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What will make my home sell quickly?

Preparing For A Property Viewing

Ed Mead (Estate Agent) gives expert video advice on: What will make my home sell quickly?; How should I prepare my property for sale?; Should I always do repairs before selling my house? and more...

What will make my home sell quickly?

Your property's going to sell quickest if it's priced correctly and it's being advertised in the right places. But most buyers have bought your property within 10 seconds of getting through the door, so you've obviously got to make sure it's advertised at a price which is going to get people through the door in the first place. Once that's happened, initial presentation is extremely important. And I think a lot of people forget that window boxes, front doors being clean, gardens being tidy, not too much clutter in your house, all the sort of basic stuff we see on the television programs all the time, does work.

How should I prepare my property for sale?

I would say that, 90 percent of the time, all you need to do to sell your property is to de-clutter it. Make sure people can walk around the property comfortably, and they're not tripping over toys or unnecessary bits and pieces.

What are buyers looking for when they view a property?

Buyers these days are looking for a lifestyle. What they want to buy is your lifestyle. So when you walk into a property, they're expecting to see the sort of things they feel comfortable with. So they're going to want to see comfortable sofas. And wooden floors these days are a very big positive. They want to see space. Essentially they're buying a lifestyle It's all about the soft furnishings and the way it looks.

Should I always do repairs before selling my house?

I think the question of how you present your house is, to some extent, should be based on what the property market's doing. If the property market's very active in your area, you probably don't need to do anything. Indeed, you'll be throwing good money after bad, because most buyers will tend to redo the place anyway. If the property market's not so good, then condition becomes a variable, and you should attend to the damp mark in the ceiling or the little bit of mold in the bathroom or whatever it is. So, base your decision on what the property market is doing.

How much should I spend on repairs before selling my house?

The main problem with preparing your property for sale is that if you decide you want to paint one room because it looks a bit rough, suddenly the carpets will look dirty. If you change the carpets, then the kitchen looks a bit old. Then you change the kitchen and then the bathroom looks old and before you know it what's happened is you've done everything. So I think you really want to make a decision as to whether you want to spend a couple of thousand pounds just clearing things up (clearing bits out of the way, sorting out that broken socket, or painting over a damp patch). It's very important not to spend more than you need to.

What will put a buyer off?

I think the two most important things are decluttering and decoration. Anything that's too bold is going to put buyers off. There tends to be a generalized thought that people will buy based on what kitchens and bathrooms look like. It depends. I mean I think if you're a woman buyer, or the buyers are a couple and the woman is making the decision, which is the way it normally is, then a kitchen is a very important thing to get right. So it depends what you own. If you're in a big family house, the kitchen's where the family spend their time, it's probably worth making sure that looks its best.

Should I worry about the exterior of my neighbour's house?

The approach to your property is incredibly important and therefore the way your neighbors properties look is equally important. You really want to try and check that the exterior of their property looks as good as possible and in particular their garden. The last thing you want to do is have mattresses and toys lying around in your neighbors garden. Knock on their door and have a chat and see what you can do about helping. I've know cases where people have even paid to have windows painted. A little bit of pointing done to make sure that the property looks as good as possible then puts your property in a much better light. It could be money well spent.

What should I do just before someone comes to see my property?

If you're lucky enough to be the sort of person who's in your property when it's going to be shown, then you can do all sorts of things to make it really appealing when someone walks in. There are the traditional things like getting the right smells in the property - coffee and baking bread. Now, believe it or not, these days you can actually buy things that you can spray in your property which smell like that, but they really do work. People like a welcoming smell, and, actually something like thirty percent of people will base their decision on what something smells like. So, it's a terribly important thing to get right. Otherwise, make sure the property is well-aired and walk around checking there's nothing lying on the floor. If you've got kids, make sure they haven't got underpants lying on the floor in their rooms.

Will the smell of coffee and fresh bread help me sell my house?

When you're selling your property, you're selling a lifestyle, so having the smell of coffee and bread is going to give it a real homely feel, and it's very much what we want to buy into.

What easy cosmetic changes can I make before viewing?

In terms of cosmetic changes before people come to look at the place, I think you have to be a little bit careful. If you're going to start painting, you need to be careful because suddenly the carpet might look a bit old. If you change the carpet, suddenly you want to change the kitchen and bathroom and suddenly you've redone everything. So, I would very much make sure it's just a question of covering up damp patches, keep it very simple. In terms of the actual place, lay the dining table, make sure the breakfast stuff is out and ready to go, make the place feel homely, and cut flowers, new flowers will give it a really good, extra appeal.

Does keeping the house tidy really make a difference?

Keeping the property tidy is probably at least 50% of the battle. The last thing you want to do is find toys lying around, dirty underpants upstairs, or indeed dirty washing in the sink. It just gives the wrong signal and implies the person that lives there doesn't care about the place.

Will my messy kids make my house hard to sell?

If you've got a young family in your house, the chances are that the people buying it are going to be buying your lifestyle. They'll either be expecting or have young children. So I think it's probably a good idea to make sure there's not too much mess lying around, and that perhaps the kids are, when there's a viewing coming around, sitting quietly in front of a video or something rather than running around like banshees. In essence though, people are going to expect the children to be there, so it's not a huge problem.

Should I keep my home's interior neutral?

Buyers, when they walk into your property, are looking to buy a lifestyle. They want to picture themselves living in your property, and with that in mind, it needs to be quite neutral. There's no point in trying to stamp your own feel on the property with lots of bright colors. Keep it neutral so that anybody can picture themselves in your property.