Over the next few months we’re going to treat you to bit of Hillary Sayer house-doctoring. We will march you through the quagmire of preparing your house for sale, why you need to trust your Estate Agent, what to consider when engaging a solicitor and how to go about buying a home. For most of you who consider yourselves expert at all of the above, we are aware that we might be teaching you to suck eggs; but we want to make sure you’re sucking them properly.
According to Le Corbusier “The home should be the treasure chest of living” however, when it comes to getting the best price for your home, you would do well to remember that it is your treasure chest. Buyers need to want it as their treasure chest, and whilst you may adore your eclectic collection of Moroccan wind chimes, the chances are not everyone who passes your threshold will feel as deeply positive about them as you do. Make sure buyers can see past you and into the house. If it means getting a removal company in to store 10% of the furniture and every pile of admin, it will be money well spent. Engage one of your trusted professionals to tell you what should be removed before you commence with a marketing campaign; there is not a chance you will be able to see it for yourself. You can ask a particularly honest friend, although we would always recommend the former strategy, their eyes are trained and your wounds will heal quicker when the blow comes from someone whom you don’t care so much about. Do this first, not after months of marketing when your house already appears over exposed to the market (but let’s not completely ignore the old adage; better late than never).
Make sure that you get every last odd-job completed. If you never bothered getting the new bath panel painted; do it now. You may have long-since stopped seeing it, but I can guarantee you that it will be the first thing that viewers notice. Make your home look like you lavish it with the same kind of love that you poured into it when you first moved in; not like you’ve been to war with it and lost the will to live.
Make sure the garden looks as good as it can for the season; to most people it’s another room so treat it with the same respect you would a sitting room.
Keep it clean; all the time. The day you hang your underwear up in the bathroom will be the day you get that last minute viewing that really matters. ALWAYS make your bed as if an army of strangers was going to come look at it – with any luck, they are. Keep it aired, there is nothing more revolting than the smell of some one else’s breakfast at 11am. Buying a house is an emotional business and smells can trigger all sorts of emotional reactions, so feel free to invest in a healthy supply of expensive candles and write off the cost. It’s probably the only time in your life when it will be money well spent.
NEVER use cupboards to hide mountains of clothes or piles of admin. The likelihood is that you will not be there for the viewings (at least we hope you won’t because, no, you are not the best person to sell your home and, yes, we do understand that you know it better than anyone else. If you are the best person on your sales team to sell your house, then you have hired the wrong Estate Agent). Any serious buyer will open those cupboards and when the whole lot falls on their heads, their lasting Memory will be, at best “could do with more storage”.