derby telegraph article

Today, the Derby Telegraph published a double page article on some of the problems I discover when I’m called-in to help to prepare a house for sale:

newspaper articlt

Derby Telegraph article

Here’s the full article: Home horrors that need fixing before you can sell your property

VIOLENT violet on the walls, terrifying tarantulas in the spare bedroom and psychedelic swirls on the living room carpet. It’s enough to put off the most enthusiastic house buyer.

And this is why people like Lynn Pick are employed to help vendors prepare their homes for sale. Lynn has been staging homes – including many in Derby – for nearly 14 years and says: “Every time I think I have seen it all, I walk through a door and encounter a new ‘home horror’ to challenge me – a crazy colour on the walls, a room so cluttered you can’t see the floor, a completely overgrown garden…

“I don’t care what anyone says – when your house is on the market, the presentation of it will have a massive impact on its saleability. When someone tells you not to bother making any changes, as the new buyer will change it all anyway, don’t listen!”

Lynn runs Midlands-based home makeover company and is senior consultant on the House Doctor Network. She’s compiled a list of the 11 most common ‘home horrors’ she has encountered. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. Pets or pests?

snakes in the bedroom

Snakes in the bedroom… not good

“You may adore your pet snake or lizard, but chances are most potential home-buyers won’t. And some may even be downright terrified. Context is key – a house I styled in Derby had a large iguana and several snakes in the spare bedroom, which was just making viewers cringe. But when I gave them a proper space in the office, downstairs, we found that viewers fascinated rather than repelled. The same goes for any pets – keep them in their place and don’t let them take over, particularly bedrooms, and you won’t go wrong.”

The same bedroom… de-snaked

2. “Camping out” in potentially beautiful rooms

home staging

Are you merely ‘camping’ in your home?

“People with busy lives often move into a home and just ‘exist’ there, intending to sort each room when they have time. It doesn’t take long for them to stop noticing the potential beauty in the room – they just camp out there. But when you’re selling a home, this really devalues the property.”

home staging

The same room, looking ‘lived in’ rather than ‘camped in’

3. Messy teenagers’ rooms

teenage bedroom

Teenagers ‘need their space’… so they can trash it

“I often find that the master bedroom in a house has been given to a teenager, because they ‘need their space’. They have been allowed to personalise the room and use the space however they want to. I have seen many posters of naked men or women on the walls, bottles of alcohol, overflowing ashtrays etc which the parents have become immune to! But when selling a house, this valuable room should be made to look as spacious and appealing as possible – the new homeowners will probably be sleeping in this room and they have to fall in love with it.”

master bedroom

The teenager’s bedroom… now habitable again

4. Outdated patterned carpets

patterned carpet

Dropped something? You won’t see it on this carpet

“Every room in your house with an old patterned carpet on the floor (or a brightly coloured one) might as well have a notice on the door for potential buyers, saying ‘This Room Will Cost You Money’. Patterns and colours such as dusky pink, blue, red, and green will simply date the room, and it is a guarantee that potential buyers will know that their own furniture and soft furnishings will clash… so they will need to find the money to replace them. Neutral carpets are a must.”

neutral carpets

Neutral carpets are a must

5. Outdated patterned wallpaper and curtains

Pattern overload was putting buyers off this home

“Need I say more? Potential buyers walk into rooms like these and take thousands of pounds off their offer – if, indeed, they even bother to make an offer. A similar house nearby may already have been ‘neutralised’ and will be so much more appealing.”

18 after

Calmer decor makes for a better night’s sleep

6. Smelly rooms

mouldy walls

Breathtaking decor?

“On entering some rooms, I have literally had my breath taken away by the smell. And not just the obvious odours from pets, spicy cooking, mould and damp. The products that some homeowners use to hide odours can be just as overpowering. Scented cat litter, plug-in room scents, carpet fresheners are all too much when you’re showing your home. Just make sure everywhere is clean, and open your windows often, and you won’t have a problem.”

fresh bedroom makeover

Now it’s breathtaking in the right way

7. Horrendous kitchens and bathrooms

 dated tiles

Sometimes drastic measures are needed

“Replacing an entire kitchen or a bathroom in order to sell a house is not what I normally recommend. We can usually manage to work around an outdated room, and give it a fresher feel, but just once in a while there is just no option – especially if the house has been on the market for over a year, with no viewings, like this one in Mickleover. The trick is to keep the budget as low as possible by keeping the design simple.”

white tiles

Out with the yellow, in with the white

8. Garden horrors

garden makeover

Don’t forget the garden, too

“So many times, the garden is forgotten about, especially in winter when there ‘isn’t much you can do’. I beg to differ – there is always something you can do. A clean, neat tidy garden is a great selling point, even without lots of colour. You are showing its potential. This gorgeous little cottage in Castle Donington had a wonderful hidden garden beneath all the leaves.”

garden makeover

Just clearing away the leaves made all the difference

9. Clutter

cluttered kitchen

Clutter: costs nothing to fix!

“I could write a book on this! Even if you have no money to spend on staging your home, just make sure that everything is tidy and out of sight. Only leave things on surfaces that should be on display there, like a show home.”

decluttered kitchen

You wouldn’t know it was the same house

10. Incredible colours

coloured study

It’s bright… but not beautiful

“We all know that some colours make rooms feel larger and some make rooms feel smaller, but many of us don’t realise how off-putting the wrong colour choice can be. Colour preferences are very personal, and people react strongly to colour – they love one colour but hate another. So, keeping colour on the walls and floor neutral, then just adding touches of colour in the accessories will stop potential buyers walking away feeling they hate the house.”

neutral study

Smart and professional wins the sale

11. Wasted opportunities

banquet hall

This ‘party room’ was rarely used

“One of the first things I check in a house is the balance of the rooms. Does the number of bedrooms balance the living space? For example, eight bedrooms, but only one living room, and no dining room, would be wrong. One of the simplest but most effective differences that I make to many houses is to change the room use. This house, for example, had a tiny living room, a regular sized dining room and this enormous ‘party room’, which was used maybe once a year. Potential buyers would see this room, say ‘oh’ and walk away. So I converted it to a living room, and turned the tiny living room into a snug. Then the house sold!”

beautiful living room

Big table gone, the rooms becomes an amazing living space

Here’s the link to the Derby Telegraph: