7 tips and mistakes to avoid when selling a home


We know that there’s a lot to consider when you’re selling your home. And there are some – easily made – mistakes that often crop up when trying to find that that all-important buyer.

So we’ve asked local estate agents for some expert insights and tips to help make that next-life-step run that little bit smoother.

Take a look at some of the things that can be easily overlooked when selling — but are also just as simple to put right before the next potential owner comes to view your home.

1. Don’t forget that first impressions matter

Think about the first thing viewers will see when they arrive at your home, and whether there’s anything you can do to make sure the viewing starts on the most positive note possible. You don’t want to lose a buyer’s interest before they’re even inside, so looking at the condition of the drive and garden (if you have them), and the exterior of your front door, can be important.

Vaughan Schofield, Owner at Belvoir Wrexham, says: “I firmly believe that a viewer will make their minds up about whether the property is potentially the “one” within the first 20 to 30 seconds of the viewing. With this in mind, the front driveway, condition of the garden, external paint work and condition of the front door are far more important than many people realise – in some instances you might have lost your prospective buyer before they are even inside the property.”

Hannah Towers, Partner at Armitstead Barnett in Lancashire agrees, adding: “First impressions really do count. Some healthy spring plants, a clean-up of your front lawn, and clean drive and exterior will go a long way to helping viewers visualise your property as their dream home.”

2. Don’t leave clutter on show

While we’re not talking bare rooms and walls here, it’s a given that more of a pared-back, tidier space will help a buyer to envisage how their own possessions might fit within a space. “People want to see the bones of the property,” says Hannah.

“Make sure everything is hidden away when the photographers come – not only will viewers see your home as close to a blank canvas as possible, but it will also make the space look bigger!” she adds.

Got lots of stuff you can’t hide away? “Investing in some temporary storage will help potential buyers to focus on the home and space,” says Lee Koffman, Director & Head of Residential Sales at Robert Irving Burns in London.

3. Don’t think of it as just a sales transaction

It’s not just the bricks and mortar home-buyers are looking at. From the moment they step in, they’ll be walking through your home weighing up if they can see themselves living there.

Lee Koffman says: “It might sound obvious, but people are looking for a home, not a business or just a ‘property’. It’s paramount that sellers appeal to the emotional side of their prospective buyers, and it doesn’t just feel like a transaction.”

Got an energy-efficient heating system and it’s a freezing-cold day? Pop it on for viewings so potential buyers can see just how toasty warm your home gets.

“Having the heating on from the entrance hall and throughout the house for example can help potential buyers imagine living in a new home they can settle down in. There’s nothing worse than opening the door to a cold home,” adds Lee.

4. Don’t ignore the season

Make sure everything fits with the time of year you’re selling in, including how you prepare your home for viewings. For instance, if the weather’s starting to warm up and you’re normally lounging on an outdoor sofa in summer, set it up for viewings so buyers can see how you use the space.

5. Don’t renovate right before coming to market, but do fix any issues

While you’ll want your home to look its best for viewings, it doesn’t make sense to make a high-cost renovation right before listing your home for sale. As well as it being unlikely that you’ll recoup the cost as part of your selling price, it could end up being something that’s removed by the new owner shortly after you’ve handed over the keys.

Donald Young, Consultant at James Agent in the Scottish Borders, says: “By all means, if something needs replacing, do that. But please don’t spend loads of money on an expensive new kitchen or bathroom fittings just before selling.”

That being said, any minor repairs should be fixed before viewings (and before you have pictures taken).

“If there’s something simple that could do with fixing or updating, I’ll often ask the seller to do this before we take the photos and host viewings. It might be a minor issue – but potential buyers can get transfixed on a particular detail, and it can sabotage a sale. Don’t risk potentially losing thousands off the asking price, because you didn’t do a hundred pounds worth of repairs!” Lee Koffman adds.

6. Don’t give pets the limelight

Just as some potential buyers may not be pet lovers, your viewer might love your pet so much, they end up distracting them from the home they’re there to see. And it’s unlikely you’ll be willing to part with them as part of the sale…

Donald Young says: “Unfortunately, it’s a big no to pets and we recommend to sellers to keep them out the way for viewings. Even if they love your pet, the potential buyer will end up playing with them and not focusing on your house! We even had one viewer ask us, “Is that the house with the black Labrador?”

7. Don’t overlook your home’s best bits

Got a light-flooded kitchen, or a home office with a show-stopping view? “If there’s a ‘best room’ in the house, make sure this is decorated and presented to perfection to really accentuate it,” says Vaughan Schofield, Owner at Belvoir Wrexham.

While everything may not be perfect, really highlighting your property’s unique selling point can be the thing that will stick in a buyer’s mind long after they’ve visited for their viewing.

“Every home is unique and will have strengths and weaknesses – so make sure to lean into the home’s strengths,” he adds.

READ MORE: The 10 most-searched for areas for home-hunters