The property market is more competitive than ever, with buyers having plenty of choice. Therefore, whether you’re selling a two up – two down terrace or a 5 x bedroom detached house, you have to be honest with yourself and ask the question ‘if I was a potential buyer, would I really aspire to live here?’
If the answer is an honest NO, then you have a little work to do to make it not just functional and clean – but attractive and appealing too.
OK, you have done the obvious things like remove all unnecessary clutter and rubbish. You have removed all the kids toys from the front room, hallway and landing so it doesn’t resemble a creche. This is all good because people can now see all the space that’s actually available.
However, if you take the attitude that ‘painting the walls or fixing up that tired kitchen or bathroom is ‘something the new owners can do and enjoy’ then don’t expect to sell quickly or command the best possible asking price. Even if the price has been reduced to take into account tired and worn décor, most people forget this and will still be turned off by the exterior and interior impression they get of your home – and as they say, ‘first impressions are the lasting impressions and the ones that really matter!’
If like many of us you are lacking imagination and ideas, when it comes to creating the right ambience, you can get some tips on what will appeal by looking at houses on the market that are similar to your own - online. Also, nip out to your newsagents and buy some home-interest magazines to fire up your imagination. The little touches can go a very long way.
We are not suggesting throwing thousands and thousands of pounds at your home OR going for a wacky ‘Changing Rooms’ colour scheme. We are talking about investing some of your time or that of a local, recommended odd-job man / tradesman and a ‘sensible’ modest outlay. A good, local odd-job / trades person generally charges around £100 to £150 a day plus materials. This investment will make all the difference in both curb appeal and making a clean but sad interior chic and attractive.
For example, to re-paint the exterior of a semi can cost between £250 / £350 plus paint. This along with tidying up the front garden and the purchase of a few planters and hanging baskets, adds a vast amount of curb appeal, creating a positive impression before potential purchasers have even ventured through the front door.
Painting out the front room and entrance hallway is probably three day’s work or two for a tradesperson at a cost of £200 to £300 plus paint and materials. Dress with a few nice pictures and a cheap rug to perhaps disguise that well worn hallway carpet and you have created a very different feel. This is most important since the entrance hall is very much an introduction to your home - it being the first thing anybody will see!
If you can afford a little time before your put your home on the market, the kitchen and bathroom(s) are real deal makers or breakers. If your kitchen is in a bit of a sad state and you really don’t want to spend upwards of £6,000 on new kitchen furniture, there are things you can do. Quite often, the cabinets or carcasses as some people call them, will be serviceable. You can therefore consider changing the doors and drawer fronts if the vinyl door covering is blown, discoloured or chipped. If they’re timber doors, they can be taken off their hinges, sanded, painted and re-installed. If it’s a ‘Formica’ worktop, these can be inexpensively replaced as can tiled splash-backs. For these, there are new one - piece coverings that are smart, easy to install and effectively cover a wall that’s in bad condition and look great once in place. If the floor has seen better days, consider a cheap lino. These few touches, which combined would cost around £450 can make an old, tired kitchen look brand new. If you consider using a good odd-job / tradesman, this budget could climb to £800 but will guarantee a professional, slick finish.
When it comes to the bathroom, change that tired bath panel and definitely remove the carpet! Carpeted bathrooms are unhygienic and a huge turn off for potential buyers! Consider sanding and varnishing / painting the floor - boards or once again, go for a cheap lino or bathroom resistant laminate. New bath and sink taps make’s a vast difference to an old bathroom suite. Total budget £200 to £300 or £500 to £600 using a local trades / odd-job person.
Lastly, you need to appreciate that many people buy into a ‘lifestyle’ so now its time to ‘prop and style’ your cheaply, re- imagined home. Get rid of the kitchen worktop clutter. Go to ‘Ikea’ or ‘Next’ and get a new bread bin and a matching chopping block / knife set, tea towels and mugs. For the bathroom, get some fresh towels, a nice, framed print for the wall and maybe a new mirror and shelf? Such things cost precious little but bring the rooms to life.
OK, in total, you have spent around £1,300 to £1,800 give or take. However, what you get in return will mean that the investment will easily pay for itself in buyer interest, speed of sale and more importantly, the achievement of a much improved asking / sale price.