Setting The Stage To Sell – Presenting Your Property Professionally

Date Published 02 June 2016

At Taylor Cox we believe that first impressions count, which is why we have teamed up with the wonderful and talented Claire Parrack of Clarify Interiors:

Buyers make up their minds in the first few minutes of a viewing whether they are interested in putting in an offer, so follow these tips to help make your property stand out from the crowd and sell fast and for the best possible price.

The property market these days is like internet dating – full of 'armchair browsers' who choose what they want to know more about purely on the basis of what they instantly like the look of online. You are selling a dream and a lifestyle – so it pays to make sure yours is the home they fall in love with. How much does ‘staging for sale' cost? A lot less than having to drop your asking price if potential buyers aren't instantly interested!

1. Declutter
Buyers will be looking for more space – they need to see that your property has plenty of room to store their own ‘stuff'. Pack away anything that creates visual clutter – that's too many ornaments, the collection of fridge magnets, piles of toys and excess pieces of furniture. Tidy worktops, tables and open shelves too. You're moving anyway so it makes sense to start packing (and throwing unnecessary things away!) now to create that much-desired feeling of space and calm. A sort-out session with a professional organiser like Clarify Interiors can help you kick-start the process and is a better investment than putting off clutter-clearing by bunging it all into expensive self-storage.

2. De-Personalise – but don't neutralise
Help a buyer to visualise themselves living in your home by removing any overly personal items such as family photos, children's drawings, holiday souvenirs and mementoes – they all give a powerful message 'This is MY home'.
Family photos are fine in the bedroom but keep them to a tasteful minimum. Too many personal items on show makes it hard for a buyer to imagine their own possessions in your home. But don't make it so bland prospective buyers won't even want to look – create focal points that make it memorable for the right reasons! Aim for a look that has instant broad appeal right across your ‘target audience' ie the buyer who will want the style of property you are selling, whether it's young professionals, a family moving up the housing ladder or someone downsizing to a smaller property.

3. 'Come on in' kerb appeal
Potential buyers will often do a ‘drive by' before deciding to arrange a viewing so creating 'kerb appeal' is vital.
Tidy the garden, repaint the front door if necessary, make sure that curtains are symmetrical and windowsills are free of clutter.
Add some colourful plants in pots or hanging baskets by the front door. In other words, make your property look as instantly inviting and welcoming as possible so potential buyers want to come in and see more.

4. Entrancing entrances
Once you've got them through the front door buyers need to instantly feel ‘at home'. Help them literally 'see' themselves in your home by placing a mirror in the hallway - this will also help introduce additional light into what is often the darkest part of the house.
Remove all coats, shoes and sports bags from this area – a cluttered hallway can set a buyer into thinking that there isn't enough storage space in the property

5. Do that DIY - now!
Any unfinished DIY jobs ring alarm bells for potential buyers as they send a subliminal message that your property could be ‘maintenance heavy' and will alert them to look out for other outstanding jobs, which they could use against you to negotiate a lower price – that's if they don't decide to pass your property by for a more appealing prospect.

6. Clean till it gleams
It can't be stressed enough that a spotless home always creates a good impression and reinforces the message that the property is well maintained. Clean the kitchen, bathroom and loo until they sparkle, polish the windows and make sure that the home smells fresh - pet and smoke odours are big turnoffs for buyers. To create a bright and fresh atmosphere it helps to turn the lights on and have plants or fresh flowers in most rooms for viewings.

7. Define the space
If you've got three bedrooms they must be presented as three bedrooms – not two bedrooms and a box room with no obvious function other than to store clutter. And if you've got a sitting room and a separate dining area they need to be presented as such and should not be seen a living room-cum-kids' playroom or ironing room. Buyers are aspirational and need to be shown the lifestyle they could lead if they were to move into your property, which is likely to include entertaining – even if the usual mealtime reality is more likely to be TV dinners than dinner parties!

8. Redecorate where necessary
It can be a stretch of the imagination to spend time and money on a property that you're about to leave, but a neutrally decorated, well-presented and inviting property will add thousands to your asking price and optimise your prospects of achieving it.

9. Set the stage to sell
If you really want to see your property through the eyes of someone else take photos of each room from different angles and then take a cold hard look at them. It will be pretty obvious what needs to change. Today's buyers are attracted to clean, bright, clutter-free, co-ordinated and spacious environments with aesthetic appeal. Buy a few interiors magazines as they give good examples of what people find attractive today. You'll also see how good accessorising can enhance the look and feel of a room. Depersonalising doesn't mean dullness - attractive focal points in each room will make your property memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. Creating a sense of ‘flow' between rooms, eg with linking accent colours in master bedroom and ensuite, will also add ‘buyer appeal'.

10. Mentally move out
This is perhaps the most important piece of advice. You've decided to move so do all you can to help yourself achieve a quick and profitable sale. Remember, living in a property that is for sale is not the same as living in a home you've settled in so don't worry if the new look of your property is not to your taste – it doesn't matter, you're moving out anyway! And hard as it may be to live in an uncluttered 'show home' it's not for ever, and the more effort your put in the quicker you will reap the rewards with a sale at the best price - giving you more to invest in your new home. Present your property to show off its full potential and you can soon look forward to creating your own personalised space again, just as YOU like it, in your next home.

If you would like the professional help of Taylor Cox and Claire of Clarify Interiors then call The Property Specialists on 01993 835588