Six steps to selling your own home successfully

Wanting to sell your own home? Anthea Masey, Evening Standard property and business journalist, gives you her tips to how you can present your property in the best light when you’re trying to sell your own house.

1.  Prepare a comprehensive marketing plan.

You may not be a marketing professional, but now you must act like one. In principle, selling your own home is not very different from selling your car. In a sense, they are both just goods and just as the dented car stays on the garage forecourt, so generally the tired and unloved home will fail to tempt many buyers.

2.  Make sure that your property attracts the maximum number of potential buyers.

You need to work out what type of buyer your home will attract and then get into the mindset of that buyer. Assess what properties are being sold in your area. What makes those houses more attractive than your home? When you're selling your own house, you need to check out the competition.

3.  Think about the kind of buyer who will want to purchase your home.

When you're selling your own home, this should be easy enough to evaluate. If your property is a four-bedroom house in a safe neighbourhood, and it's close to good schools, then it's likely to appeal to families with children. Say your children have left home long ago, and the spare bedrooms look faded and neglected, give your property family appeal. This will be the key to getting a quick sale.

If you're selling a small, one-bedroom flat in an inner city neighbourhood, with lively bars and restaurants and good transport links, make sure that it appeals to young professionals, who yearn for a clean, uncluttered and contemporary look. Clearing out the clutter and giving the rooms a coat of crisp white paint, may be all that is required to give your flat that touch of urban chic.

A cosy two-bedroom country cottage in a quiet village will appeal to retirement couples who are downsizing and moving to the country. Here the idea is to suggest comfort and warmth with good quality soft furnishings and roaring log fires.

4. If your property is hard to categorise, put some time and effort in to second-guessing your likely buyer.

If you know where to look, there are clues all around you. For example, what kind of people are your neighbours? Who have been the recent newcomers to your street? Are there good schools nearby? What are the transport links like? A nosy walk around your neighbourhood will also yield useful information. What style of decoration is fashionable? Is it an up-and-coming area with plenty of builders' skips in the street that might appeal to people who want to add value to a house?

5. Get a second opinion before you start to sell your own home.

Preparing your property so that it appeals to your target market isn't rocket science, but it does require a certain amount of objectivity. To get that fresh perspective, ask a couple of friends who fall into the category of likely buyers, to give you a warts-and-all assessment of your property. Tell them that they can be as honest and rude as they like because an unbiased opinion is what you're looking for.

You could be in for a surprise. You might love your Moroccan style kazbah of a bedroom, but a friend might tell you that it gives them the creeps. You have lived with the cat litter tray tucked away in the corner of the kitchen, but a friend might suggest that your house could smell fresher.

You love the romantic look of the ivy growing up the front of your house, but a friend might inform you that it's pulling out the mortar in the brickwork.

More tips on selling your own house can be found in Anthea’s bestselling Sell Your Own Home Kit. Find out how you can advertise your home, value the price of your property, close the deal and, most importantly, save money on estate agent's fees by selling your own home yourself.

Published on: June 3, 2008

Did you like this article? Share it!