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First impressions count

If you’re lucky, your house has been on the market a week or two now and your estate agent has been in touch to let you know there are potential buyers ready for viewings.

You’ve tidied up, you’ve run the vacuum cleaner around a bit, you’ve removed all the family pictures, you’ve asked the parents or friends to look after the kids and the pets, you’ve sprayed a bit of air freshener around, brushed your hair and your teeth and you’re now nervously awaiting your first visitor.

You might think you’re ready but, although it might seem your checklist has covered at the bases, there are probably things you have missed – and most of them will be evident as soon as the prospective buyers of your home pull up outside.

Kerb appeal is a bit of an estate agent’s cliché but it’s important nonetheless and, to make sure your house has it, you might want to follow these tips.

Move the bins

Obviously, if they’re full to overflowing, nobody wants to see them but even empty bins are clutter. It’s not as bad if viewers see them later on as part of the tour but, if they’re “front of house” so to speak, it’s a bit like seeing someone’s underwear sticking out of the top of their trousers. We all know it’s there. We just don’t want to see it straight away.

Weeds and dead plants

Just as a massively overgrown hedge can be a sign of neglect, so can weeds and dead plants. It’s a bit of a pain picking all the dandelions out from between the paving stones on the drive but it can make a huge difference. Buying some weed-killer from the garden centre as soon as you know you’re selling your home is a good move. It gives you time to apply it and get rid of the offending plants well before it matters. Likewise, if you’ve got any obvious brown patches in the flower beds, an hour with a trowel and a bin bag is time well spent.

Poo patrol

We all know we don’t have to own a pet to find what they leave behind. Cats in particular are not particular about where they go – although, for some reason, it seems it has to be a distance away from their own garden. A quick sweep half an hour before your viewers arrive isn’t a bad idea.

Door frames & door

You might be a demon when it comes to cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, but have you really had a look at the front door and the frame around it? It’s where your visitors may have to linger a little before you answer their knock and, without having had the benefit of your charm yet, they are likely to be in a critical frame of mind. A scuff mark left by one of the kids, a bit of peeling paint, an inch or two of crumbling sealant and you’re already a few points down on a perfect score.

Does the doorbell work?

If you have one, it’s even worse if they press the button and nothing happens. What does it say about the rest of the house if something so simple is broken?

Clean the car

Finally, if you have a car on the drive, try to make sure it’s clean. Of course you’re not selling the vehicle but, if it’s covered in muck, there will be some who will consider its condition a reflection on you. Of course, you may be able to pull them round if the rest of the house is immaculate but, if you can start without any prejudice in a potential buyer’s mind, the better chance you have of making that sale. If you don’t have time to clean it, just drive it 100 yards from the house and park up. No one will be any the wiser.