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    10 golden rules for selling property

    10 golden rules for selling property With the property market in decline, homeowners looking to sell need to work harder convincing potential buyers their property will make the perfect home. Although there is no magic formula for selling property, there are a number of important rules that if followed can increase your chances of an estate agent's SOLD sign appearing outside your home.


    1. The first sight of your home any potential buyer will have is when they pull up outside. This first impression is critical for a poorly presented exterior and/or garden can ruin any chances of a sale even before the potential buyers have walked through the front door. Ensure the front garden is neat and tidy and all exterior decorating and maintenance is up together.
    2. Nothing is more off-putting to potential buyers than walking into a property and tripping over children's toys or seeing clothes piled on a chair or magazines and CD cases strewn across the floor. Remove the clutter but avoid throwing it all into the nearest cupboard, for a potential buyer is less likely to be interested in your home if they are buried under an avalanche of clutter on opening a cupboard door. This could also indicate a lack of storage space. Tidy away any household clutter.
    3. Dirty windows, stains on the carpets and a sink full of washing up are also uninviting. Thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom before each viewing.
    4. Do those minor repairs you keep putting off. A cracked tile in the bathroom, a dripping tap in the kitchen, a squeaking floorboard or a stiff door creates the wrong impression. Visit the projects and advice on www.lets-do-diy.com to complete all those DIY jobs before putting the property on the market.
    5. Your personal preference in interior design may be for bold, bright colours but this will not appeal to everybody. To improve your chances of achieving a sale, redecorate in neutral colours. Potential buyers visiting your home will be trying to imagine living in the property themselves; a neutral colour scheme promotes this idea. Properties decorated in neutral colours are easier to sell.
    6. Buying a home is an emotional decision and you must do everything possible to help prospective buyers identify with your property. It is therefore advisable to remove any objects or items that could alienate others. These include political or religious items, and posters and pictures of your favourite sports stars or teams. De-personalise the property.
    7. Check all the lights work throughout the home, replacing any spent bulbs where necessary. Select your lighting for each room carefully as it plays a big part in creating the room's ambience and can be used to highlight the most attractive feature in the room. Utilise lighting to produce a warm, homely environment.
    8. We may well be a nation of animal lovers, but some people are not and can even be allergic to cats, dogs or budgerigars. If possible farm out your pets for the duration of the viewing, removing all trace of them including any lingering odours. Make your home a pet free zone.
    9. If you are using a spare bedroom as a children's playroom, study or storeroom, change it back into a bedroom. Bedrooms add more value to a property than any other type of room.
    10. Plants with attractive, architectural foliage and fresh flowers provide a room with interest, fragrance and colour. Flower power can transform the whole atmosphere of a room.

    Finally, make sure you have a Home Information Pack (HIP). Since December 2007 it has been a legal requirement for all properties on the market in England and Wales to have a HIP. The pack will include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), containing advice on how to cut carbon emissions and fuel bills. Other documents such as a sale statement, searches and evidence of title must also be included.

    For further information on Home Information Packs visit www.homeinformationpacks.gov.uk