The start of the new school term marks an end to the property market's traditionally quiet season. With the kids now safely back in the classroom, many parents might turn their attention to selling their properties. Autumn is the ideal time to put a house on the market as prospective buyers aren't busy with trying to occupy their little ones, and the weather is still nice enough to showcase the garden to best effect.
Of course, enticing those offers isn't as simple as picking the right time of year to sell. Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to attract buyers and most of them start with a little bit of DIY. Here are five ways to spruce up your home ready for the viewers.
No shady deals
One of the simplest ways to refresh a room and make it feel larger, lighter and cleaner is to get out those paint brushes. Choosing a neutral colour is the safest option, as we don't all share the same taste for bold shades. It can be very easy for viewers to walk into a room and be completely blind-sided by the colour of the walls, not being able to see past that one element or perhaps recoiling at the amount of effort it would take to cover up. Don't let this simple thing ruin your potential sale, paint the walls in a non-offensive colour and watch the viewers appreciate your décor.
Let there be light
No one wants a dark room during daylight hours. Make your rooms feel lighter by making some easy changes to your curtains. Prevent them from obscuring your windows by affixing tie backs to the walls - this will not only let more light in but will create the illusion of larger windows. If your curtains are heavy, dark and/or patterned, perhaps consider swapping them for a neutral alternative - and for goodness sake, get rid of those net curtains! If you have to put something up, then buy some new plain voile panels for a more chic route to privacy.
Clutter be gone
As you'll be aware, prospective buyers are very choosy - and rightly so - but the least little thing can scupper your chances of a sale. To make sure this isn't the case, you need to present your property in a way that allows the viewer to project their own possessions into the room; allow them to imagine themselves there. This is impossible if you have too much clutter. Box up your personal items and store them away for the short term. Perhaps put some floating shelves up instead of room-dominating sideboards. Think about getting rid of a few pieces of furniture, too. You need your viewers to be able to picture themselves in your house.
Read any poll about 'what puts you off a property' and one of the biggest dissuading factors is evidence of a pet. Whether it's the smell, the hair or the scratch marks on furniture, prospective buyers on the whole don't like pets. This can be a difficult one to mask, but is crucial. Get out that paint brush to cover over any claw marks, scrub any stains from the carpet and give the place a really thorough vacuum. It's a good idea to either confine your pet to the utility room or garden, if possible or see if a friend can look after it, just while the viewings take place. Then, ask a really close friend to view the property and tell you whether or not they can still detect traces of your pet. It may seem extreme, but will be worth it when you land that sale.
Nothing is more off-putting to a buyer than a dirty house. It implies that the property hasn't been cared for and that there could be more problems to come. Of course, this is far from the truth, but even a few cobwebs in your crevices can make a bad impression. Give the house a really good clean before your viewers arrive, paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom. Bleach the grouting between the tiles and if necessary, do a bit of re-grouting. Scrub off any limescale and make repairs as necessary to anything that's on show.
Painting, hanging new curtains, re-grouting and putting up shelves might seem like a lot of effort to go to for a property you want to be rid of, but by carrying out these fairly easy tasks, that wish could be granted in far less time.