Presenting your property – properly
How to stage your home to achieve the best price
Is your property for sale? Are you thinking of selling your property? Are you struggling to sell your property? How do I achieve the best price for my house? What can I do to improve the look of my home?
Most of us have probably found ourselves watching one of the many ‘house’ programmes on TV… you know the ones – they ‘do up’ a house on a budget, or make home improvements to add value.
When selling a property, it’s crucial to ensure that the house is displayed at its best. That doesn’t just mean giving it a quick run round with the vacuum cleaner and giving the windows a quick clean (unless you are one of those clever people who manage to keep their house looking like a show home all the time); it means you must invest some time and money into ‘dressing’ your home to sell.
Here are our top tips for ensuring your house stands out from the crowd: –
- The lounge/ living room
This is the relaxation area of any family home and it must portray a feeling of calm and comfort. Take an objective look at your living room. Has it become a bit cluttered or has it lost its identity? Make sure the fireplace (real or otherwise) is the focal point of the room, rather than a huge TV. Rearrange your furniture so the sofas and chairs are surrounding the fire. Invest in a new rug, cushions and throws to liven up a dull room. Place some fresh flowers on the coffee table, with a couple of magazines or books. Use low lighting rather than overhead lighting which can appear stark and clinical. Light the fire if it’s cold – in summer you can use the fireplace as a feature with an attractive screen or plant.
- The kitchen / kitchen-diner
Being the ‘heart of the home’, the kitchen should be a space where your viewers can imagine themselves ‘enjoying’ spending time and socialising. It should be clean, bright and airy, with anything shiny polished to perfection. Ensure all bulbs are working, such as halogen downlighters or appliance lights, and switch them all on for viewings, even in the daytime. Sometimes simply buying new lighting can turn a dull kitchen into a bright and attractive one. If you have gloss worktops or granite tops, give them a polish so they reflect the light. Clean the sink and taps, place a leafy green plant on the window-sill and wipe the kitchen cupboards. If your kitchen is a bit ‘dated’, you could invest in some cupboard paint to brighten them up. Clear all the worktops of clutter and ‘bits and bobs’ as your kitchen will appear larger.
- The bathroom / en-suite
The key here is to clean it thoroughly and make it sparkle. No one wants to see dust or grime in a bathroom. It should be 100% hygienic – use bleach and freshly scented air fresheners to hide any damp smells. Polish stainless-steel taps and shower heads. Clean the window and place a green leafy plant on the sill. Mirrors give the impression of more space, so place a mirror somewhere that reflects light. Hide any shampoo bottles, razors, creams and personal belongings.
- Your furniture
Take a stroll around your home and have a good look at your furniture. Is it tidy and presentable or worn and dated? Have your pets had a bit of a scratch on your sofa or have your kids spilt blackcurrant juice on your armchair? Viewers will notice this, and although a sofa is not part of the house, it may give them the impression that the house is not cared for. It might be time to invest in a new suite, or if you can’t stretch to that, some new throws to cover any worn patches. Perhaps you have ‘made do’ with a mismatch of various items of furniture? Why not treat yourselves to some new? After all, you can take it with you to your next house.
- Lighting/ lamps / halogens
Good lighting is so underrated. Lighting can transform a room if chosen correctly and placed in the right place. There are so many types and styles of lights on offer these days, and so many ‘statement pieces’, there really is no excuse for bad lighting. If you have a fantastic piece of art on the wall, why not invest in a spotlight for it? Perhaps you have a beautiful bespoke piece of furniture – show it off with a strategically placed lamp. Is there a dark corner in your living room? A couple of spotlights will brighten it up. Have a look in ‘house design’ magazines for ideas.
- Carpets and flooring
Worn or stained carpets are an instant ‘turn-off’ to any viewers. It gives the impression that the house is unclean and grubby. Likewise, if you have a dated carpet, for example, purple swirls from the 1970’s, it could be time to replace it. The difference new carpets can make is astounding – sometimes we must invest to get a return. Get a quote for a completely new set of carpets and it will transform your home, or have them professionally cleaned.
- Interior walls
You have heard it all before, but we need to say it again… keep interior walls neutral if possible. If you have one feature wall that’s well presented and tasteful, that is acceptable. If, however, you have bright ‘large-print’ paper on 4 walls, it is probably time to get the paintbrush out. Most viewers prefer to see a blank canvas, or at least some pale and neutral colours so they can envisage themselves living there. Also, light colours create a feeling of space. Dark walls or large patterns can make a room seem like it is closing in on you.
- Don’t hide natural light
I’m convinced some people are vampires as they seem to want to draw curtains and pull- down blinds! Natural light is a beautiful thing and something that should be celebrated. We suggest you open curtains and blinds fully as it not only allows your viewers to see the view from the windows, but it also floods the rooms with daylight and makes spaces appear bigger and brighter.
- Soft furnishings and accessories
Mix and match different textures and fabrics to add a luxurious feel to your living room and bedrooms. Invest in new cushions, rugs, matching accessories and so on. Pack away anything that doesn’t add to the aesthetics of the room. There are so many places to buy inexpensive home accessories now, such as The Range and Next… it’s easy to ‘dress’ your home without breaking the bank.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s not advisable to have too many personal photographs in frames or on the walls – it makes it more difficult for any viewers to imagine themselves living there. Remove them, or replace them with a nice canvas print or framed picture.
- Your art and pictures
While we are on the subject of wall pictures, we would advise you to keep any displayed artwork fairly inoffensive and neutral in taste. Try to steer clear of anything too ‘out there’ or quirky – the best way to do this is to imagine how a good hotel room looks; they usually have pictures of landscapes, plants or flowers and choose colours that are in-keeping with the rest of the décor.
- Ambiance and ‘feel’ of your home
Is your home a peaceful and tranquil haven of relaxation or a bustling, busy family home? Your viewers will probably want to experience the first option. It’s important to present your home as a calm environment, which may mean asking someone to look after the kids and the dog when you have viewings. Your viewers need peace and quiet to take everything in and ‘bond’ with the property.
- Tidy your garden, courtyard or yard
Even in winter, it’s worth spending a couple of hours every week tidying up your outside spaces and clearing away any dead debris or leaves that have gathered. Hide away the bins and recycling boxes and keep on top of the lawns and shrubs. Perhaps invest in a couple of evergreen firs for either side of the front door and place them in matching pots. For extra effect, wrap some fairy lights round them as this looks great for when your viewers arrive. Ensure decking isn’t slippery as the last thing you want is broken bones!
- Heating and fires
There is nothing more unwelcoming than a cold home. Heat = warmth and comfort. A real fire will also look great on photos. Light the fires for every viewing, without fail.
- Finishing touches
Before every viewing, buy fresh flowers for all reception rooms, ensure your air fresheners are switched on, turn on all low lighting (not overhead lights), open curtains and blinds, empty bins, hide any last-minute clutter, plump up cushions, replace towels with fresh ones, open windows (if warm weather), light the fire(s), hoover and polish surfaces and put the coffee on!
This list should give you plenty of motivation to improve your home and present it perfectly for EVERY viewing. Every viewer is your potential buyer!
Do you have any tips of your own? How do you keep your house tidy for viewings? Did you invest in your home before you put it on the market? Was it worthwhile? We would love to hear any tips or stories you have…
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