We all know that preparing your house to sell it is stressful and daunting. You may have seen a property you like and want to sell up quick or have been trying to sell your home for the past 5 years and are still getting nowhere (literally)! Well, look no further. We have carefully compiled international expert advice from top estate agents, interior designers and professional organisers, all here to give you their top tips on how to sell your home!
From advice on cleaning, decluttering and depersonalising your home to being realistic about the price you have set, these experts have tried and tested all the ways to get your home on and off the market in no time! Ready to pack your boxes and move? Read on and, before you know it, you’ll be changing your address!
1. Walk through your home like a potential buyer
To sell your home successfully, you need to put yourself in the buyer’s position and see your home with new eyes. Bill Samuel of Blue Ladder Development explains the steps (no pun intended) you need to take.
‘Start the process by walking through your home and making a list of any clutter, eyesores, or obvious repairs needed. After you put together your list of items that need attention, get to work and tackle everything that you have on your list.’
You could even get your friends and family to help by asking them to tell you what needs doing to your home before inviting a buyer over. Either in person or over a Zoom chat, give them a tour of your home and ask for honest advice. This could prove invaluable as they may see things you never noticed.
Or, really put yourself in the buyer’s position by viewing your home on a screen! Ashley York, Managing Broker at Realtopia Real Estate has a fantastic tip.
‘I recommend taking pictures of the rooms and viewing them on the computer as if you are a buyer - it can help pinpoint which rooms need de-cluttering.’
2. Clean, clean and clean some more!
Mural in photo: Summer Fields
Once you’ve got your list of ‘to-do’s sorted, we’re sure that giving your home a thorough clean is high up on your list! After all, nobody is going to buy your house if all they can think about is how they would remove a stain from your wallpaper. Reputable Estate Agent, Tracey Hampson from Realty One Group Success, explains the importance of cleaning to potential buyers.
‘Clean, clean, clean are the first steps to getting your home ready to list. A mediocre home will sell faster if it's scrubbed and is cleaned as opposed to the opposite. It gives the buyer the feeling that you look after your home and keep the maintenance up.’
Any time you watch a television show where people are buying property, they always comment on natural light: we can’t stress enough how important improving the natural light is! Melanie Musson, a Home Insurance Specialist at US Insurance Agents, gives us one of the most important (yet easy) cleaning tips to follow.
‘Wash your windows to let the natural light shine in more effectively and to remove distracting smudges and build-up.’
Estate Agent, Erin Ward, from HRVA Homes even goes as far as hiring professionals to tackle the dirt and grime in your home!
‘Absolutely 100% the most important thing to do is make sure they hire a professional clean. After living in a home for a while it's so easy to look past the dust in a corner or other small cleaning misses.’
If you’d love to hire a cleaner, but would rather save on cash, there are extra special steps you can take to make your home look like it’s been cleaned by a pro. Folding toilet paper so that it has a triangle shaped end, nicely folding and displaying towels on a window sill or the end of your bed, or even just making sure that cereal box lids are folded shut can make all the difference!
3. How to sell a house? De-clutter and organise
Because you are selling your home, you have become a “buyer” again. When you look around a new property, what do you love and what puts you off? We can hazard a guess that the most off-putting factor of a home is clutter. A buyer wants to see a home’s potential, not your pile of bills or collection of shoes at the door! When selling a home, it’s time to really get organised or it can make a buyer want to leave as soon as they enter the door. Jen Breitegan, Founder of Organizenvy, explains more.
‘If your home has a cluttered, overstuffed feeling to it, it makes buyers feel like the house is smaller than it really is. They may worry there’s not enough storage or space for their belongings. On the other hand, a neatly organized, simplified home adds a sense of spaciousness, even in a smaller home.’
Not only will de-cluttering attract buyers’ offers, but it is also a helpful step towards you moving out, as explained by Professional Organiser of Sort My Space, Katherine Blackler.
‘To save you time and removal costs, review what you’ll need in your new home and start selling, donating, or ditching items that you won’t want or need in the next phase. The sooner you start, the easier your move day will be.’
4. Be minimal and neutral: buyers love a blank canvas
Mural in photo: White Brick
Following on from de-cluttering and organising, making sure that your home is neutral and minimal will act as a blank canvas to your prospective buyer. Distractions such as abundant or extravagant décor may overwhelm buyers and stop that crucial offer. Jason Gelios, a successful Estate Agent from It’s All About the Real Estate, tells us that a neutral and timeless home is key.
