House for sale

Hints and tips for selling your house

Selling a property can often be a challenge. Preparing houses for sale takes time, and requires attention to some of the finer details. Here are a few recommendations to help you prepare for a sale, and make sure you compete well against other sellers in the market.

Home Improvement
When you’re trying to sell your house, it isn’t the time to be starting major renovation work, but it is time to do all of those little maintenance jobs you’ve been meaning to get around to. A lick of paint to freshen things up, replacing the discoloured sealant in the bathroom, or fixing that loose tile in the fireplace are just some of the small jobs that can go a long way to presenting your house in a positive light. However, don’t spend too much money. It is very difficult to cater for the tastes of all potential buyers, and people do like to put their own stamp on a new property, so don’t go overboard and redecorate the whole house (unless it’s in a real state of disrepair!). Refresh the decor, don’t remodel!

Take viewings seriously. Keep things tidied away and clean to help create a sense of space. You don’t want potential buyers to walk away from a viewing feeling that the house lacks storage, and make it difficult to picture themselves living there, because of the build up of possessions you’ve been hoarding away over the years.

Define each room
Viewers want to imagine what it’s like to live in the house as they walk around. By clearly defining each living space, you enable them to do this more easily. Setting the dinner table, arranging a couple of magazines on the coffee table, and straightening towels in the bathroom make rooms more attractive to buyers. I have known clients to bake on the morning before a viewing so the smell of freshly baked bread fills the house. A little extreme perhaps! It’s also important to de-personalise each space if possible. If you use a utility room to store your bike or one of the bedrooms is full of exercise equipment, make sure you return the rooms to their original purpose and allow viewers to see the room’s potential.

Make the most of the outdoor space
A garden or outdoor space is a huge selling point for many buyers. Make the most of what you have by putting a few plants in the flowerbeds, remove any weeds or fallen leaves, and return any gravel or wood chippings to their rightful place. It’s also especially important to make sure the front of your house looks welcoming. People can make their minds up about a property very quickly as they approach, and a front door with chipped paint and a wonky knocker, or overflowing dustbins can certainly put people off.

Give buyers space
Often your estate agent will host viewings for you, and it can be a good idea to not be around when they take place. This will help you resists the urge to walk your potential buyers around the house, crowd them, and overload them with information. If you are at home during viewing times, remember, people like to have their own space, private conversations, and make their own mind up about whether the property is right for them.

Get your documents in order
When you buy a secondhand car, you get peace of mind when there is a full service history and receipts for work carried out over the years. It’s the same when buying a house. Pull together all documents that a buyer would find useful, like the Gas Register certificate for the new combi boiler, the guarantee for last year’s roof repairs, or previous council tax bills.  When selling a house, you’ll also need to provide your agent or solicitor with proof of identity for all owners, along with utility bills etc. If you have this all ready, you won’t hold the process up if a buyer comes along. When selling your home in Scotland, you will also need a Home Report, which is a document of three parts – (i) The Single Survey, which includes a surveyors report on the condition of the house, along with a valuation, (ii) The Energy Report which includes information about the energy efficiency of the house, and (iii) The Property Questionnaire. This is a document completed by the homeowner and includes information on council tax bandings and other useful information. Prospective buyers can request the Home Report at any stage in the process.

Choose the best buyer
The highest offer isn’t always the best offer when selling your house. Your agent will be able to advise you on the potential buyers, and make sure the deal is right for you. You should consider how the purchase is being financed, is it a cash purchase or is a mortgage required? Ask about timescales of the deal, and any other factors you should be considering.

Choose your estate agent wisely
Of course, your estate agent should offer you all of this advice and more. At Coulters, we pride ourselves on the quality of our advice, our customer service and the results we achieve on your behalf. We like to do things a little differently to some property agencies out there. Firstly, we’re open 7 days a week, and we make ourselves available to you in the evenings and at times convenient to you. If you instruct Coulters to represent you, you will be dealing with the Directors of the business, and benefit from many years of experience. Also, as a special introductory offer, we’re running a promotion that entitles you to a 0% estate agency fee. Legal fees still apply, but it’s a deal that could save you thousands of pounds when we successfully sell your house.

For a free appraisal, please call me, Mark Coulter, on 0131 603 7333 or email

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