The arrival of spring heralds new beginnings and an opportunity to get organised for the year ahead. When the leaves return to the trees, animals come out of hibernation and warmer weather returns, there’s something about spring that gives us a renewed sense of invigoration.
It’s the perfect time to seize the opportunity to get organised at home if you are planning to put your property on the market. You want to achieve the best price and enjoy a smooth and successful sale to allow you to move forward, which is why we’ve compiled some of the most important things to consider in our spring mini series.
Remember, first impressions count and with numerous properties coming onto the market in this popular season, you want to ensure that yours is one of the stand out choices.
Step 1 – Declutter Your Life!
This is a great place to start. Lets face it, you’re going to have to pack up your life and move at some stage anyway, so why not get organised super early! A cluttered home is a cluttered life and you can truly benefit from getting everything organised.
Potential buyers will only imagine themselves living in your property if they can see where they might put their possessions. The distraction of seeing your things around the house might be the factor that prevents buyers from making an offer.
Here’s a few of the most important best practices that we recommend.
Find a home for every item
Shoes on the shoe rack. The children (or grandchildren’s toys) in the toy box. DVD’s on the DVD rack. The day’s post filed neatly away. The dishes all cleaned and put in the cupboard. Cushions plumped and placed neatly on the sofa. You get the idea!
There’s usually an obvious place for everything to be kept and it’s this important process that will help to make your property look larger and more appealing to your prospective buyers.
Place and organise – don’t throw and forget
It’s never enjoyable rushing around to get the house tidy for a viewing. When we rush we tend to throw our belongings in a drawer or cupboard, making it impossible to find what you are looking for!
A potential buyer may open a drawer or a cupboard and the last thing you want is for badly placed belongings to fall out everywhere. When you place your items neatly in an ordered fashion, you will benefit and those who view your property won’t get drawn into the negatives.
Sort it, keep it, bin it
When you are in the process of decluttering and preparing to sell your property, it’s a good opportunity to assess your wider belongings and whether you use them/need to keep them. Whilst it’s lovely to be sentimental about your life’s possessions, they attribute to the general clutter that leaves your house disorganised and untidy.
We recommend assessing how important your possessions are. If you haven’t thought about something or used it for over 12 months, is there a need to keep it? When it comes to old photos stuffed in a shoe box covered with dust, you could scan these into your computer for safe keeping. With the power of social media, you could also sell or give away items you no longer use. Remember, one person’s waste is another’s treasure!
Check out the full article on how Marie Kondo can help you declutter your home!
Step 2 – Present Your Property The Right Way
You’ve decluttered and your house is now free of possessions that you simply don’t use, but there’s still some work to do to make sure you present your property to give the very best first impression.
You want to create a homely feel to engage with potential buyers. Consider what’s important to you when you view a property and remember the golden rule – what may be insignificant to you could be the thing that puts buyers off the most.
The familiarity of living in your property day in day out can put a blind spot on areas of the house that may not appear important to you. We recommend that you stage your own viewing of your property as though you’ve never been there before. Start by walking up to the door, is the garden tidy? Grass freshly moved? Weeds cleared?
Take a step through your front door and slowly walk through room to room, looking at everything from carpets to walls, decor to clutter and be super critical. If you feel that your property would put you off if you were viewing for the first time, then you can be assured that prospective buyers will notice any defects.
Here are some of the most important areas to get started on.
Cut the grass, weed the garden and sweep the driveway
This is the first impression prospective buyers will see. Start off on the wrong foot here and you might find that less important blemishes become magnified for those super critical viewers. Spring is the perfect time to get out in the garden and start making that difference.
If you’ve got a garden, cut the grass regularly once it starts to grow in the spring sun. Let your buyers imagine themselves lazing on a hot summers day, don’t allow them to fear having to clear an overgrown jungle before they can enjoy it.
Weeds start to grow rapidly in the spring so it’s always best to get some good weedkiller and start attacking the problem. Once they’ve died, don’t just leave remnants of a weed infestation for everyone to see, pick up the weeds and dispose of them.
If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can pick up a decent pressure washer from your local DIY store and start blasting the driveway, walkways and patios to restore them to their original state. Again, setting these great first impressions don’t have to cost the earth and may simply make the difference when prospective buyers come to view your property.
Refresh the carpets, rugs and walls with a good deep clean
We aren’t asking you to spend thousands of pounds on new carpets or paint for your walls, there’s little point in trying to make your home fit a prospective buyers taste because it might be that they like a different style. With that said, when your house looks clean, tidy and stain-free, you’re removing the obvious factors that a buyer may find off-putting.
