Everyone understands that a well-maintained home is more inviting and easier to sell. Even when you decide to use the services of an agent, your role in the sales process is crucial and your fullest cooperation is essential, in particular prior to the photo session and when preparing for viewings.
Photos attract potential buyers; the exterior photo being one of the most important. If appropriate, we recommend using professionals to clear and tidy the garden. In spring and summer, the lawn should be cut and shrubs neatly pruned. In autumn and winter, fallen leaves and dead growth must be cleared; grass or weeds in unwelcome areas eliminated.
We cannot exaggerate the significance of a clean, attractive, access/entrance to your home. Cobwebs and dead insects must be removed. A quick rub down of flaking paint or varnish followed by a fresh coat achieves wonders. If you have a terrace or pool, get out some garden furniture with big cushions (yes, even in winter!) because these can really enhance the photos.
Let's now go inside. At the risk of causing slight offence, we strongly recommend calling on a professional cleaning service to make sure the place looks impeccable. One reason is that you will thus be obliged to tidy everywhere and put away personal items which is exactly what is needed for the best photos! The same holds true for bathroom(s) where there must be nothing on show; no toothbrushes, sprays, soap, etc. Chrome or stainless steel fittings and any mirrors should be nicely polished. Any towels should be freshly laundered.
Kitchen worktops must be completely clear except perhaps for an attractive bowl of fruit or a pot plant to add a touch of colour. Windows should be really clean. Our photographers are good but they cannot work miracles! Your help will significantly contribute towards optimum results.
Having just completed the photo session, your home is in the ideal state for receiving potential buyers. But there are other points to bear in mind. If there are smokers in your family, remember that many find the odour offensive. Never leave half filled ashtrays around. We suggest that you stow all smoking materials before visitors arrive and give the space a good airing.
Pets. We have known potential buyers refuse to enter a property with pets inside. If this could apply to you, we propose that you ask a friend/neighbor to take care of your pet(s) during scheduled visits - also less stressful for the animals. And don't leave food/water bowls on view.
Curtains should be fully drawn back and all lights switched on. Maximising the light has is a key factor for buyers.
Put away all personal items, just as you did for the photo session. Remember that your visitors are not your friends and experience shows that they almost always feel more comfortable (less intrusive) in an uncluttered environment.
Your kitchen will likely receive some of the closest scrutiny. Expect viewers to open cupboards and drawers as they try to visualise how their contents might fit; so do see that yours are well-organised.
We doubt if there is any property with no defects. Minor problems, such as a superficial fracture in wall plaster or a cracked window pane, etc, can be repaired quickly and relatively inexpensively. Given that you need your property to appear well maintained, be ready to spend on minor repairs to gain a smoother sale.
More serious defects must be addressed and openness is the best policy. If your roof clearly needs to be re-tiled or the boiler replaced, you should obtain at least one estimate. A known problem with a quantified solution is less worrisome and the potential buyer will not be discouraged by uncertainty
The above suggestions are mostly commonsense and are in light of hundreds of viewings. Potential buyers have sometimes been needlessly put off by an owner's neglect of essential points.