It’s quite obvious that how your property looks is important when you are trying to sell your house fast – but the number of people who neglect to make it look attractive to potential buyers is surprising when it’s actually quite easy!
Garden or outside space
If you have a garden or outside space of any kind then you need to think about making it look like an attractive place that people would want to spend time. Many people view a garden or balcony as an extra room or extension of the house – so could be a deal-breaker for them.
- Cut the lawn: Unruly grass can make a garden look unsightly. A quick trim can have it looking neat and attractive to potential buyers once again
- Put the bins out of sight: Rubbish and recycling bins are unsightly and can make the outside of a property look cluttered or messy. If you have somewhere to hide them (such as an alleyway or garage) then move them there. If not you could consider building a small store in your front or back garden to keep them in
- Make it secluded: An overlooked garden can be off-putting for some people so consider putting up fencing or hedging if it will help to prevent this
Outside of the property
Kerb appeal can be everything. People have often made a decision about whether or not they are interested in buying a property just from how it looks on the outside before they step over the threshold. This means it’s important that you get the property looking its best on the outside – not just on the inside.
- Clean windows: If your windows are covered in a layer of dirt it doesn’t make the property seem loved or looked after. Not only will this help the outside appearance of the property but it will also help it look better from the inside too
- Ensure the house number is clearly visible: You want people to be able to find your property when they are coming to view it!
- Leave on an outside light in the winter months. It gets dark early in the winter months so if you have a lamp or light outside your property leave it on until you go to bed so people passing by can see your home
- Cut back overhanging trees or large bushes. Not only can these look messy from the outside they can block light getting inside the property which can make it feel dark and dingy
Staging a property – much like property developers do when they are trying to sell a new home – can be a good way of getting someone to fall in love with it.
- Tidy up: For every viewing make sure the property is clean and tidy. Prospective buyers won’t appreciate having to step over your toddler’s toys or looking at your dirty dishes from the night before.
- Lay the table for dinner: Put out your best plates, napkins and glasses. This helps people to imagine themselves in your home entertaining their friends and family.
- Make up the beds: Use neutral bedding to make up the beds and accessorise them with cushions so that they look inviting to viewers.
- Add fluffy towels to the bathroom: Fold the towels and make sure they are clean and neutral in colour.
- Turn on lamps: Turning on lamps can make dark corners look brighter but can also help to make a property feel cosy.
- Make it smell good: Nobody likes the smell of wet dog, stale cigarettes or cooking smells! Bake bread or brew coffee in the kitchen to help disguise smells and give it a homely feel. Burn scented candles or essential oils in other rooms.
- Control the temperature: Make sure the property is warm in cold weather and cool in hot temperatures.
- Use seasonal flowers: Flowers can really lift a room and give people a ‘feel good’ feeling. If you don’t want to always get fresh flowers you can now buy some really good fake ones.
- Get rid of clutter: If you have lots of old toys, nicnacs, or just unnecessary stuff around the house find somewhere to store it. This will make the rooms in the property feel bigger.
- Remove mail from the doormat before viewings. A large pile of mail left on the floor can make it difficult for the potential buyer to even get through the door. It can also make it feel unwelcoming.
- Put rooms back to their original use: If you are now using the dining room as a gym and the spare bedroom as an office try to put these rooms back to the use they were originally intended for. People can sometimes find it hard to imagine a house as having 3 bedrooms if they can only see one.
How the property is decorated – the colour of the walls and furniture, the condition of carpets, peeling wallpaper – can cause a potential buyer to either love or hate it instantly.
- Paint over bright coloured walls: People can really be put off by bright colours in a property and some colours can even make a room feel smaller. Instead of bright colours opt for neutral colours and if you want to add personality or colour to a room do it through accessories such as cushions or flowers
- Replace brightly patterned or peeling wallpaper: Some people love wallpaper, others hate it with a passion. If you have wallpaper in your property try to look at it through fresh eyes. Does it have a bold, brightly coloured pattern on it which may not be liked by everyone? If so, it’s probably best to replace it with something more neutral. If the wallpaper is peeling then try to repair it or replace it
- Touch up paintwork. Day-to-day living means that inevitably walls, doors and skirting boards will suffer wear and tear. Touching up the paintwork on these, or giving them a whole new coat of paint, can have a surprising effect on a room. Don’t forget to also look up and touch up any paintwork on ceilings
- Cure any mould or damp spots. Not only is mould and damp unsightly it can be bad for your health and become very difficult to get rid of if it’s left untreated. Unfortunately you can’t just decorate over a damp spot without curing the root of the problem. If you do this the damp will just quickly come back through the paint or wallpaper
- Strip wooden doors and floors: Stripping old wooden doors and floors can give them a new lease of life and give your property a unique appeal. This can take time, but can be worth it – it looks particularly effective in period properties
- Replace tired carpets: If there are carpets that are worn or holding pet or cigarette smells then replacing them can instantly give the property a lift
If you are willing to spend a bit of money then there are some home improvements you can do to sell your property fast as well as adding value. The two main rooms that people focus on when viewing a property are the kitchen and bathroom:
A property’s kitchen is one of its biggest sellers. If your kitchen is outdated or shabby (but not chic!) then you may want to think about fitting a new kitchen. But, if you don’t want to spend this kind of money then there are some smaller (less costly) things you can do to improve how it looks without breaking the bank.
