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Steps to getting 'sale-ready'

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Planning on putting your home on the market?  Give yourself plenty of time to get it upto scratch and 'sale-ready' by starting with these eight simple steps:

1. De-clutter and de-personalise
Don't wait until move day to start your big clear-out.  Do it before the viewings start.

Once you've given away, sold or recycled all you can, hide as much of what's left as possible.  This means clearing coats and shoes from the hallway, storing everyday bathroom products in cupboards and clearing kitchen surfaces of appliances, jars and bottles.

Buyers need to be able to visualise themselves in your home, so it could be worth going one stage further and putting away personal items such as ornaments, photographs and your kids’ drawings. 

2. Spruce up the decor 
When your home is as empty as it can be, give it a fresh coat of neutral paint and get any dirty tiling re-grouted.  If your kitchen is old, you don't necessarily need a new one. Replacing cupboard doors, or even just door handles, can make a huge difference.

Make sure all spotlights and other light bulbs are working, make the beds and add some plants in empty corners for a homely feel.

3. Deep-clean
A deep-clean of your home by a professional cleaning company, which tackles things like ovens, shower doors and underneath sofas, makes a huge difference and could be cheaper than you think. 

4. Remember the garden
Mow the lawn, dig up any weeds and prune the trees.  A Zoopla poll found that more than a quarter of potential buyers would be put off by an overgrown garden.  It maybe nice to put a table and chairs in a spot where buyers could imagine having a morning coffee.

5. Sacrifice your parking space
If your home comes with an allocated parking space, leave it free for prospective buyers to use.  It’s convenient and offers an experience that's closer to the reality of what it's like to live in your home.

6. Hire the right Estate Agent
When it comes to getting the right sale price for your property, it’s a good idea to ask several agents, but don’t automatically go for the one who gives you the highest valuation.  

Make sure they are knowledgeable, locally active, you have a good rapport with them and they come recommended - check Google, Trustpilot, Facebook for reviews.

Agents will have different tie-in periods, during which time you won’t be able to list your home anywhere else.  Be ready to negotiate and do what is right for you.

It’s cheaper to sell sole-agency rather than multi-agency, so it is recommend to stay with one agent for at least the first four weeks.  This will give them opportunity and motivation to sell your property fast.  Then, if you're not happy, you can move on to other agents once you've given your chosen agent the time and chance to sell yours.

7. Get on top of your paperwork

Instruct a solicitor to kick off the conveyancing process early.  Ask them to break down and fully explain all costs associated with selling and, if you can, get a fixed upfront fee for their services.  Ask your Agent to recommend a solicitor, they often get better deals than if you go direct.

Check with your mortgage lender if you can transfer your current mortgage deal to a new property, or if any redemption charges will apply.

Get all the paperwork on your current property together, such as building certificates for any structural work and guarantees for double glazing, boilers or fireplaces, these will be useful if when the solicitors raise any enquiries.

8. Be smart on viewings 
When it comes to viewings on your home, it’s always best to get an agent to do it as they know their job, as the owner, you should ideally vacate the property during viewings.

If you do conduct viewings yourself, have a plan of the order in which you'll show the rooms.  The best ones should be first or last.  Be impartial and ready for any questions.

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