Preparing Your Home For Selling

For Sale/Sold Sign by Zazzle

How long will it take to sell your home?

Spring is a popular time to market and hopefully sell properties, and once that decision has been made, you contact your local agent for a valuation. Agents valuations are based on similar properties to yours currently sold or for sale in the area.

Now, if you’ve lived in your home for many years maybe it  has become a little ‘tired’ or dated’, but would rather sell ‘as is’. Possibly at a lower selling price and taking longer to sell, rather than face doing any work, spending money, in the hope that a DIY enthusiast will see the potential and relish the challenge, some do, many people don’t see the potential or want to undertake the work.

You can ask your agent (if your home is tired or dated) for two valuations – ‘as is’ and ‘tidied up’. Depending on the individual agent, they may advise that it’s not worth spending any money or the effort, as the return will not out weigh the costs involved. Or they may be happy to advise on both scenarios. If the agent offers both marketing prices, you can work out your parameters of what you would be prepared or need to spend for the ‘added value’ and make an informed decision on whether you should implement the improvements or not.

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the biggest influences on a sale. The view often being, don’t change it, as whoever moves in will rip it out and put in new. Possibly, either straight away, in time, or just don’t want the expense and hassle. Again, compare the ‘added’ value’ and costs, this will help you make your decision. Think about your target market: who is likely to want to buy your home? What will they be looking for?

Front path and door of Victorian house

Ensure the front of your home looks promising.

Whether or not you intend to carry out any updating, your home should still be prepared and ready to market for great photographs for the internet, brochures and actual viewings. Cleaning, especially bathrooms and kitchens, de clutter, windows should sparkle. De-personalise by packing away personal items (well you’re moving aren’t you?) so prospective purchasers can see how their belongings will fit in or not. Don’t be precious, be objective and try to see the house as a commodity rather than your home. If you find this difficult, ask friends ( however they may not be totally honest with you) Estate Agent or Home Staging Professional for their view and recommendations. Refresh garden containers with seasonal plants to brighten up dull corners of your outside space.

Case Study – Before and After of a ground floor flat which I completed last year for marketing and selling. The flat had become outdated and ‘tired’. This was the hardest job I think I’ve ever carried out, the flat had belonged to my dear mother.

The target market was an older individual or couple, perhaps downsizing or retiring, who would probably want to move straight in and not have any or very much to do.

Living Room

Working with a neutral palette to create a cohesive look in a small flat, all the rooms, including the paint work was painted the same colour. A new cream carpet was laid throughout. In the living room the 1960’s fire-place and surround was replaced with a smaller contemporary model. Although excess furniture and personal effects have been removed, we re-used some of the existing furniture and rearranged its layout.


Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the ‘before’, of the kitchen, but the units were dark brown wood, beige work top and beige speckled tiles with an occasional fruit or vegetable tile – a 1980’s throwback. The units were in good condition and the design layout worked ergonomically, it was just that it looked dated.  Painting the cabinets an off white, replacing the work top and changing the tiled splash back to white metro in brick style made the kitchen much brighter, more contemporary and up to date.

Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom was originally very cramped and cluttered. By removing the shelves, wash basin and tiled splash back and a single bed more space was created. Freshly decorated walls and cupboards which were fitted with new knobs, and a new fitted carpet laid. Again,  some of the original furniture and accessories were re used during the bedroom re-design.

Main Bedroom

Main Bedroom. The textured wall paper was removed, and the walls and woodwork were repaired and freshly painted in the same colour as the rest of the flat. The curtains and track were removed, leaving just the blind. The  furniture layout was rearranged, excess furniture was removed, and some items from other rooms were introduced. A new carpet was laid.

Shower Room

Small shower room

Shower Room

Although this work was done prior to the staging of the flat, it would have been necessary to include refurbishing the bathroom. The original pink bathroom suite was replaced with a large 1200 mm walk in shower, with room for a stool if required. The walls were tiled to full height on all walls. A vanity basin provides storage.  Extra storage ( not seen) was provided by a tall cabinet. The adjacent toilet has the same wall tiles and an extra high toilet was installed.

By investing time and money the property increased in marketing value by £35,000 and sold very quickly. But do your own sums, it’s all in the numbers!

Images by Sarah Maidment Interiors, Sign by Zazzle, Front door by Pots by

Beat the January Blues

Being the twelfth day of Christmas, like most people, I took down my Christmas decorations and packed them away in boxes to be stored in the loft until December.  Surfaces were dusted, the pine needles and debris from the ivy and greenery I had trailed by way of decoration, now dried to a crisp were vacuumed up. The furniture was put back to it’s original position, which had been moved to accommodate the tree. The rain began to fall yet again and everything looked, well gloomy and bare. No fairy lights to brighten the rooms, no majestic tree, no cards from family and friends with warm greetings, only the lone Poinsettia sitting on a table (which amazingly was still going strong)  left to brighten the home. The Christmas cheer had gone.

A friend called round, who had been doing the same job as me, told me that she had popped into a supermarket and bought herself a bouquet of flowers to cheer both herself and her sitting room up. She also admitted that she had left her fairy lights strung around her dresser to switch on when she felt in need of cheer during the year. Well some people like to have fairy lights hung permanently in their bedroom as decoration. My friend also vowed to burn scented candles around the house all year, and not just at Christmas. Sometimes, all it takes is the small things.

Now devoid all the Christmas trimmings, one occasionally realizes how shabby (in an un-chic sort of way) and dull their home looks and embark on painting and decorating projects. If your financial hangover from Christmas is prohibitive to start any major home improvements, just try re-arranging your furniture layout. I recommend that you measure both your room and furniture dimensions and draw a floor plan prior to trying to lift that heavy sofa into a space where it will not fit, however hard you try. Other ways to cheer you and your room is to hang new artwork or paintings, or replace cushion covers. New duvet covers and towels are quick ways too to add  ‘punch’ into your home. The sales are on and there are great bargains and discounts to be bagged. If an item of furniture you are hankering after is not the bargain you had hoped for, think about learning a new skill of re-covering that old chair yourself, or paint an out dated piece of furniture in an accent colour. (An accent colour is a colour which contrasts and lift a rooms colour scheme, i.e. red, pink, blue, green, yellow in a mainly taupe coloured room). Some people decide that it is time to move home instead.

Spare a thought for all those unfortunate people whose homes were flooded and without power during Christmas and the New Year, due to the storms that thrashed the U.K. Now, they have major home improvements to embark upon, once that is, the insurance companies have completed all the ‘red tape.’