Which rooms in the house matter most when it comes to selling a property? It is a question that will spark lively debate between homeowners and property professionals.
When preparing a brochure, attention is naturally on the ‘money shot’, the eye-catching image that encapsulates the unique selling proposition (USP) of the property. It might be an external picture of the house, or some spectacular view from the upper windows, or a grand dining-room with high ceilings. But, in our experience, it is often other rooms that sell a property as buyers will examine them in more detail and ultimately decide whether the property is right for them.
1. Space and grace: the main reception room
The key room, in a viewing, is usually the main reception room. This is where people usually spend the most time when they visit their new home for the first time. It is also where any entertaining is likely to be done, so when presenting the room, you should imagine yourself preparing the space for a party. Declutter and light it to optimum effect, so that any period features such as cornicing can be enjoyed to the full. The furniture should, so far as possible, match the setting.
2. Every homeowner’s secret weapon: the kitchen
If you think of the reception room as the main stage in your domestic theatre, two secondary stages are also of cardinal importance. The first is the kitchen which, in many properties today, is the true hub of the home, the place where families gather, not just to cook, but to eat, drink and, in many cases, watch television or the iPad.
Given its centrality to the life of the home, there is no point in pretending that a kitchen needs to be in pristine condition or that ‘homely’ touches such as shopping lists pinned to the fridge are off-putting. But some things are off-putting, from unwashed dishes in the sink, to the lingering aroma of last night’s supper. When showing the house, even in winter, make sure to leave windows open and try to create a light, airy feel. Give people viewing the property the opportunity to imagine spending happy time together in the kitchen. If for example, it looks out on the garden, let them take in the view which is going to be such a big part of their lives. In central London, a garden or outside space is rare, so stage the kitchen with the latest gadgets and utensils to create the wow factor.
3. Sweet dreams: the master bedroom
If the feel-good factor is important in the kitchen, it is even more important in the master bedroom, which needs to exude warmth and intimacy. Fresh sheets on the bed with lots of cushions adds a touch of glamour. Although there is no need to remove all personal effects and clothes. Dirty socks on the floor - or for that matter, an unmade bed – do nothing whatsoever for the ambience.
Again, as with the kitchen, make sure that the room is well aired, and if there is an attractive view from the window, make sure it is noted by potential buyers. They could be lying in bed looking at that view for the next twenty years
Most people, particularly if they have lived in a house for a long time, take the different rooms in the house for granted, and have forgotten what first attracted them to the property. If you are going to ‘dress’ your house to optimum effect, you need to see it through the eyes of someone seeing the property for the first time – and whet their appetites for living in it.
* Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale or to rent in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Regents Park and The West End (020 7262 2030; Kay & Co).