In the previous blog post we covered how you can declutter and get rid of unwanted items as clean and tidy houses sell more easily. This means either selling unwanted items, giving them away or throwing them out legally. By doing this you are making a start on the process of getting your house ready for prospective buyers to view your property.
Getting rid of junk and unwanted items has to come first as you need to make some space. The next step is to make your house sparklingly clean and tidy and keep it that way.
Outside and kerb appeal
First impressions matter, so think about how your house looks as the potential buyer parks up and walks to your front door. This is called kerb appeal and can affect the impression people take away with them after the viewing.
Therefore the front of your house is a good place to spend a little extra time and money. Plant flowers, trim bushes, weed, pick up leaves, repaint your front door, replace tarnished house numbers or a rusty letterbox, get a brand-new neutral doormat and park your old car somewhere else. Also clean windows and sills. If your gutters are blocked get them cleaned out too.
Also be aware that your neighbourhood is an influence. While resident’s committees aren’t common in this country, some unofficial clean up and tidy of the local area will also help that first impression.
Although tempting sometimes, asking immediate neighbours to tidy up their house fronts too might be a step too far unless you have very good relationships – tread very carefully!
Hallway and living rooms
Make sure the hallway is well lit and inviting. The flooring is important so make sure carpets or hard floors are as clean as they can be. If people remove shoes, leave keys or post in this area then make sure these items have proper places to be stored.
Tidying these items away completely is not realistic if you are still living in the house. Also people need to imagine living a real house rather than a show home.
Again you should clean carpets / floors. The walls should also be cleaned with a mild detergent or something odourless such as bicarbonate of soda.
Where you have curtains, blinds or net curtains you should get these cleaned professionally.
Your TV, audio visual equipment should also be dusted with cables stored neatly or out of sight if possible. Your media such as CDs, DVDs and records should be stored neatly and out of sight if possible.
Look at your selection of ornaments, decorations and pictures objectively and be prepared to remove anything that might be a little too personal or quirky. Again, you need to try to capture the imagination of potential buyers and not distract them with anything unusual.
If you have pets, (particularly dogs, but cat hair can get everywhere) then make sure all odours are minimised and hair is removed.
We’re not big fans of plugin odour control or other smellies unless you can find something that is subtle.
You should clean your kitchen cabinets and walls with a mild soap solution as this will cut through the grease. This should also get rid of any persistent odours from cooking.
A mild vinegar solution is very effective at restoring the shine on chrome taps as it dissolves the calcium carbonate deposit that causes the discoloration.
Oven cleaning is a time-intensive task, but a small amount of bicarbonate of soda can go a long way. Add bicarbonate of soda to water in a spray bottle and you’ve got your own handy oven-cleaning solution. You just need to spray the solution on the interior surfaces of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Leave overnight and wipe clean the next day. If any soda remains, spray with vinegar to remove it.
Bedrooms should have the same cleaning checklist as the other rooms: floors, curtains, cupboards and beds. Children’s bedrooms should have enough storage so toys can be put away but there will be a little more leeway allowed for children’s rooms as long as the general state of fixtures, fittings walls and floors is sound.
Toilets and bathrooms
Toilets and bathrooms are important rooms. Chrome fixtures and fittings should sparkle – use mild vinegar solution again; tile grouting should be clean – use specialist sprays or mild bleach solutions but be very careful about inhaling the mist.
Toilets should be immaculate: stain free, odour free and with replacements seats (well worth £15 to £30). Again it’s a personal choice but we don’t like coloured flushing water or anything that hides the state of the bowl as it arouses suspicion. Bleach or similar products are good with a subtle fragrance if possible.
The garden is important. Lawns, hedges and bedding should be cut,weeded and tidied. The patio paving slabs should be cleaned (power washers are useful here) with no weeds.
Get rid of any rubbish or broken garden toys or furniture.
All the time invested in these very simple actions will help sell your house quicker and nearer the asking price.