. Would you buy this property? If not, what would put you off? Alternatively, ask a good friend to assume the role of prospective buyer and look round. Ask for their honest opinion and listen to it, making changes where necessary. Selling a house is no easy feat, but with some thought, honesty and effort, your property could stand out as one which really appeals to buyers.