Date Published 01 May 2015
1) Lawn in order
Summer-dried brown patches on lawns ruin the effect of a pretty garden, so keep grass as green as possible. If potential buyers are about to march up the drive and you are stuck with a brown patch, strategically place some garden furniture on top of it.
2) Clear purpose
'Make sure every room shows its original purpose,' says Robert Bailey of London buying agents Robert Bailey Property. 'You may be using the dining room as a playroom, but clear all the toys away and set the table to show how many people can be seated. And take filing and home office equipment out of a spare bedroom and into cupboards.'
3) Let the air in
Musty-smelling rooms are off-putting and make people want to get out before they have even noticed the stunning ceiling rose. It's summer, so you can open windows without fear of making the house feel chilly. Don't forget to air rarely used rooms and teenagers' bedrooms.
4) Lighten up
If you have a dark room, add a table lamp, 'But don't go over the top and put every light on in the house unnecessarily,' says David Adams, head of residential sales at Chesterton Humberts. 'Potential buyers may think you're sneakily trying to cover up a lack of natural light.' And while we are on lights, one of the details vendors often don't notice but buyers do is grimy light switches.
They are normally in a prominent spot as you enter or leave a room, so wipe them clean.
5) De-clutter the hall
Make the entrance hall enticing, so potential buyers want to see more of your home. If it's cluttered, the first impression of the house is that it's cramped, rather than open and spacious. 'Move unnecessary items such as an excessive number of coats hanging up and muddy shoes,' Adams says.
'Putting flowers on the hall table is so easy and it creates an instant good feeling about the house,' adds David Smith, senior partner at Carter Jonas.
6) Pass the sniff test
All the agents canvassed were very sniffy about odours. 'Vendors shouldn't underestimate them,' Adams says. 'A home that smells fresh and clean is more important than baking bread or brewing coffee, which won't disguise stale odours anyway.'
7) Window dressing
People are always drawn towards windows – a plus in the height of summer when they can look out onto your carefully tended garden, so make them a real focal point. Apart from ensuring the glass is sparkling (well worth paying a window cleaner), clear junk off window sills and keep curtains pulled well back to make rooms seem lighter and bigger.
8) Floor space
The tidier the better – it's particularly important to take everything off the floor as carpet clutter is the quickest way to make a room look smaller.
9) The pets have to go
Your puppy may be the cutest ever, but dishes of pet food in the kitchen, especially in warm weather, are a complete turn-off, as are little accidents left on the lawn.
10) And lastly…
'Viewers don't want to be pounced on by owners and shown where the gas meter is,' Bailey says. 'The agent may know very well what will or won't interest a particular client, so it's best to leave them to it.'