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Things To Do Before Selling House

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If this is your first time selling a house, or if you’ve not sold a house for a while you may be wondering about the things to do before selling your house.

In order of priority the things to do when selling your house include focusing on curb appeal and first impressions of the front of your house, followed by doing up and fixing things that need attention, updating the inside and outside with fresh paint, then a complete declutter and thorough clean.

If you are perhaps also wondering what not to fix when selling your house, you might like to read the following article: “What Not To Fix When Selling A House“. But then I also recommend you take a look at my video course on How To Sell Your House In Under 2 Weeks For More Money. This easy to watch video course includes all the things you should fix when selling a house, and the course itself could be the best investment you ever make when you sell your house.

The way I see it is there are two key things you want from selling a house:

With that in mind, here’s a list of key aspects to focus on and do before you sell your house:

First impressions and curb appeal

First impressions are key to selling your house and impressing prospective homebuyers, as you can never make a second first impression. The front of your house needs to look loved. This includes:

  • Fully repaired, painted and clean windows
  • A newly painted and clean front door.
  • A tidy and pruned front garden.

Something as simple as cleaning your windows, which is very cheap to do, can actually add value to your house. The reason for this is because clean windows let in more light. Light bright rooms look bigger and look better to prospective owners, which makes them more valuable.

Declutter the interior of your house

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your house you need to adjust to thinking of your house as transitioning to new owners. With this in mind, you need to depersonalise each room. You do this by removing excessive family photos, remove huge collections of whatever you collect, and go with a minimalistic approach.

Decluttering rooms will make rooms look bigger, and it will help prospective homebuyers to visualise your house as their home. You want the viewers to imagine themselves living in your house.

Decorate in neutral modern colours

You may love bright colours and whacky wallpaper, but this might not be to everyone’s taste. So you need to tone down any colours by choosing lighter neutral colours that will allow prospective buyers to visualise this as their own home. If you have neutral colours, buyers will be able to think about the space and how they could updated it themselves.

Light tinted and neutral colours will lighten rooms and make them feel bigger. This will help to sell your house quicker. If you keep the bright colours, buyers may be put off by the fact they will have to begin with decorating their new home. Make it easy for buyers to buy and keep things neutral.

Please do not use magnolia paint on the walls, as this is very old hat.

I recommend you visit a local show home at a local housing development to see what they’ve done with colours and decoration, as it’s likely they will be using an interior designer to advise them on current colour schemes. The developer only makes his money when the houses are sold, Developers need their houses to sell for good money and fast, so they can move to the next development.

Modernise the kitchen

It is true that kitchens help sell houses. But kitchens on their own don’t sell a house if the rest of the house is rundown and cluttered. A brand new kitchen in an altogether rundown house won’t sell the house on its own. But conversely, an up-together house that’s been freshly painted and with all the clutter removed, but that has an old outdated kitchen might be difficult or slow to sell, and at a reduced selling price.

You don’t necessarily have to pay for a brand new kitchen either. There are tricks to updating an old out-of-date kitchen for not very much money. This is especially true if you are any good at DIY. I go into a bit more detail on this subject in my online course, and how I modernised our current kitchen to look brand new for not too much money. But I’m good at DIY and handy with a screwdriver and saw.

Modernise the bathroom(s)

Bathrooms need to be modern and clean. If your bathrooms have had a facelift, homebuyers will be able to visualise themselves using what are currently your bathrooms as theirs. They’ll be able to imagine themselves showering in the morning once they’ve bought your house.

If you have old and dated bathrooms which have yellow or green baths, these need to be updated with new white bathroom suites. Another tip of things to do before selling your house when it comes to bathrooms is if any of your bathrooms have carpet, get rid of any bathroom carpets and replace this will tiles or vinyl. Carpet in bathrooms is a complete no, no.

Make sure each room is setup as it should be – bedrooms should be bedrooms

All rooms in your house need to be cleared and cleaned and they need to be setup as the room they are.

For example, a bedroom should have a bed in it and it should be setup as a bedroom. Make sure you can get into every room and always use the adage “less is more”. The less you have in each room the better, as this will make the room look bigger. Minimalist furniture in decluttered rooms will help homebuyers see the room for what it is.

Outside space and garden

Home owners often neglect the garden and forget how important outside space is. You want your prospective buyers to imagine themselves in your garden entertaining guests and having their own barbeque. The lawns should be cut and maintained, the hedges should be trimmed and fences should be fixed and newly painted or treated.

Your flower gardens should be recently weeded and the borders kept tidy. But you also need to clear away any garden clutter, which includes loads of kids toys, rubbish and old broken garden tools and equipment. A trip to the local tip is in order to get rid of any garden clutter.

Think of your garden as another room to your house.

Pet smells and mess

If you have pets you need to remove any pet smells in the house and you need to make sure any doggy mess is cleared from the garden before each viewing visit by potential homebuyers. Better still is if you can leave your pets with a friend or family member whilst your house is open to viewings, as this will help you keep your house tidy and less pet-smelly.

Not everyone is pet friendly, and a bad doggy odour may put buyers off immediately as they walk through your front door.


You need to make sure your electrics work so if a viewer comes at night the lights work. But more importantly, you should have your electrics checked by an electrician, as any problems may get picked up on the survey. Bad or dangerous electrics may lose a sale or it may result in a reduction in the final sales price. This will delay the sale and will add to the stress of selling your house.

Heating system

We have our heating system on an annual contract with British Gas, which is the same as all our investment properties that have gas central heating. Having your heating system checked on a regular basis gives you peace of mind that the survey is unlikely to pickup any problems.

If you have an old outdated boiler on its last legs, you should consider replacing it with a new boiler. If you don’t renew your boiler now before you put your house on the market, its age and potential for breaking down is likely to be picked up by the house survey. This will delay the sale and you’ll either have to replace it before the sale will proceed or deduct the cost from the offer amount.


Whilst you don’t need to rush out to buy new furniture before selling your house, you don’t want your old worn out furniture letting the look of your house down. This is especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of painting and fixing up your house before it’s sold. There are various tricks and things you can do to furniture to hide wear and tear by using throws to avoid the need to spend on new.

Floorings and carpets

Worn out floors and carpets is one of the things you will need to address before selling your house. You don’t necessarily need to re-carpet the whole house, unless all the carpet is threadbare. But at the very least, and especially if you have pets, you should have the carpets professionally cleaned. If you don’t want to go to the expense of a professional carpet cleaner, you can hire a carpet cleaner and do this yourself.

There are similarly tricks to help hide worn floors if these are only worn in certain places, like using runners and rugs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about things to do before selling house

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Things To Do Before Selling House

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been investing in property since purchasing his first commercial property in the 1990's for his own Chartered Accountancy business. But his first property investment project was to turn an old dilapidated restaurant into a large 5-bed home, which he purchased for £117,500 and sold for £450,000 (to see an "after" photo of the house before it was sold see here: About). Russell owns a number of investment properties, which includes houses, flats and HMO's. More recently he has turned his creative side to investing in property using lease options. His largest lease option deal to date was to acquire 12 properties worth over £2 million for just £12, which means he paid just £1 to acquire each property!

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