Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger

With lockdown easing and a stamp duty freeze in place the volume of homes hitting the property market has been huge. At Luke Granger Photography we have been inundated with requests from Estate Agents to provide professional photography, floorplans and video to homes across Kent.

We are based in Gravesend and regularly visit and have contracts with Estate Agents in Bexleyheath, Bexley, Dartford, Maidstone, Aylesford, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Meopham, Ashford, Canterbury and surrounding areas.

Due to the impact of Coronavirus, there are of course many homeowners who feel downsizing their home is needed on a financial level, however at the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also those who have realised they need more space. Having spent so much time at home during lockdown, many families have realised their house no longer suits their needs; there are those who plan to continue working from home who now need a permanent office, alongside many others who realise their children need additional space to grow or a larger garden to play in.

Here at Luke Granger Photography, we work with estate agents and homeowners across Kent offering professional property photography and video services. It is well known that first impressions are extremely important; when a property is presented in its best light, more potential buyers will be interested in a home, leading to an increase in viewings, followed by more offers and potentially a greater sale price being achieved.

Here Are Our Top Tips On How To Prepare A House For Sale

1 - Don't Get Hung Up On Figures

If you have decided to put your home up for sale, you as a homeowner will likely go to a handful of Estate agents to ask how much they will charge to market your property and how much they feel it is worth. Historically, most vendors choose to go with the highest property valuation or the lowest agent fee's, however there are more important factors you should consider before making your decision.

Ask for recommendations from people you know and check for reviews online. Local Facebook groups are often a great place to ask too, especially if the agents you have shortlisted are based nearby.

Choosing an agent who demonstrates a high level of customer service will make the whole process far less stressful. Queries should be answered promptly and with confidence. Ask open questions about how the agent intends to support and drive the sale of your home; you should feel their approach is genuine.

Extra Tip - Buying and selling a home is a negotiation process for all parties involved not just the buyer and seller. There is always the option to discuss the asking price so instead of getting hung up over a valuation, approach the agent that you prefer (not the one who valued highest) to discuss your next steps. Tell the agent what price you would like to advertise at, if the agent is genuine and there to help you, they wont mind marketing your home at a higher price to see what interest it achieves. This is the start of you and your agent working together, don't be embarrassed to have an open conversation so you can get the ball rolling with confidence.

2 - Find An Agent Who Offers Quality

Many estate agents and letting agents are cutting corners, it's not going unnoticed by professional photographers or the long list of potential buyers/sellers. Instead of hiring a professional property photographer, many estate agents take slapdash photos using a mobile phone or cheap point and shoot camera and often fail to include even a basic floorplan. When buyers aren't interested in their listings and the property is still on the market many months later, the solution often proposed by the estate agent is to reduce the asking price, not what you as a vendor will want to hear!

Our top piece of advice is always to take a look at the quality of an estate agents other listings before committing to any agreement; this will give an indication on what to expect from them. First impressions count so ensuring your property offers eye-catching professional photography and a floorplan from day 1 of going to market is one of the best ways to generate interest from potential buyers and secure a sale.

3 - Tip Top Condition

When selling a home, a vendor's top priority is to sell their property for the best price in a reasonable timeframe. Obviously, each vendor will have different price expectations, however presenting your home in a positive way is the only way you will push potential buyers to pay the best price for your home.

You may not be a particular fan of DIY but if there are a number of areas that need some work in your house, it is best to complete as much as you can before your home goes on the market. Vendors often feel that they need to update a kitchen or a bathroom to secure a sale but it is often the smaller cosmetic jobs that will put potential buyers off.

Imagine viewing a property: when you arrive the door bell doesn't work, a door handle is broken, there's a skirting board unpainted in the living room, the banister up the stairs wobbles, there's creaky floorboards on the landing and a big stain on the carpet in a bedroom. The next house you view looks far more presentable, however its bathroom is pretty outdated.

If the two houses were the same price, of similar size and within the same area, 92% of buyers would make an asking price offer on the second house over the first because their perception is that it needs less work.

Every potential buyer will be imagining how they can put their stamp on the property so installing a kitchen or bathroom to your own tastes isn't always the right move to make. By all means, give the property a fresh coat of paint and fix those odd jobs you have been ignoring for the last 12 months but investing your money on fitting a new kitchen will be worthless if the rest of the home isn't looking in good shape.

