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Preparing your house for sale

The housing market has changed

Selling your house used to be a simple case of putting the property on the market and waiting for it to be snapped up. In fact people were often advised not to bother redecorating as most new owners would want to redecorate anyway in their own style. However, things have changed - the housing market has slowed down and buyers have become more fussy.

Research commissioned by the Alliance & Leicester Building Society suggests that 80% of buyers want a property which requires little or no decorating. If your property is looking a little tired, you are effectively putting off four out of five buyers. Now that's a scary thought.

Those wishing to sell their houses must beat the competition. It's no longer the case that buyers will accept poor décor and unmodernised kitchens - everything must be right. Whilst location will attract people to view in the first place, it is presentation which will help to turn interest into firm offers.


You don't get a second chance to create a first impression. Most buyers make up their minds about the place within 10 seconds of walking through the door.

But you don't want to get too carried away with your improvements. Many will not raise the value of your property as much as the cost of the work. However, even work which doesn't increase the value of the property may help to speed up the sale. Remember, if something needs doing then the new owner will have to do it if you don't - and chances are they won't be prepared to. So if your kitchen is desperate for replacement or even just a face lift, then you'd better do it unless you're prepared to wait until you find a buyer who is prepared to tackle the work.

Home staging

Homestaging is the process of getting your house ready to sell by making sure the presentation is the best it could be. There are several companies selling makeover services, and there is also lots of free advice on the Internet.

See also the FAQs page of the Property Coach for a good overview of what is involved in house staging and why it could benefit you to do it.
Property Coach FAQ page

Alternatively you can learn how to do home staging yourself using the Internet, books or e-books.

There are many resources to help you

Channel 4 Selling Houses

The Channel 4 series selling houses website is very helpful with a large amount of resources, such as detailed information on how to present various rooms. Although there are several clerical errors on their website (such as repeated paragraphs and items apparently in the wrong place) this website is well worth a look.
Channel 4 Selling Houses website

There is also a book to accompany the series: Selling Houses: How to sell your house as quickly as you can for as much money as you can. This is an interesting and useful book and worth buying. However, if you're counting the pennies there's plenty of free information on their website (link above).
Buy Selling Houses through Amazon UK

The BBC website also contains a vast amount of information and resources for anyone buying, selling, or moving house. It covers everything from DIY projects to house price information.
BBC: Property

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