Thinking of selling your home? The first thing you should do even before considering contacting an agent is to take an objective look at your property i.e. through the eyes of a prospective buyer.

In a competitive market, it is important to present your property to its best advantage in order not only to improve your chances of selling but also to obtain the highest possible price.

As everyone knows, first impressions do count so, if the exterior of your property looks unkempt and uncared for, then the prospective buyer is likely to presume that the same applies to the interior.

A tidy garden, clean windows and unobstructed access to the front door will entice the buyer to view the rest of your property.

The following further tips may also be useful:

1.      The front door should be clean and the garden presentable.

2.      Peeling paintwork and broken tiles should be repaired and unsightly dustbins hidden from view.

3.      The property should be well-aired and, as a general rule, rooms should be kept tidy and clutter-free to create the impression of space and light.

4.      If there are certain rooms which you feel would benefit from a little freshening up with a coat of paint, keep colour schemes plain and neutral – remember not everyone shares your personal taste.

5.      Ensure that any minor repairs such as dripping taps/shower or missing/broken handles/hinges are repaired.

6.      The hallway - this gives the buyer the first impression of the interior of your property. Make sure that it is well-lit, clean, bright and clutter-free. A vase of flowers will not only freshen up the room but also create that welcoming feel.

7.      The kitchen - this should be the cleanest room in the house. Keep worktops neat and tidy and ensure that any old lingering cooking smells are eliminated. A tip here is to provide that “homely” touch by way of the smell of fresh coffee or baked bread.

8.      The bathroom - must again be clean and tidy with no broken fixtures or loose tiles. Clean towels and fresh soap are also a good idea.

9.      Bedrooms - should be clean and tidy with beds made and any piles of laundry/clothing put away.

10.  The garage – this is the storage place for the car and most prospective buyers will wish to view the garage in this capacity. Now is the time to make a start in clearing away that junk!

11.  Animals – it is useful to remember that not everyone is a pet lover and no-one appreciates pet smells. Wherever possible eliminate pet odours and keep your pet out of the way until the prospective buyers have gone.

12. Create an atmosphere – switch off any background noise such as the T.V., open the curtains to allow in maximum light or, if viewing in winter, turn on all lights.

13.  Never rush the buyer, allow them to view your property at their own pace and allow them the opportunity to ask questions. Try not to follow the buyer around as this can be disconcerting. It is a good idea to nominate one person to show prospective buyers around. It is helpful to point out particular features where appropriate. Be polite and, above all, try to answer all questions honestly as a sale can be lost if the buyer discovers that you have been less than honest.