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Amid the financial chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, one area of the UK economy is booming: the property market.
Recently published Rightmove data shows that home sales in Britain hit £37bn in July, in the sector’s busiest month in a decade, while property portal Zoopla reports that demand is continuing to outpace supply.
If you’re putting your home on the market, you can further boost your odds of selling success by make sure the property is dressed to impress - because first impressions count.
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Here, interior design experts from Vesta London give their top tips on how to make your home stand out from the rest.
Make room to move
Set out furniture in a way that allows for maximum space in the room. Shift each piece away from the walls slightly, to create more space to move around, and remove what furniture you can to make rooms look bigger - anything from those extra side tables that you rarely use to large children’s toys.
Potential buyers also like to see practical positionings, such as a sofa opposite the TV.
Clean and tidy
Perhaps an obvious one but be sure to tidy, clean and declutter all spaces. Put away excess decorative items such as ornaments, tableware and books, so that viewers can get a true sense of how much space is on offer. It’s probably worth putting your collection of holiday fridge magnets away for a short while too…
Indeed, the kitchen is a key room for many buyers, so declutter the worktops and store any large appliances out of sight. You want viewers to imagine themselves cooking and relaxing in your kitchen, not trying to see past your cereal boxes and toaster.
A lick of paint
We’re not talking total redecorating, but if your home includes an eclectic mix of colours or a particularly bold room, it can be beneficial to add some neutral tones in order to speak to the masses.
Make the colour palette as pleasing and neutral as possible: add colour through a few scatter cushions, throws and accessories, and try to keep key rooms neutral to allow viewers to better imagine their own style and decor taking shape.
In addition, if any rooms are looking a little scraped and scuffed then it may be worth refreshing the paintwork.
Let there be light
Viewings will always, where possible, be booked for the daytime in order to let viewers see the property in good light.
But you can add a little extra through statement lighting in key rooms. The glow created by table or floor lamps, for example, can create a warm atmosphere that helps to make people feel more relaxed.
A top tip for smaller or tricky areas such as tight hallways or small living rooms is to hang a large mirror there to add more light and create the illusion of more space.
Show off storage
Buyers will be making a mental note of where they would keep their own things, so show off storage as much as possible.
From space for cabinets and dressers to built-in storage, showcase whatever is available. Even if storage areas are at a minimum, you can add more through the clever use of wall-mounted shelves, baskets and boxes, and dual-purpose furniture.
Focus on detail
Have a think about the styling of your home. Although the aim is to cut down on clutter, little touches such as a few books stacked neatly on a coffee table along with a candle and some fresh flowers add instant appeal. And you can’t go wrong with a few new house plants!
Smell can be used as a selling tool too: retailers have been doing it for years. Add scents with diffusers, candles and room sprays to create a welcoming atmosphere, plus mask any less pleasant odours. The sense of smell is also closely linked with memory, so subtle but pleasant scents should help ensure buyers remember your home as well.
It’s not just what’s inside that counts...
Don’t neglect the outside of your home either. Since lockdown, many home buyers have been keen to get more outdoor space, so making the most of any garden or patio areas is important.
To improve kerb appeal, make sure any front garden or driveway is neat and tidy too. Adding a few potted plants, if possible, and keeping bins out of sight, is an easy way to make your property look more appealing.
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