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How to Prepare Your Home for a Quick Sale

Updated on December 5, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

As a property developer, Stella has written many articles on the home environment, decor and problems that arise in the home and garden.

Neutral Décor Works Wonders

A neutral colour scheme is a clean slate to showcase your accessories
A neutral colour scheme is a clean slate to showcase your accessories | Source

Staging Strategies For Sellers

To stage a home for a quick sale it's wise to work out an affordable budget first, before embarking on any serious redecoration. You can easily become your home’s very own ‘House doctor’ when armed with the correct information.

If you can't afford the financial outlay to carry out basic repairs, it's prudent to concentrate on one room at a time or postpone marketing the property until a later date. The costs of moving can be financially crippling if not thought out thoroughly and prioritised beforehand.

If cash is limited, just concentrate on making the property as neat, tidy and inviting as possible, including any outside areas and walkways. Always make the best use of natural light and colour schemes to give an illusion of space.

Most D I Y materials such as tiles and flooring are relatively cheap and as long as you hire a competent person to fit them, you'll soon acquire an attractive restyled interior that adds value in both monetary and aesthetic terms.

The 'Before' Photo of the Room Above

Preparation, preparation, preparation!
Preparation, preparation, preparation! | Source

Kitchens And bathrooms Make the Biggest Impact

Bathrooms and kitchens are where most of your budget should be spent. A gleaming white bathroom suite and shiny taps will always impress. A kitchen with plenty of work space will be sure to please. Make sure that tiling is spotlessly clean, free of all unsightly mould and recently re-grouted. If the colour or design of your tiles is obviously dated, a can of tile paint works wonders and gives a fresh new look with the minimum outlay. Bright and shiny stick-on vinyl floor tiles are inexpensive and cost effective in time and labour; they are great for transforming a dull and dingy room. Rip up dated carpets and floor coverings that have seen better days and replace them with floor tiles to give a fresher appearance. There's no point redecorating if the kitchen units are obviously beyond repair. If they're dated and worn, think about replacing the doors when cupboard carcases are still serviceable. A fresh coat of paint grants a new lease of life to a dark and dated kitchen but cupboards still need to be functional.

All appliances, fixtures and fittings included in the sale should at very least be in working order and be polished, painted or newly varnished. Cover-up jobs will just make matters worse and will only succeed in putting off otherwise enthusiastic prospective buyers; unless your home is to be specifically marketed as a renovation project you must ensure that it has that ‘ready to move into’ feel when you show them around.

Be Your Own 'House Doctor' - Ann Maurice Takes on the Unsaleable

Space to Spare?

Whatever the internal proportions of your home, it's possible to create a clutter-free environment to give the illusion of space. A home with adequate storage will always appeal. Built-in furniture transforms awkward corners and can often open up space that would otherwise not be utilised. Personal paraphernalia such as family photos must be cleared away for all viewings and the obvious no-nos such as drying washing on radiators should be removed.

Prospective purchasers want to imagine your home as a clean slate. They need to be given the opportunity to envisage what their own possessions would look like in situ so pack your hideous heirlooms away in storage, in the loft or anywhere else where they won't be on display. Remember you'll have to pack them all away when you move so do it beforehand! This point cannot be emphasised enough. Sellers are often stubborn and reluctant to acknowledge this fact but time after time on property programmes such as ‘House Doctor’ it has been a proven strategy.

You can do all this without the need for builders or tradesmen. By using your unique design flair you can make your home look its best. Paint and mirrors are your best allies and you'll find that most rooms can be improved in no time at all if the correct lighting is used. For a streamlined effect, just changing the door handles, light fittings and curtain poles will be impressive and a few tasteful pieces of wall art can complete the overall effect. Don't forget to put the adequate heating on for your viewings, appropriate to the time of year; a cold house is always an unfriendly house however well decorated.

You Don't Have to Be a Builder to Make Your House Look Good!

Be your own 'House Doctor'
Be your own 'House Doctor' | Source

Creating the Right Atmosphere

A fireplace is the focal point of any living area and can make all the difference between a warm, friendly atmosphere and one that is cold and uninviting. A modern fireplace suite that's easy to maintain can transform an ordinary room whatever its size. Even if you never use your fireplace, an attractive pot plant set back from the hearth makes it look inviting.

Subdued lighting, attractive fittings and neutral décor will all add to the feeling of a bright and airy living space and this can be achieved with very little financial outlay.

Dark gloomy hallways and corridors with no natural light could spoil an otherwise immaculately presented home and make it appear lacklustre and uninviting as soon as you set foot in the door. Neutral colours may not always work here, so a fresh coat of paint in bright, cheerful colours along one wall compensates for the lack of light and welcomes your visitors whether they're guests or prospective purchasers.

There are a wealth of magazines nowadays from which to gather home improvement ideas and highlight ways to stage your home to its best advantage, whether you're intending to sell or just wanting to add value and gain further enjoyment from the property.

Neutral, soft furnishings, abstract pictures and window coverings in matching fabrics can give a coordinated feel to any room. If in doubt, a ‘coffee and cream’ look will always create a classic feel. White ceilings can enlarge a small area, go with every colour scheme and can show any room to its best advantage.

Make sure pets and their associated odours and equipment are banished when it's time for a viewing. Ask someone to take your dog for a walk and buy some plug-in air fresheners to add to the pleasant feel of a well-cared for home.

Accessories such as floral arrangements and a few classy ornaments dotted in strategic locations around the house can also add to the ambience of the property. Mirrors too can give the illusion of space and combined with clever lighting they can transform a plain and basic room into something more exciting.

And finally, don't forget the exterior and the garden. Outside lighting, a few paving stones or perhaps a tasteful water feature will easily create a delightful patio area. Neat, tidy gardens and well-kept boundaries both demonstrate that your house is looked after thus adding to its appeal without any vast expenditure.

When you've done all this, go outside, come back in and imagine you're a prospective purchaser. What was it that made you buy the house, to begin with? Emphasise the plus points and mention them during your viewings and don’t forget that even with the help of an estate agent, the best person to market your house is you!

Ann Maurice Lecture - the House Doctor Knows Best!

Should you do everything to improve your home before placing it on the market?

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© 2015 Stella Kaye

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