Spring has sprung and for many, it’s our favourite season. Longer days of sunnier, warmer weather and an abundance of life, whether it’s spring lambs in the farmer’s fields, a sea of yellow daffodils or new buds on the trees. We also know it’s famous for something the majority of us will find ourselves doing – the annual spring clean!
There’s no denying a spring clean is good for everyone, but it’s particularly beneficial for those who may be thinking of selling or renting their home as it’s the perfect time to make sure it’s looking its best for potential viewings.
We all know the phrase ‘first impressions count’ and when it comes to your house this couldn’t be more true. Most potential buyers and tenants form their first impressions within seconds of walking through the front door, so there are several things you can do to ensure your house stands out from the crowd in those all-important first few seconds.
So, grab that paintbrush and/or garden strimmer and let’s explore what you can do this spring to ensure your house is ready for when you come to put it on the market.
What to do inside your home to prepare it for sale
We’ve prepared a list of spring cleaning tips and advice on what you can do inside your home to help get it ready to put on the market.
One of the simplest ways to increase the saleability or rentability (and sometimes price or rental income) of your property is to have a clear out. Presenting a property to potential buyers and tenants in as clean and uncluttered condition as possible can have significant benefits on how quickly you find a buyer or tenant. Decluttering can seem like a daunting task, but we’ve got some top tips to help you out.
Our Top Tips
1. Adopt the ‘6 month rule’ – if you’ve not used or worn it in the last six months, consider whether you need to keep it. Make exceptions for seasonal items.
2. Declutter one room at a time, focusing on the key rooms in the house such as the kitchen and living room. Be determined, ruthless and organised. Decide what you definitely want to keep, but temporarily remove it from the house for selling purposes.
3. The loft or garage are not the places to put borderline items. Remember this is about getting ready to move. “Is it coming with you?” is the question to ask.
4. Avoid asking others for their opinion on what to keep or remove. Instead have the courage of your convictions.
5. There are several worthy recipients of any items you decide to remove. Charity shops are always looking for good stock – it’s much better to let some make use of it than throw it away. You could sell items online via sites such as eBay, Shpock or Facebook Marketplace or offer them to family and friends. If you have larger items that you wish to keep but want to temporarily remove for the purpose of viewings, use a storage firm.
6. It’s important to try to make this as fun as possible so put on your favourite music. This will help keep you upbeat and your momentum going while you’re sorting through everything. Also remember it’s good physical exercise so you’ll be burning some calories whilst you sort and is said to be very therapeutic mentally – it’s basically a win-win!
If you really want to take decluttering to the next level, you should look up Marie Kondo. She is a Japanese organising consultant and is a multi-million selling author who has written four books on organising including The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and is also famous for her Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo‘.
Turning decluttering into an art form is certainly a skill, but for most, a simple sort out will do wonders, not just for you, but also the first impression your house gives others.
Add A Lick Of Paint
A fresh coat of paint is guaranteed to brighten up any room in your home and is relatively cheap and easy to do. Going neutral will allow would-be buyers or tenants to visualise both themselves and their belongings living inside.
However, with so many of us now having an eye for interior design and depending how much time you want to put in, there are a variety of ways you can use paint to spruce up your property a little differently so it stands out from the crowd. Online lifestyle company, The Nest, has some great tips on how to use the power of the paintbrush to freshen up your home.
Quick Tip: While you’ve got that paintbrush in your hand don’t forget to give your front door a lick of paint (or at least a clean) and perhaps wash your windows and any guttering – it can make a big difference!
Get down to some DIY
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to get the sledgehammer out and start knocking down walls. Simple, small jobs such as filling cracks in walls or window sills or declogging guttering are not only easy to do, but it’s one less thing your buyer will need to think about once they’ve moved in.
It’s also a good opportunity to get anything that could potentially show up on a survey resolved beforehand.
It’s time to tidy
Ok so you’ve had a major declutter, but day-to-day you need to make sure the house is looking its best, especially when you know you’ll be having viewings. Your estate agent will give you prior notice of any viewings they are carrying out, but to help keep on top of things it’s best to try to keep your house as tidy as you can on a daily basis.
Easier said than done if you have a full house of children and pets I know, but a simple whizz round at the start or end of each day will mean there’s not a major panic to tidy when you get that call about a viewing.
Over the years it’s common for the use of rooms to become blurred, you may have a dining room that resembles more of a children’s play area than a space to relax and unwind over a nice dinner. Now is the perfect time to address this by re-establishing each room in the house with its true purpose – not only is this a good opportunity to make your house appear bigger, but it also makes good financial sense as certain rooms hold a greater perceived value than others. For example, buyers perceive bedrooms to be worth more than offices and dining rooms to be worth more than playrooms.
Top Tips – Living Areas
- Once you’ve redefined the purpose of each room, make sure that any distinctive or character features such as fireplaces or window seating can be fully appreciated.
- Pull back and neatly arrange any curtains or blinds so your house is flooded with as much daylight as possible.
- Remove any large items that could obscure the light.
- Have the windows cleaned, as removing residue on the glass is the biggest single way to increase the light coming into your home and make it appear lighter.
- During viewings make sure all TVs and stereos are turned off throughout the house so it’s not a distraction.
Top Tips – Kitchen
- Clean and polish kitchen surfaces, cupboard doors and handles and any appliances so they are fingermark free and sparkle.
- Declutter worksurfaces and after every meal make sure the sink and draining area is completely clear and the dishwasher is emptied.
- Give the oven and any integrated appliances a proper deep clean – after you’ve done it once just keep on top of it so it doesn’t build up again.
