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Online House Hunter: Tidy-up and sell-up

Alan Cleaver
paint 300x200 Online House Hunter: Tidy up and sell up

Selling up? It's time to get the paint brushes out again

I KNOW I’m not the only house-buyer who has been astounded at the poor presentation of some homes I have had to visit in the past. When tens of thousands of pounds are resting on a deal being clinched, how hard can it be to spend half-an-hour tidying up – yet alone a few hundred pounds painting and decorating.

When I last moved home I spent nearly £3,000 on new carpets and other items to persuade potential buyers that this was the house for them. And that was at a time when the market was far more buoyant than it is now. The fact the people who eventually bought our house ripped out the carpets in favour of bare floorboards was rather galling but I suspect they soon learned how noisy and cold the house could be without carpets.

To compound the mistakes of the untidy homeowner, estate agents seem to come over all shy when they visit to take pictures for the sales details. Even a casual browse of houses for sale on the web reveals some nightmare pictures from the photo album of estate agents who should know better. If you’re trying to sell a house and earn thousands in commission, why would you take a picture of a back garden with uncut lawn, kitchens with dirty washing up in the sink or (and I kid you not) a lounge with piles or ironing on the settee?

Okay, rant over. But we’ve got yet another bank holiday weekend coming up and there’s no shortage of good advice on the internet telling you how to make your home look like the dream home buyers have been looking for. Some of it is blindingly obvious but judging by those sales photos, homeowners and estate agents need it. Begin with a visit to the National Association of Estate Agents. They have revamped their website of late and it now includes a Guides section for the consumer: How to move home, a buying guide, selling guide, buy to let guide and general advice. It’s the Selling Guide you need and they put “Adding a Sense of Space” at the top of the list (or tidying-up as it’s also known!). Put stuff in storage to minimise clutter but I’d avoid emptying the house completely. Even if you’ve already moved into your new home, leave enough furniture (including pictures on the wall) to create a homely feel. Pictures of empty rooms are a complete turn-off when advertising your home online. But a picture of a tidy room with flowers on the table and warm lighting should clinch a deal in no time.

The web allows you to steal the best advice from the property professionals so use the links below for a TV personality guide to preparing your home for a sale.

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