Nine value-slashing pitfalls to avoid if you want to sell your home

With spring around the corner, many home owners eyeing a move may already be sprucing up their properties to get them ready for market.

To show off your home at its best. Everything should be clean, with clutter tidied away. Photograph: PA

But estate agents warn that it’s easy to make blunders while trying to sell, which could knock value off your property.

Mark Bentley, president of NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark, says: “Sometimes improvements and changes you have made might make the property less attractive to buyers. So before you start marketing your home, it’s worth taking stock and making any necessary alterations, to give you the best chance of securing your asking price.”

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Here are nine key factors that NAEA Propertymark members have experienced as having a negative impact on a property’s value.

Over-personalisation

People’s homes suit their personalities. But if you like your decor big and bold, it may be worth toning it down a bit – unless you can find a buyer who has similar taste. Typically, modestly decorated homes are most desirable, as home owners can easily see how they could make it their home.

Property condition

Indications of damp, cracks on walls, poor roof condition, an old boiler, and single-glazed windows can impact on the value of a property – and interest from buyers.

Bad presentation

Show off your home at its best. Everything should be clean, clutter tidied away, and any outstanding DIY jobs should be finished. If a home smells fresh and clean, it has a much greater chance of selling quickly.

Not having the right paperwork

If you have had work carried out while living in the property, make sure you obtained appropriate planning permission and building regulations, and have access to these documents. If you haven’t got the right documents, you may have to pay for them retrospectively before agreeing a sale.

Darkened rooms

If you’ve planted lots of bushes and trees close to the windows, your home may appear gloomy to buyers. Frosted glass windows or netted curtains can have the same effect.

Clutter

Clean each room from top to bottom, paying special attention to high-impact rooms, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Things like too much furniture, children’s toys and unused gym equipment can make your property feel smaller.

Dated fixtures and fittings

Kitchens are often the focus for buyers, so it’s important they don’t look too outdated. Painting kitchens and replacing cupboard handles and old taps can be a cost-effective way of getting kitchens up-to-date.

Over-improving

As well as not doing enough, you can do too much. For example, putting fake grass in the garden may have benefited your sporty family but it may not appeal to buyers who love the smell of a freshly-cut lawn. Keep improvements simple.

Not being energy-efficient

If your home needs an energy efficiency boost, consider steps to make it happen, such as installing double glazing.