How do I get my home ready to sell?
The property market may be paused right now, but if you’re planning to sell after lockdown ends that doesn’t mean you need to postpone your preparation.
Whilst the current situation means that certain tasks are no longer possible, there are still lots of jobs that are achievable.
The main thing to remember is that, as a seller, you get two opportunities to make a first impression to potential buyers.
The first is when home-hunters see your home listed on Rightmove, which means that your property needs to look shipshape for the photographs.
The second is when people eventually come to view your home in real life, which is what we call ‘curb appeal’. In both cases, you’ll want to make sure that your home looks as good as it can.
Here, we’ve drawn up a manageable checklist to ensure that you are ready to go.
According to Changing Rooms star Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, this job is hugely important and should not be underestimated. Decluttering your home creates the illusion of roomier spaces and also means that you will be showing buyers around a clean and tidy home.
If home-hunters can visualise living in a property, they are likely to be more serious about putting an offer in. Also, try upcycling tired or worn-out furniture if you have some free time during lockdown.
Give rooms the right purpose
If you’ve marketed your home as having three-bedrooms, do your best to make sure there are three bedrooms for home-hunters to view, rather than two bedrooms and a study or playroom. The key here is to show people what they can have, rather than telling them.
Again, it comes back to visualisation and making it as easy as possible for buyers to imagine living in your home.
Your estate agent and solicitor will ask for various bits of paperwork throughout the selling process, so if you can gather together all the relevant documents ahead of time, you should avoid delays further down the line.
Some of the paperwork to consider rounding up include:
- HM Land Registry title documents
- gas checks completed by a Gas Safe registered engineer (or Corgi-registered engineer prior to 2009)
- electrical checks – an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or a NAPIT or NICEIC certificate/report from a registered electrical competent person
- FENSA or CERTAS certificates for windows
- planning permission for any major work carried out
- building regulation completion certificates and builder’s guarantee certificates for alterations or additions
- subsidence guarantees/warranties
- damp guarantees/warranties
- party wall agreements (if relevant)
- if a listed building, listed building consent for interior and exterior works
- if your home is in a conservation area, conservation area consent for works
- any title insurance policies you may have taken out to solve title defects
Now could be the time to tick off all those annoying DIY jobs that you’ve been putting off. This will help make sure you’re not giving prospective buyers a reason to mark your house down because of something that doesn’t take too long to fix. Here are some of the details that will make a big difference:
- Re-grouting the kitchen
- Touching up the mastic in the bathroom
- Refilling cracks and picture hooks
- Taking limescale off the taps
Keep the garden tidy
We talked about curb appeal earlier, and this is where you can really make a first impression count. Your front garden is the first thing that a potential buyer will see, so make sure that you give them a reason to smile straight away.
Similarly, the back garden can be a deal clincher, and an impressive outdoor space could set your home apart from the rest. Here are some suggestions for things to tick off your list:
- Cut the grass (or make sure it’s freshly mown)
- Prune any overgrown hedges
- Give the fence panels a new lick of paint (if you have spare pots in the shed)
- Get rid of the weeds from your patio
- Make sure that rickety gate isn’t about to fall off
- Clean up any dog mess
Light and airy
Darker rooms generally look smaller than lighter ones, and this can be a big turn off for potential buyers. So we’d suggest making sure that blinds are open, and curtains are apart, to flood your home with light.
Bathrooms and kitchens
These two rooms are the most expensive for a buyer to upgrade. However, if you’ve made an effort to clean and declutter them, you’ll be giving potential buyers another reason to be positive about your home. So, here are some of our top tips:
- Making this room mould-free is a must
- Store toiletries away where possible
- Clean shower doors
- Keep the toilet seat down
- Keep worktops tidy
- Keep utensils organised and food in cupboards
- Put washing up away
- Clean the windows
- Tidy away any indication of pets being in the house, as your prospective buyer may not be a pet lover
(Source: Rightmove, 2020)