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SAMPLE: Getting your house ready to sell

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SAMPLE: Getting your house ready to sell (a similar post was written for an estate agent at the end of 2016, with several points that they had already identified as being problematic for previous clients)

If having the whole family round at Christmas has made you realise your house is too small, then you won't be the only one! Spring is always a time when more properties are put on the market as people realise it's time to move on, and hopefully spend next Christmas in a bigger place.

But because there's an increase in houses on the market it can be difficult to get yours to sell for the price you want. There's a few things you can do in the colder months before you put your place on the market which will help your house stand out.

De-clutter

Even if you're moving to a bigger place it's a good idea to have a clear out. You might like that your bedroom is stuffed with three wardrobes full of clothes, but it can make the room look smaller and put off potential buyers. You may have every kitchen gadget under the sun, but a cluttered look will make it difficult for other people to imagine themselves cooking or eating there.

Go through each room with a critical eye and imagine how it looks to other people. Clearing one room at a time will help you stay focused and motivated, and you may find that you like the extra space. You can try selling things on eBay or Facebook (with the added bonus of getting some more money towards moving costs), or donate them to a charity shop. For large furniture items that you can't bear to get rid of a storage unit can be hired where you can keep things ready for your move.

Tidy up outside

The front of your house is the first thing people will see. If they don't like it then no amount of perfection inside will convince them to buy. If you have a front garden then mowing the lawn, trimming back any hedges or bushes, and clearing out all the winter detritus (dead leaves, wellington boots, abandoned flowerpots) will improve the look. If you have wood-framed windows or a wooden front door then a fresh coat of paint will stop it looking tired, as will painting the soffits and fascias and making sure the guttering is in good repair. If you have a roof porch over your front door then investing £10 in two hanging baskets and some cheap plants will give a nice effect.

The same goes for the back garden. Although you might want to show that it can fit a trampoline, potential buyers may be less impressed. They also won't want to see five footballs, a collapsing garden shed, and the corner where a bonfire got out of control last year. Repainting the garden fence, removing an old shed, and trimming the plants and grass will again give a nice look that will help buyers envision how they could change the garden to suit their own tastes.

Get rid of garish

Interior décor is a personal choice, but some colours are likely to put off viewers from making an offer. So if your sulky teenager has painted their room completely black, or if an orange dining room was fashionable ten years ago, it might be time to change. Painting everything neutral can help, you'll be showing viewers that it's all ready for them to add their own touch. But if you really hate the idea of Scandinavian style (or if you're concerned that a white wall won't stay white for long) then pale greys, blues and greens can all be utilised to give a bit of colour without being over the top.

By getting your house in order early on you can make a huge difference to the photographic appeal of your house. Getting more people through the door for viewings will increase your chances of getting a good offer.