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Should you Decorate your House Before Selling?

Should you Decorate your House Before Selling?

It can be a big decision to sell your property, considering the costs and upheaval involved however once the decision has been made to move on, there are also other factors to consider including when is the best time to market the property and whether or not to renovate or decorate beforehand.

In this post, we will discuss the options available in order to decorate a property before selling, what elements should be prioritised and how to encourage a faster sale.

What are the Benefits of Preparing a Property for Sale?

The objective of preparing a property for market and property viewings is to hopefully, both:

  • Sell the property faster and to;
  • Secure the highest price possible (within market conditions)

The presentation of the property will have an impact on both of these elements; however, it is worth remembering that personal taste is just that, personal and therefore not all styles will appeal to everyone.  With this in mind, it is worth focusing on cleanliness, tidiness, light, space and storage and not spending thousands on bespoke decorating that will not suit everyone.

Within the next section, we will cover the main steps that will assist with preparing a house for sale, that does not involve a full renovation project.

It is important to prioritise steps that you wish to make in order to make selling as quick and straightforward as possible, not spend loads of money (as let’s face it, there will be lots of bills to move anyway such as solicitor fees, moving costs and even stamp duty), and try to take the emotion out of the process, including de-personalising the spaces in order to assist potential buyers to visualise the spaces as their own.

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 What Steps Should be made to Prepare a Property for Sale?

We have simplified the process of property preparation into a handful of steps as follows:

  • Step 1 – Cleaning

It is highly recommended that a thorough deep clean is undertaken to ensure every aspect is covered from top to bottom.  Consider hiring professionals for deep cleaning carpets and curtains to ensure the best results and the removal of any odours or stains. Once the property has been thoroughly cleaned, try to keep on top of the cleaning so that the house is ready for any potential viewings at short notice.

  • Step 2 – Decluttering

The process of decluttering enables the property to feel bigger, orderly and more spacious. In addition to helping to sell the property, a good, thorough sort out will also help with the move as there will be less stuff to box up!

When decluttering, also remember another focus point regarding de-personalising the spaces by; taking down family photos, certificates, awards, memorabilia, holiday souvenirs and artworks, in order to minimise the distractions from the selling points of the property including any special features, space and light available.

  • Step 3 – Fix anything that is broken

Serious buyers will want to ensure that their potential new property will work for them and therefore are likely to test doors, open windows and cupboards to ensure that handles won’t fall off or shelves are stable for example, therefore ensure that any DIY jobs that have been on a long-standing to-do list are actioned before the property is marketed.

Remember that first impressions count and that a well-maintained property represents a well-cared for home, those potential buyers will note.  Also, be aware that should potential buyers spot any issues or concerns, they will often reduce their offer in order to reserve a budget to rectify matters.

  • Step 4 – Freshen up any tired rooms with a neutral coat of paint

As discussed, the aim of preparing a property for marketing is to create a clean and light space that is a blank canvas for potential buyers to visualise their family living within the property.  It is advised that bold colours are avoided as colours can be a personal preference and, in some circumstances, can put off some buyers.

  • Step 5 – Final touches

We have mentioned the importance of cleaning and tidying however this should remain a focus throughout viewings, including ensuring that any strong odours are managed including from smoking or pets as such smells can deter potential buyers. A clean, consistent scent that is not overpowering is recommended ahead of viewings via candles or reed diffusers for example as well as plenty of fresh air.

Should I Renovate my House Before Selling? 

As discussed, a fresh coat of paint is recommended to tidy and stage the property, however, large-scale renovations such as refitting a kitchen or building a conservatory could be completed in vain as they may not increase the selling price of the property and could put certain buyers off if the design is not to their taste.

There are some home improvement projects that may increase the value of a property that may be considered; however, some number crunching should be undertaken before proceeding to ensure any further investment would be cost-effective.

As a general rule, projects that may make money for the property owners take between four and eight months, and of course, this time frame would need to be added to the timeline of when a property owner intends to sell. It is also worth considering that essentials such as boilers, electrics and plumbing systems are in good working order before marketing a property, as again if not, any potential buyers are likely to reduce their offers to accommodate for such costs.

If you are aware of any issues that may be raised by a surveyor completing a property survey later on during the sale process, such as a leaking roof, for example, it would be worthwhile getting these matters resolved by a professional before marketing the property.


In this post, we have explored a range of recommendations for preparing a property for sale including whether or not a homeowner should decorate before selling.

If you’d like to find out more about how Ashtons can help you contact one of our branches for further information.

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