Potential buyers form an opinion of your property within the first few seconds of their viewing, so making a good first impression is critical.

We’ve teamed up with APDO (Association of Professional Declutters and Organisers) to provide some advice on the simple changes that you can make around your home that will help to speed up your sale, and even boost the value of your property.

Start by de-personalising

“Present your home as a blank canvas”, advises Louise Simpson of Louise Simpson Coaching. “You want potential buyers to be able to imagine themselves living there, and by removing some of your personal items such as photos or children's toys, this will help them see this more clearly”.

Mel Carruthers of More Organised agrees. “If all goes to plan, you’ll soon be packing for your move anyway, so it makes sense to start before the first viewing by boxing up your personal items”. Making an early start on the packing can also help you to detach from your home and start preparing for the move emotionally.

If you are planning to move, then now is a great opportunity to declutter the items you no longer love or need on the new adventure of a new home”, suggests Nicky Davie of TidyGirl. “Use this as an opportunity to reduce what you take with you to your beautiful new home”.

Look to the future

Moving home is certainly a good opportunity to take the time to re-evaluate what you actually want from the space you live in and your lifestyle choices. “While decluttering, it’s important not only to think about the size and space available in your new home, but how you want to use that space”, explains Victoria Nicholson of My Wardrobe Zen. “This will help you decide which items make the grade”.

Anita Fortes of A Neater Life advises that you sort and declutter your belongings prior to packing. “Start the process as soon as possible”, says Anita. “It takes so much longer than you think!” When you factor in the disposal of unwanted items - you may have items to sell, gift to family and friends, or donate to charity - it all takes time and energy and is much less stressful if you can work through it methodically, with a plan of how you want to present your current home to potential buyers.

Stage your home for your target market

As you plan to stage your home, think carefully about who will buy your house. Stephanie Rough of The Organised Zone gives the example of a family who are moving out of their home as their three teenage children have outgrown it. “So perhaps your ideal buyer is a young couple with no children or a young baby looking for their first home. So dress the property to aim squarely at these potential buyers”, says Stephanie.

Jane Lee of Jane Lee Interiors is a specialist home stager. Her advice to help potential buyers is to ensure that each space has a clear purpose. “In one flat I moved a small table and chairs from the cluttered living room into a wide, empty corridor off the kitchen - effectively creating another room - and it sold for £10,000 more than the owner or agents were expecting!” explains Jane. In another property Jane turned an empty cellar room into a gym by adding some weights, a couple of yoga mats and other exercise equipment the owners already had. By thinking carefully about the lifestyle of the potential buyers, Jane was able to match the property to their needs and achieve a higher price for her clients.

Space and style

Of course, you can’t predict the exact style that your potential buyer favours, so go for a light, airy space that they can imagine their own belongings in. Less is more here. Get as much light into the property as possible. “Natural light just creates a welcoming atmosphere and creates the illusion of space”, says Liza Hooks of iDARA Organising. “Open every single curtain, blind, door and switch on every light you possibly can – even in broad daylight.  It may feel a bit strange, but it works!”

“Ensuring that the viewers can see the true potential of the property without being distracted by your stuff is important”, agrees Elizabeth MacPherson of The Lifestyle Concept. “But adding decorative touches like cushions, flowers, and candles, and keeping the room bright and light are great ideas”. Also remember to move any washing or clothing strewn around the place, and tidy cupboards and shelves. In other words, put everything in its place to demonstrate that you have a place for everything… and plenty of room to store it.

Focus on the hallway

The hallway is the first thing people see, and it forms a lasting impression, reminds Kath Woods of All About The Move. “Store away your coats, shoes, dog leads, keys, and anything else you normally have lying around the hallway”, says Kath. “If you have a lot of furniture or if the hallway is small, consider moving this furniture elsewhere to create as much space as possible”.  

Elaine McKinlay of Clear Mountain agrees. “Demonstrating a clear flow and pathway through the home can help potential buyers connect with the space more easily” she says.  

Don't forget outside

People often only concentrate on the inside of their homes when preparing for a house move, but remember that your garden and outdoor spaces are important too.

If you don't have much time and need maximum impact with minimal effort, Carole Reed from HappySort suggests some quick fixes to help make your garden a selling point when you have viewings. “Make sure recycling bins are stored out of sight if possible”, explains Carole. “Tidy away empty or broken pots and remove any dead plants from patios and front gardens. If you have a patio or area that you could dress as a seating area, put out some chairs and colourful pot plants”. During the pandemic, outside spaces have become more important than ever. Show your viewers that your property gives them that all-important space for outdoor entertaining, no matter how small.

Kate and Bibi from Simply Organised Essex recommend that you pay attention to parking too. If you normally park your car on the drive, they suggest parking it on the road when your potential buyers are viewing so that they can easily park there themselves, or simply have a good front view of your house as they approach.

By following this advice – decluttering, depersonalising, and considered staging – your property will soon attract the right buyers and have you on the move to your dream home!

Contributors

Organiser

Location

Website

Louise Simpson Coaching

Essex

www.louisesimpsoncoaching.co.uk

 

Mel Carruthers

Dumfriesshire

www.moreorganised.com

 

Nicky Davie (TidyGirl)

Berkshire

www.tidygirl.co.uk

 

Victoria Nicholson (My Wardrobe Zen)

London

www.mywardrobezen.co.uk

 

Anita Fortes (A Neater Life)

Norfolk

www.aneaterlife.com

 

Stephanie Rough (The Organised Zone)

Dorset

www.theorganisedzone.co.uk

 

Jane Lee Interiors

Sussex

www.janeleeinteriors.co.uk

 

Liza Hooks (iDARA Organising)

Kent

www.idaraorganising.com

 

Elizabeth MacPherson (The Lifestyle Concept)

Bournemouth

www.thelifestyleconcept.co.uk

 

Elaine McKinlay (Clear Mountain)

Glasgow

www.clearmountaindecluttering.com

 

Kath Woods (All About The Move)

Glasgow

www.allaboutthemove.co.uk

 

Carole Reed (HappySort)

Somerset

www.happysort.net

 

Kate & Bibi (Simply Organised Essex)

Essex

www.simplyorganisedessex.com/

 

 

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