Kay Ward - Practical tips for a more saleable home

PUBLISHED: 16:30 05 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:40 20 February 2013

Kay Ward - Practical tips for a more saleable home

Kay Ward - Practical tips for a more saleable home

Thinking of selling your home? Kay ward shares her top tips for the best way of preparing your house for sale...

From the instant that all-important buyer steps through your front door, they should be mentally placing their furniture in your rooms, and imagining themselves sitting at the dining table, sharing a meal and a glass of wine with friends.

However, this visualisation is not going to happen by chance. Most buyers are busy people and may lack the time and imagination, neither are they likely to be property developers able to see the potential within your property. Purchasers are also naturally looking out for areas that are likely to cost them money in the future known in the property styling business as the red flags.

So how do you eliminate these red flags and present your property in the best possible light without spending a fortune? The sellers main aim is to ensure that the property is presented to the market in a state that will achieve its maximum price in the shortest possible time. This process of preparing your house for sale is common practice in the USA and is quickly beginning to filter through to the UK.

At the forefront of this revolution is TVs House Doctor, real estate guru Ann Maurice, who has been staging properties for sale for over 20 years both in the USA and the UK. She says, In my career as an estate agent I found that homes that were professionally staged sold faster and for 10-15 per cent more than their competition.

The most common mistake home owners make is assuming that a potential buyer will love their home as they do.

Nothing highlights the major difference between interior design and home staging more. Interior design depicts a very personal reflection of a homeowners style and taste, whilst staging a property for sale is the complete opposite a very impersonal process that neutralises the home owners tastes and aims for maximum appeal to the widest possible market. Once you make the decision to sell your house you should not view it as yours any more. By mentally moving out, you are allowing a buyer to move in.

Ann Maurice continues, First impressions really do count, and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So it is essential to prepare your house for sale well in advance of the estate agent arriving to take those vital photographs. Ensure that the front of your property is presented to its highest possible standard: repair gutters, broken or cracked pathways, gates and fences. Re-paint the front door, polish letterboxes and house numbers. Invest in seasonal plants or shrubs for the front garden and fill flowering tubs at the door. The overall kerb appeal is what will greet the potential buyer, make sure it entices them out of the car and into your house.

Walk through all the rooms in your property and make a list of those DIY jobs you never quite finished. Concentrate on replacing anything broken or damaged, ie bathroom tiles, floor tiles, and cracked windows. Alleviate anything which will raise a red flag with the potential buyer.

Neutralise all paint colours, you may love that deep purple wall in your lounge but it will not be loved by everyone. Fresh neutral creams and pale pastel colours are inoffensive and will appeal to a much wider audience. Remove all personal photographs and mementoes, particularly anything with political or religious undertones, and remember we all have an image, make sure your home is portraying the right one.

The majority of house hunters are upsizing; in other words they are buying space, and with most buyers being unable to see past your clutter, they are not going to buy what they cannot see. So clear that clutter. Clutter takes on a wide variety of guises, from too many oversized items in too small a space, to things that are messy, broken or disorganised.

Ann Maurice notes Clutter can cost you money! It gives the buyer the impression that the house is neglected or ill-maintained and it will distract them from noticing the features within a room. Dedicated storage facilities are now widely available and are an excellent and inexpensive way of freeing up much needed space within your home. The House Doctor continues: Clearing clutter can make a bigger difference than almost anything when it comes to getting the maximum price for your house.

A staged property will be meticulously clean, especially the kitchen and bathrooms; surfaces and windows should be gleaming, and carpets in lavatories and bathrooms should be replaced with clean fresh vinyl. The rooms will be well defined, no computers and desks in the bedroom, and definitely no junk/spare rooms. Aspirational rooms such as the master bedroom and dining room should be dressed accordingly, with chandeliers and luxurious colour coordinated fabrics and accessories. Usually the person buying the house will be going to sleep in the master bedroom, so consider dressing with a little hotel chic, to make sure they are left in no doubt that your house is the one for them.

Derby letting agents IMS are in not doubt of the importance of home styling and the likelihood of it playing an ever greater part in selling property in the future. Their director f residential sales, Andrew Kingham says, These days it is extremely important for people to look at the detail a lot more when presenting heir home to the market. Gone are the days when estate agents were just selling bricks and mortar. Now we have to understand that it is a lifestyle purchase that people are making, aspiring to have the lifestyle and surroundings they see portrayed in magazines. A great way to achieve the necessary results, and to ensure a vendors house is presented to reflect its very best potential, is to call on the services of a home stylist. Whenever I have marketed a property that has used a professional to present and accessorise their home, it has ensured the property has sold quicker and, more importantly, at a higher price.

For more information visit : www.housedoctor.co.uk or www.kay-ward-interiors.co.uk

Latest from the Derbyshire Life and Countryside