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Selling and letting: The dos and don'ts

No matter how the market is performing, some selling decisions will directly affect how your property is perceived and the sale or rental price achieved. Here are ten top tips from Scott Holley.

1. Choose the right agent

Choose the right agent for your property. This is the most important step. A good agent will provide honest advice and conduct themselves professionally. For most people, their house is their most important financial asset and one with many important memories. Your agent should be qualified and experienced to guide you from start to finish and remove as much of the work and stress from the process for you as possible. 

2. Effective marketing

When choosing an agent, make sure they have a powerful and effective marketing capability to put your property in front of the right buyers and tenants. A successful agent will ensure you have professional photography and floor plans, a critical component that will set your property above competitors and a key tool to ensure your agent secures editorial coverage in local and national publications. 

3. Correct pricing

Correct pricing for selling or letting will determine how successful the marketing campaign is. Sellers and landlords should not rely on many of the online indexes which give average rental and sale prices. These can be misleading because they can use data which has been skewed. An experienced and trustworthy agent will be your best source of accurate knowledge when it comes to the right price.

4. First impressions matter.

Any exterior work needing attention should be taken care of before the house goes on the market. This could include repainting exterior joinery, fences, repairing broken rainwater goods, keeping the drive weed-free, power-washing the patio, making sure the front door is clean and that all windows are cleaned regularly inside and out. A tidy, well-kept garden is also important and you should consider planting some new flowers to provide colour and cutting the lawn to put the viewers in the right frame of mind. Treat the viewing like your house is having a job interview with the prospective buyer. 

5. De-clutter

It’s a balancing act to have your home presented in a way that is de-cluttered but not clinical. Those looking to buy and let can sometimes find it difficult to visualise how they would use a room when it is empty but equally can’t visualise it as their own when it’s cluttered. Create as much floor space as possible but ensure each room has a purpose. It is still your home to enjoy so there is no need to remove too many personal items. Buyers like to see it has been a loving and enjoyable home for the current owners. 

6. Freshen up

Particularly from a tenant’s perspective, new or professionally cleaned carpets, unmarked and newly painted walls together with modern and clean kitchen and bathroom fittings are one of the most important elements. Colours and fixtures should be neutral, including clean and unmarked window dressings and light fittings. Newly painted walls will make the room feel bigger and brighter. 

7. Keep it clean

Get rid of all dirt. There is nothing worse than seeing someone else’s grime. Clean all lime scale from taps, make sure all grouting is clean and mould-free and keep everywhere clean, tidy and smell-free. Not everyone likes pets, so they should be kept away during viewings and any smells should be de-odorised. Please don’t use plug-in fresheners, they can be a sign you are trying to mask a damp smell. If there is a problem with mould or damp, tackle the cause of it rather than hiding it. Strong cooking, smoking, bins and pet smells are a big no.

8. Create more space

Any small rooms can be made to feel bigger. By using mirrors, making sure the window dressings don’t cover the pane of glass and by not having furniture that is too big for the room you can give the illusion of more space. 

9. Fresh flowers

Fresh flowers are a great way to create a softer and welcoming atmosphere in a property but be careful to avoid ones with a powerful smell. 

10. Clear garden boundaries

Make sure you have clearly defined garden boundaries and these are clear for prospective buyers to see; nothing worries buyers more than an unclear boundary. 

Sellers and landlords have a small window of opportunity to impress prospective buyers and tenants, so it’s important to commit time and money into the property before it’s launched. This should be viewed as an investment in order to achieve the best price.