The first thing to remember is that most prospective buyers or tenants won’t see your property in quite the same way as you do. Primarily they will be looking for a property to reflect their own lifestyle and aspirations and want to be able to imagine themselves living, entertaining and sleeping in your house. If you are able to invest a reasonable amount of time and energy and only a very limited amount of money, there are a number of things that can be done which will give you the best possible chance of finding a reliable buyer or tenant and/or obtaining a particularly generous price or rental value.
Quality tenants can be choosy too and the advice given here applies equally well to Landlords as it does sellers. If we are to act for you in the sale or letting of your property we will be more than happy to pass on our thoughts and put forward specific recommendations. If required, whilst at the property, we will also give you our opinion as to whether we think there may be any potential banana skins on the horizon concerning the general condition of the building(s). Set out below are the tips in more detail but first there is a ‘Checklist’ so you can quickly double check you are on the right lines. If you haven’t the time or inclination to do everything, just do what you can – as they say ‘every little helps’!
- Decor pristine
- Paintwork prisitine
- Windows sparkling
- Carpeting/ flooring/ surfaces spotless
- Warm, cosy & light in Autumn/ Winter
- Bright and airy in Spring/ Summer
- Free of clutter (including furniture and toys)
- No squeaky hinges
- No creaking floorboards
- No dripping taps
- No missing curtain hooks
- Flowers on display
- Paintwork immaculate (including walls and fencing)
- Clean paths and patios
- Tidy lawns, flower beds, foliage, hedges
- Install hanging baskets/ pot plants
- Working security locks
- Inside of outbuildings clean and tidy (including garage)
The Tips In More Detail
Outside: The 1st impression
The ‘drive past’ test is crucially important – it is the potential buyer or tenants first impression of the property and as such needs to have instant appeal. Go across the road to take a long look at your property and ask yourself what you can do that will make the most difference? Does the front door need a fresh coat of paint or door furniture need replacing or cleaning. Windows need to be clean, window frames repaired and painted if necessary. Introduce a couple of plant pots or hanging baskets by the front door to add colour and focus.
Untidy front or side gardens can be particularly off putting so remove dead leaves, rubbish and any other unsightly items. Trim hedges, cut lawns, weeds and flower beds, prune bushes and trees. Does the front gate or fence need a coat of paint? As far as the back garden is concerned, if you haven’t any energy left, just have a general tidy up and keep foliage away from doors or windows. However if the back garden is a special feature of the property make sure the tenant or buyer sees it at its best.
Inside: Add sparkle throughout
Generally freshen your home up by cleaning carpets, covering worn areas with furniture or rugs, cleaning soft furnishings (professionally cleaned if you need to) and windows so they sparkle. Check for cobwebs, paint walls and ceilings where necessary and catch up with any overdue maintenance like oiling door hinges, squeaky floorboards (with talcum powder), replace washers on dripping taps and missing curtain hooks.
Add mirrors to enhance the impression of a space and introduce bunches of flowers throughout. Remove all clutter with a special emphasis on the kitchen, living rooms and spare bedrooms. Items like rugs, cushions, throws, plants and towels all help to create a fresh enticing appeal that make a difference to the potential buyer, plus they have the added bonus of being items you can take with you to your new home.
1st impressions really count so check the hallway is clutter free, clean and light to present a fresh and inviting focus, especially important here are flowers or a healthy green plant to first greet the eye, rather than perhaps trainers or coats.
Normally the living room is where we relax, however when selling you may have to sacrifice some of your creature comforts for image. Take the opportunity to pack away as much as much clutter as possible – DVD's you don’t watch regularly, books, piles of magazines, any bits and pieces you’ve been meaning to sort out.
Strong colours can put off a potential buyer or tenant. Instead replace them with pale, warm neutral colours, such as cream or off-white. If you have wooden floors, see if they need a polish or re-varnish. Good lighting is important, replace lampshades that are marked or expose the light bulb. Install alternate lighting such as table lighting to create a more flattering background.
Create a focal point for the room other than the television if possible, emphasise a fireplace or a special piece of furniture. If you have a dining room dress it with a centrepiece, such as a bowl of fruit or a small arrangement of fresh flowers. You do not need to set the table as this can look rather contrived.
The condition of the kitchen has a big role to play in influencing the buyer so however old your present kitchen is it needs to be pleasing to the eye as well as functional. One of the most inexpensive ways to update it is to change the handles on the cabinet doors and or even the doors themselves.
To keep all surfaces as clear as possible, put away anything that you do not use on a daily basis. Remove fridge magnets, messages and photos from the front of the fridge. Your kitchen needs to smell fresh and clean, even with extractor fans, kitchens can harbour odours, especially from fish, curries and other strong-smelling foods. This includes any pet smells too and it is advisable to put all evidence of your pets, bowls, beds, bones etc out of sight.
Everything in your bathroom should be super clean, sparkling and ideally be stylish too. Clear surfaces will make the room look bigger, so toiletries are best kept out of sight. Remove any signs of scale or staining with limescale remover.
Check the sealant around the bath, shower tray and sink, if it looks less than perfect replace it. Grubby grout needs to removed and replaced too and if the tiles look worn, apply bleach or even better, replace them. For the floor, wood, cork, lino or ceramic tiles provide a clean fresh look but carpets in bathrooms are often regarded as unhygienic. A bathroom needs to feel warm, so having the heating on when its cool gives a cosy feel.
Finishing touches to dress the room, add fluffy towels that colour co-ordinate with your bathroom scheme, invest in some luxury toiletries. A beautiful candle as a focus, a leafy fern or pot plant that will add to the ambience.
When it comes to the bedrooms, think of elegant hotel rooms, comfortable yet stylish. Unclutter all the surfaces, no one wants to see make up creams or piles of books by the bed, these only distract people from noticing the positive aspects of the room. Bedspreads can make the room seem tidier and cushions in silk or velvet add a luxury touch. Make sure all the lampshades have simple or elegant lines.
In children’s bedrooms pack away the majority of their toys, but leave a few out and alternate so they can play with them in rotation. If your teenagers have a room full of posters, keep one or two but simply clip frame them to tidy them up. Present spare bedrooms as a useable room, either as a bedroom or a small office space rather than maybe just used as a store for unwanted items!