It’s relatively inexpensive to hire a carpet cleaner from your local DIY store or supermarket and a good steam clean can remove those stains leaving your carpet as good as new. If you’ve got stains or scuffs on your walls, try touching up those areas if you’ve got some paint left over. Equally, a hot soapy sponge may help to remove any blemishes.
If you’ve got an old faded and tatty rug on the floor, we recommend folding it up and packing it away for viewings. Equally, if you’ve got a stain on the carpet that you simply can’t remove, you could try and cover it with a new rug or piece of furniture.
Whilst we don’t want you to deliberately hide problem areas, the chances are, your buyers might replace carpets to suit their style, therefore, there’s no point highlighting the ugly just for the sake of it.
Clean the windows, plump the cushions and dust the cobwebs away
These are quick and simple wins that can help your property to look instantly better. As we enter spring time and the sun starts to blaze in through the windows, you can be sure that it will start to highlight any dust or dirt lying around.
Give the windows a good clean internally and externally so that they shine. A decent window cleaning solution from your local supermarket should do the job and will leave your property looking great. Don’t forget the window trim as well.
If you’ve got cushions on your sofa, give them a good plump up before a viewing and if you haven’t got cushions, you might consider buying some to offset a bland sofa and add some life to the sitting room.
Hopefully by now the winter spider infestation will have subsided making it the perfect opportunity to dust those cobwebs away from the dark corners of your skirting board, ceilings or light fittings.
Check out the full article on how Kirstie & Phil can help you reinvigorate your home!
Step 3 – You’re Ready For Viewings!
With your property clutter-free, clean and tidy, you’re ready to welcome prospective buyers along for viewings. It’s worth remembering that once you’ve listed your property for sale, there could be numerous viewings in the first couple of weeks when your property has maximum exposure on the major portals.
The hard work may be behind you but you’ve got to maintain the effort you’ve put into getting your house ship shape. A viewing request could come at any time and whilst your estate agent will keep you informed of an upcoming viewing, there may be times where a prospective buyer requests a viewing at short notice.
To stay on top and always give the right first impression of your property, it’s important that you do a spot check of every room before you go out for the day. Here’s some simple steps to preparing for a viewing in just 15 minutes.
Ready, steady, hoover!
Without spending the earth, we recommend buying one of those portable stick hoovers that seem to be popular these days. They are easy to use and you don’t need to battle to drag a hoover around the house and up the stairs.
Blitz every room in the main standing areas or where there’s likely to be the most foot traffic. Nobody wants to see the crumbs on the dining room floor from last nights supper! At this stage, you don’t need to be pulling sofa’s out to get the hoover in behind awkward spaces but just make sure you’ve covered the obvious spaces visible to the eye.
Open the windows and get a good flow of fresh air
In the morning (unless it’s freezing cold outside), open the doors and windows and let some fresh air flow around. Ten minutes will do. Empty any bins that have been harbouring the left overs from three nights ago and be aware that if you’ve got pets, the smell of leftover food in the bowls may be overpowering for a non pet owner.
To create the fresh smell of spring, light a scented candle for half an hour before you leave for the day (don’t forget to blow it out). You could also invest in the plug in air fresheners or diffusers to give your property that added fresh scent.
Make sure the kitchen is clean and tidy
Don’t rush out the door with a sink full of the breakfast dishes. We all know the mornings can be a race to get out of the door but it’s definitely worth setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier on the day of a viewing.
There’s nothing worse than seeing other people’s dishes piled up on the side when it comes to viewing a property so at the very least, fill the sink, give the plates and bowls a scrub and leave to dry on the draining board. Even better, if you get the time to put the clean dishes away, you’re onto a winner.
Check out the full article to help you prepare for viewings!
We’re not trying to add to your workload when it comes to getting your property ready for sale but if you want to achieve the best price in the shortest possible time, you’ve got to cover the basics to get the best results. It may not always be practical or possible to get your property ready yourself and if that’s the case, it’s worth asking friends, families or neighbours to help out where possible.
The important thing to remember is that whilst the property you are selling might be your current home, in the eyes of the buyer, they are looking at it as though it’s their home. Your familiarity with your property could be your downfall when it comes to overlooking the basics.
If you’re struggling to pin point the flaws, why not ask a friend or family member to give their critique? It’s not about taking offence to any negative comments, it’s about addressing the essentials and achieving the best results when selling.
Obvious flaws may result in no offers from buyers or offers below market value and that’s why we hope you find this article interesting, inspiring and helpful!
If you choose us as your agent, we are happy to provide the constructive feedback that will help you to achieve the easy wins when getting ready to sell.