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Prepare your home


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Deciding whether to redecorate prior to selling can be a bit of a conundrum. Refusing to even give everything a quick lick of paint can leave your place looking a bit tired. Then again, if you're too quick with your licking, then it looks obvious that you've tried to paper over the cracks, as it were, and you might as well not have bothered. If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing properly…

Many commentators used to advise people not to bother redecorating, as most buyers would want to redecorate once they bought a place anyway. However, this view is changing, as buyers become more fussy and even more lazy. Research from the Alliance and Leicester advises that nearly 80% of buyers are looking for a property that requires little or no redecorating once they have moved in. This means that if your place is in need of some TLC, then you may well be alienating four out of five buyers.

If you do redecorate, try to be tasteful in the colour schemes you choose. Go for creams or magnolias rather than anything too strong. Once again, making sure that you alienate as few potential buyers as possible is the name of the game.

For those of you with the time and the foresight, trying to exploit any naturally strong features that your home has is a really good idea. Enhancing what the home already has is the key to cost effective refurbishment. Here are some ideas:

  • Restore an old fireplace. In fact if your home has any unique or period features, restoration can be one of the few things that actually adds value to your property, but get specialist advice before splashing out a fortune.

  • Strip the pine floors. You can hire a floor stripper for the weekend from most large DIY stores. For goodness' sake, don't try and strip your floor if it is a wood laminate!

  • Re-sand wooden banisters and scrub, sand or re-varnish any other woodwork that is in need of attention.

Refrain from getting carried away. Unless your existing one is in desperate need of replacement, a whole new kitchen or bathroom suite will not raise the property value by as much as they cost. Similarly, putting in new carpets takes time, money and causes hassle - three things that you want to avoid in the run up to selling your home. There are very few pieces of work that will actually lead to your home rising in value, so don't expect to recoup the money you spend on the work from the sale.

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