IF you’re selling your house this year, it’s important that you understand how to
IF you’re selling your house this year, it’s important that you understand how to present it to the market, says local interiors expert Niki Schafer.
Deserving of a well-earned sit-down after this year’s Henley House & Garden Show, which took place last month, Niki still found time to offer Standard Property her top tips on what to watch out for when putting your house on the market.
1. Emotional attachment
Your house, as lovely as it may be, is now being sold and you have to present it in a way that will attract as many potential buyers as possible. But emotional attachment is the hardest bit — so let’s get it over with, shall we?
Your home has been a wonderful source of security, laughter and comfort for you and your family. However, staying attached to this is only going to make the separation more heart-wrenching.
Once you’ve made the decision to find a new home, it’s important that you learn to let go of your old house.
This doesn’t mean that your home has to be devoid of any personal items, though. It’s a good idea to declutter and remove excess, but you don’t need to take away every family photo and beloved piece of ornamentation.
Sometimes, this process is more easily done by an outsider — someone who can pack away the items that don’t add any value to the room.
(Of course, you love these items for their story and their emotional value, but don’t think they’ve gone forever — you can put them back in your next home!)
What’s more, good declutterers and house doctors will be able to do this in a percentage of the time you will, as they’ll not be sidetracked by the stories (“Ahhh, remember when we were on holiday and bought this...”).
It’s time to get efficient if you want your house to be sold and then you can move on — both physically and emotionally.
2. Your own distinctive tastes
Now I’m an interior designer who believes that your home is your chance to truly express yourself, so don’t go thinking I’m saying it’s wrong to have a distinctive style. Far from it!
On the other hand, if you’re fond of the lurid (and you’ll know it if you are) and you like dark colours, then it might be wise to give the place a bit of a spruce-up.
People want to see light, spacious rooms. So make them light! You don’t want people dismissing your entire house on the basis of wallpaper you love but alas, most people can’t quite handle. So get rid of it and start making plans for your new home’s interiors.
3. Presenting rooms to their best functionality
It’s all very well that you’ve been using the spare bedroom for your miniature railway set or your sewing emporium, but you don’t want potential buyers seeing the room only as a hobby room (for which read “small”) rather than a double guest room (psychologically much larger).
Set the rooms up traditionally — don’t make buyers have to work hard.
They want simple obvious solutions. Give them the chance to easily slot their lives into your home.
4. Planning permission
Estate agents and house doctors are frequently asked whether doing an extension will help with a sale. More space will surely help, think sellers.
This is not an unreasonable thought. However, what if the new buyers don’t want to extend? Or what if they’d have done the extension completely differently?
The answer is to get some drawings done and, even better, to get planning permission for the work to be done.
Buyers love to see the potential in their new home, and showing them a brand new future is going to be very appealing.
They also think the planning process is complicated and lengthy (not always the case, but we’ll leave that for another day...) and so with it already completed they’re halfway there. This is a very appealing sensation!
Don’t forget that people buy with their emotions, so make them feel great!
5. Your entrance is confusing, unwelcoming or unattractive
After location, kerb appeal is the most important aspect of your home.
People either fall in love at the end of the driveway or they don’t. You need to do everything you can to make them fall the right way.
Mow the lawn, tidy up the borders, fix the gate, paint the front door, cut away the bushes.
Make a clear path to the front door. (It’s an awful feeling not knowing where to go to enter a building!)
Put a bright, seasonal plant at your door. Add lighting so people can see where they’re going. Make sure the doorbell works and — ding dong! — you’re in with a chance.