The value of your home is a meaningless number unless you are trying to sell it. So, if you are looking to get the best price possible for your house, what can you do in a weekend to boost the chances of doing so?
With over 30 years of experience in the residential property market, I can tell you for a fact that there are simple ways to increase the value of your home. And the good news is that it's not all about DIY.
1 - Don't add a room, create a room
When a potential buyer is looking for a house, they are trying to get value for their money, or in other words as much house as possible for their budget.
We all want more space in our homes, so you can use this to your advantage. Instead of waiting until the day you can afford to extend your house, why not create an extra room? Maybe you have an unused space on the landing or under the staircase where you can add seating or a desk to create an 'extra room'. Perhaps you can put seating in a bedroom to increase the use of that space or a comfortable chair in your kitchen.
Make sure you don't clutter your house, so think practically and make sure any furniture fits well with the ambience of the selected space.
2 - Get switched onto lighting
If you want to make your house look great, then you need to really get your lighting sorted out.
Don't just go for a boring centre light hanging from the ceiling, try using spotlights, uplights, and dimmer switches to add that extra touch of luxury to your home (again boosting perceived value for any buyer).
Just putting uplights behind a small corner table, a chair or even the TV will make a dramatic change to the feeling of the room. Check out lighting supplier websites for some innovative ideas for your home.
3 - Get digging for gold
Keeping your garden tidy is a must if you want to add value to your home.
Whether it is summer or winter, there will always be jobs you can do that can help make a difference. After you have done all the back-breaking jobs you can, then start to turn your garden into an extra outside room. Create seating and dining areas which will give the perception of space. Decorate these areas with plants in pots and group these together to create a relaxing and interesting space. Add lighting and running water to your garden to add that final 'wow' factor.
You can buy small fountains with built-in lights for even the smallest space, or you can use solar lights if you have no access to external power.
4 - Get creative with your kitchen
Take a critical look at your kitchen and view it from a prospective buyer's viewpoint.
Is it too cluttered with kitchen appliances, or are the cabinets looking tired? To improve the look of your kitchen, put any appliances not used on a daily basis out of sight. Buy a plastic box and place all these items in it, and store it away in a cupboard or maybe under the stairs. You can retrieve these items quickly when you need to use them.
If your cabinets look tired then consider painting them in a vibrant colour instead of replacing them, this will bring your kitchen to life. Remember you are selling the dream of dinner parties and social status, not just a house.
5 - Create a sense of demand
House prices adhere to the basic rules of supply and demand. So be smart, and boost the perceived sense of demand by speaking to your agent and arranging an open house or block viewings. Estate agents play this trick all the time. Interested buyers will be inclined to make a higher offer to outdo the competition, perceived or otherwise, helping you sell your house for £10,000s more.
6 - Reconnaissance
Give your agent a call and ask for plenty of details on your prospective buyer before they visit your property. You can then showcase your home while emphasising the elements that will appeal to each buyer. No two viewings should be the same, as no two buyers are the same.
7 - Learn to sell
The truth is you know your home better than anyone else and are best positioned to sell it, so make sure you do all the viewings.
Now learn the following default viewing technique, which you can adapt as you see fit:
- Welcome your guests. Offer them a set of details and explain that you will take them through the house showing each room in turn. You will then leave them to spend as much time as they need to look at the house on their own. Finally, you will answer any questions that they may have.
- Start with the lounge, as this is the main living space and a key room.
- Next, move into the kitchen as this is the second most important room to any buyer.
- Then move through the remaining rooms downstairs, starting with the biggest rooms and finishing with the downstairs cloakroom, if available.
- Next, show all the rooms upstairs starting with the main bedroom and finishing with the bathroom and toilet.
- Finally, move to the garden and any outbuildings.
8 - Storage, storage, storage
Every home needs storage space - the more the merrier. Check out furniture websites for some innovative ideas for storage. It's worth spending a small amount of money to maximise the storage area in your home. Tidy up your existing storage space and you will be surprised how much space you already have. The more clean lines viewers can see, the greater their perception of space and therefore value for money they are getting. The better the value, the more likely they are to put in a higher offer.
9 - Don't decorate, un-decorate
Over the years we collect items to decorate our homes, an ornament here or a picture there. You love all these items, but sometimes we don't take a step back and take a critical look at each room. Maybe it's time to remove some of these items to give rooms a fresh look and create a feeling of space. You don't need to throw away these items - you can just store them in your loft.
10 - Buy some rugs
If you feel your carpets are looking tired, then instead of replacing them, just buy some nice rugs. Adding a rug to a room will give a feeling of warmth and can add a modern twist that will lift the whole room.
11 - It's curtains!
Curtains and blinds can transform a room with little effort. If you shop wisely, you can pick up keenly-priced curtains or blinds that can be easily installed in a couple of hours. Choose heavier curtains in living areas to provide a more luxurious look and lighter curtains in darker rooms to let in more light.
12 - Smell it!
Every home has a particular smell, good or bad. Having a bad odour in your home can put off prospective buyers or even your regular visitors. Everybody gets used to the smells in their own home, but you need to make sure that smell is not off-putting to visitors. Candles, plug-ins and incense sticks are readily available to fill your home with seasonal aromas and provide a more luxurious feel to your rooms.