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How to prepare your house for sale:tip #3

How to prepare your house for sale

Free pre-marketing advice from our in-house expert.

At Belvoir, we deal with vendors and buyers on a daily basis, visiting houses for appraisals, advising vendors on how to maximise their property's potential and listening to buyers on what they are looking for in a house.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my last 2 tips on 1. Declutter and 2. De-personalise. Here is tip #3 to get your house ready for sale and then to get the highest price and the quickest sale.


When I conduct viewings at houses, I often see buyers looking at items that are broken or in bad condition. When I ring them for feedback, they will start listing all the items they think were wrong with the house. When they formulate their offers, they will give me a list of repairs and then submit an offer that's below asking price.

Many buyers do not want the hassle of repairing or refurbishing houses. Some have no money to do so and others have no time. Others may worry that there are bigger hidden problems with the house.

The main items of disrepair I come across:

1. Windows that have blown seals. This may be the odd window but signifies to the buyer that ALL windows will need replacing soon. I would advise contacting window companies and replacing those individual glass panes for perhaps £50 - 100 per glass panel, not a lot of money. If you don't, a buyer will think they need to spend £4000 - £10000 replacing ALL windows (depending on size of house).

2. Roofs with missing tiles or chimneys that need repointing. It's a good idea to get a roofing company to replace the few missing tiles and to the chimneywork for a few hundred pounds than have a buyer knock off thousands! Some buyers may think the whole roof may need replacing! Certainly their surveyor will pick this up and the surveyors recommendation may be to replace the roof for £5000 - 10000!

3. Scuffed walls and carpets. Paint doesn't cost a lot. When interiors are repainted, they tend to attract more buyers, simply because the place looks fresh and clean. When buyers see scuffed or dirty walls, they will immediately think they have to spend a few thousand repainting the house. Most people do re-decorate anyway BUT they won't necessarily knock off the price for their own redecoration. They will knock off the price if the walls are dirty in the first place. Same with carpets. A simple loan of a Rug Doctor type of machine over a weekend for under £50 and shampooing the carpets, will give the carpets a new lease of life. Otherwise buyers will think at least £2000 is needed to replace all carpets.

So I cannot stress enough the importance of repairing items that are broken around the house before marketing the house if you are looking to get a high price. If you are willing to knock off the price to factor in repairs, then that may suit a buyer. However, I find in this climate even when you knock down the price to factor in repairs, buyers will seek to knock more off the price. Doing the repairs will cost you less than the discount off the asking price!  

Kerb appeal?

Are you like me, driving round to see houses before booking viewings? Well that's what lots of people do. When they see a house for sale on any website, they may drive round to see the outside before calling the agent the next day to book a viewing. Kerb appeal is so important! Before putting the house on the market, I would do this:

1. Walk to the pavement opposite your house and look at the house with objective eyes
2. All items of disrepair should be fixed.
3. Is there anything you could do to beautify it? Perhaps tidy up dead plants and put some fresh plants for that season? Jetwash the drive? Cut the hedges? Repaint the exterior if it looks weather-worn?

Once the house is on the market, do regularly have a look at what the house looks like from the outside. Sweep up the drive regularly. Put bins away tidily. Park cars properly so buyers don't think you have insufficient space to park. Anything that improves kerb appeal attracts more viewings and gives a good first impressions when viewers turn up at the house. If parking is a problem, why not leave an empty space in front of the house on viewing day so the viewers can park and start to feel like home?

So to recap. My top reasons to repair:

1. Buyers will knock off more from their offer price than the real cost of doing the repair
2. Many buyers don't have time or money to do the repairs
3. Obvious repairs tell the buyers that there may be more sinister hidden defects

Obviously my tips are for family homes. If you have a house that needs a complete refurb or renovation, then the price will most likely reflect that and it may not be worth fixing small items, if the objective is for the next person to gut the whole thing. Do give me a call if you need more advice on that.

Look out for my next tip next week. If you’d like to discuss how to prepare your home, just ring me on 01782 478444. Our office covers these postcodes: ST1, ST2, ST3, ST6, ST8, ST9 and ST13. I’d be happy to come round to do an appraisal.

Ramona Hirschi
Managing Director
Belvoir Stoke on Trent
Estate & Letting Agents

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