Ready to sell your house and move on? You’re not alone. About 100,000 homes change hands every month in the UK - and it takes about 57 days for the average property to sell after being put on the market. So, if you plan to make your move this summer then you don't have long to go. But, before you get your listing posted and brace yourself for viewings there is just time for a couple of quick and effective tweaks to your décor.
These are small and cheap steps you can take to stand out from the crowd that will enable your house to sell as quickly as possible and, crucially, can help you to squeeze every last drop of financial value from your property asset.
Right, things are getting real now. The moment you decide, in your head, that you want to sell up, you need to tell yourself that it is not your home any more. From now on, this is just the house that you happen to be living in. By accepting this you can do a few small décor tweaks that will both reflect this fact and ease the sales process. Family portraits, unusual paintings, fun posters, holiday memorabilia, kooky fridge magnets… they can all look messy or, worse, make it tough for your would-be buyer to picture themselves in your property. Take these down, pack them away and get ready to take them with you for a new life in your next home.
Brighten things up
De-personalising is the first step, the next is to think about colour. Ideally, you want your home to feel nice and big – with plenty of space for the buyer to fit all their belongings into. Colour can have a big impact on that. This can involve a lick of paint – white, cream or a nice light pastel shade – to brighten up a room with a slightly tired décor. It might also mean toning down that quirky feature wall that seemed like a good idea when everyone else was doing it five years ago. A couple of tins of paint really won’t break the bank.
A nice bright room need lots of natural light too. If you’re giving your room a quick and easy spruce up then make sure you are getting as much of the sun’s rays as possible onto your bright shiny walls. You might want to make the switch for some lighter curtains to help with this. It’s an inexpensive change that makes a big, big difference. Don’t worry if you’d normally have blackout or dimout curtains in the bedroom and living room - now that this isn’t your home you have different priorities and that light will really help to make your home look its best. Take a look at curtains.com for a style that fits your neutral buyer-friendly colour scheme.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Speaking of light, there’s another cheap décor move that you could make that will help your rooms to look larger: mirrors. Hang a mirror near a window to give the illusion of space or use a tall mirror (3/4 the height of your wall) for a similar effect. As Pop Sugar notes, mirrors behind sofas, mirrors that look like windows and mirrors as headboards are all effective ways to trick the eye into seeing a much bigger room.
It’s a given that you’ll need to have a thorough clean of the home before you sell up, but focussing on your carpets can do more than just ensure your home is hygienic - it can have an aesthetic impact too. What’s better underfoot than a nice fluffy, homely carpet? It looks the part too, adding a visual flourish to any carpeted room. It’s why your room always looks at its best straight after you’ve been over it with the vacuum cleaner. If your carpet is starting to look and feel a little worn then it’s well worth investing a little money getting this professionally cleaned. You can hire a Rug Doctor in many supermarkets and DIY stores (or online here) and you’ll soon see and feel a big difference.
Accessories to set the right tone
Finally, you can add a few little finishing touches with a couple of smartly-chosen accessories. In America, home staging is extremely popular, with professionals spending thousands of dollars to get a home ready for sale. Part of their aim is to sell the ‘lifestyle’ and not just the home itself. You don’t have to go as far as getting someone in from Kentucky, but you can take the theory and apply it to your budget and circumstances.
Think about your target buyer and consider if there’s anything that would appeal to them specifically. What might they read? A few choice magazines on the coffee table might help them to envisage relaxing on the sofa in your front room. A nice Yankee Candle and fresh flowers won’t go amiss either. Don’t overdo it – fresh bread baking in the oven and pots of coffee in every room are a bit too much - but set a positive tone. These extra touches will be especially important after you’ve de-personalised as you don’t want to leave them looking around a property that feels cold and un-homely.