Preparing a Property for Selling

If you have a property for sale, you will want your house to look as appealing as possible to potential new buyers. There are some simple and cost-effective steps you can follow to ensure your house looks at its best.

The first place potential buyers will see is the exterior of your property; first impressions count so make sure your garden and the area leading to your front door are neat and tidy. Make sure you mow the lawn and keep the garden looking easily maintainable as buyers often look for an easy-to-manage garden. If you don't have time to do the gardening work yourself, you could hire a gardener to tidy things up for you. Adding a few new hanging baskets or plants near to the entrance of your home will definitely catch the eye of your viewers. Once you have your garden sorted, take a look at your neighbour's garden(s) - are they tidy? Buyers will look at neighbouring properties and if your neighbour's garden is filled with clutter it will put people off investing in your property. It might be worth having a quick word with your neighbour if their garden is a little messy and offering to help them tidy it (without offending them, of course). It's also a good idea to give your window frames a lick of paint if they need it and to give the gutters a clean. Quick, easy and cost-effective jobs like these can make a huge difference to the aesthetics your property.

A few hours before you know people are coming to view, you should open the windows to air out your house and eradicate any odours. Any little extra touches you can add are a bonus - fluffy towels in the bathroom, fresh flowers on the windowsill or an air freshener in the bathroom - all of these take minimal effort but are very effective in winning over potential buyers.

Make sure your kitchen is clean and sparkling, no one wants to look at a grease-laden oven or dirty fridge so make sure you thoroughly scrub all kitchen appliances. It is a good idea to de-clutter your kitchen, especially if small, to keep it looking spacious and orderly. It's always a bonus if buyers can imagine their things in space of yours so leave them the opportunity to do so.

Think about what you'd like to see in a potential home, if you were looking for a property to buy that was covered in dust and unclean, it would be a serious turn-off. Give your house a good spring clean, dust everything, give all carpets a thorough hoover, polish mirrors and wipe down windows and doors to get rid of any grubby finger-prints.

Finally, take a critical look at your home and fix any DIY jobs you've put off doing - fill in any cracks in walls, replace broken light bulbs and give the spare bedroom a paint. If you have any outlandish colours in your house it's best to replace them with neutral shades; not everyone will have the same taste as you so keeping everything neutral is the safest option. This will allow to the buyers to imagine their own colour schemes.

It's useful to get a friend to look at your house and give their honest opinion on what could do with changing, being replaced or being removed. Take their suggestions into consideration along with the above tips and you should find a prospective buyer in no time.

Ian Grainger is writing on behalf of Shepherd Gilmour, estate agents Manchester.