Earlier this year I put my house on the market and was amazingly lucky because it sold within the first week! I know…how amazing!! Friends have often asked how on earth I did it so I thought I should finally get around to writing about it.
Obviously I think there was a great deal of luck involved and a huge amount probably depended on how healthy the housing market happened to be at the time. I do think though that there was a lot I did myself that helped gain a quick sale. I actually spent a couple of months preparing my house before I put it on the market and I think those preparations really helped me sell my house fast!
1 – De-Clutter Your House
If you’re anything like me then over the years you’ve built up quite a shocking amount of treasured nik-naks and beautiful arts and crafts that the children have made you. Much as you might love having little Freddy’s masterpieces all over the kitchen wall and all his craft stick and pine cone models on the windowsills and shelves, to a buyer’s eye they can just be seen as mess and chaos! Lots of personal items on display can give the impression of your house being small, cluttered and not having enough storage space. And this can be really off-putting to potential buyers.
The first thing I did to prepare my house to go on the market was to de-clutter! In all fairness it was the worse job I think I’ve ever had to do and it took me ages! But my goodness it felt great when it was done. It was amazing how much stuff I had that was completely useless, old and broken.
I went through everything, every cupboard, every drawer, everything! I put away what I wanted to keep and needed access to and divided everything else into 4 piles.
- Rubbish- beyond use to anyone else and non recyclable.
- Recycling – rubbish that could avoid going in the land fill like old paper and textiles
- Charity Shop – Things I didn’t want but other people might like.
- Storage – Things I really wanted to keep but I could live without for a few weeks while I sold my house.
I was really lucky and sent all my stuff for storage to my parents’ house where I filled a whole big bedroom! If you’re not so fortunate you can pay for storage lock ups or even pay a professional clearance company top come and clear your property for you. Clearance Solutions can come and do the whole thing for you in just a day!
2 – Clean And Freshen Up Your Home
Once I’d cleared my clutter it was really easy to see what was looking a bit tired and in need of freshening up. I zoomed around the house making things look as clean as I could.
Now it was clutter free it was easy to zip around and clean the light switches, polish the mirrors, bleach the grout and even give the odd wall or two a lick of paint. It was a really cheap way to make my house look bright and airy and cared for.
3 – Dress The Rooms
You’ve de-cluttered and you’ve got everything spick and span so now it’s time to dress the rooms. I think it helps to think of selling your house not just in terms of selling a building but in terms of selling a lifestyle. You don’t want to de-clutter so much that the rooms have no personality at all! It may be clean and bright but it’s hard for a potential buyer to imagine themselves living somewhere stark and empty like in the picture below.
Equally you don’t want your own personality to scream at potential buyers so much that they can’t see themselves living in the space and putting their own personal stamp on the property either. Thinking about what you’d like from a hotel room or a holiday home can help you get the balance just right and create a nice welcoming atmosphere.
4- A Bit Of Extra Attention For The Kitchen
For me the kitchen is the heart of the home and this is where, after my de-clutter, I focused most of my energy. It would have been lovely to have been able to afford to put in a new kitchen but I had to make do with making it as squeaky clean as I could and I made sure the work surfaces were clear to give the impression of space.
A great way to revamp a kitchen on a budget it to paint the cupboard doors and replace the handles which is what I’ve actually ended up doing in my new house. Another approach is to turn to a kitchen worktop specialist like Modern Worktops to give your kitchen a totally new look without breaking the bank. It’s amazing what a difference a splash of paint or a new worktop can make!
5- The Potential Value Of Unused Space
If you’re lucky enough to have a ‘space’ asset in your house make sure your potential buyers get to see it at its best. Perhaps it’s a large attic space, a garage or an outbuilding? Clear it out so buyers can really see the space and think about what they might do with it. Maybe they have dreams of a playroom for the kids, a craft room or a Mayflower installed home cinema system to make them the envy of all their friends.
For me it was an unused attic room. I didn’t have the time to dress it up as a used space so instead I just cleared it out completely, painted it white to make it nice and airy and then spoke to my visitors about it.
Don’t be afraid to subtly sell the space to your potential buyers. Talk about the plans you had for it that you never got round to doing. Ask them what their ideas for the space would be. You could be really cunning and even leave a few brochures for cinema systems and new colour schemes lying about to really get them seeing its potential. Once they start thinking about what they’d like to do with the space you’re half-way to your sale, they’re already beginning to think of your house as their own home!
6- Know When To Stop
Of course you could go on renovating and adding things to your home for ever but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wise to do so. You’ve got to be careful that any changes you make are ones that will actually increase the value of your property. Each street and house type will have a maximum resale value and if your property is already near that then it’s not worth investing more money into it as you simply won’t make it back! A good estate agent will be able to advise you how much more money you might be able to get for your property if you did certain works and I’d certainly advise you talk to one before splashing out on anything expensive.
7- On The Day Of Viewings
So you’ve cleared the clutter, you’ve cleaned all the surfaces, you’ve dashed around like a loony in the morning throwing any toys the kids have left out into the cupboard and you’ve shoved all the dirty washing out of sight into the washing machine! Now what else can you do?
Firstly relax! Yes, it’s weird trying to sell your house and have people looking around, but remember it’s really odd for them too! They’ll feel awkward nosing around so try to make them feel at home. Be welcoming and chatty and maybe think about offering them a coffee and a biscuit. If you can help them feel relaxed and welcome in your house they are more likely to start thinking of it as a potential home!
You could make your house more appealing with some subtle touches too. We’ve all heard of the freshly brewed coffee and home-baked cake trick. Well I went for it all out. I had coffee steaming in the cafetière and timed my bread to finish cooking in the bread machine to perfection! Every little bit helps!
Think about the finishing visual touches you can add too; ways to make a house a home without stamping your personality on it too much. Fresh flowers in a vase in the hallway, a bowl of fresh fruit in the dining room and a tempting book or magazine lying open on the coffee table can all help to sell the lifestyle you want people to buy into when they look around your house. Little things like that can help you sell your house as people can start to see themselves actually living there and making it their home!
I hope you manage to sell your house fast and find your new dream home, it can be such a stressful time! I hope these tips go someway to making it a little easier and wish you the very best of luck!
If you’re looking for more tips for organising your home I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to the best home hacks. Why not follow along?