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Seven quick fixes which can help sell your house

Andy Stevens / 01 April 2015 ( 22 April 2021 )

Planning on selling your home? Here are some quick and simple things to fix before selling your house to make it more attractive to prospective buyers.

Paint brush
Paint walls in neutral colours to give prospective viewers a blank canvas

1. Make a good first impression

It's all about first impressions when someone comes to view your home. So you don't want them to be confronted with a dirty front door or pile of shoes, coats or umbrellas when they step across your threshold.

Make sure the porch and entrance to your house are bright, tidy and welcoming. You want to create a homely feel for your house viewer. Unnecessary hazards, clutter and distractions will get the viewing off on the wrong footing.

Give your door and doorframe a clean, and if it's a wooden door that hasn't been painted in a few years think about giving it a fresh lick of paint - research from Sellhousefast found that blue is the colour most likely to add value to your home, closely followed by white, while brown is least popular. Polish any metal such as the door knocker, letterbox and door handle.

Brush the steps and pull out weeds that might be growing through cracks in the tiles or cement. A colourful potted plant wouldn't hurt either.

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2. Declutter your main rooms

Once a neat, tidy and welcoming hall has been negotiated, you should create as much of a wow factor as possible in your main living spaces: chiefly the living room and kitchen.

It's the simple things that can have the biggest impact. Make sure the curtains or blinds are open, letting in as much natural light as possible (yes, this is Britain, we know) and clean the windows to maximise the amount of light coming in.

Make sure tables, chairs and sofas are clutter-free, with magazines and books either artfully arranged or stowed away unobtrusively on shelves or bookcases.

Plants and ornaments should be arranged neatly and sparingly, so as not to swamp the place as the viewer surveys the room. It's a good idea to box small items like this up before having your photographs taken, and leave them boxed up until you move. This will make it much easier to to quickly dust the room before viewings.

Ensure the viewer has the best possible sightlines through your main room; if you have a conservatory or French windows onto a patio or extension, open them up and show them off, to maximise a sense of space.

Read our 21 useful tips for decluttering your home

Obvious as it seems: turn off the TV. A blaring gogglebox in the background is an unnecessary distraction, even with the sound down, as you fully concentrate on selling the strengths of your home to the house viewer.

When showcasing your kitchen, you want to strike a clever balance between showing that it's a tidy and organised space, but also a functioning room that's used daily to whip up a culinary storm.

Clear surfaces of too many gadgets, to ensure there are plenty of preparation areas on show. Make sure your shelves, cupboards, display cabinets, jars and spice racks look orderly.

Have a few cookbooks on display, but not too many; an artfully placed iPad, a Delia or a Jamie on a worktop or kitchen island's cookbook stand creates the right effect.

Give your surfaces and any metal such as cupboard door handles or chrome taps a clean so they glisten in the light.

Planning on updating your home? Read our tips for funding home improvements.

3. Make your home smell good to help sell your house

Your house shouldn't just look the part when a potential buyer pops in - it needs to smell inviting as well.

There's more to this than a few quick blasts of air freshener. Certain scents are surefire winners with our olfactory sense. The smell of baking bread and of freshly brewed coffee are enticing. So do your home a favour and get baking and brewing.

Freshly-cut flowers in your hallway and front room will also create an appealing, lived-in feel. And if you're selling your home in spring or summer, the smell of freshly-cut grass when you're showing off your garden can have a similar positive impact.

If you have pets try to air the house out a bit before any visitors arrive, and make sure pet bedding is clean. You might be used to the way your cat's litterbox or dog's bedding smells but a visitor won't be.

4. Be smart with mirrors to create a sense of space

Using mirrors to create the illusion of space is an old staple for interior designers. And it can work when you're trying to show off your home, too.

Long, full-length mirrors in hallways immediately draw the eye of the viewer and make what's typically a narrow area appear more spacious.

For your lounge, bedrooms and bathroom, putting up mirrors on walls opposite windows will reflect the light and increase the sense of space in those rooms.

And give a bright boost to low, darker areas of rooms such as fireplaces and alcoves by placing standing mirrors alongside them, to draw out more light. Bright lamps near standing mirrors are also a simple and effective way of bringing your rooms to life, if someone is viewing your home in the evening or on a dull day.

Read our guide to making a dark room feel lighter

5. A splash of paint can freshen up a room

As for the colours of your walls, there's only one thing you must do: think neutral, in the bathroom, bedrooms and lounge.

Even if pastels once appealed, or bold statement wallpapers were flavour of the month, it's time to go neutral and stay neutral.

A lick of neutral paint around your house is worth a bit of time and investment, as buyers customarily prefer a blank a canvas to work on when making their mark on a new home.

If you don't have time for repainting or taking down wallpaper then make sure you don't have too much clutter and colour on soft furnishings and ornaments which will make your house feel smaller and more cluttered. 

Don't overlook skirting boards and other woodwork. Even a quick clean with some sugar soap will breathe a bit of life into them.

Try these quick ways to liven up tired rooms

6. Make sure your furniture helps sell your home

Do you feel your favourite old furniture is letting you down, or not selling your home hard enough? Maybe the style, although to your taste, could be off-putting to a house viewer. If so, it might be an idea to have a temporary declutter and go down the minimalist route, by packing off some of your pieces into storage while you try to sell. This will have the added bonus of making the move itself easier to manage.

If you're struggling to sell your house hiring key items of upmarket, showhouse-style neutral furniture during your spell of home viewings is an extra cost worth considering, as it could give the sales process a welcome lift.

A new throw on the sofa and some new cushion covers might help brighten the place up without breaking the bank too much.

If you want to get rid of furniture why not arrange for the local council to come out and remove them for you? They may charge for this service depending on your council and the type of items, but if you leave them behind you could face a bill from your buyer's solicitor to cover the disposal costs.

Alternatively, sell or donate them – try Gumtree for selling old furniture, check out your local Freecycle group if you’re happy to give away your unwanted items for free, or some charity shops specialise in bigger items and may even collect them too. You might even be able to just furniture outside your house with a 'free' sign and people will take them away for you.

7. Have a thorough clean

Along with your daily and weekly cleaning routines, it's worth your while hiring a cleaner as you try to sell, or at least hiring a carpet cleaner. A top-to-bottom deep clean can help your house truly sparkle when people come to view your home.

Try our spring cleaning tips

Top this up yourself, too, with some serious attention to detail, by using decorators' wipes around the house to get rid of scuff marks on skirting boards, door frames and near light switches (but be gentle or you may take some of your paint with them too!).

Clean wooden floors or tiles so they bounce light back into the room for that showroom feel, and give grout a good clean on bathroom and kitchen tiles.

Saga Home Insurance provides cover that goes beyond what you might expect. For more information and to get a quote click here.


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.