The essential DIY tasks to do before you put your house on the market

Putting your house on the market? These are your next steps...

You’ve grown out of your cosy home. You’ve now got two kids, a cat, dog and more ‘things’ than you can shake a stick at. Time to move! But before you just plough on and put your house on the market, have you thought about making it look its best?

Why would you improve the house ready for others to move in and enjoy the fruits of your labour? Excellent question. Well in today’s competitive marketplace, having a house that enchants prospective buyers is vital if you are going to shift it fast.

Refresh your kitchen

Your kitchen will have undoubtedly suffered the most wear and tear. And buyers could be put off a purchase if they think they’ll have to spend a lot of money revamping it. But it’s not always necessary to fit a brand-new kitchen. If you can’t afford new cabinets, invest in new drawer and door fronts. Emma Peake, an agent with local estate agent service Yopa, said: “If people are particularly crafty, re-painting units with chalk paint can be an even cheaper way of giving an old traditional kitchen a new lease of life.”

Spruce up your bathroom

Grouting is a quick-fix way of making tiles look better and for making a bathroom look more appealing. Emma said: “Black mouldy grouting is a big turn off for buyers. Bleach your grouting where possible, and if it’s not working, re-grouting will make a big difference to first impressions.”


Yes, that bright pink wall used to be an interesting feature, but now it’s giving visitors a headache. Viewers need to see themselves living in your home and pink paint won’t do that. Alexander James Interior Design said: “A fresh coat of a neutral paint is often beneficial. Some colours are too style specific and can put off potential buyers, restricting their vision for the property.”

Look down

Carpet in the bathroom? Really? That carpet with orange swirls might have been fashionable once, but now it’s just wrong. Consider changing any dated or well-worn flooring. Alexander added: “If the budget is not available, professionally cleaning carpets where needed can make a huge difference to a room.”

Declutter, de-personalise then accessorise

One of the golden rules to transforming your home is to minimalise, de-personalise then accessorise. Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agent, advises getting rid of personal photographs so the buyers can picture themselves living in your home, as well as decluttering as much as possible. “Cluttered or messy rooms can give the impression the property has not been looked after or, more worryingly for prospective buyers, that there could be more serious problems lurking within it.” For viewings, softly accessorise by adding finishing touches as simple as fresh flowers and plants to make your home feel contemporary.

Don’t ignore the big jobs

There are times that no amount of basic cosmetic work will sell your home. Emma remembers when she was selling a refurbished terraced house. “The vendor had gone to town on the finishes. Viewings went well until I took people into the lower ground floor kitchen. The vendor had done a DIY damp proof job down there which wasn’t effective and the smell of damp hit you as soon as you walked into the room.  Despite over 50 viewings in the first month, we couldn’t get an offer.”

The great outdoors

Having an outside space is a huge advantage when selling your home. Don’t neglect it! Linda Norton, of Norton estate agents in Cardiff, said gardens are particularly important at this time of year. “If it’s a family house, make sure the garden is fenced and safe for children,” she said. You could consider a shed or outbuilding, even adding some electricity – an outdoor office could add up to 5% to the value of the house.

Pets are not always man’s best friend!

The sight of your playful pooch might melt your heart, but for others it’s a stinky nuisance! Make sure all pet toys and accessories are hidden away and if there are signs of doggy damage such as scuffed skirting boards, sand them down. Linda added: “They could be a big turn-off for potential buyers. “Make sure they are out of the house during viewings.”

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