Selling a house or flat can be a lengthy process, with the average times it takes to sell ranging between 58 and 69 days. Most properties require multiple viewings before a buyer is found, and many homes will need a little sprucing up before being put up on the market in order to maximise the chances of a smooth and speedy sale.
Follow these handy tips to make sure your property sells.
1. Declutter and make the décor more neutral
Most prospective buyers prefer homes with neutral décor and as little personal clutter as possible. It's not that people don't realise that they won't inherit your furniture, gallery wall, or curtains, but stepping into a home that has been decorated in a very particular way makes it more difficult for people to visualise the space as they would want it.
If you have a lot of personal knick-knacks on display, consider putting some of them away for viewings. Your chances of selling quickly will also dramatically improve if you change up dark or bold colours for neutral shades. Sometimes it's as simple a job as changing your curtains or putting a light-coloured throw over a dark sofa.
2. Touch up the paintwork
While some buyers are prepared to take on a doer-upper, the vast majority are not keen on doing tonnes of DIY immediately after moving in. A house that's been recently painted, with no chips or cracks, is much more appealing. This is also an opportunity to modernise the look of the house: if repainting whole rooms, stick to contemporary off-whites, greys or creams. If your prospective buyer does like bold colours, they will prefer to add them themselves rather than inherit them.
3. Make sure the house is (very) clean
This may seem obvious, but a spotless house will sell much, much quicker than one with visible dust, cobwebs, or a bathroom with mouldy grout. They may or may not choose to clean it again when they move in, but you shouldn't leave this point to chance when presenting your home for sale.
Check out our cleaning hub page for loads of tips and tricks.
4. Maximise natural light
Bright and airy homes sell quicker than dark and gloomy ones – always. If making your home appear brighter will involve decluttering and repainting the hallway, do it. Remove any heavy curtains that obstruct light and consider rearranging the layout of your furniture if it's blocking out light. Also make use of interior design 101: mirrors add light! Add them strategically to rooms that could do with more light. Mirror design and display ideas this way...
5. Enhance kerb appeal
The exterior of your house is the first (and last) thing people will see, making it crucial for forming a positive first impression. The devil is in the detail: missing roof tiles, a door that jams or needs painting, a front garden that needs a trim... trust us, they will notice. As well as looking attractive to potential buyers, increased kerb appeal can raise your property’s value by up to £55,000.
6. Get a survey done to help identify issues
This is a must if you want to avoid potential problems further down the sale process; there are lots of cases of keen buyers pulling out from a sale last-minute because of an issue with the property that wasn't identified early on, so it's best to know of anything that you might need to flag up or rectify about the house before it's sold.
7. Minimise the presence of pets
It's an odd but consistent rule of house selling that even people who love animals don't necessarily want to buy a house that has very obvious signs of pets. They might love dogs, but they don't want to smell your dog when they view your home, or see pet bowls or chew toys. If you are able to, it's best to have all pets and their accessories completely out of sight during viewings.
8. Focus on the kitchen
The kitchen is the most important room to potential buyers; over 50 per cent say that they always want to see the kitchen first. Again, as with paintwork, most buyers will be reluctant to move into a place and then spend a lot on a new kitchen – a kitchen that looks clean, relatively new, and ready to use is a much more attractive proposition. This doesn't mean you have to buy a new kitchen – sometimes repainting the cabinets is all it takes. Find quick and easy ways to update your kitchen in our guide.
9. Make sure your home smells good
This may sound obvious, but people tend to stop noticing any weird smells in their home after a while, so we advise inviting a friend over for an honest opinion. Your home may smell of nothing to you, but to someone entering it for the first time, it may well smell odd or even unpleasant. If you do discover that your house has an odd smell to it, invest in a nice air freshener or reed diffuser.
Another great way to make you house smell nice is to do some baking before viewings.
10. Leave the viewing to a professional
While you will undoubtedly know your home better than anyone, it’s usually best practice to get a professional to show people around your home. It’s their job to know the right thing to say. Plus, people feel much more comfortable viewing a house when they aren’t under the watchful eye of the current owners.