10 Tips for Preparing to Sell Your Home

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A row of houses. 10 Tips for preparing your home for sale with Sarah Beeny
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Spring is a great time to look at getting all those jobs done around the house that have been accumulating over winter. I’ve got plenty to be getting on with. I need to do some work on our brick shed, get the roof looked at before winter and there is still lots of work to do in the garden to pretty it up a bit.

But Spring is also that time of year when many people take the plunge and put their property on the market. I wrote about my obsession with the property market and checking the property portals not so long ago. When I checked our area last week, I was amazed to see just how many new properties had appeared.  It’s like the area literally comes to life and suddenly there is all this new activity with people buying and selling, downsizing and upgrading. It’s an exciting time of year.

So today I wanted to share some really useful and practical advice with you, just in case you too are thinking of moving house and will soon be putting your home on the market. As obsessed as I am with the property market, I’m certainly no expert. Our flat is the first place we’ve ever owned so we’ve never actually had the pleasure (or maybe the stress is more accurate) of selling a property.

So I’ve consulted trusted property guru and TV presenter Sarah Beeny. Sarah has presented a great many TV shows that deal with navigating the property market including Property Ladder, Help! My House is Falling Down, Sarah Beeny’s Selling Houses, Double Your House for Half the Money, Sarah Beeny’s How to Sell your Home and Sarah Beeny’s Streets Ahead. She is also the founder of the popular online estate agent Tepilo. What this lady doesn’t know about property seriously isn’t worth knowing!

So I asked Sarah for her top 10 tips for preparing to sell your home. What are the main things that we should be looking to do to our homes to make them more attractive to buyers? What issues could jeopardise a sale? And where should we be investing our money for a quick and easy sale at the best possible price? Let’s see what Sarah has to say!

Swoonworthy blog front patio makeover. 10 tips for preparing your home for sale - give it curb appeal
Photo by Kimberly Duran of Swoonworthy Blog

1. Give it curb appeal

First impressions count, so make sure the outside of your house looks amazing. Give your front door a lick of paint and make sure all your windows are clean and sparkling. De-weed your front garden and driveway and put some pretty potted flowers and plants out.

It’s so easy to focus solely on the interior when preparing to sell your home as that is where we spend the most time. But for a potential buyer, the outside is at least equally important. If, after viewing your home online, a buyer should decide to view it in person, having a shabby, neglected exterior won’t fill them with confidence about the state of the inside. You want to give the impression that your home has been lovingly looked after and is well kept. Sarah’s suggestions are a simple way to make sure that any potential buyers get a good feeling as they approach your home. Check out how Kimberly Duran of Swoonworthy transformed her front garden here.

Faulty Roof. 10 Tips for preparing your home for sale
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2. Fix any faults

If you’ve got anything that needs attention – like missing roof tiles or cracked guttering – then get it sorted before putting your house on the market. Issues like this put potential buyers off, and you don’t want something to come up in the survey that could scupper your sale or knock money off your sale price.

Faults like Sarah has mentioned here will only serve to put further doubts in the mind of the buyer. A faulty roof or cracked guttering could lead to much more serious issues. Any leaks could cause a great amount of damage in a short time and fixes for water ingress can prove costly. You don’t want to leave potential buyers worrying about hidden damage they may have to fix further down the line.

Green Smoke India Yellow Wimborne White paint from Farrow & Ball
Photo c/o Farrow & Ball

3. Spruce up your decor

Give the interior of your home a fresh lick of paint to make it feel loved and fresh. New paintwork can transform a house and take it from fab to drab with minimal spend.

When preparing to sell your home, taking the time to paint the inside is money well spent. As Sarah says, it doesn’t cost much but it will give your home a lovely fresh appearance. Buyers will see that your home is ready to move into and doesn’t need too much work. Of course the colours you choose may not be to their personal preference but as long as the paint is fresh and new they will be able to live with it for a short while before putting their own stamp on the place. If you need some decorating tips, check out this post packed full of advice from Farrow & Ball’s Director Sarah Cole.

