So, you've decided to put your home on the market. Now comes one of many big decisions you'll face during the process: Choosing an estate agent.
The first thing to do is invite a few local agents to your home to value it. A good agent will take into account your aims and needs when valuing your property.
Is being able to move quickly more important than achieving a large sale price? Or do you need to achieve the maximum valuation from your home in order to take the next step on the property ladder?
But what else will your chosen agent want to see during a valuation?
Here are the top-seven things Parkers will be looking for when valuing your home...
1. DECORATIVE ORDER AND KERB APPEAL
It's a fact that the vast majority of house hunters make a decision on a property when they pull up in the car outside.
So with that in mind, agents will firstly be looking at the kerb appeal of your home when undertaking a valuation. Does it look welcoming and in good, solid order? Or are the front garden and driveway a mess, in need of work?
Once inside, they'll be looking at the decorative order of your home. Is the paintwork immaculate and fresh? Are the carpets in touch with the rest of the home's style and are they in good, clean condition?
"Old, dirty carpets, chipped laminate, peeling wallpaper or a dated style can all bring down the value of your home, but can be relatively cheap to put right before it goes on the market," says Craig Pearson of Parkers Reading.
2. THE HEART OF THE HOME
That's right: The kitchen. It's never been more important to have that 'heart of the home'. Many buyers put a modern and spacious open-plan kitchen diner right at the top of their list of must-haves when house hunting.
But even if your home doesn't boast such a space, a modern kitchen is still something agents will want to see in order to pitch your home at its maximum valuation.
3. SPACE, SPACE AND MORE SPACE
Agents will get an idea of how spacious your home is when they walk through the door. If it feels enclosed and claustrophobic, this will inevitably affect its value.
"At Parkers Reading, we look for flexibility of the space," says Craig. "Will it work for a family with the current number of bedrooms and bathrooms and is there enough reception space?
"A lot of 'space' comes from how well laid out the property is, how much light floods in and how your furniture is used. Often, a few tweaks to the decor or some decluttering can improve the feeling of space without major work to the structure of the property."
4. WHAT IS YOUR PROPERTY'S POTENTIAL?
Families grow and so properties have to grow with them. When valuing your home, agents will be looking for potential to expand and modify - things that have huge appeal to buyers and can add significant value to your property.
"We would look at the property's current square footage and then evaluate it's potential square footage should extending be an option," says Craig.
"Our agents would also consider things like the property's location and age. If your home is in a conservation area or is listed, clearly the potential for expansion will be more limited and thus this may affect the value.
"If you already have planning permission in place for an extension, this is a huge boost to the value."
5. TRANSPORT LINKS
House hunters will always look at how far your property is from their place of work, or from a rail station so their commute is less painful.
If your home sits in a poor location for transport links, its value will be adversely affected.
"Buyers buy because they want to enjoy their home," says Craig. "If they are stuck in traffic or on the train for hours commuting home from the office, this is not possible. On the other hand, if your home is within a five-minute walk to a mainline rail station, this would be hugely appealing to lots of buyers and the valuation would reflect that appeal."
6. SCHOOL CATCHMENTS
One of the first things buyers will look for when researching areas to live is the proximity of postcodes to top schools.
School catchment areas are a huge part of property valuation and most agents will go through OFSTED reports to get a clear understanding of the schools in your area.
"Being close to a good school or schools can be a huge boost for your property's value," says Craig. "Buyers put good schools right at the top of their wish lists when house hunting and properties nestled in good catchment areas can put a premium on their sale prices."
7. STAND-OUT PERFORMER
In many streets or towns, there can be a multitude of properties with very similar selling points. If yours stands out from the crowd, it could aid both a quick sale and an increase in value against the competition.
"Agents will go into a property with a keen eye for any unique features that make your property different from everything else on the market," says Craig.
"It could be a kitchen-diner extension or extra space on the driveway for two cars. Perhaps you have converted your loft into an amazing master bedroom suite while other houses in the street have not or have built an office space at the bottom of the garden.
"We will be looking for these stand-out features when considering the value of your home."
If you would like one of our agents to come out and do a free valuation of your property, get in touch with your local Parkers branch