- Replace worktops: Putting a new worktop on a kitchen can instantly make it feel fresh again
- Paint or replace cupboard doors: If the cupboards are dated, but the carcasses are still functional and sturdy then you could paint the doors or replace them to make it feel like a new kitchen. If the doors are not standard size then there are now plenty of companies that custom make cupboard doors at a reasonable price
- Replace tiles: The tiles in a kitchen can often date a property. Replace them with something more modern or neutral to bring the kitchen more up-to-date and have a wider appeal
Not many buyers can see past an avocado or pink suite to see the potential of a bathroom. People can also be put off by a bathroom that only has a shower and no bath (and vice versa).
- Replace a dated suite with a basic white suite. This will help make the room feel bigger and brighter and also give the bathroom a more modern feel
- Remove or replace carpets: If you still have a carpet in the bathroom then get rid of it and replace with lino or tiles or replace it with new carpet. Many people will worry about old carpets being damp or smelly – especially around the toilet area!
- Get a bath and a shower: Many people like either one or the other, so to please everyone get both if you can fit them in. If you can’t fit a separate shower cubicle and a bath then consider installing a shower over the bath
A few other improvements you can make around the property outside of the kitchen and bathroom include:
- Rendering: If the outside of the property is pebbledash or brick and unattractive then rendering a property can greatly transform its appearance and give it much greater kerb appeal.
- Adding windows or roof lights: If you have some rooms that are very dark then adding windows or roof lights can transform a dingy, unattractive space into something light and airy
- Create a juliet balcony: Juliet balconies are narrow balconies or railings which sit just outside doors on upper floors of a property. They were made famous by the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. They are fairly quick and easy to install and often don’t need planning permission. You won’t gain more floor space from installing one but it will increase the amount of light coming into a room and can give the feeling of being on a balcony when you are actually still sitting or standing inside your property.
According to the 2021 survey by Rated people 43% of people planned to continue to work from home if COVID was not an issue:
- Create a space: A dedicated office space, with 41% of people not having a desk, creating an area for work can be good for productivity can enable a new angle for a previously unused area of a home.
- Power: Ensuring there is power to an area that can be a dedicated office will prevent tripping over extension cables, fire risk and make the space more open and useful. You can also combine this with router access to ensure there is never a problem with the internet.
- Lighting and storage: In a paperless society we still generate a lot of paper, finding somewhere to neatly store office-related items can be a great way to sell the space. Combine with some lighting to brighten the space and you may never want to leave your new office!
You could have an incredible property in a desirable location – but if it’s not being marketed well then you will never sell it.
- Get a good estate agent: Most people choose their estate based on the fee they have to pay them. But, it’s worth taking a bit of time to also look at the marketing they do. Do they add their properties to online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla? Do have lists of buyers they send new properties out to? Do they have a high turnover of properties they are selling or is it always the same properties in their window?
- Go multi-agent: Many people think you have to just have one estate agent representing your property but the reality is that you can have as many as you like. In theory having several agents touting your property should mean that it reaches more potential buyers and your property sells more quickly. The catch is that you will probably end up paying higher fees. Estate agents tend to save their lowest fees for people who chose them on a sole agency basis. If they are one of a few agencies competing to sell the property then you can expect the fees you will need to pay to the agent that sells your property to be higher.
- Advertise on Gumtree: You go to Gumtree to buy furniture for your home, so why not buy a house on it? If you want to try selling your property yourself (or even if you have an agent but you want to boost the marketing they are already doing) then why not post an advert on Gumtree to increase your potential buyer reach?
- Use social media: Share your property listing with all your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You never know, one of them may be searching for a home just like yours!
