Five steps you MUST take before putting your home on the market

A kitchen with a dining table. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

A kitchen with a dining table. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

How to get your home in the best state possible to achieve a good price as quickly as possible

1. It’s said that neutral decor sells homes and, of course, it does. It’s tough to be offended by neutral colours, and then if buyers want to inject colour and pattern, it’s not hard to do so. Neutral doesn’t, by any means, have to be bland and boring though - it’s all about how you put the look together with accessories, flooring and furniture. Neutral colours, especially white, also help to make rooms feel lighter, brighter and more spacious. The Dulux Light + Space Matt range (from £20.99 for 2.5ltr, has the same intention. These neutral and pastel colours use light-reflective particles to bounce light around, and work especially well in gloomy, north-facing rooms.

2. It’s easy to live with unfinished DIY jobs, but once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, dodgy DIY is a big no-no. It can put buyers off and make them think they’ll need to spend more time and money finishing the work than they necessarily will. If you can’t do the jobs yourself, get a pro in – it will be money well spent. Even if you’ve finished the DIY, you need to keep on top of it because things deteriorate. Common problems include marks on walls, hairline cracks that keep opening and chipped woodwork. Things like this make your home look shabby, so going from room to room with a fresh eye and putting right the problems is worth the effort.

3. It’s also worth scrutinising the outside of your home. Exterior maintenance is easy to overlook, but it’s something a buyer’s surveyor will pick up on, so it’s worth pre-empting any remedial work, as it could save you time, money and hassle. Not maintaining the exterior can also lead to problems inside, such as damp caused by missing or slipped roof tiles, or faulty guttering. And don’t forget kerb appeal – making a good first impression from outside your home is essential. Inside, a neat and tidy hallway also creates a good first impression – ensure there’s enough storage for coats, shoes and scarves, etc, preferably out of sight.

4. Giving your home a really good clean - and cleaning, airing and tidying it before every viewing - is a must. If you have masses of personal items on display, consider packing them away. While making your home look too sterile won’t help sell it, a cluttered home will put buyers off. Remember, they may look in cupboards and wardrobes, so stuffing these full of things isn’t the answer because it shows you don’t have enough storage space. Instead, create more storage, preferably built-in or in the loft or garden, or get the stuff out of your home and into a storage unit.

5. Make the most of the space you have - put a dining table in the kitchen (as long as it isn’t a squeeze) to turn it into a kitchen-diner, and put the biggest bed you can comfortably fit in each bedroom. If you have a study or home office and the room would be more valuable as a bedroom, swap the desk for a bed, at least while you sell. The trick is to make your home easy for buyers to imagine as their home, and to move on emotionally so you can move on physically.