Tips to sell your home

When a potential buyer walks through your front door first impressions will count, especially now that we have entered a new phase of house price uncertainty. Therefore it is vital that you ensure that you present your home in the best possible light. Moving house is a stressful experience but by following some simple tips you will improve the chances of your home being sold at a realistic price, and ease some of the anxiety.

Firstly, it is important to plan the viewings. Be firm with your estate agent and tell them to give you plenty of notice of viewing appointments. Remember when potential buyers walk through the front door they are not your friends, don't feel compelled to offer drinks or chat too much, and definitely don't be pushy. The prospective buyer will get their first impression as they approach your front door, so it is important that the exterior of the property is pleasing to the eye.

Tidy the garden, drive and footpath, make sure that your windows are clean and if required, put a lick of paint on your front door. If you have children then clear away toys, including those in the garden and on the patio. If you own pets arrange for friends or neighbors to have them before a viewing, or better still for a whole week so that you can eliminate their odor. They may be your best furry friends, but not everyone is so keen on little critters and overpowering animal smells could put off prospective purchasers. Masking bad smells with air 'fresheners' may also back fire, especially if the artificial odors are too perfumed. Remove clutter from all rooms in the house, especially the entrance and the main living area.

Put all unnecessary junk out of sight, perhaps in the loft. If you have a coat stand or hooks, remove half the coats. Little touches also help, especially in the bathroom. First make sure it is sparkling clean and nasty odors are eliminated by giving it a good airing before your viewers arrive and lay out a matching set of bathroom towels that complements the room's decor. Remove hairs and other unsightly items from the sinks and plug holes. Remember to make the beds, and for small rooms ensure light colored bed linen is on display.

Put away family photos before viewings, purely because it helps de-personalize the property and allow others to see it as a potential home rather than as your home. Although redecoration isn't always necessary, consider giving a face lift to dated kitchens by replacing or painting the cupboard doors and keep things as neutral as possible so that buyers can see their furniture in the house; avoid black or brightly colored walls. Finally, although it may sound like a cliché, buy fresh flowers because they look and smell great, but forget putting fresh coffee on the boil - that is an overused cliché!.

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