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How do we 'style' the house to put on the market?

(25 Posts)
LizzieMint Mon 24-Mar-14 18:22:05

We're starting the process of relocating so at some point we will be putting our current house on the market. Neither my OH or I are any good at interior designing and to be blunt I think our house reflects this! It's functional but not particularly attractive. Plus it's stuffed full of toys and assorted junk as well. Is it realistic to think that we could 'style' our house ourselves to get the best possible return, should we get a professional house-styler a la Kirstie and Phil (doubt they are called house-stylets but you know what I mean!) or are there any other alternatives? Do we even need to bother, does it make much of a difference to prospective buyers? Help!

LaurieFairyCake Mon 24-Mar-14 18:24:47

It depends where you live. Round here (south east) I bought last year and the crappest properties sold within 20 minutes of viewings - including the one I bought

The house I sold - I packed 80 boxes worth of stuff up and rented a garage. I then cleaned it a lot and used all my prettiest things to make it look good - I had 4 offers over the asking price the first week.

I'm still unpacking the garage wink 6 months later

Mrswellyboot Mon 24-Mar-14 18:25:10

I would really clear it out. Lots of wicker baskets and cream ottomans (argos do an extra large one) for toys

If its clean and uncluttered, I don't think you would have to really style it. However I would make it look well maintained - touch up woodwork, wash carpets, replace broken door knobs, toilet seat etc.

specialsubject Mon 24-Mar-14 18:27:06

you don't!

you fix all the outstanding stuff. You sort kerb appeal. You make it show that it has enough storage - so declutter like mad.

you make it look workable and livable.

AutumnStar Mon 24-Mar-14 18:27:47

We've just accepted an offer on our house. It was in the market for 11 days.

I just made sure everything was clean and tidy and decluttered as much as possible. Having said that, it's still a home and I didn't disguise that fact, so it definitely wasn't show house standard.

Lots of fresh flowers - we had some in the living room, kitchen and bedroom. Scented candles to make it smell nice and fresh for viewings. Tidy garden thanks MIL.

Good luck! Spring is a good time to sell.

didireallysaythat Mon 24-Mar-14 18:31:43

Ask the agent who they think your buyer will be. First time buyer, family with kids, divorcees etc and declutter accordingly.

LondonNinja Mon 24-Mar-14 18:34:43

We cleared out loads from our shed then put stuff from the house, which was cluttered (hence moving!) in the shed and other bits in the attic. The agent took pics of the clutter free house. Had 15 views on day one and sold in two days, having gone to sealed bids.

It was a mammoth task but was cathartic and probably made us £10k extra. Crazy, really.

MillyMollyMama Mon 24-Mar-14 18:36:05

I think it makes a huge difference, but you do not need to go as far as styling. Can you put some of the less used toys and junk into storage? Toys in cupboards is fine and a few left out is ok, but not lots left lying about. Same with the junk. Do you even want it? Is the tip a better home for it?

Make sure the kitchen looks fit for purpose with cupboards looking clean and smart and work surfaces decluttered. Clean the carpets. Make sure the beds are made and that all the paintwork is in good condition. Check that all the light fittings are complete and handles are on all the doors. Make sure all flooring is sound.

It does not have to be a show house but you need to present it at its best, not its worst. Show rooms as they are intended to be used and give an impression of a loved house and one with space. If things look cluttered, broken or old, why would someone buy your house, especially if there are plenty more on the market? Sell its good points. Presumably you do want to actually sell it for as much as possible, so don't let people have loads of reasons not to buy it or lower the price by thousands.

RelocatorRelocator Mon 24-Mar-14 18:41:12

We're about to put our house on the market. We've redecorated a couple of rooms that looked tired, de cluttered for England and I am now cleaning like a whirling dervish. Cleaning windows, woodwork etc sharpens the whole place up ime.

A good tip I heard if you have too many big toys is to put some in the boot of your car for viewings.

LondonNinja Mon 24-Mar-14 18:43:57

Oh, yes, we had our buggy, boots and porch bits rammed into our car. The house looked so good. If only they knew how much we couldn't store properly! Caveat emptor.

CMOTDibbler Mon 24-Mar-14 18:49:50

Hire a Self Store unit, and declutter as much as you can - not just toys, but stuff in the bathroom, on kitchen sides and tops of cupboards, things on the side in you bedroom, etc.

Then get your most honest friend to come round and tell you what they see and smell, and tackle those issues. Then take photos and let MN tell you what else to do.

You don't need to style the property, but it does need to look like somewhere without problems, and in which people can imagine themselves

dixiechick1975 Mon 24-Mar-14 18:52:34

I wouldn't pay some one. Lots of tips online.

We sold last year and packed away lots of stuff we didn't need day to day and put stuff in storage. Storage place moved us so didn't cost much.

Pack most stuff away. Just leave out a few nicer items.

Fix anything broken.

Clean a lot. We had carpets cleaned and boiler serviced.

Touch up paintwork or repaint if needed.

In the lounge the fireplace was nice so I removed all photos in frames off it. Only a few nice cushions not lots. Only one or two photos.

Eg in the kitchen I packed away spare crockery, slow cooker, drawers with dd's craft stuff. Left Kettle toaster and vase of flowers on display.

Bathrooms don't have lots of half used toiletries on display maybe just one posh hand wash.

We used one bedroom as a playroom. Packed the lot and took stickers off the wall and put a double bed(off ebay) in there dressed with a nice john lewis throw (also off ebay)

Spent lots of time in garden painting fence and shed.

