10 things to do before selling your home

10 things to do before selling your home

Home staging will increase the value and speed of your house sale.

Are you selling your house? 78% of estate agents and other property professionals, said they believed home staging would increase the offer value of the property by up to 10%.

The most recent report from the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland (HSA) 2019 also concluded that staged homes sell up to 3 times faster than of a non-staged home.  Now the stamp duty threshold has changed, the housing market has taken off and everyone wants to sell.  So how do you make sure your property stands out to potential buyers?

What is on your to-do list before the estate agent photos are taken? You’ve tidied your belongings away, what else is there to do?  Is there anything you’ve missed or might not have thought of? See the top 10 ten below, of the obvious and not so obvious things professionals recommend you do before you sell.

What is Home Staging?

“The preparation of a private residence to make it as appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money.”

A total of 94% of estate agents said that ‘Home Staging does increase the number of viewings’ (HSA report).

Before you sell  take a fresh look at your home to make the most of your asset. When we live in a home for a while we often stop noticing details which others would see on the first viewing.  Grab a pen and paper and go for a walk around your house, and make a list of all items which need attention. Try to be objective and let go of the idea that this is your home, think of where you are moving to and why, focus on that instead.

1. Kerb appeal

Take a good look at the front of your house or flat. When buyers arrive outside for their first view, impress them from the off. Does anything need to be cleared away like leaves, overgrown bushes or even builder’s waste? Does anything need to be cleaned or swept like windows, the front path or communal entrance? Is there anything broken that could easily be fixed or removed altogether like a damaged garden gate? Consider if flaky paintwork could be retouched on walls or fences. However, only take on jobs that are minimal or low cost, leave larger or expensive projects to the new owners to add their own taste choice.

2. Finish jobs you’ve started and don’t start new ones

Half-finished decorating or building projects could give the impression that your home is poorly maintained. Moving home will take time and effort so use your energy wisely. There are plenty of things you can do to maximise your selling potential, by decluttering and styling, without adding timely DIY projects, which risk not being finished by the time your photos are taken or even at all. Kirsty Allsop is quoted in The Guardian as saying ‘What people don’t like are DIY projects that aren’t completed.  Anything that is unfinished is a real turn-off’. This was echoed recently by a local estate agent who said this was their top suggestion to their new vendors.

3. Declutter

Make your home look and feel as large as possible by decluttering what you no longer want. You would like your buyers to see your lovely house, not all your belongings.  Also, why spend more time and money moving the excess items to your new home. Remember if your unwanted things are in working condition you can re-home them and avoid adding to landfill. Donate to charity, sell or put on free sites like Nextdoor or Free-cycle. Don’t put broken electronics or household items in the bin, take to your local recycling centre for the materials to be re-used and avoid landfill.

4. Declutter some more

Decluttering is the most cost-effective way to make more of your home sale, so be brave. Focus on the hallway, kitchen and where toys are kept for the most impact. A hallway filled with coats and shoes will instantly make the house seem cramped, just leave the minimum here. Keep kitchen worktops as clear as possible by putting gadgets away in cupboards. Move what you can and keep only essentials in these areas, remember you only need to keep it this way until it’s sold. Donate toys and clothes which are no longer used. Be mindful of keeping a lot of items for younger siblings to use in a few years. When you eventually get them out you may well find items have become faded, outdated and unwanted, yet they will have taken up lots of your valuable space in the meantime and could have a new home now.

5. De-personalise

Staging isn’t about having the tidiest version of your home, it’s about helping new owners to imagine living in your home with their own belongings. By paring down the volume of your own ornaments, family photos and individual decorating touches, your buyers will find it easier to picture their own photos and items on the walls instead.  If you find this part of the process tough remember this won’t be your home for long and start to imagine where you can display your items in your new home.

6. Rent storage

If you have items which take up too much space and that you cannot part with, consider temporary storage. Borrow a garage or rent a storage unit for 3–4 months to allow for formalities to complete. Try not to store too much with friends and family, as sometimes out of sight is out of mind and people can end up with other people’s items for years, long beyond the move date. If something really matters to you plan to have it in your new home.

7. Furniture 

Try to make your home appear as spacious as possible. If a room has multiple or large pieces of furniture, get creative, try moving them to different positions to present the room best. Ask someone to help you move heavy items. If an item still overpowers a room put it in off-site storage where possible, or consider re-homing if you know it won’t fit in your new home either. I’ve worked with a client where simply shifting a tall chest of drawers into an alcove by a window gave the room so much more light and space, they wondered why they hadn’t done it years ago.

8. Oversized or specialist equipment

Unless you have a dedicated gym or lots of space, put items like exercise bikes or a beloved rocking horse into a storage unit if you have one. Otherwise they will just bring attention to the fact that your house doesn’t have the room for them. Always ask yourself if you really need or cherish the item enough to take it to your new home, exercise equipment especially often gets used as an unofficial clothes horse.  Use the move to reassess what you own and free up your life by letting go of what you no longer need.  

9. A lick of neutral paint

A simple re-application of a coat of paint to well-used rooms like hallways or a stairwell will cover up marks from wear and tear and freshen up rooms. If you have any bright colours, distinctive wallpaper or highly individual decorating choices, think about toning down with neutral shades. Remember this is not about your style choice but about making open space for someone else’s design imagination. For large areas of wallpaper, or old-school embossed style wallcovering it might not be worth the effort of stripping. Get advice if painting over would work with the paper type, if not, let the new owner decide to change.

10. Don’t forget your garage, shed and attic

Rarely used for storing a car these days, garages are typically dumping grounds for things that you don’t have space for in the house. Sheds can be little better. So do a good declutter, try to organise tools or decorating equipment in labelled boxes ready for the move. Store what you can on shelves and walls. A buyer won’t expect it to be empty, but the more filled it is the more they’ll think your house doesn’t have much storage.

A potential buyer probably won’t look in your attic storage but start clearing your attic as soon as possible. It will take so much longer than you think. Reduce your moving stress, get ahead and start decluttering and sorting your attic now.

And finally… if you lose momentum with the declutter and staging at any point, always come back to why you are doing it. Remember you are looking to sell your home as quickly as possible and give yourself what you want in your new, exciting home. 

This post was written by Imogen Murphy from The Little Organising Company. To find out more about her home organiser & declutter service, visit her website - https://thelittleorganisingcompany.com/

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