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How to get your house ready to sell

When getting your house ready for sale, put yourself in your potential buyers' shoes. This will help you to see how you can make the best first impression, and achieve a quick, full-asking-price sale. Read on to learn how to get your house ready for sale in as little as 30 days.

The housing market is a competitive space, but with our tips for how to get your house ready to sell, your property will stand out for all the right reasons.

If you’re set on selling your home, this is not the time to embark on home renovations and upgrades to add value to your property. Rather, invest this money in home repairs and improvements to help your home sell for the best price.

This post covers the top ways for getting your house ready to sell, including helpful cost estimates to budget for hiring professional tradespeople to get the job done.

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The importance of getting your house ready to sell

Most home buyers are looking for a light, airy, spacious property that’s well-ordered and well-maintained. They need to be able to see the potential of a property and how they can make it into their home.

A property that’s in disrepair, untidy, cluttered, dark, and gloomy, is less likely to attract the interest of home buyers and could sit on the market for an extended period, potentially having to reduce in price in order to sell.

To attract plenty of interest in your property and command the selling price you need, read on for our expert advice.

Getting your house ready to sell in 30 days

Here, we cover the four main areas to focus on to get your house ready for sale. Use this as your ‘getting your house ready to sell checklist’!

1. Structural checks

A buyer will typically want a survey carried out on your property before they commit to the purchase. It’s therefore worth taking the time to fix any issues before you list your property.

This will help to avoid any possible delays to a sale when the buyer starts to negotiate a reduction in their offer price to cover the cost of repairing issues highlighted by their building survey.

Missing roof tiles

The key maintenance aspects to focus on before listing your home for sale include:

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2. First impressions count

Double fronted property exterior

Before potential buyers book a viewing or step over the threshold of your property, they will have cast an initial judgement.

So how do you make sure you create the right first impression and avoid the red flags that deter potential buyers?

A freshly painted exterior

The exterior paintwork is the first thing a potential buyer will see. As they walk up the pathway to your front door, you want them to be excited and imagining their future, not worrying about the job of painting the exterior themselves.

Having the exterior of your house repainted will give your house a new lease of life and maximise your home’s kerb appeal.

It will on average, cost between £3,000 - £6,000 to have the exterior of your home painted. The cost will depend on the size and complexity of the project.

Fix fences and gates

Broken fences

Are your fences and gate in good condition? A sturdy and stylish fence is the perfect way to frame your garden and will show prospective buyers that everything has been well-maintained.

The average cost of fence repair is anything from £40 - £1,839.

If your fences are in good condition, you might want to give them a fresh lick of paint. The average cost of labour for a professional fence painter is £175 with a timescale of 0.5 – 2 days.

Tidy your garden area

A clean, tidy, well-kept garden will make your property a lot more enticing than if it was overgrown. A gardener can cut back any overgrown foliage, mow the lawn, and even plant some new shrubs to maximise the appeal of your garden.

The average cost of a gardener per day is £180 - £280.

Take a look at your patios and paving slabs, are they moss and weed-free? Hire someone to clean your hard landscaping so they’re like new.

The average cost of jet washing a patio (depending on size) is between £150 – £350

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3. Make your home appealing

When a potential buyer views your home, the interior must convince them that this is the right property for them. How you present your home will make a big difference to the amount of interest it receives. Here’s how:

Declutter

Lack of storage is often a major concern for home buyers, so if your home appears to have insufficient storage, this can be off-putting. Especially if it’s the first thing potential buyers see, i.e. a hallway overflowing with clutter.

Your home will also look bigger if it’s not full of clutter, so take the opportunity to have a good cleanout. Hire a skip to get rid of items that you no longer need if they can’t be donated or used by other people.

If you have bulky items, consider renting a self-storage unit while you list your property for sale.

Create the show home effect

Think about how enticing show homes are made to look. Of course they are professionally ‘dressed’ for the sale market, but there are two other important elements you can do when getting your house ready for sale:

1. Depersonalise the space

A neutral living room ready for getting a house ready to sell

Potential buyers want to envisage their family living in your property, not in your home.

To do this, aim to pair the rooms back to make each space feel less personal. For example store souvenirs, collectibles, and children’s artwork away.

This is also a good opportunity to give the walls a fresh lick of paint in a neutral colour. Neutral tones not only create a blank canvas to help buyers imagine themselves living in the property but it makes your home look more spacious too.

Hire a professional painter and decorator to make your walls and woodwork look as good as new. The average cost of a painter and decorator is £325 per day.

2. Define each room

Neutral spare room

To help a potential buyer visualise how they would live in your property, make sure each room’s purpose is clearly defined.

If certain rooms have developed a blurred purpose over time, convert them back to their original use.

For example, remove the office desk from the corner of your bedroom, turn your dining room-come-playroom back into a dining space, and make your spare room look like one if it’s ended up as a storage space.

Complete unfinished jobs

No one wants to walk into a house that could be their potential future home and see that there are unfinished jobs.

Not only do those unfinished jobs become their problem should they decide to buy, but it screams of a home that’s not been well-maintained.

Hire a handyperson to finish all those odd jobs and home repairs you never had time for, including hanging pictures, fixing broken hinges, and small electrical jobs.

They normally work on an hourly rate, so it’s worth getting a list of jobs and ask them in to do them all at once across one or a few days.

The average cost of a handyperson is £30 per hour. It’s worth noting that most handypeople have a minimum call-out fee of £40-£50, so you may want to make a list of small jobs you need doing before making the call. 

Have a deep clean

A clean, fresh-smelling home is incredibly appealing to potential buyers. From the top-down, inside out, now’s the time to have a thorough, deep clean.

If you’re unable to do this yourself, use our directory to find trusted, professional local cleaners in your area.

The average house cleaning cost is anywhere from £20.

Some homeowners will book an end of tenancy clean as part of getting their house ready for sale.

Checkatrade cleaner helping to get a house ready for sale

Bad odours can ‘cling’ to furniture and carpets, so consider having them professionally cleaned to help create the right lasting impression with potential buyers.

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Selling a house viewing tips

With all the hard work done, you’ll no doubt be busy with lots of interest from potential buyers. Here are some final ideas to help present your home in its best light for house viewings:

  • Open curtains and blinds to allow the natural light to flood into your home
  • Clean the bathroom, including the shower door, make sure the toilet seat is down, and store personal toiletries away
  • Keep kitchen worktops tidy, clear the draining board, mop the floor, and ensure the bin is odour-free
  • Hoover your home and sweep the front doorstep
  • Place an oil diffuser in your home to create a welcoming scent

Find local experts to help get your house ready for sale

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For expert help completing the tasks listed in this post to get your home ready to sell, contact a local expert using our leading directory of tradespeople.

  • All our tradespeople are checked and approved by us, passing up to 12 of our rigorous checks to be in our directory
  • All our member reviews are from real homeowners and are verified by us to make sure they’re legitimate
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Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021. *8 out of 10 people would choose a trade endorsed by Checkatrade compared to one that isn’t endorsed.

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