Buyers today are taking much longer to make up their minds, viewing an average of 19 properties before finally making a decision. And when they finally do put in an offer, it’s usually well below the asking price.

Here are 10 basic rules you should always do before putting your house on the market.

(1) Kerb appeal.

They say you can only make one “first impression,” and people usually form their first impression within 30 seconds. The front of your house is a good place to spend a little extra time and money. Plant flowers, trim bushes, weed, pick up leaves, repaint your front door, replace tarnished house numbers or a dented mailbox, get a brand-new neutral doormat, park your old car somewhere else.

(2) Clean 

Your home must sparkle! Spring Clean your house from top to bottom before putting on the market. Having a weekly cleaning service while selling is probably a pretty good investment. Make sure your windows are clean inside and out too.

(3) Fix

Got a dripping tap or a cracked tile? These will send the wrong message to potential buyers. Getting all problems fixed before you put your house on the market is a smart idea.

(4) Eliminate Clutter. 

This may be the hardest rule of all! We love our clutter – it reflects our memories, hobbies, and values. But it doesn’t sell homes! Clutter makes homes seem smaller and disorganized. (Have you ever noticed that the really expensive stores seem to have an expansive, clutter-free layout, while “cheap” stores are often a jumble of merchandise?) Even the ancient practice of Feng Shui has, as a central focus, the elimination of clutter.

(5) Neutralise. 

Neutral colours sell. It’s a fact. Try to convey an image of quality and neutrality. Potential buyers walking through your home want to imagine themselves as the owners. If you use styles or colours they would never select, you’ve just turned them off. Stay high-quality, but neutral is safest.

(6) De-personalise. 

Remove objects that your potential buyers won’t be able to identify with. For example, political and religious items may turn off whole groups of buyers, because they cannot “imagine” your home as their home. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and you want potential buyers to make an emotional connection with your home by being able to “see” themselves in it.

(7) Pets.

Always keep your pets under control. Try confining them to a specific area. Although you may love your pets, they can be off-putting to other people, and smells can be offensive, so make sure there are no lingering odours in furniture or flooring, and if there is, get them cleaned before you sell.

(8) Define each area. 

Buyers need to know what each room is for, so that they can decide where they will place their own items. Sell the lifestyle and you’ll sell your house.

(9) Lighting. 

Make sure you have adequate lighting in every room, use subtle mood lighting to create the right atmosphere in each room and check all your bulbs work.

(10) Accessories. 

By using the right accessories, you can enhance your rooms and create a feeling of unity by using harmonious colours. Use mirrors to reflect light and space, and use plants and fresh flowers to bring life to rooms and add a natural fragrance.

Going that little bit further. Here are some additional tips..

  • Loads of different floor coverings will make any area seem smaller. If you can’t stretch to replacing all your flooring, close the doors on the other rooms until showing each room in turn.


  • Never underestimate the importance of bedrooms; it’s the reason 60% of people move home.
  • A bedroom adds more value than a study or storeroom, so make sure every bedroom has a bed.
  • Concentrate on the Master Bedroom – its adult buyers who pay for the property, so impress them with new bedding and curtains.
  • Look at the layout, buyers must be able to walk around the bed, or they will think the room is too small.
  • Don’t forget the storage, it’s particularly important to female buyers. Built in MDF wardrobes can cost as little as £200 and by adding classy handles to give a stylish finish.
  • Buyers aren’t so bothered about children’s rooms, but they must be clutter free and tidy, so bribe the children to keep their rooms immaculate.
  • Lose the lodger – loads of people have them, but you’re moving anyway, so give them their marching orders and tidy their room ready to move on.
  • If you need to re-tile your bathroom or kitchen, why not tile over the existing tiles? By using the right adhesive, it will allow you to tile onto a flat surface and you don’t have to worry about repairing the wall after the old tiles have been removed.
  • Loads of rubbish to get rid of? Old toys, carpet, even furniture all needs to be disposed of, but by doing a deal with your neighbours, you can share a skip and share the price.
  • Know all you can about your home. Please ensure your read through the HIP and  check for  full of information about when the wiring was changed, the boiler was last serviced and when the double glazing was done (ensure you comply with the new FENSA laws). If you live in an old house, know your history, buyers love it.
  • Replace heavy artex patterns on ceilings and walls with – Artex! Going over heavy patterns with a softer, stippled effect on ceilings is a cheaper and easier way to do it.
  • If you have bulky furniture in a small room, remove it and either borrow, buy new or hire in some replacement furniture in a colour to match your scheme, to give buyers a sense of space.
  • Most properties have a good and bad side to them so don’t show people the bad view or even comment on it, show them the views from the good side of your house.
  • Not prepared to drop the asking price? Remember, buyers will only pay what they perceive your house to be worth. If your house is not presented at its best, then people will not buy.
  • Period properties should show period features. Try replacing things that have been removed, you can use reproduction as long as it is good quality, and when re-opening fireplaces, you never know what you might find.


