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Vendors' guide to preparing your property

Guide to preparing your residential property for selling

At Chestertons, we provide you with useful information and advice throughout our relationship. We hope you will find this useful.

This guide does not form part of the Terms and Conditions of Business, however, is provided as a useful information sheet for the Seller.

First Impressions count!

It is important to recognise the benefit of presenting your property to its full potential, whether in photographs, or on viewings.

In doing so, you will not only maximise the value of your property, but you will have an advantage over other owners, giving you a greater chance of selling or renting quickly.

At Chestertons we are keen to support you with this aim and have utilised our many years of experience in this sector, to suggest ideas as to how you could add value to your property prior to advertising it.

The photographs taken by our either our professional photographer, or your Chestertons’ agent, present one of the most important opportunities available to market your property. These photographs will be used to market your property on our website, in our window, via social media, in magazines and on international property portals. They will give the first impression of your asset.

If the content of the pictures is poor or people do not like what they see, they will not be as interested in viewing.

If the content of the pictures is good and people like what they see, they will be more interested in viewing.

Viewings lead to offers.

Attention to cleaning, tidying, de-personalising, de-cluttering and presentation are the recommended key elements to consider before the photographs are taken and viewings considered.

If you do nothing else, please consider the impact of your sales photographs on potential buyers or tenants.


Some of the tips shown may appear obvious, but they are often overlooked and we hope this quick guide will be helpful to you in providing you with some new ideas or at the very least serve as a reminder of what can be achieved. How much of the following you choose to do will depend upon your own lifestyle, desire to move and ability to make changes. But we hope this serves as a useful aide memoir.

1. Keep it clean

One of the most important things you can do to help sell or rent your property is to make sure it is thoroughly clean. Buyers or tenants will be put off if they perceive that the property is dirty. Most properties are generally clean, but if you can make your property sparkle, so much the better. If you don’t have the time or inclination to clean yourself, it is worth investing in a cleaner to help. In particular consider washing windows, cleaning mirrors and chrome, checking for cobwebs, removing any traces of mould and making sure there are no musty smells or odours. The kitchen and bathrooms should always be spotless. If you have pets, consider removing feeding bowls, litter trays, toys and beds before any viewings. 

2. Tidy up

It is not always easy to keep a property tidy, especially if it is being lived in, but an untidy property can be extremely off-putting. Over cluttered areas make rooms look smaller than they actually are, whilst giving interested parties the impression that there is a lack of storage space. By tidying things away you are demonstrating what a spacious and easy place your property is to live in. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will be necessary to sort and box things up when you move anyway, so starting early with things you do not use frequently is not a bad idea. If boxes cannot be stored out of sight, it may be worth considering some off- site storage options.

It is worth making sure that:

  • There are minimum items on kitchen surfaces and nothing on top of kitchen units, refrigerators and freezers should be as magnet free as possible
  • There are no items of clothing left lying around and children´s toys are tidied away
  • Bathroom sinks are spotless, toilet seats down and it is advisable to hang up fresh towels
  • Beds are made and bedlinen is straight

  • Paperwork and books are tidied away
  • Dead or half dead plants are removed
  • Fans or heaters are out of sight – as this can suggest that your property is not cool or warm enough

3. De-personalise and de-clutter

If the property you are selling or letting has been used as your home, it is likely to be filled with a lot of personal items, like family photographs, children´s posters/pictures and ornamental gifts acquired over many years. Whilst these things are very precious to you, they are likely to represent clutter to those viewing and are therefore likely to detract from the presentation of your property.

As you have decided to move, it may be time to reduce the amount that your property is seen as your “home” and to increase its impact as a future home for someone you yet do not know. When viewing, purchasers or tenants want to imagine your property as their own home with their own belongings there and they want to think about how the property could work for them. Encourage this vision by de-personalising and de-cluttering as much as practically possible.

4. Neutralise and enhance

It may seem like false economy to spend money on a house or apartment you are about to sell or let, but small inexpensive updates can make all the difference to your ability to attract a buyer or tenant and obtaining a higher offer. Neutralise wherever possible, not everyone has the same taste! Check the property for small cracks which may need repairing, consider replacing filler around baths and showers and if you have time refresh tired or dark rooms with a coat of neutral paint. Remove ornamental items and pictures which don’t match the room’s colour scheme and consider investing in a few complimentary items like scatter cushions or fresh fluffy bath towels. If people think they can move in to a stylish environment, with little or no work to be done many will be more interested.

5. Furniture

Make sure the rooms work to optimise the space and facilities. You may need to move things around to achieve this and even remove some items of furniture altogether. A property looks smaller if the rooms are overcrowded and it will be beneficial if you can store excess furniture items.

6. Outside

Stand outside your property and see how it looks to interested parties. This is the first impression you are creating on any viewing and it is good to appeal to the buyer or tenant before they get inside the door. Is the area clean? Are the window frames and doors in good condition? If you have a garden is it weed free and tidy? In both houses and apartments, smart container pots with flowering or structured plants look impressive when placed either side of the front door.

7. Pets

If possible remove your pets from the property altogether for both the photographs and for viewings. Potential buyers / tenants want to view the property not be met by the family cat or dog! Not everyone is an animal lover and many people have allergies to pets.

This list is by no means exhaustive and you can of course spend a great deal more time and money on home improvements prior to putting your property on the market. Generally speaking the more investment you make the greater your financial reward will be.

If you require any further advice or guidance in preparing your property for market please ask your Chestertons’ agent.

Chestertons does not accept any liability for the completeness or accuracy of this information.