First impressions really do count, none more so than when you’re trying to sell your house. Research suggests we run through over 35,000 decisions a day, and we make up our minds about something in roughly 10 seconds.
For this reason, if you’re looking to refurbish your property before putting it on the market, make sure you don’t ignore some of the easily avoidable mistakes.
It tends to be the small things that stand out to buyers – the “I need to do that, but I’ll do it tomorrow” easy-fix type of jobs that are easy to forget. They often make people question: “if a vendor can’t be bothered taking care of the little stuff, have they taken care of the big stuff?”
If you do want to sell your house quickly, and it isn’t in prime condition, there are many ways to get good results without burning a hole in your pocket.
Taken from the Property Solvers 101 Tips to Sell Your House Fast guide, below are some cheap, quick and easy to ways to refurbish your home.
Know your market
First things first, before you get out your tool belt or look for tradespeople, know who you are targeting. There is a buyer for every home, you just have to work out who yours is. For example, are you marketing to…
- A young family looking for a doer-upper? Or,
- A busy working couple wanting somewhere they can move straight into?
Once you’ve established who you are selling to, you should have a better idea of what is required, and tailor your sales plan accordingly.
If you aren’t sure of what needs doing, disassociate yourself from your property. Take a step back and try to see it for the first time through the eyes of a potential buyer. What appeals to you and what puts you off?
First impressions count, so always consider spending some of your budget on making over the exterior of your property.
- Clean down windows and sills;
- Repaint the windows and their frames, the front door, the garage door plus any external joinery like fascia and soffits;
- Adding a porch or porch canopy in a style befitting your property can add character and be a welcome place to shelter from the rain;
- Clean roof tiles – you can do this with a pressure washer;
- Repair cracks and re-render where necessary;
- Repaint the property if it needs it, especially if there have been multiple repair jobs leaving your house with a patchwork exterior.
The garden is an extension of a property’s living space, so make sure yours is as attractive and pleasing as it can be. Gardening work can all be done on a DIY basis, it doesn’t matter how little you know, none of this is complicated.
At the very least…
- Mow the lawn;
- Sweep away leaves;
- Remove any dead plants;
- Weed and get rid of moss
- Cut back overgrown foliage;
- Plant colourful plants to jazz up the beds.
If your home’s interior has seen better days, now is the time to give it some TLC!
Buyers need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering.
Firstly, if you’re frustrated by the lack of storage space, so too will potential buyers. Free up some of it where you can. Clear out cupboards of junk and either get rid of your stuff completely or put it into storage somewhere else.
Secondly, remove any outdated or damaged fittings. Strip out old carpets, curtains and anything else that’s unsightly. Take down old lampshades and update light fittings. Replace all broken light bulbs.
Thirdly, prepare your walls ready for their makeover…
- Strip wallpaper;
- Sand down surfaces and fill in any cracks to get a smooth finish;
- For really bad walls, consider hiring a professional plasterer to fix them up. Re-skimming with a coat of plaster will cost you approximately £2,000 for a three bedroom house (more if you’re in London or the South East);
- Repaint your new walls and ceilings in a neutral shade, something like an off-white to reflect the light and create a more spacious impression. Pure white has been trending a lot in recent years. If they want, buyers can then paint the house in line with their own taste;
- Repaint any woodwork if you have the budget: hard-wearing gloss on skirting, architraves and doors to complement the walls and ceilings.
Fourthly, if you’ve removed old carpets to reveal original floorboards, and they can be reworked, sand them down and stain or paint them. Or, if what’s under the carpets is as horrifying as the carpets themselves, lay down some simple yet stylish wooden laminate.
If you have the budget to replace your kitchen units, you can find budget-friendly options at Wickes or Magnet. However, you can update your kitchen without needing to tear the old one out and it won’t cost the earth either.
Keep your unit carcasses and simply replace the doors, handles, worktops, sink, taps and splashbacks.
For perspective, in a typical kitchen (excluding appliances and worktops), approximately two-thirds of the price goes on carcasses. Kitchen doors can be replaced for as little as £20 per door. As a heads up – Ikea does standard carcasses and have a whole host of door options that you can replace with something of wide appeal.
Bathrooms, like kitchens, are in use every day and are prone to wear and tear more so than other rooms in the house. Buyers will want to ensure that your bathroom is at the very least in working order.
If the bathroom is out of date, consider replacing it with a simple new white suite (which will set you back approximately £300-400 excluding the installation).
But if that’s not necessary, fix dripping taps, remove limescale from glass and polished surfaces, clean the window curtain or blind. If anything is beyond repair, replace it.
Invest in a new loo brush. Replace the towel rail if it’s worked itself loose or has started to rust – you can pick one up (alongside many other bathroom fixtures) for a reasonable price at stores like B&Q, Homebase, Victorian Plumbing or Screwfix.
Clean mould from any grouting and, again, if it’s beyond repair we would suggest removing and replacing it. A grout whitening pen can work wonders to colour over any ugly patches.
Stained baths can be brought back to their former glory easily with a bit of elbow grease, and remember to replace torn or mouldy shower curtains.
If your bathroom floor is looking tired, worn or warped, think about replacing it. Some simple vinyl or tiles should do the trick.
If you have the budget and willpower, converting and/or extending your home can make a lot of sense. Not only will they add value to your house, but they will make it more appealing to buyers. Examples include:
- Turning the garage into spare rooms;
- Converting the loft;
- Extending the back of the property to create an extra bedroom or living area;
- Digging down into the basement.
Remember that, unless you have specific Permitted Development rights, you will have to seek planning permission which could take time. Then you will need to add in the time and hassle factors of actually getting the works done.
If you don’t have the cash spare to do the conversion yourself, consider getting the ball rolling and apply for planning permission anyway. This will still add to the appeal for prospective buyers.
A Final Note
None of these refurbishment ideas are costly or tricky to do, so you don’t have to employ someone to do them for you. You can find DIY tutorials for pretty much any job online if you aren’t confident about your own skills
It’s also useful to check out the online tradesmen ‘matchmaking’ portals like My Builder, Checkatrade, Rated People, Local Heroes and Home Pro. These services have grown significantly in recent years and can help with pretty much anything…