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Q.I’m hoping to put my home up for sale shortly, but given that there’s a shortage of homes for sale, is it really worth spending time and money on it first?


A.That depends on what needs doing – and of course, how much time and money you’ve got. However, you’re clearly thinking that the way your home is presented can make a real difference to its saleability, and you’d be right – regardless of the strength of the market. With a very real shortage of properties available currently, it is really important that you make sure that your home stands out from the competition, not only to find the buyer in the first place but to make sure they stick with you.

We live in an increasingly ‘image-driven’ world and once on the market your house is exposed, via the numerous property websites, to millions of potential buyers! Using tablets and smart-phones, would-be purchasers can analyse the photographs of your home in the minutest detail and so actually staging or presenting your property really well from day one is of paramount importance. With years of experience and knowhow we are able to guide you on the dos and don’ts on staging, which angles will be the best for the photos and whether getting a specialist photographer might even be an option! (They aren’t anywhere near as expensive as you may think and can make the difference between finding a buyer or not, or even achieving an extra few thousand! – but that’s for another blogpost.)

Back to the detail. As a general rule, it’s not worth tackling anything too big and expensive to improve the appeal of your property – for the simple reason that you are unlikely to recoup the full cost when you sell. Small things, on the other hand, can make a big net difference – things like clean, fresh paintwork inside and out; clean carpets and windows; tidy, neatly-trimmed gardens and of course making sure that it doesn’t look too cluttered – don’t forget that buyers need to see the space!

One of the key points to remember when it comes to presenting your home to prospective buyers in the best possible light is that the whole property should be of a consistent standard. So, for example, if everything else is being let down by the one room that you never got around to decorating, then it’s probably worth doing that room up now (as long as it doesn’t then make the rest of the property look dowdy, of course).

Overall, I suggest you start by taking a step back and try to look at your home as objectively as possible, as though you were seeing it for the first time. Make a list of any little things you notice that need sorting out. But try to keep a sense of proportion. After all, this is your home, not a show-house and people expect it to look lived-in.

On the other hand, if you are selling a house that needs restoration then it may well be that doing absolutely nothing is the best way to attract those purchasers looking to buy a property with potential and don’t forget, very often they can pay a premium for the privilege of being able to put their own stamp on the property.

Meanwhile, if you are in any doubt, then the thing to do is to ask us (or a similarly qualified and experienced agent) to come and see you. After all we are in and out of properties all the time so no-one is better placed to advise you on what needs doing to bring out the best in your home.  


Information and advice supplied by David Gibson of Whitton & Laing of  Exeter.