Declutter. 10 Tips for preparing your home for sale
Photo by Sophia Baboolal on Unsplash

4. Declutter and clean

A clean, uncluttered house is a must when it comes to selling. My advice would be to hire a great cleaning company to come and do a one-off deep clean ahead of any viewings so nothing is missed. And throw away or hide your clutter – you want to make your house feel as spacious and attractive as possible.

It’s important to let potential buyers see your home in its best light. They don’t want to see all your personal belongings everywhere so help them see past that by removing as much as you can. Put some of your stuff in storage if necessary and only have the essentials out on display. Once you have decluttered it should also be a lot easier to keep clean and tidy for viewings. If you need tips on decluttering you may want to read this post where I interviewed professional organiser and declutterer Jasmine Sleigh.

Curate and Display kitchen makeover. 10 tips for preparing your home for sale - Update your kitchen
Photo by Tiffany Grant-Riley of Curate and Display

5. Give your kitchen some love

Kitchens really can sell houses, so make sprucing yours up a priority. Unless it’s in a really bad way, then work with what you have. You can completely transform a kitchen by installing new worktops and kitchen doors, whilst avoiding the cost of replacing your units. New tiles and flooring can also have a similar effect and really help bring a kitchen up-to-date.

Unless your kitchen is falling apart there is very little point installing a new one if you plan to move home. There is so much you can do to update an old kitchen and make it look much more appealing. When we did our kitchen makeover we changed the tiles and worktop, moved the existing cupboards and added some new ones, gave it a lick of paint and it was transformed. Small changes that don’t require a huge budget will definitely help you win over those potential buyers. If you need some more inspiration, take a look at how Tiffany Grant-Riley from Curate & Display updated her existing kitchen here.

Small Bathroom - tips for preparing to sell your home
Our bathroom makeover transformed our small bathroom from a grotty hole to bright and shiny space

6. Update your bathroom

Bathrooms, like kitchens, can make or break the overall look of a house, so give your bathroom an update by hiding any unsightly pipework, repairing or replacing worn tiling, cleaning your grout and investing in some stylish new taps that will bring it bang-up-to-date.

When we bought our flat our bathroom was disgusting. There were broken tiles on the walls, a poorly fitted vinyl floor, a really old shower and the grout was so grubby. It looked really unappealing and off putting. You don’t want potential buyers to have these thoughts when they look at your bathroom. Again, no need to rip the whole thing out, but a few small changes as Sarah suggests will transform your bathroom on a budget.

Karen Knox of Making Spaces Loft Bedroom Conversion. 10 Tips for preparing your home for sale - bring in natural light
Photo by Karen Knox of Making Spaces

7. Make the most of natural light

No one wants to live in a gloomy, stuffy house, so making the most of the natural light that streams into your property is a must. Make sure windows aren’t obstructed by outside bushes or plants and pull your curtains right back to let as much light in as possible. If you’ve got blinds or shutters, open them before any viewings.

You want any potential buyers to see your home in its best light (pun intended) so following Sarah’s advice above is a sure fire way to ensure that your home comes across as bright and airy as possible. Just check out all the natural light flooding into the loft bedroom of Karen Knox from Making Spaces.

The garden of Carole King of Dear Designer Blog - tips for preparing to sell your home
Photo by Carole King of Dear Designer

8. Make your garden beautiful

A great garden is something most buyers want, so make yours look it’s best by de-weeding, mowing your lawn and trimming back plants and bushes. Give all exterior woodwork and paving a good clean too – a pressure washer can transform a dirty surface in minutes – and brighten everything up with lots of potted plants and flowers.

Gardens can make or break a sale. There aren’t many buyers who specifically don’t want a garden so it pays to make the most of the outdoor space you have. Buyers want to see a well kept garden rather than an overgrown mess. Carole from Dear Designer has one of the loveliest gardens I’ve seen and seeing a space like this would have me wanting to move in straight away.

9. Get things in order

Make sure you have your boiler serviced and chimney swept, as these are the types of things buyers will ask for. And get all your paperwork in check – think warranties and anything building regulations-related – as your buyer’s solicitors will ask for them and you don’t want to slow the process down by not having them to hand or having to get replacement copies.

Boring but practical. When you move into a new house you want to know as much as possible about the property that you have purchased so it’s only right that buyers will want to have all the necessary paperwork that relates to their new home. Take Sarah’s advice and get it all in order early on in the process.

