As we all know, first impressions are everything and if you're selling your home, you only have one chance to make that first impression. Many buyers are time poor and want a home that isn't going to be high maintenance. In addition, a property that is well presented makes it far easier for a potential purchaser to buy into the ‘lifestyle’ on offer. In short, a well-presented home can often be an easy win.
There can be several reasons why sellers fail to present their homes in the best light. Firstly sellers often have a distorted view of how much it will cost to carry out repairs and may also mistakenly escalate any issues, assuming extensive structural work will be needed after spotting something minor like a crack in the paintwork or damp moss on a flat roof.
In collaboration with James Ashford from our Interior Services department, I have put together some top tips for ensuring your home is beautifully presented for viewing.
- Firstly, make sure that everything that will be visible on arrival, including timber fascias on gable ends, roof tiles and entrance porches, is well presented. Front gardens don’t need to be over the top, but should be recently weeded and tidied, with hedges trimmed so they are not growing into drives or paths leading to the front entrance. Window sills and frames should be cleaned and repaired if necessary. An appealing front door is essential.
- De-clutter the entrance hall to give feeling of space and functionality: for example, think about adding a side table for keys and post, coat hooks or stand, shoe rack, and so on.
- From here on, it's about promoting the property's best features and the areas in which potential buyers are most likely spend their time. This is typically the kitchen and breakfast room, dining room and reception rooms. While it's not always essential to redecorate or restyle right through the property, focusing on how these rooms are presented really can make all the difference.
- When it comes to bathrooms, it's not usually necessary to replace all of the fixtures and fittings. Re-grouting and re-siliconing, together with a steam clean and possibly renewing bath/shower valves, hoses and heads, will significantly improve a bathroom's visual appeal.
- Clever furnishing and accessories should be targeted to the decision makers. These tend to be the users of the master suite, so if dressing this room is an option, do so. Make it inviting, with fully dressed beds, accessorised ensuite bathrooms and appropriate lighting, all of which can help a viewer to envisage themselves living in the property. The same goes for the kitchen, dining room and reception spaces. The reception rooms should have defined uses: a TV snug, for example, should be furnished to look relaxing and inviting.
- Remove anything that might sow the seeds of doubt – damp patches, superficial cracks in plaster or stains on ceilings or walls left by prevously fixed leaks. Such things are typically inexpensive to remedy but can put a potential buyer off and even if they don't, they will likely be brought to the buyer's attention by their surveyor and used to negotiate the price down.
- If the property is not currently lived in, ensure it is heated prior to winter or early spring viewings. If not heated, a property can quickly drop to the same temperature as outside. It can also develop a musty, stale smell. To avoid this, keep the heating on low all the time and turn it up just prior to the viewing.
- Tastes differ hugely and you want to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible, so keep decoration neutral and appropriate to the property’s period and style: off-white and grey tones are still the safest bet.
To inspire you, here are some of the best presented properties currently on the market.