4 - Every Room Must Have A Purpose

When selling your home, it is really important to be open minded about what potential buyers are looking for. Although it can be frustrating, there may be some changes you need to make temporarily to help show the benefits of your property. They don't have to be expensive changes but some may require a little compromise.

One of the most common hurdles we come across when visiting properties is when a bedroom is being used as an office. For many modern families it is necessary and how they always intended to use that room, but lots of potential buyers are then unable to visualise the room as anything else. Instead of viewing the 3 bedroom property that they need, they are instead presented with a 2 bed home that doesn't quite fit the bill.

5 - Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

The more clutter a potential buyer sees, the more they will feel the home has a lack of storage. More often that not, its actually that the current owners have an excessive amount of belongings or are just not utilising their space correctly. The solution is simple: declutter, declutter, declutter.

Try not to see storing things out of sight as stripping your home of your personality, yes it is your home but if you don't need the items in the short term, pop it in storage, the loft or a cupboard to help allow a buyer to visualise how they could make your house their new home. These short term compromises will benefit you in the long run, hopefully helping you sell your property for the price you deserve.

Extra Tip - Grab your holiday suitcases down from the loft and fill them up with things you don't need right now. This is perfect for all the cuddly toys your children don't need (but insist on keeping) as you can say they will be back after they have a special holiday.

Extra Extra Tip - If you're tight for time before a viewing, grab a box or a reusable bag and visit every room. Collect items that are out of place or appear distracting and when full, pop the box or bag in a cupboard out of sight (If you are really tight for space, pop it all in your car). After the viewing is over, bring the box or bag back out and put the things away.

Common finds are - Bath toys, chargers, laptops, school bags, shoes and washing that you don't have time to put away.

6 - Keep Clean

Years ago, it was suggested that home owners should bake bread and have vases of fresh flowers on display for every viewing in a bid to stimulate the senses of any visitors. Times however have changed and you will be pleased to know potential buyers won't be judging your cooking skills; what every viewing needs however is cleanliness.

Ensure you are keeping on top of your cleaning routine so that any potential viewings can be scheduled quickly. Buyers will understand the home is lived in but they will struggle to connect with the home if they are distracted by dirt (and clutter, see tip 5). Keep scents to fresh or fruity smells where possible, clear up after your pets, ensure bins are emptied and sinks are kept clear from dirty dishes.

Extra Tip - Ask the agent to request buyers remove their footwear upstairs. This will plant a seed with the potential buyers that you respect the house and it will reiterate that the home is well cared for.

Extra Extra Tip - You know I spoke earlier on about compromise? If you smoke in your home, now is the time to head outside. Even smokers themselves are often put off by the smell of smoke inside so grab a coat and help keep your home fresh.

7 - Kerb Appeal

Making your house look presentable from the outside really helps boost first impressions for potential buyers. It might not be the biggest home on the street but just a few little touches can make a visitor feel more welcome. Trim the front hedge, the overgrowing tree and ensure the path is jet washed or perhaps the addition of a hanging basket or a window box may suit the property well.

If you have a viewing booked, avoid parking on your driveway to give the suggestion of space and avoid distraction. If possible, park your car(s) further down the street to leave plenty of space outside the home. If road parking is limited, discuss with your Estate Agent in advance about alternative options so that they can confidently answer queries during the viewing.

Extra Tip - If you drive down pretty much any residential street (especially built up ones) on bin day, it will look a mess. The sight of multi coloured bins scattered along the path in a haphazard fashion, most of which are probably overflowing with rubbish; not exactly the greatest impression you want to give a a potential buyer is it? The best way to avoid this quite literally rubbish first impression, is tell your agent you are unavailable for any viewings on the day your rubbish gets collected (and the evening beforehand).

So There We Have It...

7 (plus a few extra) top tips on how to prepare a house for sale. Hopefully, you will take some of our advice on board and will be prepared to make some changes to help support the sale of your home. All of our tips are tried and tested with properties across Kent and we wish you the greatest luck in selling your home.

If you are an estate or letting agent looking for a professional property photographer and would like to discuss our services, please do get in touch. We regularly work with Kent based Estate Agents in Maidstone, Chatham, Tunbridge Wells, Bromley, Orpington, Ashford & Canterbury and would love to speak with you.