We had a list and worked through it - hard work but house sold quickly.

LizzieMint Mon 24-Mar-14 20:07:15

Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like functional but uncluttered is the way to go. There's a lot of junk I'd be very happy to see down the tip, sadly it's not my stuff! ;) I'd be heading for a divorce if I got rid of it! smile

ShoeWhore Tue 25-Mar-14 10:01:13

Another good tip is to make sure every room looks like it had a definite purpose. Buyers need to be able to see where they will put a dining table etc. I've looked at houses where one room (often a walk through room) doesn't have much furniture in and it does make me thing hmm is that wasted space really?

TheArticFunky Tue 25-Mar-14 11:58:16

I'm going to go against the grain and say that it just needs to be tidy and clean. I'm not bothered by lots of child's toys and equipment etc because it demonstrates that a family can comfortably live in it.

We live in a terraced victorian house it's probably more suited to a young couple but we are a family of four. As a result of rising house prices couples are having to raise families in houses like ours even though they are smaller than an average family home.

My friend who sold a similar property to ours hired someone who advised her on maximising the houses kerb appeal. They were advised to stick the majority of the kids stuff in storage and went on a mad de-clutter frenzy. It looked amazing. However the feedback they got from the estate agents was that some viewers discounted it because it wasn't a family home and they planned on starting a family in their next home.

If you came to our house you would see that it is a family home and that we are managing to live quite comfortably in it despite it being on the small side! Hopefully that would then not deter young couples who are thinking of starting a family.

LizzieMint Tue 25-Mar-14 20:15:21

Hmm, interesting you should say that ShoeWhore, because I do think we have a room like that, and to me, it is wasted space. It's meant to be a playroom (it was the original lounge before we had an extension built) but actually the kids don't use it, apart from to chuck their toys in. You walk through it to get into the extension, I'm not sure what I could 'define' it as. We have a dining room already. Is a badly organised playroom enough of a use of space?! Maybe we should put a desk/chair at one end to make it a bit office-y as well.

ShoeWhore Tue 25-Mar-14 20:23:50

Just make it look like a playroom and I'm sure you'll be grand. Buyers aren't to know the kids don't play in it grin

lovingmatleave Tue 25-Mar-14 22:02:25

Just watching "Selling Houses" with Amanda Lamb on More 4. Try and catch that if you can - has 3 sellers styling their houses with £1k to make them more saleable. Pretty much what dixiechick says, with some other ideas such as adding colour to neutral walls with matching accessories. It really shows you what a difference preparing a house properly can make.

JumpingJackSprat Wed 26-Mar-14 07:35:56

To me a study or office would be more valuable than a playroom.

starfishmummy Wed 26-Mar-14 07:52:13

Do the outstanding diy jobs. Make sure it is clean and tidy.
Air the house well on viewing days but don't do the freshly brewed coffee thing - everyone knows why you are doing it anyway. (And I know someone who would not be able to enter a house reeking of coffee).
Oh and move the cat litter tray out

magimedi Wed 26-Mar-14 08:30:27

Neutral bedspreads make a bedroom look bigger & tidier instantly.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 26-Mar-14 09:39:17

to me I think when looking round a house I would want to think it was clean (tends to indicate well cared for), tidy - kids toys are ok but you want to be able to see the size of rooms and feel there is plenty of storage for what you need.

don't make it look sterile, too unlived in or minimalist as like has been said a family needs to be able to imagine it as a family house. I think people want a house to feel warm and welcoming and happy. some of the TV shows say don't have up photos etc but I think you need that, blank walls or mantlepieces just don't look natural to me. too many could be cluttered but you need something

I would use the room you are uncertain about as a bit dual purpose, declutter toys, what you have left put in tidy storage, get one of those zig zag screens to put in front of them and stick a table and chair in there so it can be a study or a playroom.

you can't please everyone. get a neighbour or friend to come and look round it and see what they notice, you might not see something like marks on a wall but they might notice it straight away and that is easily fixed.

TheArticFunky Wed 26-Mar-14 09:43:00

nonick - I've never got the advice about removing photos either. Why would someone be put off a house because there are family photos displayed? I'm not sure where they are coming from with that advice.

SpringyReframed Wed 26-Mar-14 09:53:23

I'm doing this at the moment too. The photos tomorrow so I am off work trying to do everything. My estate agent has been very helpful in giving advice and it isnt anything as extreme as Kirstie and Phil!!

My best tip (devised by myself for viewings of the 3 EA's I got round) is buy clear big storage bags. Not expensive ones - I got mine in the bin bag section at Waitrose, and then show all bedroom debris into them and then retrieve when they've gone!

I am not a tidy person but I do like things clean. The bag thing really works, as you can then make the place look "normal" after the viewers have gone.

Off to buy some flowers for the photos....

ssmile Wed 26-Mar-14 09:55:04

Go view some other houses locally. See what the competition is and what do you notice when viewing those houses? Apply that to your own if you can't see what it needs doing. We sold ours last year we cleaned everything and touched up all the little dinks and bought a new duvet cover set which got laid over the top of ours in a quick hurry whenever I got the "you have half hour before a viewing call"! Things got stored in the playhouse outside in a hurry and under our bed. We had 8viewings in 6days of May half term was flipping nightmare as they all wanted to come either first thing or last thing at night. So we had lots of play in the park and tea in the local cafe as is I had two young kids who wanted their tea and toys out everywhere during the mad 5-7pm times.

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