Preparing your property for an estate agent can be extremely stressful. You want to make a truthful representation of your property, but you also want to put your property's best assets forward. It's like your property is going up for a job interview! Fortunately, there's a lot of small things that you can do to ensure that the estate agent speaks highly of your property to his or her clients and that you quickly get the best possible price for your property.
The first and most important step is to remove as much from your property as is practical. If you are no longer living on the property, this will consist primarily of removing all of the furniture and anything that is not a permanent fixture. Don't count on the estate agent or new residents to take out your garbage - even if what you've left behind has no effect on the function or safety of the property, it can be seen as clutter that the new owner will have to deal with. The removal of these items will also help you to ensure you don't unintentionally leave anything behind you wanted to keep, as well as ensure there's no mold, mess, or other problems obscured by long-neglected items. If you still live on the property, you can begin this process by moving the contents of your attic, closets, and basement to the new property or into storage, turning to furniture and other daily items only later.
The second step is to take measures to ensure the property appears ready for fresh residents. Worn paint, wallpaper, and carpet should be repaired if possible, replaced if necessary. Everything should be cleaned, and it may be a worthwhile investment to hire professional cleaners. Using the proper machines and chemicals, they can often make old carpets and surfaces look like new, removing the need to replace them. If you choose to do this cleaning yourself, be certain to rent or borrow the proper equipment. While hard work and household cleaners will get you most of the way there, the removal of long-standing accumulations of dust, dirt, and grime require the sort of tools and chemicals most people don't have laying around.
The last step is to make whatever cosmetic improvements you can with the time and budget that you have available to you. If your property has a lawn, make sure you mow and weed it. Trim any bushes, trees or hedges. If your property needs painting, have it painted. Any repairs that have been put off or delayed should be performed, especially since a failure to do so may be interpreted negatively. Estate agents are trained to look at a property as an investment and a valuable object rather than a home, and even small imperfections may make a significant impression on them. As such, it may even be a good idea to remove cabinets or other fixtures which are old, damaged or unfashionable rather than leaving them in place. Leaving behind possibilities rather than old choices can leave an estate agent intrigued and positive instead of considering the cost of removing such fixtures.