First impressions count when selling a property. Does your home look tired and tatty, dated and dull? The simple solution might be homestaging. Whether you own a town house, a flat or studio, here is our 10 step guide to help sell your property.
- Do a home audit
Stand back and carry out a “home audit”. Go into each room, then consider how you might improve it. Alternatively, go away for the weekend to clear your mind. When you return, everything that needs to be changed will magically appear. Make a list of the improvements, then come up with a plan for a speedy makeover. Some people take photographs to identify the weak spots, too. Strangely, it is easier to decide what needs to be changed after looking through a few photographs.
- Think like a buyer
Imagine you are the buyer and not the seller. Your priorities will change instantly. Now you are looking for storage space, a place that does not need much work, or somewhere to call home. Consider your target audience, too. Who will buy your property? Young professionals, a growing family, or retirees in search of city life? Tailor your interior to their interests and tastes.
- Ask for advice
The high-risk option is to ask a friend or a member of the family for their opinion. They might simply say: “it looks fine”, but the more truthful will give constructive criticism. That prized trophy you won for gymnastics when you were 12 or that dubiously-tasteful honeymoon present, may need to go into storage or the bin!
- Work the room
Throw out or hide old shoes, boots and coats that are cluttering the hallway. A quick test: if you have not worn that old coat for the past year, donate it to the charity shop. A hallway full of clutter is an instant turn-off for buyers. Instead include a few accent pieces. A modern print on the wall, a console table and some picture frames might be enough. Keep it simple. If you have planning permission for an extension or loft conversion, then leave the plans on the table.
- The perfect ingredients: the kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home. But it is also one of the most expensive rooms to update. New tiles, work surfaces and kitchen units are not cheap to replace. There are a couple of quick solutions:
* Take a practical approach. Paint ageing cupboards, replace old handles, and emulsion over tired walls. Add fashionable kitchen equipment, too. Buy new bowls, plates and cutlery. The sales are a good source for kitchen essentials.
* Search for second-hand designer or ex-display kitchens on Google or eBay. It is surprising what you will find online.
- The ripple effect: bathrooms
The second most challenging room in the house is the bathroom. This will take more time and perseverance. Some industrial-style cleaning will improve the overall look. Polish chrome, clean grout/mirrors and declutter. Brands in vogue at the moment include Kit Kemp , who offer cool shampoos and shower gels.
It is surprising how many prospective buyers open the fridge for a sneak peek inside. Stock the fridge with expensive-looking wines, prosciutto and an Abel and Cole delivery of organic vegetables. Olive oil or unusual pastas will continue the look inside cupboards.
- Read the small print: books
Leave a few books and magazines around the house. Prospective buyers might look through the pages of Kate Perry and Grazia, or Jo Nesbo and GQ. It gives the right impression.
- A brush with the past: painting
Neutral is the best option when painting. In the Nineties everything was beige or magnolia. Today, think white and grey. Talk to your estate agent to find out what is fashionable in your area. A designer’s secret weapon is the feature wall. They are easy, simple and fast to create. Decide which room walls need livening up, then buy a couple of rolls of wallpaper or pots of pain. Trompe l’oeil wallpapers are available on Amazon from about £10 upwards.
- A breath of fresh air
Go beyond freshly baked bread, cut flowers and ground coffee. Scented candles or diffusers all hit the right notes. They may also mask cigarette smells, takeaways or pets. But absolutely no pot pourri. Buyers will think they’ve stepped into a time-warp.
And one for luck
Set the dining table. Include your best plates, glasses and cutlery to produce a sophisticated look. You are creating a snapshot, where the buyer can imagine sitting around with friends and enjoying supper. It’s the aspiration of the perfect home.
Remember the property market is a competitive place. You are not only selling a home but a lifestyle.
- Are you thinking of selling or renting your property? Contact your local Henry & James office on Tel: 020 7235 8861 or search for houses and flats for sale online at henryandjames.co.uk
Top interiors and antique shops for inspiration across south west London:
- Designer’s Guild interiors (020 7351 5775; designersguild.com)
- William Yeoward interiors (020 7349 7828; williamyeoward.com)
- L&B interiors (020 7838 95 92; http://lblondon.com)
- Jamb fireplaces (020 7730 2122; jamb.co.uk)
- Farrow & Ball paint specialists (020 7351 0273; farrow-ball.com)
- Jane Churchill fabrics (020 7244 7427; janechurchill.com)
- Howe antique shop (020 7730 7987; howelondon.com)
- Portuondo antique shop (020 7259 0099; portuondo.com)
- Lamberty antique shop (020 7823 5115; lamberty.co.uk)
- Louise Bradley interiors (020 7589 1442; louisebradley.co.uk)