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First impressions count
According to a recent survey by Rightmove, a whopping 29 per cent of househunters have made up their mind before they've even set foot inside the house - so the first impression has to be good.
That means fixing broken fences or hanging guttering, mowing the lawn, and cutting back messy hedges. If possible, paint peeling front doors and window frames and ditch rusty swing sets or dead plants to make your home seem inviting rather than neglected.
De-clutter and design
While you may ensure your house is clean and tidy before a viewing, you'll have little chance of bagging a buyer if the property seems cluttered. Stacked books, mantelpieces and shelves overloaded with ornaments and floors strewn with children's toys are a turn-off for many buyers, even if what lies beneath is the perfect property.
If you are struggling to find a buyer, take a fresh look at your home without all those emotional attachments, and declutter. For those who don't have the space to store without filling cupboards to bursting (remember, your potential buyer might just have a peek), consider paying for storage or utilise a friend's garage.
That being said, empty rooms are also unlikely to show your home in its best light. With the clutter temporarily relocated, ensure that each room has a purpose, whatever that might be, and display furniture and accessories accordingly.
Fix it up
In these tough financial times, many will have put off DIY jobs and unessential repairs, but major problems will only push the price of your house down and give buyers a reason to look elsewhere.
Fixing the big things will obviously pay dividends when it comes to getting your asking price, but don't forget to check for leaky taps, half-finished DIY jobs and worn carpets.
And when it comes to giving your home a freshen up, try to stick to a reasonably neutral basic colour scheme to create a flow throughout the property. Do, however, try to keep a focal point within each room, whether that be a feature wallpapered wall, a fireplace or artwork so as not to give that bland, 'new-build' impression.
While we'd all like to think we can see a property's 'potential', having it displayed makes it all the easier for buyers to imagine just what they could do. For vendors, that may mean the odd little upgrade to give your home a possible advantage over others the viewers may have seen. It doesn't have to cost the earth either - a curtain pole as opposed to a plastic track, shower screen instead of curtain, even new and luxurious cushions or bed linen might just catch the eye of your buyer. So don't just leave it to their imagination - show them just how good their new home could look.
Are you currently househunting? What are your biggest property turn-offs? Leave your comments below...