It is surprising that so many people continue to make the same fundamental mistakes when selling their homes. Overgrown, neglected gardens, houses in need of a lick of paint and properties that have an overall air of neglect still grace advertising sites. However, buyers tend to be incredibly fussy and those who are serious about selling their homes need to spend a little time and effort getting their property up to scratch.
We all have different ideas as to what is deemed acceptable, but what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander when it comes to selling a home.
Berry Everitt, MD Chas Everitt International property group, says that buyers should do their utmost to avoid the following 'instant turnoffs'. "Dirty dishes and cluttered kitchen counters. Counters crowded with the blender, coffee maker, toaster, kettle and slow cooker may make it appear that the kitchen lacks work and storage space. And the remains of last night's supper congealing on plates in the sink is sure to put buyers off."
"Pets and their paraphernalia. Nobody wants to see a dirty cat litter box next to the dining table or the dog's chew toys scattered all over the living room, and buyers who are allergic to dogs or cats will probably walk straight back out again. Frankly, when your home is for sale, there should be no sign at all that a pet lives there."
"Dirty toilet or toilet seat. This is enough to put buyers right off, even if they like the rest of your home and have begun to visualise where they would put their own furniture. Buyers really don't want to be reminded that they will be taking over a 'used' bathroom, so everything in this room - including counters, mirrors, bath and basins - should be absolutely spotless before you put the home on show."
"Toys and baby supplies. For the most part, buyers will understand that keeping your home tidy when you have children - especially a baby - is difficult. But it's important nevertheless to make an effort. Round up toys and put them in a storage chest or cupboard, empty any bins containing used nappies and don't leave any dirty baby bottles lying around. Buyers should never feel that the home isn't clean or sanitary."
Everitt makes a very good point when he notes that the property market is still largely geared in favour of buyers and that it remains tough to get prospective purchasers to attend show days or home viewings - and tougher still to hold their interest once they have passed through the doors.
Experts have long been offering advice on how to showcase the home to the best advantage. A fresh loaf of bread baking in the oven, simmering a cinnamon concoction on the stove and burning scented candles have long been recommended and while these tips may help, nothing speaks louder than a well-maintained, clean home.
It is not always easy to see where we are going wrong and if in doubt, sellers should consider bringing in a third party to provide some constructive criticism before the property is placed on the market.
Spring clean the home thoroughly, wash the walls, launder the curtains and sanitise the toilets and bathrooms. You may well have learnt to live with the dirt and grime that comes with daily living, but rest assured, potential buyers will not be nearly as forgiving.