Published: 17/05/2019Buyers aren’t buying a property—they’re buying a better lifestyle. For every buyer, moving is about finding something that makes their life nicer, more enjoyable and perhaps more luxurious. When you’re selling your home, you need people to discover how it is going to enhance or upgrade their lives.
First off, consider who your buyers are likely to be. Think about why you bought your home, where you lived before and why you moved.
Perhaps you live near great schools and parks? Is there a high street and train station around the corner? Your kind of buyer will be looking for conveniences to match their lifestyle. Parks and schools suit families and couples, train stations and buzz appeal to first-time buyers, while being close to high-end restaurants and boutiques is something down-sizers at a later stage in life, might want. What are your local amenities like? What kind of people use them? By imagining the person most likely to move into your home, you will start to understand their needs, which can't be a million miles away from yours when you bought!
Let’s imagine you’re selling a three/four-bedroom house. It’s most likely that your buyers will be ‘second steppers,’ buying their second home. Most will have school-age children, some will be considering a starting a family while a very small sliver of your market will be childless. So, think families first. Often, one or both parents will commute to work, but proximity to a good school usually outweighs the importance of being near train links. Young families are more open to a farther commute than first-time buyers as they have different priorities. Families with children at private schools can be more relaxed about distance, but often opt for a short school run anyway. As children grow up, they will get to school independently, so the closer they are, the better.
Your marketing should outline the best local schools and highlight other things that appeal to families. f you have any of the following it needs to be beautifully photographed and described in your brochure.
- Kitchen/diners, especially ones that open straight out to the garden
- Two bathrooms
- A decent sized garden
- A downstairs loo
- Lots of storage space to hide lots of stuff
- If your kitchen is small and next to another room, make sure you agent highlights how easy it is to knock through. Stay one step ahead and get a builder's quote for the work
- If you don’t have a downstairs loo, but you do have an under-stairs cupboard, then clear it out to show that a loo could be put in
- If your garden is small, then at least make sure it’s beautifully dressed
- For second bathrooms (and fourth or fifth bedrooms for that matter), your attic may be the answer. You could always leave your attic ladder down for viewings so people can see the potential it brings
- Lacking storage? Try to make it appear that you're not. Declutter, store things somewhere else and pack unnecessaries out of sight
Have a good look on Rightmove and Zoopla to find and compare similar properties to yours. Your buyers will be viewing these homes too, so ask yourself why they should choose yours over others. If you see a flaw in a competing property, this is your chance to leap in and upstage it. Perhaps the other home has a lifeless garden. Up your game by adding one or two established feature plants, some colourful potted flowers or knock what you already have into shape. Shop for the most attractive garden furniture you can afford and score extra points for festoon solar lighting, a freestanding fire pit or a large BBQ.
It’s far easier than most people think to dress your home to suit your audience. Sort out a budget to spend on things like light pendants, floor/table lamps, rugs, cushions, fresh bathroom accessories, house plants and sumptuous bed throws. If you’re stuck for ideas then grab a good interiors magazine or Insta feed (ideal references include Living Etc, Elle Dec or Wallpaper) and steal ideas.
Dress your home, room by room
Bathrooms should be spotless, treated to a round of fresh towels and stocked with spa grade soaps and toiletries. Think Aveda, Ren, Dr Hauschka or Aesop (remove your Superdrug specials). Banish bad smells and if there’s room, add a feature plant.
Imagine the most inviting rooms in a boutique hotel and apply this aesthetic to your bedrooms. Clear all surfaces and hide personal items like hairdryers and make-up. Add soft lighting by placing lamps on bedside tables. Shop for new fluffy pillows (plenty of them) and fresh bedlinen. Prove there’s enough bedroom storage and don’t leave items out of place or at all visible, we’re talking bags stuffed under beds and wardrobe doors or drawers ajar.
Always declutter and deep clean your kitchen before selling. Remove everything on worktops sparing good-looking toasters and coffee machines. Make sure ovens and fridges are sparkling, tea towels are put away and bins are hidden and emptied (kitchens should only smell of nice things). Only leave the best cookbooks and crockery on display. Healthy kitchens are super-appealing to aspiring buyers. Simple ways to revitalise yours are to fill fruit bowls with fresh fruit and add a window box brimming with fresh herbs.
Make your sitting room as inviting as you can. Use a floor-standing lamp near an armchair or sofa to give the room a reading zone, wipe TV screens clean and hide wires. Add fresh flowers and select exceptional magazines for coffee tables.
Consistent, spotless presentation works. Clean your home from top to bottom and don’t forget the windows. Buyers always gravitate to windows during viewings. Remove personal items like family portraits, paperwork and clutter.
In a nutshell, families are looking for living space that feels calm, has a large kitchen and plenty of storage. First-time buyers prize a convenient location above all else and downsizers prefer a luxurious finish (and extras like off-street parking).
There's no need to do any work to your house before selling, but it is a great idea to spend a couple of days doing small repairs. We've got a repair checklist about doing work before you sell.
If you’d like any help or advice, we’re always at the end of a phone at 020 8299 3021, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.