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Dress This House: How To Sell For The Best Price

Every home is sellable at the right price. Obviously vendors wish to maximise their profits while purchasers are always looking for a good deal, so there will always be a difference of opinion. We can advise you on how to style your property with a view to maximising its value and enhancing appeal to potential buyers. The alternative is to either leave it to chance or to drop the overall asking price.

A presale makeover is always a good plan, and an investment budget of 1-2% can often

return an extra 10% on sale / retention in price, as well as avoid overtly aggressive haggling from purchasers. Clearly, nobody is able to guarantee any eventual sale or price hike subsequent to any recommended works, but we would make some suggestions which may raise appeal to any likely purchasers, who sadly often lack vision.​

A pertinent story I recall is when we were selling our own home and a lady told me that she had just visited a house which had tatty spider plants all over, stank of wet dog and had a teddy bear on each step of the stairs. I chuckled with her that surely she could see beyond that, to which she seriously replied “No – I couldn’t.” What one person deems precious can be seen as tat or clutter to another, so the best policy when selling is to go for a clean fresh canvas which buyers can imagine putting their own stamp on.


We can attend at your premises to view and discuss a pre-sale design project and

provide a schedule of works in order of priority.









Gina Tillotson, Designer

Case History

Any signs of damp – old or new, will raise serious alarm bells in the minds of any potential purchasers. If there is a leak or damp is ongoing, fix it. If the problem has been fixed make sure a stain block has been applied and a proper professional standard paint job completed, as purchasers will perceive these type of issues as serious and potentially costly, even if they have been resolved.

Paintwork stains caused by children need to be sanded out and fresh paint applied.

Old, tatty, threadbare carpets aren’t appealing to anybody. Nor are overpowering dark colours or busy patterns, which all boil down to personal taste. 

Stairs and hallways always suffer from hand prints, knocks or splash and dirt marks which will not wash off. Touching up can leave “flashing” strokes: A complete fresh coat of paint would give a far crisper finish. 

The green carpet on the stairs, hallway and landing of this property was overpowering and dark. When replaced by a lighter, new one the effect was much fresher and cheerful.

Unsightly cables could give a false impression of poor electrical wiring. Consider boxing in with tracking. An electrician can do this very quickly.

Cotton valances sometimes look tatty and make a room appear dishevelled. A bespoke new valance like the one below is crisp and gives a neater edge to the bed.

Even though it may not be for sale any furniture which needs sprucing up should be dealt with: Most purchasers come to see the overall package and style of a home, but may be unable to visualise their own furniture in situ.

These seat covers urgently needed reviving. Annie Sloan chalk paint can be applied to fabric.


Most potential buyers will do a “drive buy” to see a house before / after viewing. Maximise your curb appeal by repainting your front door and tidying up your garden. Remove weeds from patios and pathways, hide unsightly garden waste and make your property appear welcoming.

Cost Free Improvements

1) Clutter.


The realities of day to day living with a family means vendors are constantly having to tidy up, clean and generally maintain a home in a semblance of order ready for viewings, all whilst continuing to live there. This can be extremely time consuming and draining. Clutter is the main issue blocking people, and the two main sources of general irritation in most homes are toys and piles of paperwork which accumulate on horizontal surfaces which prevent crisp lines of decor from being appreciated.


This clutter has a habit of accumulating rapidly and poses a huge barrier to purchasers being able to fully appreciate the space a property has to offer. Clutter looks dreadful, is linked to depression and can emotionally drag people down. It also conveys a message to potential buyers that there is not enough storage space in a home.​

The key is keeping on top of it all and ensuring that those items which do not need to stay out are either stored or able to be put away as quickly as possible. All books, pictures and toys which are currently not being used, as well exercise equipment and paperwork for filing should be boxed up and put into storage. You will need to purposely declutter for estate agent photographs and ensure that it maintains the wow factor for viewings. Cost of doing this: Nil / Impact: Immeasurable.

Store as many bulky toys as you possibly can. 


2) Window cleaning - Keeping windows sparkly clean makes a huge difference to overall appeal.


3) Put away portable heaters prior to viewings as it creates a poor impression of your heating system.

4) Swapping around furniture can provide a free and efficient remedy to enhancing the feeling of space. It can give rooms better flow and a clearer identity rather looking like furniture storage zones. 


If you are unable to visualize the effect, we can help you.


You should consider these final styling recommendations for the days on which you are due to have viewings:


Fresh flowers, new towels / bathmats in bathrooms, pets out (preferably offsite for the day), toys stored away, fires lit and coffee percolating. The smell of freshly baked bread has also been given credit for creating a positive smell associated with homeliness. A final small pump of a crisp clean air freshener will also help. (I would recommend staying away from overly floral brands and using a crisp white linen / spring aroma).​


Old bathmats should be replaced with new for viewing days.

If you are unable to visualize the effect, we can help you.

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