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Property Advice March 14, 2016
     

Preparing Your House for Sale or Let

At Enfields estate agents, we know that successful sales and lettings depend on attracting the right buyer then demonstrating how your property meets their needs. Setting the right price plays a part too, but assuming you’ve got that covered here are some tips on how to go about putting everything else in place.

Think Like a Buyer

This is a bit easier if you’re selling and buying at the same time because you’re already in the buyer mindset. Subconsciously you switch your way of thinking when you go and view a property, so it’s less of a stretch to see your own house with a buyer’s hat on. Take a fresh look at your house and ask yourself:

Who would want to live here? Young professionals, newly weds, singles, retirees, young families? Each group has different needs; for instance:

  • Young professionals - may be concerned with travel communications, may want space for a home office, may be attracted to modern decor and appliances or inbuilt technology.
  • Retirees - may be more concerned with reliable fixtures (such as a modern boiler or draft proof windows) than they are with high tech kitchen fittings. They may want space for grandchildren to visit, secure gardens and easy access to shops.
  • Young families - may need schools close by, dining rooms or designated homework or eating areas such as breakfast bars, garden space, a quiet neighbourhood.

Next question – how can I attract those people?

You can’t change the location of your house or its internal layout to make it appeal to a different kind of person. But what you can do is correctly identify your ideal buyer then play to the property’s strengths. One of the best ways of highlighting its strengths is through staging.

Use Staging to Stimulate Imagination

Buyers make up their minds about a property within the first few minutes of arriving to view. Sometimes before they even get out of the car, so staging starts right at the kerb.

  • Make sure your paintwork is fresh, your garden is weeded and tidy, your gate works smoothly and your windows are sparkling.
  • Create a feeling of spaciousness by decluttering all your rooms. Pack away all the personal nicknacks and family photos (one or two is fine, but avoid covering every surface with personal galleries).
  • Use your possessions and furnishings as props in each room to highlight that room’s usage. For instance, dress the bed in the master bedroom with new linens and cushions to create a sense of luxury and relaxation. In the living room, colour-coordinate soft furnishings and rugs, switch on table lamps on dull days for a warm ambiance or light the fire if it’s a chilly day.
  • In dining rooms, make the dining table the star of the show. Polish the surface and arrange the chairs so buyers see at a glance how quick and easy it would be to feed the family or entertain friends.

Staging simply means displaying only what demonstrates a room’s intended function. Some rooms are naturally multi-purpose, but when you’re selling or renting you need to simplify as far as possible unless your ideal buyer would be looking for multifunction rooms.

Photographs Are Important

The photos of your property are your shop window. They must be well lit, professional and appealing. The photographer will take care of the photographic skills, but it’s up to you to prepare beforehand.

For outside shots, make sure the garden is tidy by sweeping, hiding bins, putting away bikes and closing garage doors. Also, pay attention to the small details you can see from outside, like making sure your curtains are hanging straight.

For indoor shots, straighten cushions, clean and polish wooden furniture, put dishes away and clear kitchen surfaces of little-used appliances. Switch on lamps to throw light into corners, vacuum the carpets and straighten rugs. One of the best tips is to have a dummy run before the photographer arrives by taking photos on your mobile. Does everything look okay? You’ll be surprised how little things show up in photos that you don’t ordinarily notice.

Selling or renting houses can be a stressful time. The longer the process takes the worse it gets. By thinking like a buyer and preparing your house at the beginning, you can make it a faster, smoother and less painful experience.

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