The Design Sheppard Nautical Garden makeover
My nautical garden makeover makes our garden feel like an outdoor room

10. Create the dream

Finally, create the dream! People buy into certain lifestyles, which tend to match the seasons. Right now, everyone’s thinking about summer, so help buyers see how they can enjoy long summer’s days in your house. If you’ve got doors leading out to the garden, make a feature of them and open them up to bring the outside in. Some gorgeous garden furniture and a BBQ outside will also help to make the garden feel like an extension of the house, so it’s a worthwhile investment. Alternatively, in winter, it’s all about cosiness, so put the heating on full blast and if you’ve got a fire or burner, get it going ahead of viewings.

For the past two summers we’ve had so many lovely comments from friends and family on our garden. Apart from the fantastic views we have and the fact that it is south facing, people always tell us what a great space it is. Almost like an outdoor living room. It has completely changed our lifestyle and should we ever decide to move I’d make sure that we really made the most of this space to entice potential viewers. Like Sarah says, choose the best area of your home and really make the most of it to sell the lifestyle that those buyers are looking for. If you have an amazing kitchen, make it feel like a great space for entertaining, if your bathroom is particularly attractive make it feel more like a relaxing spa. Get people thinking of life they could lead if they lived in your house.

I’m going to leave you with this short recap from Sarah herself.

So there you have it guys. Sarah Beeny’s 10 tips for preparing your home for sale! What do you think? Are there any there you hadn’t thought of? And as a potential buyer, which ones are most important to you? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to pin this post for future reference!

10 tips for preparing your home for sale with advice from property guru Sarah Beeny

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  • Certainly it is the most difficult task because you have to prepare and make your home look as good as possible because a buyer will notice every single spot until he satisfy.

  • This is some really good information about decluttering. It is good to know that you should have your home look really clean. It does seem like that would make your home seem more comfortable.

  • What a great post! It’s so important to make sure your home is in the best condition before putting it on the market. Fixing faults is an essential step! And I think you’re right about making the most of natural light – it can have such an impact on how big and fresh a particular space looks.

  • These are great tips Stacey! Love this post! Curb appeal is always one so simple yet many just happen to forget. For me it immediately creates a big impact! Loved seeing Kimberly’s simple transformation! x

  • What a useful post for anyone currently thinking of putting their house on the market – this time of year does tend to be a good time to do so. I’m sure your outdoor area would be a big selling point.

  • So many great tips! We did loads before putting our house on the market and I do think it was one of the reasons it sold so quickly. It’s so easy to stop ‘seeing’ all the problems you live with on a day-to-day basis but when you are selling, you really need to think about it from a buyer’s perspective! Thanks so much for including our tile makeover too – so many good examples in this post! xxx

    • That is so true Kimberly. It’s hard to see the issues if you live with them every day. I can’t believe we lived with our kitchen with the tiles ripped off for over a year! No idea how I did than now but I guess we stopped seeing it after a while. Your house sold quickly as it was amazing!!!! I want my steps and porch to look as good as your front patio did!

  • Excellent tips and I’m going to send this to my sister as she is selling her North London flat at the moment. Plenty of sound advice! Especially about that entrance and approach – you’re selling a lifestyle not just a house.

  • Brilliant tips and I’m always shocked when people think a house will just sell itself. These will at least provide food for thought for those looking to up their game when selling. Great post!

  • Such great advice.. When we bought our house I didn’t really care about what state the house was in, but I am pretty much hands on and love a project.. it’s surprising how many people would not buy a house if the decor wasn’t right.. but I agree the kitchen and bathroom should be in good order as that’s two things people always look for!!

  • Stacey I love the property market too I also love Sarah Beeney! I was obsessed with watching Property Ladder in my younger years! I love the spaces that are daring with colour … the room by Farrow and Ball just looks divine! Great Post!

  • What a great post! So many useful tips here – I really don’t think you can underestimate the ‘first impression’ effect. It’s hard to change someone’s opinion if their very first impression isn’t a good one. Curb appeal is everything!

  • Great article, Stacey. You’ve made me cast a really critical eye over our home, even though we’re not thinking of selling at the moment!