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How to make your home stand out in a busy market

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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The property market always starts a new year strong because there is an influx of new buyers and new motivation in the first few months. If you’re considering a 2023 house sale, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Searching for a home has become a bit like online dating. With a scroll or a swipe, buyers may reject your property because it looks too uninviting or uninspiring. With these top tips we'll show you how to make your home as attractive as possible when competition is high in the market.

Beautiful photo of a reception room taken by Foxtons Specialist Photography to enhance a property listing

1. Look at your property objectively

There are three key variables when it comes to finding the perfect property: price, location and space. While you can’t change the location and the price is dictated by demand, what you can do is change how buyers feel about the space.

If you’ve been putting off doing those odd jobs around your home, then now is the time to tackle them. Be prepared for viewings from potential buyers that may look unfavourably at the broken kitchen door, or the peeling paint in the bathroom.

"There are three key variables when finding the perfect property: price, location and space..."

It’s important to look at your property objectively and put yourselves in the shoes of the buyers – after all, the chances are that you’re probably a buyer too, so think about what you’re looking for when viewing potential homes.

A good tip is to look at homes within 10% of your asking price and see how other sellers have presented their properties. If yours isn’t quite up to the same standard, then now is the time to act, as buyers may overlook your property in favour of others that look better in the photos, or tidier on viewings.

You can see similar homes that have sold in your area when you login to your My Foxtons account.

2. Everything has a place

Some of us may be surprised at the amount of stuff that can accumulate in our homes, so start clearing out the clutter sooner rather than later. What you might overlook after all those years in a property may be the first thing buyers see on a viewing.

Bear in mind that you are not selling your stuff, you are selling the space, so everything must have a home – ironing boards, overflowing wash baskets, shampoo bottles in the shower and stacks of post on kitchen countertops make a home look messy and unappealing.

This photo of a tidy bedroom and hallway was taken by an expert on the Foxtons Specialist Photography team

Equally, while a few family photos are fine, too many on display and the space suddenly becomes too personalised. This can make it difficult for buyers to envisage living in the space.

Depersonalising and creating a blank canvas in the main rooms, such the reception room and the kitchen, is a great idea, as potential buyers may be able to picture their own possessions in place of yours more easily.

3. Give you property personality

While decluttering is key, it’s also important that the space feels homely. Hiding all your possessions in cupboards may look tidy, but it can also make rooms look cold and uninviting – especially in photographs.

A few bright cushions and pieces of artwork can lift a space and make it seem more welcoming, particularly in the rooms that are used the most like the reception room and kitchen. However, too much colour can make a home feel dated. We recommend painting the bathroom white, as this makes it feel more clean.

It’s also a good idea to keep the colour palette neutral in the bedroom, as this creates a sense of calm. This property photo taken by our Specialist Photography team is a great example of how a neutral colour scheme can be practical, while maintaining a homely feel.

4. Be flexible with viewings

Being as flexible as possible with viewings is often the key to success when selling your property. Many sellers aren’t aware that they are jeopardising the sale of their home when they request viewings to be carried out only when it suits them.

Restricting the times when agents can carry out viewings limits the number of potential buyers through your door, which means it could take much longer to find the right buyer. We conduct 22% of our viewings outside office hours. It’s also a good idea for your estate agent to have keys so that they can access the property as and when people want to view it. While it may be inconvenient for you for viewings to take place in the evening and at weekends, this is when most buyers will want to come and view properties.

And while you may also want to be present at viewings, it’s not recommended.

"You are not selling your stuff, you are selling the space"

Buyers need to be honest about what they think and you’re unlikely to get any valuable feedback if you are present. It also hinders people's ability to see themselves living in the space if the seller is hanging around. Buyers can’t sit down on the sofa, or test the length of the bath if you’re there…

And remember...

In the first few months of a new year, the market is competitive and the standard of properties is high. Our advice is to make your property as ‘open for business’ as possible. Be flexible with viewings, put fresh flowers in the vases every Friday (ahead of your weekend viewings), empty your bins and lower the loo seats before you leave for work in the morning. Small things can go a long way when trying to secure an offer on your home.

Discover more

Browse our properties for sale, book your free property valuation today, check what documents you need to sell a house or find out more about making the most of the new year rush with our article, It's the most wonderful time of the year to start a property sale.

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