‘…home sellers should stay away from trendy items and designs that have gone out of date. What we are seeing is crazy design elements in a home when it should be as neutral as possible to appeal to many more buyers. Many of the home buyers I have represented have had a hard time looking past certain design elements in a home.’
Another great tip is to avoid keeping bold wall colour paint when trying to sell your home. This will not only provide a fresh start for the buyer, but will create a light, airy and spacious effect. Top Estate Agent from LA, Shelton Wilder, explains how paint is the answer to a good sale.
‘The number one thing is PAINT. White paint. This will help make the space bigger and brighten up the room. A little investment in paint can make the biggest difference and can have a HUGE return on value.’
5. Fixing is crucial when preparing your house to sell it
Do you know those small jobs that have accumulated over the years but you never had a chance to sort them out? Now is the time if you want to sell your house successfully. Ethan Taub, CEO of Loanry, explains the importance of getting those annoying small jobs sorted.
'When you are looking to sell your house, I would look at fixing all the small repairs that the property may have. Whether this be a fence, or a new coat of paint for a door, all these smaller changes will make the house look even better than it did before, and it will be less likely someone will ask for a discount on the property if they cannot see anything wrong with it. While these small things are something that you have lived with, someone wanting to move in will want it to be as perfect as it can be, so they get the same good feeling as you did when you moved in.'
Paul James, Founder of Property Road, explains why fixing taps and refreshing grouting can make all the difference.
‘It’s easy to get used to things like dripping taps and never get around to fixing them. You may not even notice them anymore but potential viewers will. It’s not so much the fact it needs repairing that will be an issue, it’s more how it can make it look to your potential buyer that you haven’t taken care and maintained the property properly. Get any niggles such as dripping taps fixed before your first viewing. Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the key rooms when it comes to selling a property, but, if your tiles, your grouting may be looking old, tired, or just dirty! Thankfully, refreshing the grouting is easy with grout pens available at a low cost. They do an amazing job at adding new life to any bathroom or kitchen and anyone can do it in just a few hours!’
6. De-personalise your home to avoid putting buyers off
When selling your home, you can’t be sentimental. And if it means selling your home for a marginally bigger price, do you really mind de-personalising your home? I think we can all agree that more money to spend on your new home and future is more important! Erik Wright, the owner of New Horizon Home Buyers, tells us more.
‘Take down any family photos or personal items…The reason for this is that when potential buyers walk through the home, you want them to envision it as their own. A spacious, simple space will allow them to be able to better imagine their own family pictures, personal items, and décor in the home.’
And when we talk about personal items, we don’t just mean photographs. What is normal to you, may not be normal to your potential buyer (cringe)!
‘De-personalize, limit political memorabilia, and limit religious memorabilia. It makes sense, people are passionate about politics and religion so why rock the boat. One of my clients had a Confederate flag on his garage wall. I politely recommended taking it down. He did and all went well. De-personalize because home buyers want to see themselves in the home not you. I had a client who had a dead lion rug on his living room wall. Needless to say we took it down to de-personalize the home.’ - Tracey Hampson (Estate Agent at Realty One Group Success)
As well as personal items putting a buyer off, we need to reiterate that these items are ‘personal’. They are special and private to you, so keep them that way. Especially with regards to photographs of children. It is sad to say, but you never know who is coming into your home.
7. Think carefully about price in this competitive market
You may have lived in your property for many years and if you haven’t maintained it to a high standard, it may not be worth as much as it was back-in-the-day. Alternatively, don’t undersell your home. What is no longer desirable to you may be a haven to a first-time buyer! Sean Woolley, Founder and Director of Cloud Nine Spain, explains more.
‘Be realistic about price - Especially if you’re looking to sell quickly, you need to ensure your property is valued correctly. Look at what similar properties in similar areas are being marketed at and remember that the advertised price is not necessarily what the properties sell for. Get your property valued by several agents, but be careful of choosing the agent that gives you the highest valuation. It may well not sell at that price, but we know that flattery can distract even the best of us!’
8. Stage your home to impress your target market and boost your profit
Mural in photo: The Meadow
As well as improving the look of your entire home, why not go one step further by staging your home around your target market? Interior designer, Natalie Meyer, says that ‘According to Forbes (An American Business Magazine), 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less!’ So surely, a bit of staging is worth the effort?