- Advertise on Facebook: Why not use Facebook ads to promote your property sale? For just a few pounds you can reach hundreds of people with your advert. Add a few more pounds and you could reach thousands.
- Talk to your neighbours: Your neighbours might know someone who is looking for a property to buy in the area so make sure you let them know when you put your home on the market.
- Put a for sale board up: Whether you are using an estate agent to sell your property or you are selling it yourself you should make sure a for sale board is prominently displayed outside the property to let passing traffic and pedestrians know that your home is available to buy. Don’t forget to put for sale boards at the side or rear of the property if these are also visible to the public.
- Get good photos taken: The pictures on your for sale listing can really help – or hinder – in selling your property quickly. Well taken photos can help to attract more people through the door for viewings. Many estate agents now offer this as standard, but if you aren’t happy with the photos they take ask them to do them again or supply your own. The more photos, from lots of different angles, the better
- Update the photos regularly: If your property has been on the market for a while then get some new photos taken to keep your listing fresh looking. If you have a garden then get new photos of it taken when all the flowers are in bloom and get rid of any photos with things such as Christmas trees in them if it’s no longer appropriate to include them.
- Digitally enhance photos: Don’t be afraid to manipulate your photos a little to help get viewers through the door. It’s now incredibly easy to adjust the light levels to make a room look brighter or adjust colour levels if they don’t look realistic in the pictures.
- Make a video: A video tour of your property is a great way to entice in potential buyers and gives a better idea of the layout and space available. Some estate agents now offer these. If your estate agent doesn’t then ask if they would be willing to include a video you’ve made on the listing. You can also share it on your social media and ask friends and family to do the same.
- Include floorplans: Having a floorplan of your home can help people to visualise the property better when they are looking at listings online. Many people will have an idea in their head of what they want the layout of their new property to be – this means many people choose to view a property based on the floorplans alone. So, if you don’t have floorplans some people will just skip over your listing
- Does your home have foreign appeal? Are you selling a property in an area popular with foreign investors or a tourist hotspot? Why not advertise your property overseas?
- Hold an open house: Create a sense of urgency with buyers by holding an open day instead of allowing people to make appointments through an estate agent. These are becoming more popular and typically result in an offer (or two) being made for your property on the same day
- Get 3D walk through made: Give potential buyers a real taste of your property with a 3D virtual tour. These are now becoming more accessible and affordable and many estate agents are now offering them to clients from companies such as Matterport.
- Leaflet in your local area: Producing leaflets is now cheaper and easier than ever and there are many distribution companies that will also deliver them for you for a reasonable price.
Sometimes buyers just need a little extra push to take the plunge and put in an offer on your property. Why not offer some incentives to make your property stand out from the others they may be considering? If the sale can go through quickly, it may qualify for reduced stamp duty.
- Reduce the price: If your home has been on the market for a few weeks or months then you could consider reducing the asking price. Doing this could mean that it now falls into the price bracket of more house-hunters. It will also give it a boost and show up as a ‘new listing’ on property portals such as Rightmove.
- Apply for change of use permission: If your property is suitable for a change of use (for example from a business to a home) then it may be more attractive to buyers if you already have the permission in place before they buy it.
- Apply for planning permission: Always thought about adding an extension to the property but never been able to afford it or not got around to it? By securing planning permission for the property before selling you can show buyers the potential of the property and give them peace of mind that the permission is already in place before they put in an offer.
- Offer the estate agent a win bonus: Rather than reducing the price of the property you could offer the estate agent a bonus to sell your property on top of the commission they are already receiving.
- Pay the stamp duty: For many people stamp duty on a property can be a cost they just can’t afford. Why not make your property more affordable by offering to pay the stamp duty on it?
- Pay buyer’s solicitor fees: Offering to pay the solicitor fees of the buyer could give the buyer a helping hand financially which means they may be able to afford your property.
Here are a few other ideas which may help to boost your chances of getting a quick house sale….
- Use a quick sale company: There are some estate agents that specialise in getting quick house sales. They have a portfolio of investors who are ready to buy properties – such as Get An Offer.
- Use a professional property buyer: Professional property buyers – such as ourselves, House Buy Fast – we buy any house, in any condition, quickly for cash. They can often buy them in just a matter of days.
- Offer the property as a building plot with planning: If the property is in a very bad state of repair then you could gain planning permission for a new property to be build and offer it as a building plot. Be aware that gaining this kind of planning permission can take a while though.
- Sell at auction: Auction houses can be a quick way to sell a property, with the auction house taking a commission – though there is no guarantee what price the property will sell for or that it will even sell on the day.