How to sell your home quickly: 15 free ways to make your home instantly appeal to buyers

Expert tips to maximise your home's selling potential, without having to spend a huge amount on renovations...

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Many homeowners traditionally wait until spring to list a property for sale so this can be the most competitive time of year to try and seal the best deal.

To minimise the risk of being left on the shelf, a property needs to substantially out-perform the level of interest in similar homes in your local area during the first three weeks of being listed, according to recent research by Rightmove. The average time it takes to sell in London is now 59 days, and 65 days across the UK.

So, how do you make sure your property stands out from the rest? 

"List your home with a sensible price, as over pricing it will mean it goes stale," says Jill Bennett, Country Homes senior associate at estate agents Freeman Forman.

The price you put your house on the market for is ultimately up to you, so make an informed decision.

Ask at least two local estate agents to value your home, and compare the estimates with similar properties for sale in your area. 

Also look at the most recently sold prices in your area to make sure there's not a huge difference between asking prices and sold prices.

Most buyers start their search online, so both the photography and the property description are incredibly important.

Ask the agent to ensure the photography is scheduled on a bright day to maximise natural light and to avoid dull interior pictures. Also make sure your home is clean and uncluttered.

Take a look at the photos while they are being taken, and ask for more if you feel they could look better from a different angle. Be sure to make the most of features such as big windows or a lovely fireplace.

Also, ask to read the description before it is posted and add details that you feel are good selling points. Add a personal touch by explaining how long you have lived in your home, what you have loved about it and perhaps even why you are selling.

First impressions are hugely important. The most recent research by eMoov reveals that on average buyers put in an offer after looking at a house for only 38 minutes - typically over two viewings.

The most basic advice is to tidy up the front of your house, wash the front door and buy a new welcome mat. Clean the windows inside and out as buyers like to get a sense of the view an neighbourhood. 

Throw windows open on nice days to let the fresh air in, vacuum and dust and wash any pets (and their beds) to make sure the house smells nice and looks well cared for.

"Buyers often want to check the water pressure of the shower so remove any lime scale that might have built up, it’s an easy job but can make a big difference," advises Robin Chatwin, Head of Savills south west London.

"Prospective buyers always want to check inside cupboards: if they’re packed full, empty them out. Demonstrating your home has adequate storage is crucial."

The general advice is to de-clutter without removing all traces of character - you need to help buyers imagine where their furniture and family pictures will go.

"A garden can be the most important room of the house so mow the lawn, cut back any trees and bushes." says Chatwin. "Creating or reinstating a dedicated BBQ area can be effective as buyers love to see how a garden will work socially.” 

If you are present for viewings, be prepared to answer questions about the history of the property, including if it has had any issues or major building work, as well as giving insight into the neighbours and local area.

"The house itself is obviously the most influential factor in the selling process, but selling your local area is also key when helping a potential buyer picture themselves and their future in your house," says eMoov founder Russell Quirk. "Being hands on with this information can often be the difference in securing a sale.”

If you do not wish to be directly involved in the process, provide your agent with an information sheet answering frequently asked questions including the Council Tax band your home is in and how much it costs, what type of central heating you have and how much it costs to run, and whether you have mains or private drainage.

“The offers stage is the most sensitive part of a sale,"  says Quirk. So 'being in the know' is vital to ensure your sale doesn’t fall through. A high offer of a few thousand pounds more isn’t always the best route to go down and certainly isn’t worth the stress of a difficult sale, or even that sale falling through.” 

As well as the offer price, the things to take into consideration are the position of the buyer - are they in a chain and if so, how long is it? It's also important to qualify if a buyer has had a mortgage in principle agreed, or proof of finances if you are selling to a cash buyer. 

It's also a good idea to get an idea of time scales. These will be subject to change, but consider if the dates initially suggested work for you.

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