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Deal with it

If you’re selling your property, avoid these deal-breaking mistakes

Even though we will never admit it, we all do it. Invited to a friend’s house, we look around and gasp, “Oh, but what a lovely home you have,” with such wide-eyed admiration that anyone would think we had been invited on a tour of the private rooms of the Versailles.

But behind the fake shock and awe, our thoughts would be cross-hairing on the mismatching cushions, the plain kitchen, the straggly bathroom towels, and the alien palette of the living room.

Let in the light, clear the clutter, finish those maintenance works, and let’s close the deal

When it comes to property, we all have our personal taste which automatically boos other preferences. However, there are some elements, like clutter or dirty bathrooms, which all get our thumbs down. And they especially come to the fore whenwe are viewing a property which has the potential of being our new home.

In a recent survey conducted by Property Wire news service, 70 per cent of property buyers said damp patches on walls or ceilings were their biggest turn-off. Some 63 per cent said they would not consider buying a property in a poor state of repair while 56 per cent said they would never give a smelly house a second viewing. Poor natural light and unfinished building work negatively affect 54 per cent of potential buyers.

These are lessons we could all learn from because if we are trying to sell our property, we need to show that we have looked after it. So let in the light, clear the clutter, finish those maintenance works, and let’s close the deal.

A sense of smell

One of the first things that we notice, even unconsciously, when we enter someone else’s house is the smell.

A bad smell is one of the biggest turn-offs for potential buyers. Mould, the smell of pets and cigarette smoke are the main culprits.

If you have a viewing, try and eliminate bad smells from your house to present the potential buyers with a clean, fresh atmosphere. However, this is not a last minute thing – one thing worse than a bad smell is an air that is heavy with perfume, a clear indication that you sprayed a combination of air freshener and perfume in desperation just five minutes before the viewers knocked on your door.

Clean bathrooms

You should expect viewers to inspect every room in your house, including your bathroom. Upgrading your bathroom will give you instant brownie points: scrub the tub, shower and sink, invest in new fluffy towels and carpets, and make sure there’s a clean smell. A dirty bathroom is a big red flag.

Let in the light

Good light makes everything look better. Go around the house changing bulbs, replacing dim light fixtures and installing new ones where necessary. Remove heavy drapes that prevent natural light from coming in and repaint rooms in colours that reflect light. And while you’re at it, clean those windows to let in more light.

Getting personal

Potential buyers want to see your house as a blank canvas on which they can project their own taste. That means removing any design or furnishing element that you like, but which others might not. Collections of any kind, for instance, are too personal. During viewing, put your collection in a box and out of sight.

A colour palette which is too personal is also a potential turn-off. Even if you think that the black statement wall in your living room looks great, to most people it doesn’t. Spend one weekend sanding the wall and repaint it in a more neutral colour. It’s worth the effort.

Clean the clutter

You might be used to living with a little clutter. However, when trying to sell your home, clutter will look like you don’t care for your home and that your property is smaller than it actually is.

You need to remove anything which might be distracting for potential buyers. Toys, magazines, dirty dishes and piles of clothes – away with them.

Do it yourself now

We all get drawn into DIY projects, only to leave them half finished. To a potential buyer, that will come across as additional work and an uncaring attitude.

Unfinished DIY projects and maintenance works are a sure way to decrease your home’s value. Complete any renovations and repairs.

The neat outdoors

Outdoor spaces offer added value to any house, but not if they are messy and unloved. Keep your garden in good shape and before a viewing, plant some new greens. Make sure that your driveway is swept clean and that your courtyard has attractive outdoor furniture. Send out positive signs.

If your garden is overgrown, it will appear to potential buyers asextra work.

Rules of attraction

If you want to get the best deal for your house, you need to upgrade it with new kitchen surfaces, new parquet and maybe even a wood- burning stove.

You might see it as a waste of money, since you will be selling your house anyway. In reality, it’s an investment, as it will get you a better deal and faster.

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