Five ways to achieve the asking price for your home
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Five ways to achieve the asking price for your home

It would be great if selling a house simply involved hanging out a for sale sign and waiting for the cheque to drop through the letter box. Unfortunately, selling a home, and getting the best price, involves a bit more work. It goes without saying potential buyers who come to a viewing need to be impressed. But to make your property stand out from the other 25 houses they've been to see requires a bit of effort.

Off course you have cleaned and scrubbed to within an inch of your life and made sure everything is spick and span. But there are a few other things you can do to subtly convince buyers to pay top dollar for your home.

1) Get the doctor in

Do you remember Ann Maurice? In 1998 the interior designer introduced American style 'home staging' to the UK spawning a whole slew of imitators which clogged up daytime television schedules for years. The delightful Ann, who had an almost pathological aversion to clutter and dogs, showed homeowners how to make their property more appealing to potential buyers. The original house doctor certainly knew her business and sellers would be wise to follow her advice.

Dig out some old episodes of House Doctor on YouTube or one of the more obscure satellite channels are bound to be still showing repeats. Probably the number one tip on adding value to your home from the seven series of House Doctor was to de-clutter. Get rid of unnecessary ornaments, books, and the assorted junk we all have lying around. Clutter makes rooms look smaller and an untidy house is a massive turn-off for prospective buyers.

2) You need kerbside appeal

First impressions count. If a buyer walks up to a house to be confronted by a rusty gate swinging off its hinges, a weed strewn driveway, and a front door with peeling paint they aren't going to be impressed. They are more likely to already be deducting percentage points off their final offer and that negativity will remain with them throughout the rest of the viewing.

The good news is that ramping up the kerb appeal of your home can be a quick and inexpensive fix. Ensure the front garden area is tidy and remove kids’ bikes, toys etc., and ensure any fencing is in good repair. A nice touch is potted plants either side of the (freshly painted if necessary) front door. Make the viewer look forward to seeing the rest of the house.

3) Tone it down

This is a tricky one for most of us to get our heads around. But sellers need to depersonalise their home before a viewing. Our homes are our castles, our own spaces in which we can do whatever we want. When it comes to decor, if we want to paint the bedroom bright purple with brown polka dots, then that's our business. All of which is correct. Unless you are trying to sell your house. Your buyer doesn't want to be assailed by your quirkiness nor confronted by 127 photos of the grandkids or see the latest additions to your collection of corn dollies from around the world. They don't care.

Of course people should be able to see beyond the decor and furnishings and visualise how they would utilise the space. But invariable they can't. Or won't. Help them out and maximise the cash potential of your home by removing personal touches and toning down any outlandish decor. There is a lot to be said about boring magnolia.

4) It's time to see the light

Step out of the darkness and make the most of the natural light which comes into your home. Just opening the curtains won't cut it, though you should certainly make sure they are tied back to let in as much light as possible. If necessary put up a longer pole to draw the curtains back further. Another crafty trick is to install a mirror in the hallway to bounce around light and create an illusion of space.

But artificial light also has an important part to play. Make sure there is two or three sauces of light in each room and, if necessary, increase the wattage of each bulb. Great lighting makes a home welcoming and friendly. Not to mention more attractive to a potential buyer.

5) It's OK to be spaced out

Maximise the space you have and make every room seem bigger. Buyers need to feel there is plenty of space, especially when there isn't much. More space certainly seems to equate to more pounds when it comes to house prices so make the most of what you have.

Make your rooms as big as possible. Large pieces of furniture can overpower a room making it feel cramped so move furnishings around to create a spacious feel. Consider putting very bulky furniture into storage until the house sells.

There are a few tricks of the trade to create an illusion of space. Don't have too many pictures on the walls as they can appear to clutter and cramp a room. If you have shelves paint the backs to match the wall to create depth and don't forget the old trick of using mirrors to make a room look bigger.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Aristotle was certainly onto something. Making small changes can have a big impact. Even when selling a house. Yes, making the changes discussed above can be a pain, especially when all you want to do is just get the whole business out of the way as quickly as possible. The last thing you want or need is to spend more money on the property before you sell it. But spending a bit of time and cash now can help with getting the best possible price in the long run.


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