Top Tips – Bathrooms & WC’s
- Clear away as many toiletries, children’s toys and/or medication that can accumulate in the bathroom – think how clean a hotel bathroom is when you arrive at your room. That is what you are aiming for!
- Put out just a couple of clean, dry, folded towels.
- Ensure all bath and shower fittings are limescale free and sparkling.
- Open any windows to clear away any excess moisture and if you have any mould be sure to treat it or if it’s really bad, consider replacing the problematic area of sealant.
The outside is just as important
A spring clean doesn’t just apply to the inside of your home, the outside needs some TLC too. We explore what you can do to ensure you create those all-important first impressions.
Get those green fingers working
Spring is always a hive of activity for gardeners as it’s when gardens start to come back to life after the winter months, making it the perfect time to get your front and rear gardens looking their best.
There are some relatively simple things you can do to make that first impression of your property really count to potential buyers and/or tenants.
Keep the lawn mowed regularly and trim any hedges and bushes so they look neat and tidy. Clear flower beds of any dead or tired-looking plants and replace with new ones. Fill any empty areas with bark chippings, light stones, granite or flint.
If you don’t have any or much lawn, plant pots are a great way to brighten any space and come with an added bonus – you can take them with you when you move!
If you have garden furniture make sure it is set up and give it a good clean, especially if it’s been in storage over the winter months. If the weather is nice, a good tip is to dress the table and light the chiminea or the patio heater if you have them – it will help potential buyers visualise themselves enjoying the outside space.
Who doesn’t love a good jet-wash! Although it’s a messy job, now is most definitely the time to get those patios, decking, paving, steps and PVC fascias sparkling. The winter months can make them incredibly slippery so not only will it look a lot better, it will also be safer for any visitors during viewings.
Garages & Sheds
Make sure sheds are tidy and in good order. If they are looking a bit tired, give them a lick of varnish or paint. The same applies to fences – it’s an easy job and the results can be very rewarding.
Give your garage a once-over and make sure that all internal lighting works and that doors open and shut properly. If you have a car that fits in your garage, tuck it away inside or park it along the road outside. A clear driveway looks much better than a cluttered one – creating the impression of more space is very important. Ensuring your car is not on the driveway is something we always encourage when your marketing photos are taken.
If you have children you’ll no doubt have a trampoline, swing, or other multi-colour toys in the garden. Large items can be left in-situ if in good condition, but anything smaller is best to tidy away in the garage or shed. Similar to the inside of our home it is best to de-personalise this space as much as you can. If you are willing to sell any garden toys such as a swing as part of the house sale, make sure your estate agent is aware so they can let people know whilst on viewings and include it on your Sales Memorandum.
Lighting & Accessories
Making sure your property has adequate outside lighting is a must. Not only does it help illuminate your house, but it’s also good for added security, especially sensor activated floodlights. There are lots of solar light options also available, that look pretty and are also relatively cheap to buy.
Top Tip – remove any lights that may be leftover from Christmas as they’ll date any photos that are taken of your home by your estate agent.
We all have them, but no one particularly wants to see them, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re not overspilling or smell too bad and hide them away if possible. You can buy transfer coverings for them or even bin sheds to put them in so they’re out of sight. It’s especially important to make sure they’re out of view when your estate agent takes photos of your property.
Neighbour’s Garden & Adjoining Areas
No one wants nightmare neighbours so make sure the neighbouring gardens are as neat as possible as potential buyers will be using them as a gauge for what they may be like. Perhaps let your neighbours know you are planning to move and that there will be viewings taking place. If they offer to tidy up their gardens, that’s great news, but if not, perhaps offer to help them give it a tidy or fix any broken fence panels – a good deed will pay off in the long run!
If you literally can’t get away from what your neighbouring property looks like, consider installing blinds on internal windows that look out over your neighbours property to help distract potential buyers.
If your property backs onto communal areas or a public footpath, give them a quick litter pick and make sure any boundary fences and gates are secure and maintained.
Things to consider before a viewing
Once your spring clean, both inside and out, is complete and your property is ready to market, it’s important to remember the following when the viewings start.
Pets aren’t for everyone
We may be a nation of pet lovers, but remember potential buyers may not be, or they could be allergic. Make sure any pets are confined to one room, ideally a utility room or the garden or are removed from the home during viewings by leaving them with a neighbour or family member.
Make sure you neutralise any smells – you will have become accustomed to the smell of your pets, but people visiting will not!
It’s a sad fact, but no matter how cute and cuddly they may be, your pet could actually prove to be a negative distraction to potential buyers.
Smell is a very personal thing and can make all the difference between a successful viewing or not. Smoking, pets, damp, cooking, blocked drains and full bins are definite no-no’s for most people when viewing a property, so make sure you try to eliminate them as much as possible.
However, pleasant odours can work their magic when showing people around, but don’t worry, you don’t need to go out and buy a bread-making oven (although the smell of fresh bread is an absolute winner with everyone)!, by simply buying some fresh flowers, scented candles or diffusers are a simple and cheap way to bring a nice aroma into your home – popular choices include lemon, orange Jasmin, cedar and vanilla. Freshly brewed coffee is also a popular choice.
Also, remember to regularly wash bedding and keep some windows open so the house is ventilated and fresh air can blow through.
With lighter evenings and better weather spring really is the season to make sure your house is looking its absolute best ready for when you come to sell it. The more effort you put in now, will have a big impact on potential buyers and how quickly you may sell.
If you are thinking of moving and would like more information on moving home, please book an appointment with your local branch – during our initial marketing appraisal our expert property professionals will be happy to give you advice tailored to your individual home on how to improve its appearance and hopefully achieve a quicker sale at a higher price.