Thursday, 10 September 2009

Do your home work and it will sell itself!

Yorkshire Post - Midweek Life & Style Section - 9th September 2009


In the past year or so, we have all felt the effect of the credit crunch in both our purses and the value of our homes and other investments. Whilst general indications seem to be that we are not yet out of the woods, there are apparently some green shoots in the housing market with buyers beginning to show interest again.

If you are looking to sell at present, you want to ensure that you get the best price in the quickest possible time. With a few simple tips and a modicum of investment you can ensure your property stands the best chance of enchanting your potential purchasers.

Many buyers make decisions based on emotion and do not see the potential in a home, unless it is staring them in the face. That spare double bedroom with an ironing board, sacks of rubbish and marked walls will be viewed as a box room unless it is presented tidily, with double bed – confirming how to use the room and that it will actually fit a double bed!

Start by taking an objective view about your house. Pretend you do not live there and see it through a stranger’s eyes. Do you see endearing charm or outright clutter? A shrine to minimalism or a sterile shell?

Remember the outside; no matter how great the interior, poor paintwork on the front door or unkempt grass guarantees the purchaser never even stops the car!
Exterior paint should be freshened to a good standard (scraped back, primed and filled – not just a quick coat over the top). The front door should be clean, in good condition, painted a welcoming colour such as green or brown (avoid red) with any door furniture polished to perfection. All garden areas must be neat and trimmed – it is a reflection on how well you maintain the rest of your property!

Show your home has space by getting rid of clutter – if you are not using something pack it away in the loft; it’s only until you move. However, avoid leaving things too sparse – personal touches like bowls of fresh flowers (local florists can be cheaper than you think!), well framed prints and co-ordinating soft furnishings make it feel like a home.

Keep your house tidy and spotless to ensure you can handle last minute viewings. Just because you have messy children, does not mean a perspective buyer must make allowances. Keep beds well made with pillows and duvets plumped. Fresh smells are a must, but don’t go over board with heavily scented room sprays (neutralisers are often the best bet). Air bedrooms every day and move dog beds out of small rooms. Using a steam cleaner can refresh the look of carpets and sofas, as well as getting rid of unwanted dirt and aromas.

Interior decoration is a valuable weapon. Surveys have shown that an “unfavourable” interior colour scheme can knock up to £3,000 off the value of a home. Remove highly personalised decoration schemes (vibrant colour choices or novelty themes) and present your home more simply. Favour light colours in your re-decoration, such as stone and oatmeal to give a feeling of warmth, space and cleanliness; avoid magnolia as this removes character and can feel cold. Woodwork should be scrubbed and touched up where appropriate.

Preparation takes time, a little money and can be a bit inconvenient until you sell. However, you will sell quicker than your ill-prepared competition, save valuable mortgage payments on a house you wish to leave and get on with the next stage of your life quicker. Now who can put a price on that?

Jamie Hempsall is a member of BIDA and one of the region’s leading interior designers. Visit him at or call on 01777 248463

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