Are you thinking about selling your house?  Are you wondering what to do before you put it on the market?  Maybe there are a few DIY jobs that could be done first, or some walls that need to be painted?  I’m sure you have all found yourself watching one of the ‘house improvement’ TV shows, and thought to yourself, ‘How do they do that?’ or ‘How do they make it look so easy?’  It’s quite simple really, but involves a bit of forethought and planning.
Staging your home ready to sell does not have to break the bank and does not need to be a hard job. The actual definition of ‘home staging’ is, ‘cleaning, repairing, and updating the decor and furnishings of an older home to make it more attractive when shown to potential buyers’.  It’s very simply a matter of making the most of your home and ensuring it as visibly attractive as it possibly can be.
Improving the saleability of your home will increase the chances of an offer at the right price, so what are you waiting for?  Here is a few guidelines we have put together to help you:-
Your furniture – stand back and take an objective look at your furniture, particularly your sofa or 3 piece suite.  There is nothing more off-putting than a sagging sofa from the 1980s, or a sofa with chewed corners or coffee stains.  Old sofa = dated house, or that’s what a buyer will think.  A new modern sofa will add a stylish look to your living room and prove a worthwhile investment for you. You could invest in a new ‘neutral tone’ sofa now and take it to your new home, or if you are strapped for cash, why not try the local ‘Seek and Sell’ pages on Facebook, or even eBay?  There are some real bargains to be had.  Alternatively, you could simply wash the sofa covers or buy an attractive throw to add style to your sofa, for peanuts!
Carpets and flooring – how is your carpet looking lately? A heavily patterned or darkly-coloured carpet will not do you any favours.  If your carpet is plain, but a bit on the grubby side, a professional clean may be sufficient to refresh it.  A dirty, worn and dated carpet will give the impression that the house hasn’t been looked after, so if you want to portray a well-presented and clean home, it may be worth investing in a new, neutral carpet.  Maybe you have pets that have helped age your carpets, or even children… don’t let your carpet jeopardise your sale. Likewise, with hard flooring – if it is worn and scratched, replace it.
Your walls – we don’t recommend that you pick up your paint brush and paint everything cream or magnolia, but you do need to present a buyer with a neutral décor that they will like.  Neutral tones allow your viewers to have a better chance of envisaging themselves and their ‘stuff’ in there.  Bold, bright feature walls look fantastic, but are ideally best painted over if your house is up for sale. Otherwise, you risk alienating some of your potential buyers.

Your lighting is something that you could easily overlook when preparing your house for sale. Downlighters and table lamps can create a cosy atmosphere in your living room and bedrooms; up-lighting can add a splash of drama and are great for highlighting any attractive ceiling features.  We would recommend that you steer clear of using overhead lighting as it tends to be ‘stark’ and a bit clinical.  Lamps, downlighters and picture lights, however, can change the look of a room instantly, for the better.  Places like Ikea, The Range and Dunelm Mill are superb for lighting, and are very reasonably priced too.  Your outlay here will pay dividends with the photos and the viewers.

Natural light  not many people like a dark and dingy home. If they’re arriving after dark, turn on lamps or lights in all rooms, as well as any outside lights to help them appreciate the outside space. Turn on any lights in cupboards or on appliances. If a viewing is during the daytime, make sure that all of your curtains are fully open to take advantage of as much natural light as possible.  If possible, have photos taken with natural light streaming into the rooms.  Think ‘light and airy’ and you won’t go wrong.

Soft furnishings – new cushions are a must if your living room is lacking the ‘x’ factor.  This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a big impact.  Mix and match some different textures to add a ‘hotel-chic’ feel to your living room. If you don’t want to spend on new cushions, simply buy some new cushion covers, or if you have time, make some!  If your décor is neutral, cushions are a great way to add a splash of bright colour to your rooms, without going overboard.

