An estate agent’s secrets to selling your home at the price you want
Secrets of a real estate agent
Selling your home isn’t easy. In some cases, it can take months, or even years, to find a buyer. We spoke to an estate agent, who reveals the secrets to selling your home as quickly as possible and getting the price you actually want.
Make sure the front of the house looks good
While they say never judge a book by its cover, in this instance first impressions DO count. Our insider says: “Broken plant pots outside the front door and flaking paint on door is not going to create the best first impression. Touch up the front door and add a hanging basket to brighten up the entrance.”
Add a fresh lick of paint
While you may not want to spend time decorating a house you no longer want to live in, it will make a significant difference to the way others perceive it. “Touch up the walls on show, or clean them up using some sugar soap to get rid of any grease marks.”
Never paint the hall in dark colours
Another trick is to keep the walls bright, especially in the areas that don’t usually get as much light. “Never paint the walls in the hallway with dark colours. Keep them bright and inviting to open up the space.”
Add a large mirror
There’s no better way to open up a room than to add a mirror. “A large wall mirror makes any room look instantly bigger and brings in much more light”.
“There was a house on the market that had 15 viewings and still wouldn’t sell. In a small town, I couldn't understand why no one had made an offer. So I went over to take a look and could hardly get through the front door. There were lots of pieces of furniture out and tables in the hallway, so we asked them to move some of the clutter to create more space. Once they did, it sold almost instantly after.”
But don’t depersonalise
While it’s important to make sure the house is spacious and lacks clutter, it’s also important not to completely depersonalise it. “A house that looks like a show room is all well and good, but it doesn’t show the new owner what it is really like to live in. Make sure it still looks and feels like your home.”
Update the kitchen
“The kitchen is the central point in the house, so it’s always a seller. You don’t need to buy a new one, just make sure it’s clean. If needed, paint the units or consider refacing the kitchen cabinets.”
Flowers, flowers, flowers
“In the same way a hanging basket touches up the entrance to the house, fresh flowers on the table will brighten up the rest of the house. Keep them simple and colourful – don’t go overboard as it won’t look natural.”
Make sure the windows are in good condition
While double glazing is appealing to buyers, single-glazed windows are fine as long as they look like they’re in a decent condition. “If windows aren’t painted properly and are flaking, people will immediately think they are an extra expense.”
Eliminate big expenses
On that note, try to remove as many “extra expenses” as possible. Unless a buyer is looking for a bargain to renovate, a house can easily lose appeal if the list of extra expenses is long.
Clear the garage
A garage has the potential to be converted into another room. Without doing this yourself, just clear the garage and keep it car-free (as long as you have a drive) to show what space is available.
Tidy up the garden
“Trim the bushes, clean up the patio and furniture and cut the grass. People need to be able to see the garden looking at its best so they can picture themselves living there”.
Light a fire
If your viewing is on a cold evening, put on the fire or light some candles. “Ambience creates a much homelier setting and when there’s no natural light, a fire or a low lamp will make the house feel a lot cosier than having all of the main lights on.”
Get rid of the source of bad smells
Nobody wants to walk into a house with bad smells. “Don’t just cover them up, though. Find the root cause of the problem: clean bins and clear drains if there are any funky smells coming from them. Nice smelling candles and air fresheners might smell nice, but they won’t get rid of the odour all together.”
Consider getting a pet sitter
As much as you love your cat or dog, not everybody will feel the same way. “If a potential buyer is scared of dogs, being greeted at the door with loud barking and the smell of wet dog isn’t going to make the house seem very enticing – ask your neighbour to keep an eye on it for the time being”.
While making your house look good will go a long way, it’s also important to be flexible with timings. “The more viewings you have, the more chance you are of a quicker sale. Be flexible with when people can come over, even if that does mean an evening viewing after a long day at work. It will be worth it in the long run.”
Start packing before you’ve sold
Decluttering is easier when you’ve already started packing up. Start putting things in boxes and store them in the attic or at your neighbour’s house if need be. “This will free up space, keep things minimalistic and speed up your moving process too.”
Don’t leave any spaces unused
“If a family is viewing your property, they will want to see that areas are lived in, and what they’re capable of being used for. Turn a neglected spare room into a study for the time being, or an empty dining room into a second living room. Adding extra family areas is much more appealing.”
Organise your belongings rather than piling them
Everybody loves organised things, even if we aren’t very organised ourselves. “Line up shoes neatly rather than piling them up, or arrange your spices so they’re in alphabetical order – the really small things will make the house feel much more centred and calm to a potential buyer”.
A small amount will go a long way
“You don’t need to spend a lot to make some great improvements to your home’s appeal. After really struggling to sell his house, one man spent just £200 on painting the front door, hanging up a flower basket, taking clutter to charity shops, putting fresh flowers on the table, lining the sofas with new pillows and professionally cleaning the property. The next viewer bought it.”