Ashburn Property Consultants understands that buying a home is not just another transaction.  It can be a complicated and life changing event that is most likely the largest investment one is likely to make.

To assist you we at Ashburn have positioned our offices to offer a “one stop” shop destination offering a vast menu of estate agency products and services, including mortgages, removals and interior design. Our agents have the very best local knowledge and can provide you with the full explanation of the legal requirements and explain in full the “buying cycle”.

Once you have given us your requirements of your ‘Dream Home’, we will undertake a detailed search to allowing you to make confident decisions. On finding your property, we will negotiate on your behalf, acting as the buyer’s representative throughout the transaction. Our aim is to offer our undivided loyalty and complete honesty.

Our services are confidential and we will assist you in an end-to-end purchasing transaction.

Tips on Buying

Buying a property is a huge financial undertaking and can prove to be an extremely stressful experience. It is worthwhile to create a checklist with “Necessities” and “Nice to Have’s

How much can I afford?

Setting a budget is of paramount importance. Take time out to seek the advice of an independent financial/mortgage advisor. They will assist you in assessing your affordability & financial commitments and at the same time highlight any hidden costs i.e. legal fees, stamp duty, search fees, removal cost etc. Set yourself a budget and then stick to it!


  • It is worth bearing in mind that whilst homebuyers can exert considerable effort in decorating and refurbishing a home, very little can be done to influence immediate area. Moving elsewhere is not always an affordable option. Research the area through useful internet sites “Up my Street” and Government Sites etc. paying careful attention to local amenities, schools, shops etc.
  • Whilst first impressions are important, view the area / property at different times of the day and week paying particular attention to parking, traffic and general noise and any anti social behaviour.
  • For those who have green fingers or those who generally like take in the sun, take a compass with you. South / South East facing gardens will see more sun than north facing gardens.


  • View as many properties as possible. This would give you an indication of the type of property you are likely to get for your budget.
  • Always take a notebook/ camera  with you (for reference)
  • Refer to your check list and ask as many questions as necessary.
  • Remember second viewings are recommended as there probably may be aspects of the property you failed to notice the first time round.
  • A house with some scope for improvement is always a great opportunity for the keen DIY enthusiast.
  • Don’t be put off with tired or gloomy rooms; a fresh coat of paint will often bring a room to light for a nominal cost.
  • Be wary of “Cover ups” where the vendor has tried to disguise the real McCoy. Pay careful attention to detail. i.e. paintings to cover cracks in walls
  • Although the house may look structurally fine, always look at the fuse box and boiler as these will often reflect the overall condition of the house. Issues here can save you ££££’s in costly replacements if identified earlier.
  • Take into consideration the potential of the house to be renovated to be able to maximise the space. Consider the scope to knock out walls to maximise your space, whilst reviewing the site and size of windows could maximise light in a room. Run down bathrooms and kitchens can be replaced at relatively low cost.
  • Cross check the title plan/ register plans from land registry and carefully check accuracy to boundaries etc.
  • Is the property freehold or leasehold?  Lenders are often very cautious in supporting Short term leases if this is the case try to get a figure on increasing the duration of the lease and use these findings in the negotiating.

Negotiating / Making an offer

When you are happy that you have found the right property, use the following tips to make an offer.

  • Use comparisons when offering on properties. These can often be found on Sites such as and
  • Bear in mind how long the property has been on the market, state of the market, rate of inflation and your current position.
  • Compare £ for £ on the square footage when comparing sold houses to houses on the market; Making allowances for alterations, extensions etc.
  • Justify the offer and remember “What is the house worth to you?”
  • Keep negotiations friendly, liaise via the Estate Agent and avoid confrontation situations. Remember that it is the Estate Agents best interest to achieve as much as he can for the vendor, however  bear in mind properties can also be down valued by  the surveyor
  • Once you have received your survey report and read through the HIP it may be necessary to re-negotiate e.g. The Survey report has highlighted damp or structural concerns (dry rot, wood worm etc…)


Once the sale has been agreed, you will need to instruct a solicitor / conveyancer to act on your behalf as soon as possible to secure the purchase. “Word of Mouth” or Personal recommendations are often as good as any starting points in finding a solicitor; Try to agree a fixed fee however be wary of solicitors offering cut price fees.