Art and pictures on the walls – are your walls covered in personal family portraits? If so, it’s time to take them down, and box them up ready for your move.  We would recommend taking down anything that is personal, too ‘garish’ or loud, and stick to fairly traditional or neutral pictures.  Too many family photos may make your viewers feel alienated and it will be more difficult for them to imagine your place as their own.

The ambience – does your house feel cluttered and busy, or calm and relaxing?  Your viewers will immediately pick up on the ‘ambience’ of your home.  It may sound corny, but light candles and use some low lighting to soften the mood.  If you have children or pets, make sure they are out of the way for photographs and viewings.  They will immediately add ‘stress’ and ‘drama’ which will inevitably take your viewer’s attention away from your home, and is a big no-no!

Your kitchen  is the ‘heart of the home’ and as such, needs to look the most attractive it possibly can. If you have a minimal or new kitchen, you may only need to clear worktops and clean all appliances and cupboards.  If, however, your kitchen is a little on the dated side, why not re-paint the cupboards. Painting a dark wooden kitchen a light colour can add instant freshness to a dark kitchen.  Lighting is another way to show it at its best.  Invest in some new tea towels especially for photos and viewings, and buy some co-ordinated accessories.  Polish your windows and make any stainless-steel shine like a mirror.  Your kitchen should say ‘clean and spotless’.

Living room – this must be a comfortable and relaxing space where your viewer can imagine themselves ‘chilling out’ with a cuppa or a glass of wine after a day in the office. Try to arrange your furniture around the fireplace or another feature, rather than the TV.  That way, the TV does not become the focus of the room.  It’s definitely a worthwhile tip, especially for your photography and viewings.  A bunch of fresh flowers on the coffee table and a well-chosen magazine will make the photographs look amazing and finish the room off perfectly.

Your bathroom  ‘cleanliness and hygiene’ are the key words here.  Invest in some new towels and a new bathmat purely for viewings.  Polish your mirrors, chrome taps and shower head.  Bleach the toilet and clean the floor.  Place some matching accessories around the room and a green, leafy plant in a white pot will freshen it all up a treat. Think ‘spa’ and you won’t go wrong!

Finishing touches – are extremely important.  Before you have your photographs taken, or book a viewing, take a last look at your house with a critical eye. You could even ask a friend or relative to scan your house too.  Hide anything that doesn’t improve the look of any room, such as bins or piles of magazines or paper bills.  Place a vase of flowers in each downstairs room, and voila! Your home is ready.

Tidy garden – before any viewings, make sure the garden is tidy, trimmed and looking fabulous. A tidy garden will also ensure that your house has great kerb appeal for anyone driving past.  Mow the lawn, neaten the borders, spruce up your decking and garden furniture and make sure that it looks like a ‘loved’ space.  It’s surprising what a difference a couple of hours in the garden can make.  Aside from the garden, make certain that your front door is clean and all windows are polished and shiny. A large potted shrub or plant either side of your front door is a brilliant decoration and will make your home look loved.

A fresh aroma – your house should smell fresh and inviting, especially if you have pets.  We suggest you have a quick spray around with a fresh-smelling perfume just before viewers arrive and pop a tumble drier sheet in the bottom of all your bins. Invest in some plug-in fresheners to hide any unwanted smells.  Fresh flowers are always an excellent way of adding a fresh scent to your home too.

Turn the heating on – or light the fire.  There is nothing more unwelcoming than a cold home if the weather is cold.  A warm home is cosy and comforting.  If you have a real fire or a wood-burner, light it…not only will it will look great in photos, your viewers will love it!

Give yourself a mini-makeover!  If you are conducting the viewings, make sure your outfit is smart, your shoes are clean (never slippers!) and you are well-groomed and looking relaxed and professional.  Your image should reflect that of your home – neat, well-kept and stylish!

What do you think of the tips in this article? Are they useful?

We would love to hear your thoughts on this, or indeed any of our other articles.

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