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Monday 13 September 2021

Tips for getting ready to sell your home

Preparing for putting your house on the market? Maybe you are getting ready to sell your house, or maybe you are looking to buy a new home. Whatever the case may be, you will want to make sure that your house is in good condition and is looking its best. Here are some tips for getting your house ready for sale...
getting your house ready for sale - a shaker style cream kitchen with wooden worktops

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Selling your house and purchasing a new house is a big decision. The process can be time-consuming and stressful, but it's worth it when you find the perfect buyer.Homeowners are often surprised by the amount of time and money it takes to get a house ready for selling, but the time you spend preparing your house for sale can save you money in the long run, and get you more money when it sells.

Before you list, here are some things to do to make your house stand out from the rest, and a few things to check before you take the decision to sell your house...

What to do when you want to sell a house?

Before you even think about getting your house ready for selling, you will want to get your finances in order. The first thing to do is to check how much you could borrow, and also calculate your repayments using a mortgage calculator. This will enable you to input your mortgage rate and repayment terms and see exactly how much it will cost you each month so that you are aware of affordability. Once you are aware of how much deposit you will need to buy your next home, then you will be able to have a minimum figure in mind with regards to how much you will sell your current house for. Of course, you will want to try and get as much as possible for your current house, and that is where this blog post will come in handy.

Costs aren't purely limited to the mortage however...

Other fees and costs to consider when selling a house:

  • Estate agent fees - typically these are usually around 1% of the sale price, although this can vary from less than 1% to 3.5%* (* so for a £500,000 house at 1% the fees would be £5000.

  • Solicitor fees. You will have fees for both selling your house and buying a new one, this will including conveyancing costs as well as searches and checks. You can expect to pay on average between £2-3k for this.

  • Stamp duty - This is a mandatory tax you pay on the purchase of a house and will vary depending on location, whether you are a first time buyer, moving home or buying your second house. The costs can be significant and you will need to make sure that you will have enough equity or savings to cover this cost when you sell your home. You check what stamp duty you will have to pay online. As an example, stamp duty on a £500k house for a home mover in the UK would be £15,000.

  • Removals costs - hiring a removals company is usually a non-negotiable, and the costs can vary depending on whether you require a packing service too. As an example, our current 3 bedroom home has received a quote for £1500-£2000, this doesn't include a packing service, but it would include the hire of removal boxes.

You can also check whether you are eligible for any help to buy schemes to reduce your costs.

Getting ready to sell your house - preparing your house for sale:

There are a few things you'll want to do before you put your house on the market...

Removing furniture and clutter:

One of the reasons we chose to put our house on the market was because of lack of space for our growing family. This goes hand in hand with having too much 'stuff' which can make a house feel cramped and cluttered. This isn't a good look for any prospective buyer - you want to show them just how much space they are getting and to make it look as calm as possible. With only a 24 hour window to get my own house ready, I chose to put a few of our belongings into temporary storage...armchair, toddler 'pod', excess crockery and cook books, a 'tat box' of toys I hadn't found a place for, bedside tables that didn't look right, washing baskets and vacuum packs of winter clothes we weren't currently wearing! We shoved what we could in the loft and also popped a few things in the care too. By the time we had finished, we actually considered staying put because it felt so much better!

Remember, what looks 'normal' to you, because you're used to it, can look really messy to others. Take some photos and then try to look at them as if you are a prospective buyer and you'll notice the difference. Clear the clutter from your kitchen worktops and don't overload your shelves.

Painting the walls:

If your paint is old and flaking, the walls are grubby, stained or even have a bit of toddler artwork drawn across them then it is worth just grabbing a tin of paint and giving it a refresh. This is particularly the case if you have brightly coloured or patterned walls which may make a space look smaller or 'busy' and may not appeal to the majority. We chose to paint our house in the colour 'ammonite' by Farrow and Ball, which is a pale grey colour. It created a cool, neutral palette which brightened the walls and rooms.


This is an absolute must. Someone who does not live in your house will notice dirt and mess much faster than you will. Don't leave them wondering what else they might find if they purchase your house. You want them to be able to imagine living in the house rather than recoiling at the stains or the smell. If you have carpets, then consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner to give them a good spruce up - removing stains or musty smells. The same goes for your oven! It will cost approx £50-60 for a professional clean and it will make a huge difference to your kitchen and how it looks both in photos and in person.

Painting the house exterior (if needed):

Depending on the type of house, this may be something you wish to do in order to increase the kerb appeal! Make sure that render is cleared of foliage and marks too and consider a professional clean in order to brighten it up. Many people will dismiss a house which looks ugly fro the outside, never mind the interior, so do what you can to improve how it looks.

Removing decorations:

This sounds like an obvious one, but if you still have those fairy lights stuck up or birthday celebration decorations hanging around then take them down sharpish! Remember, you aren't selling an insight into your life, you aren't selling your 'home' you're selling your house.

Cleaning the outside area of the property:

Make sure all patios and tarmacked areas are swept and cleaned - ideally with a jet wash. Remove any overblown rubbish, and make sure your bins (and their smell) are out of sight if possible. The outside are might be one of the first things your buyers notice about the property.

Mowing and weeding the garden:

Make sure your grass has been cut, and that any borders and shrubs have been pruned and weeds removed. A good garden can be a huge selling point, especially if it looks like it is well maintained.

Flooring update:

Depending on the state of your flooring, it may be worth considering a quick update! For example, if your house has old, dated, dirty carpets that are in desperate need of replacement, consider a lino or vinyl flooring which mimics a light coloured wooden floor or parquet floor to bring the house up to date and brighten it up. It's also much easier to clean a hard floor  than it is a carpet!.

Tackling mould:

This is often forgotten about, but something all buyers will notice when looking around a bathroom! Mould in showers, baths and around shower screens builds up quickly and can look unsightly, giving the opinion of an unclean and unkept house. Investing in a good mould remover or replacing the seals on shower screens is a quick and easy way to make your bathroom sale ready.

House staging:

If you want to increase the value someone puts on your house just by looking at it, then staging and dressing your home for show for any potential buyers is a must and can help to increase the asking price. Consider simple, small touches such as freshly baked cookies in a domed cake stand, fresh or realistic looking faux flowers on the table. Vapourisers sending out a gorgeous scent in the hallway. Tables dressed with a runner, carafe and wine or champagne ready to enjoy later. Dust off your lampshades and carefully place ornaments, candles or display dishes to add detail and interest. Scatter cushions, cosy throws and blankets in the living space or snug are a must. Stand back and observe the colour palette - does something look out of place? Try to aim for approx 3 main colours to help everything tie in together.

Here are some examples of items you could use to add those finishing touches!