How to get your house ready to sell

YOU’VE made the decision to move and now you are faced with the daunting task for getting your house ready to sell.

One top tip is to take a walk down your street and compare your home with all its neighbours. Does it bear comparison or is there work to be done to improve its curb appeal?

Indoors, it’s time to catch up with all those chores you have been putting off for so long but could now bring down the value of your property if they are left, so replace broken light bulbs, fix leaky taps and drawers that don’t open and close properly, touch up scuffed paintwork and think about buying new towels, cushion covers and bedspreads. But don’t go down the road of wholesale changes like replacing the kitchen.

Many buyers won’t want to deal with the disruption of decorating once they move in. You will be able to attract much more interest with a freshly done-up property.

Use natural cream colours which nobody will find offensive. Once you have set the whole selling process in motion and have engaged an estate agent, he or she will visit your home to note down all the relevant facts.

After that, the next person who will view it is a surveyor who will compile a Home Report and provide you with a valuation. His visit will be a professional one and will take more than an hour as he goes from room to room with damp monitor, measuring devices, torches and other paraphernalia. He has a list of things he has to check and tick box of 20 aspects of your property which he will score from one to three.

One means “No immediate action or repair is needed,” a two indicates “Repairs or replacement requiring future attention, but estimates are still advised” and three is a warning that “Urgent repairs or replacement are needed now.

Failure to deal with them may cause problems to parts of the property or cause a safety hazard.

Estimates for repairs or replacement are needed now.” The list includes structural movement, rainwater fittings, external decorations, internal joinery and kitchen fittings, electricity and heating and hot water. Once you have the report it’s time to get your home ready to show to off to those who might want to buy it.

A few years ago TV’s House Doctor Anne Maurice taught us all to declutter and that’s the most important word to remember as you get ready to sell your house. It’s time to stop thinking of it as your home.

Declutter and depersonalise. Buyers don’t want to see the lovely life you have created for yourself.

They want to imagine the lovely life they could make for themselves in their beautiful potential new home so don’t allow anything to clutter that vision. It’s time to take down the family photographs, pack away the ornaments and knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years. You can always take them out in your new home but right now they are a distraction to possible buyers. Clutter in this context covers books, CDs, DVDs, kitchen tools and appliances which are on show on counters, and potted plants.

Make your home as blank a canvas as you can so that from the moment a viewer walks in, he or she starts imagining their books, pictures and appliances in situ. Make your home as welcoming as possible. The longer a viewer stays, the stronger the emotional bond. Once they connect at this level you may well be in the selling business.