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Five top tips to get your home ready for sale

Thinking of selling up? If you want it to be a fast, stress-free process, and for your home to sell for the best possible price, you need to spend some time giving it a little TLC before it goes on the market. If you're after some inspiration, here are five top tips to help you prepare your home for sale.

1. Clear out the clutter

That collection of porcelain hedgehogs or display of Star Trek paraphernalia may be precious to you, but they could put off prospective buyers. If your usual lifestyle is more ‘messy bohemian' than minimalistic, make an effort to clear surfaces and keep things orderly for viewings. Stash your stuff out of sight to keep the place neat – even a misplaced towel or magazine can have an impact.

2. Take a lesson from hotel stylists

There are some handy tricks of the trade used by hotels to create that alluring, clean and relaxing look. Firstly, you want to find a happy medium (somewhere between bland and boring) and not a style that only appeals to a small subset of people. Think neutral colours, the odd splash of colour or personality and plenty of light (replace those dark curtains with light blinds). Hoteliers also make great use of symmetry and mirrors – matching bedside lamps and plenty of reflective surfaces will make your home light, bright and enticing.

3. Get rid of bad smells

If a place doesn't pass the sniff test, we don't feel comfortable there. Stinky rubbish bins, pets and children are among the top whiff culprits in scaring away potential buyers. Clean and air out your house, put out the rubbish and make sure pooch is out for a walk while viewings are going on. If you can sneak in some good smells such as candles, coffee, baked bread or a freshly-mown lawn, that will help, too.

4. Don't overlook kerb appeal

Estate agents say viewers often make up their minds about a property before they even step through the door. If the garden's a mess and the paint on your front door is peeling, sort this out before looking for buyers. A few licks of paint and a pot of flowers by the door will increase your home's appeal in a flash.

5. Use a good agency

The agency is essentially your home selling partner. Even if you make the property as appealing as possible, a bad agent could turn off prospective buyers. Good agents will take the best photos, ask questions about the property so they can give prospective buyers more information, and generally have a professional and approachable character. Just bear in mind that a cut-price agent might not pay off in the long run if they put off higher bidders.

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