You’ve had your house valued, you’ve put it on the market and you’re waiting for the offers to roll in.
If you’ve retained the services of a reputable, local estate agent they’ll be doing all they can to market your property to the widest possible audience, but there’s more you can do to help the process run as smoothly as possible.
One of the most off-putting things for prospective buyers is an untidy home. Not only does it create a poor impression, it can suggest you’re not really bothered about what they think.
There are some small things you can do to create the right impression and make a sale more likely, all at little or no cost. Get rid of clutter, hide family photos, rationalise cupboards, remove excess or oversized furniture and, above all clean, clean, clean.
Dusting the mantlepiece, polishing your appliances and taps and giving the windows a thorough clean can make a huge difference. If you’ve already moved out or if you’re too busy to do those things yourself, consider hiring a cleaning service.
You should pay attention to odours from family pets or cooking, particularly from food like bacon, which have a strong smell as they can be a real turn-off for prospective buyers. You want your home to smell fresh and clean. Try lighting some scented candles when you’re expecting viewers although avoid excessively strong fragrances.
Clear out the clutter. You want buyers to focus on how great your home is as a living space. Having shoes and clothes scattered around or piles of books or papers everywhere is not only untidy, but it will also make the space look smaller.
Repaint the walls in neutral colours. As much as you love your dramatic red dining room, or your regal green hallway, they might not be to everyone’s taste. Having the entire property painted in neutral whites and light tans will create the impression of a blank canvass onto which the new owner can make their own mark.
Also, keep the décor simple. Get rid of any art or furnishings that make a statement as it might not be what buyers wants to hear. A classic landscape painting is fine but not everyone is a fan of art deco fittings, leopard print throws or pop art prints of scantily-clad women draped over motorbikes.
Similarly, remove family photographs, wandering pot plants and quirky fridge magnets. Buyers want to be able to visualise themselves in your home so make things easier for them and open the windows to let in natural light.
Organize your cupboards. Storage space is a big selling point and if cupboards are stuffed to the gunwales, buyers will think you don’t have enough of it. Buy some boxes or dividers that will help you make your stuff look more organised and remove extra items you don’t need.
Tackle that list of odd jobs you’ve been meaning to do but never got around to. Buyers will notice them and they’ll detract from the value of your home so, set aside a weekend to tighten those loose doorknobs, fix that leaky tap and paint over the scuffs from when you moved in your sofa. Little tweaks can make a big difference in the overall feel of a room.
Give each room a purpose. That spare room you’ve been using as an office, guest room or dumping ground won’t help sell your home unless you show buyers how they can use it themselves. So, pick a use - office, guest room, crafts room - and clearly stage the space to showcase that purpose.
Help your buyers see themselves in your home by adding little vignettes that showcase how your home can be lived in. An inviting armchair and a tray with a coffee cup and book can turn that empty corner into a reading nook. Pretty soaps in a decorative tray can make your tiny half-bath more appealing.
Highlight focal points. Draw buyers’ eyes towards any special features with bright colours or accents like plants. A pop of red throw pillows can draw a buyer’s attention to that lovely window seat. A striking fern on the mantle can show off your fireplace.
Craig Smith, Director at Scottish Property Centre Shawlands, said: "You want to show your property to its best advantage so de-clutter it and make sure it’s is nice and tidy.
"We’re not suggesting you depersonalise your house completely but living in in it is different from when you come to sell it.
"Most buyers will be thinking about ways of putting their own stamp on it so make that process easier, not harder for them.”
For more information on how to prepare your property for sale call your local Scottish Property Centre branch or visit www.scottishpropertycentre.net