Christmas is coming and before we know it, it’ll be 2014. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your house isn’t still for sale in 2015, by home staging expert Sam Ashdown.

Selling a house during the Christmas period can be tricky. Shiny decorations and nosy relatives will put off even the hardiest of viewers. But once you’ve taken down the tinsel, and sent Great Aunt Hilda packing, what can you do to make sure your home has the ‘wow’ factor for the early spring buyers?

Here are some practical tips to help you ‘spring’ into your new home:

1. Heat it up

The thought of viewing an unheated house is uninviting and won’t create the right first impression on a viewing. If you know you’re going to arrive at the same time as your viewers, set the heating timer to come on a few hours prior to the viewing. Not only will the house be toasty warm, it’ll prevent any noises of boilers kicking in. Before they arrive, maybe pop the fire on low too if you have one, it makes a living room so warming and homely.

path_clear_snow2. Clear the path

If we have snow – and the forecasters say we will – ensure your front path is shovelled to make it clear, and gritted to prevent slip ups. Trawling through the snow to the front door isn’t massively inviting.

3. Let there be light

Create a warm, welcoming atmosphere even before your viewers step through your front door, by switching on all the lights, just like you see in showhomes. If the viewing is arranged for after the sun has set, leave the overhead lights off, and instead light all the lamps, for a cosier look. Don’t shut any curtains as it will make rooms seem closed in. Take advantage of timers too – if people go past your home and see for the sale sign, your home will seem more interesting with lights on.

4. Lighten up

Winter often encourages us to seek out deeper, richer colours in fabrics and bedding. To change the mood for Spring, change bedding and soft furnishings, like cushions and throws. Spring colours are soft pastels, like duck-egg blue, pale lemon and soft greens. Sprinkle some of these around for a fresh Spring-like feel.

5. Don’t forget the garden

If your garden is looking a bit worse for wear after Winter, it’s time to spruce it up – a well-presented garden can add thousands to the perceived value of a house. And there aren’t many buyers out there who will be keen to get stuck into an overgrown garden straight after moving in. Take out any garden toys left over from last summer, pressure wash the patio and add colour with some pretty hardy plants in pots.

6. Dress your rooms

Make a room look inviting and well-staged by creating a mood. In the dining room, set the table for a meal using your best china. Put your lotions and shampoos in neat groups in the bathroom, and hang freshly laundered dressing gowns. Place winter flowers in vases around the house. Set a newspaper on the coffee table and a few magazines to add that extra polish.clean_home

7. Add some sparkle

Make your home sparkle on the inside, and keep it really clean. Vacuum carpets, wash the windows, dust furniture and clean the floors. Clean out your fridge as – surprisingly – many people look in the fridge, especially if it is integrated. Your whole house should look and smell as if it has just been completely spring-cleaned.

8. I ‘scents’ a sale!

While making your home smell nice is a must, don’t spray air fresheners or perfume in case visitors are allergic. Focus on getting the home smelling naturally clean and welcoming. A lovely inviting smell is baking – make some cookies and time them so they’re just ready as people arrive. Ensure that you offer them to the buyers though, or they’ll be disappointed.

9. Flower power

Splash some cash on a couple of really nice bouquets of flowers. Put one in the living room, and split the other into two or three smaller vases for the hallway and master bedroom. Keep to the Spring colours, though bolder shades can work well for accent colours. Spring flowers like daffodils and tulips will add a lovely scent while reminding your viewers that warmer weather is almost here.

10. Add some ambiance

Try playing some soft music to add a sense of atmosphere to the house. There’s nothing worse than a house that’s too quiet, and you may feel you have to rush in and talk when sometimes viewers just need to soak it up. Music can really help to put everyone at their ease. Go for easy listening, but relatively up to date, like Adele, Dido or Michael Buble.

Home staging can be a really good investment. None of these suggestions are particularly expensive, and most are free. By spending a little money, and some time and effort, you will be in your new home in time to enjoy your Easter eggs.

SAm Ashdown byline pic

For more house selling advice, check out Sam’s Selling Secrets at www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets or her blog at www.home-truths.co.uk/blog

Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. Zoopla strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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