For instance, your home may have been great for when you were starting out, but now you need somewhere bigger. This proves that your home was a great first-time buyer property so why not especially tailor it to first-time buyers? If your home is a large family home, but your children are grown and you want to downside, upscale the family potential of your home by turning your craft room back into a nursery. Ali Wenzke, Author of The Art of Happy Moving, provides great ideas on staging the home.
‘Whether you have a studio apartment or a 3-bedroom home, you want to focus your energy on the potential buyer who would be most interested in your home. Think about the person you were when you bought your home and appeal to that market. This will help you decide whether to make the extra space in your home an office or a nursery.’
Mural in photo: Think Positive Thoughts
To get even more of an idea of what your potential buyer wants, do your research and alter your house if necessary. Money spent on one area, such as an additional bathroom, could be the investment needed to make a buyer make that big, crucial offer. Interior Designer, Eva Bowker, stresses the importance of knowing what your buyer wants and the investments people made to get the biggest return.
‘The goal is to distinguish the things people really need versus the things considered non-essential. Here are the investments with the biggest return:
- Kitchen remodel – around 90% return on investment, depending on the size and quality
- Install central air and heating systems – around 70-90% return on investment, depending on the type of system
- Additional bathrooms – 90% return on investment
- Bathroom remodel – 80% return on investment
- Replacing windows – 70% return on investment
- Outdoor decks – 70% return on investment
- Additional rooms – 50-60% return on investment
- Finished basement or attic – around 40% return on investment, depending on the size of the premises.’
9. Think carefully about smells (a strange tip, but important)!
You may not know it, but the smell of your home can make or break that all-important sale. Most of us have heard of home sellers baking chocolate chip cookies to make their home feel cosy and inviting. However, you can also go overboard when it comes to making your home smell nice.
‘One of the biggest myths about preparing a home to show potential buyers is that the home should smell extra nice…Going the extra mile to ensure the home smells good can have a negative effect because it may cause the potential home buyers to think that the seller is hiding something flawed about the home. One of the things a home seller should focus on is removing foul smells but not overdoing it with too many scents.’ - Jason Gelios (Estate Agent from It’s All About the Real Estate)
10. Think curb appeal: focus on the outside as well as the inside!
When you see photographs of a property, often the first image you see is the front of the building. If it looks dire from the outside, why bother looking at the inside? Remember, a lot of people care about how others view them so the curb appeal of their future home can be a really important factor!
‘Focus on curb appeal - first impressions are important so tending to any overgrown plants and addressing any chipping paint are vital to a positive showing experience.’ - Ashley York (Managing Broker at Realtopia Real Estate)
11. How to sell your house quickly with these extra, little touches!
Our experts have so many amazing tips, we’ve compiled an extra list of those little touches which will prove important when preparing your house to sell it!
- Make use of mirrors: ‘If you have a small or dark room, hanging a mirror in a strategic place in the room can make it feel more open, light and spacious.’ - Paul James (Founder of Property Road)
- Play soft classical music: ‘Who doesn't love classical soothing music?’ - Tracey Hampson (Estate Agent at Realty One Group Success)
- Buy a large floor mat for your entry: ‘When buyers walk into your home, they may take their shoes off. Make sure the floor mat is large enough that it doesn't feel they are standing on a tiny island. You want the entrance of your home to promote a feeling of spaciousness and warmth.’ - Ali Wenzke (Author of 'The Art of Happy Moving')
- Remove bathmats in bathrooms: ‘It makes the bathrooms appear larger.’ - Tracey Hampson (Estate Agent at Realty One Group Success)
- Put up a new house number: ‘It sounds small but your kerb appeal is so important that a nice sparkling new door number can be all it takes to create the right first impression.’ - Paul James (Founder of Property Road)
- Cover up damaged flooring with rugs: ‘Invest in rugs to cover up damaged, worn out or outdated carpet or hardwood floors.’ - Ryan Jones (Land of Rugs)
- Paint kitchen cupboards: 'Painting kitchen cupboard doors can give a tired kitchen a new lease of life.' - Katherine Blackler (Professional Organiser, SortMySpace Ltd)
- Dress up your dining table: ‘You can use linens like a runner, table cloth, or placemats and a centerpiece.’ - Natalie Meyer (Interior Designer)
Have we inspired you to sell your property with our preparing your house to sell it tips? Leave a comment below!