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1. Increase your home's ‘kerb appeal’
Most buyers make up their mind about a property within 30 seconds of viewing it, so you need to ensure their first impression is a good one by thinking about the outside of your home as well as the inside.
Giving your front door or gate a lick of paint, cleaning the windows, putting up hanging baskets, trimming the hedge and sweeping the path can all help to make your home more inviting.
2. Spruce up your property and de-clutter
Once the outside of your home is looking good, think about tidying up inside. You don't have to carry out hours of DIY, but taking steps such as fixing a broken cupboard door or giving the kitchen a fresh coat of paint (in a neutral colour) can help to make your home more attractive.
Give the place a good vacuum and stamp out any smells such as those made by pets or cigarettes. The smell of freshly baked bread or recently brewed coffee is far more welcoming – but don't get carried away as a buyer might think you have something to hide.
Also get rid of any clutter – if your shelves are full of ornaments, family photos or books, put them into storage. Removing unnecessary furniture can also make the home more spacious.
3. Define each room
Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in your home. So if the spare bedroom has been turned into your own mini gym or the kids' play room, return it to its original purpose. After all, if the property is advertised as having four bedrooms, potential buyers will want to see four bedrooms.
4. Choose a good estate agent
Given it's the estate agent who will be marketing your home, it's important that you 'shop around' and find a good one.
You'll want an estate agent who will pull in maximum viewings, have bags of selling experience, have good knowledge about the area and, ideally, have a low fee.
Estate agent fees vary from around 1% to 3% of the sale price, but be aware that cheapest doesn't always mean best. Ask at least three different estate agencies to view your property as not only will fees vary, the valuation they give you is also likely to differ.
Ask each agent how they plan to market your property and which websites it will be advertised on. Also find out whether the estate agent will always be present at all viewings, and quiz them on their attitude to having open days as well as individual viewings.
Alternatively, think about side-stepping traditional estate agents by using an online service which charges a fixed fee rather than a percentage of the sale price.
5. Set the right price
Establishing the right price for your property isn't easy. The temptation is to try and get as much as you possibly can for it, but set the price too high and you stand to deter buyers from even viewing the place, let alone putting in an offer.
Take a look at property websites to find out what properties in your area are on the market for. This should give you an idea about what's a realistic price – if you spot a property that's been on the market for a while, this could suggest it's been priced too high.
If you find you're not getting any interest in your property, be prepared to lower the price. Doing so should boost the number of viewings you receive, and you could even find that the price goes back up again as potential buyers outbid each other.