Thanks to our friends at LDG, an estate agents in the West End for these tips on getting your home ready to sell. They see all kinds of properties for sale in Soho and London's west end and they understand the value of a good exterior when taking clients on viewings.
First impressions count, or so we are often told, but numerous television programs and newspaper articles suggest that the art of selling your home simply involves redecorating rooms, laying new carpets and clearing the clutter. It is therefore easy to neglect the exterior but we have found that many buyers are well into the decision making process before they even step through the front door. The importance of presenting the outside of your home to prospective buyers should not be underestimated. An attractive frontage will add to your home's valuation and can increase your chances of a quicker sale.
Focusing on several exterior areas could help to make the process of selling your property much easier.
Windows and Doors
If your home's window and door frames are peeling or rotten, then any potential buyer may wonder what hidden nasties lurk within - and the last thing that most buyers want is to be carrying out remedial work once they have unpacked. An uncared-for appearance to your home speaks of one thing: the need to spend more money. Ensure that all frames are, at the very least, sanded down and repainted or varnished and that the front door, as the centrepiece of your home, is given a freshening up with a tasteful, neutral colour. (Beware black which can be interpreted to be unwelcoming.) If the window frames are badly rotten and beyond repair, it may be worth investing in complete replacements - the increase in your property's value may help to offset the cost. Replacement crittal windows are a good investment and a great selling point.
Dirty windows are unattractive and, if the viewers don't see the muck from the outside, then they almost certainly will from the inside. Keeping the glass clean is not difficult or expensive; if you genuinely don't have the time to add that sparkle yourself, it may be worth employing a professional window cleaner on a short term basis. If you have sliding sash windows, it may be worth waxing the cords to make sure the slider works efficiently.
Take a moment to stand in front of your property and pay particular attention to the door furniture and outdoor lighting, trying to assess these from a buyer's perspective. If it looks worn or outdated, replace it. Brass handles and letterboxes which won't polish up, house numbers which are fading or outdoor lights which have lost their sparkle are prime candidates for updating. (And if your house doesn't have its name or number prominently displayed, ensure that you add this little touch so that your viewers won't be wondering the street trying to locate you.)
Roof and Gutters
Like keeping the windows clean, investing a little time and money in ridding the roof and gutters of unsightly moss and algae will help to present your home in the best possible light and demonstrate that you have cared for your home. Assume that your viewers will actually know that moss and algae can be extremely damaging to roof tiles, the consequence of which could be a complete reroof. While the situation may not be this bad yet, most viewers won't hang around to find out.
You don't need a front garden that resembles Kew but some basics must be observed here to create pleasing kerbside appeal. Remove all clutter, especially children's outdoor toys and ensure that your wheelie bins are hidden from sight. Dig over any borders to remove weeds, cut the grass, edge the lawn to create a neat finish and sweep the path and drive. Add a few pots (one either side of the front door in particular); you don't need to spend a fortune on plants - perennials are cheap to obtain and produce a crop of attractive flowers, while larger borders, when filled with a wild flower seed mix, look stunning.
Invest for Success
Selling your home can be a frustrating and time-consuming business but by taking care of the exterior of your property and investing a modest amount of money to present it in optimum condition, you can be more confident of achieving that all-important quick sale at the price you desire.