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Nick Churton of Mayfair Office gives some timely advice about getting ready for the autumn property market.

August is traditionally a quiet time in the property market. With so many families on holiday buying and selling homes takes a back step. But for some this is a very important time. This is the month that can be spent getting ready for the autumn market - as September is the month when things usually hot up again.

Getting one’s own house in order has never been more important. Good condition and appearance are crucial to getting top price and beating the competition to the best buyers. Yes, selling property is a competition. There are other houses and apartments that are vying for buyers’ attention. So spending time and even some money in preparation can be very important.

Tastes are changing all the time. What is in one year is out the next. When this relates to clothes keeping up-to-date is relatively easy. But property is a different matter altogether. However there are ways to ensure that a house is market ready without too much expense.

So here are a few golden rules when preparing your property for the market.

Debug: All rooms should be kept particularly clean when buyers are on the prowl – especially kitchens and bathrooms.

De-clutter: it is vital to make the space look as large as possible. There should be a place for books, magazines, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc. and all these things should be in their rightful places. Removing just one piece of furniture from a room can often make a big impact to the sense of space.

De-colour: Gloss black, orange and purple walls may be some people’s idea of great interior design. But many buyers would run a mile. Repaint in white or light grey – it looks clean, offends no one and makes rooms look larger. The uplift in value should far outweigh the cost of the work and materials.

De-smell: we are used to our own house odours but others aren’t. It’s best to remove spicy foods from the menu for a while. Open the windows; buy flowers; make some fresh coffee and perhaps light a good candle or two before potential buyers arrive.

De-noise: Does your property sound good? Is there loud music playing or an off-putting television in the background? Turn them off. Are there young children screaming? Turn them off too. Let peace reign. Or if there is ambient noise from outside such as traffic or aircraft play some low level calm music to sooth the ear and deflect attention.

Finally don’t forget the first impression. You will never have a second chance. Most unkempt front gardens precede an unkempt house. Cut the grass. Prune the plants. Hide the dustbin. Store away the red plastic slide that had faded to pink in the sun.

Follow these rules, price sensibly and you will be on your way to sweet-smelling selling success. You will be gone long before your fellow sellers - ever wake up and smell the coffee.

Put another way, if you don’t love where you live no one else will.