Thinking of selling your house or flat? Drastic home improvements may be out of your budget (and are often unnecessary anyway) but there are lots of cheaper ways you can make your home look more attractive to both the estate agents who come to value it and prospective buyers who come to view it.
So, if you want to know how to sell your house fast, read on for some handy house-selling tips which could you help you get a better price and even better offers for your home.
1. Keep it clean
It may sound really obvious, but keeping your house looking clean, fresh and bright is really important so don't get lazy! You may need to paint a couple of rooms to make them look homely - Wickes, Wilko's, B&Q and the supermarkets all sell cheap/own-brand paints so it won't cost much. Use subtle air fresheners to add a lovely scent to the air and have fresh flowers in a vase for a homely look. Make sure kids' mess is cleared up and pet smells are neutralised. Potential new owners need to picture themselves in your place so do what you can to make them think they could live there too. Some people get professional cleaners to clean the windows, sofa covers and carpets as it can make the house gleam.
2. Stop procrastinating!
We bet you've had lots of little jobs lying around, waiting to be done and still on the to-do list. It could be repairing that hinge on the kitchen door, cleaning that awkwardly located window, re-grouting the bathroom tiles or fitting those new light shades. Do these now. They are small touches but they will make your home look finished and in order. These jobs don't cost much, if anything at all, but will create a good first impression.
3. Update and modernise
You don't need to spend silly amounts of money on home improvements at this stage, but updating rooms, especially bathrooms and kitchens, can be worth it. If you kitchen is out-of-date, consider replacing the cupboard doors and drawer fronts or having a smart, modern lino floor laid down. Older-style bathroom suites can also let the side down. Again, there's no need to have a brand new suite installed – think about new taps, replacing the shower curtain or screen and getting new, bright, fluffy towels and bath mat.
4. Re-order rooms
Depending on who you are selling your home to, it might be a good idea to re-arrange the space. If you've turned a bedroom into an office, it may be worth turning it back into a bedroom (if families are going to be your main buyers) or you could combine a study with a futon bed if you want to appeal to young families or couples. Rooms should be shown to their maximum potential so if a room can be a double room, get rid of the single bed and show off the room as a double.
5. Make it neutral
Over the years, your home can easily begin to resemble a summary of your life so far - pictures pinned to the fridge, souvenirs from holidays and ornaments dotted about the lounge. While it's not a bad thing to have some of your personality and family life on display (it can make the place look cosy), too much of it can make it hard for a prospective buyer to picture your home as their future home.
It's really important to get rid of any surface junk in your house before any viewings. If you've got bulky pieces of furniture taking up valuable floor space, try and get them into the garage. Clear away coats in the hallway if they're all piled on top of each other. Clear the surfaces of odds and ends, hide bathroom products to make the room look bigger and cleaner, and replace old towels, bathmats and dish clothes.
7. Get into the garden
The garden is now seen as an additional room so if yours looks more like an urban jungle than a relaxing retreat, it might be time to take a pair of shears and a mower to it. You don't need to spend lots of money but make sure it looks trim and tidy. Get rid of weeds, cut back hedges and add a couple of pretty plant pots to give the space some colour. If it's a nice day at the time of viewing, get the patio furniture out to make it look even more inviting.
8. On the day
First impressions really do count so make sure the front of your property looks as clean and fresh as the interior and the garden. If you have a front garden, make sure it's in good condition and ensure any rubbish bins are not particularly smelly that day! Don't cook any strong-smelling food or smoke in the house while you're trying to sell it as it won't go down well. If at possible, try to make it easy for the buyer to park (if that's in your control).
9. Agent briefing
Estate agents are well versed in how to sell a home but make sure they know what improvements you've made so they can flag them up to potential buyers. It could be newly installed double glazing or central heating. Also mention your favourite features so they can get a real sense of why you like living there – it could be a sunny south-facing garden, free parking, friendly neighbours or the great schools nearby.