Whether you’re a first-time buyer, in a property chain or free to move quickly, buying a property is daunting at the best of times.

House prices continue to rise and while this may be positive for buyers, some sellers may delay putting their home on the market or see it taking a lot longer to get that all important sale.

And if you’re in a chain, there is nothing more frustrating than finding your next perfect home but being prevented from buying it due to a lack of offers on your existing property.

Homes expert for Saga Exceptional, Amy Cutmore, says: “Adding value isn’t just about converting the loft or landscaping the garden. Simply paying attention to easily fixable issues can be the difference between buyers putting in an offer or not.”

She continues: “Not everyone is looking for a project. In our current economic climate, most buyers are drawn to properties that are clean, tidy and aesthetically pleasing.”

Here, Cutmore highlights the top five things to pay attention to before putting your house on the market…

1. Declutter your house

“Clutter… it’s everyone’s guilty secret. And it goes without saying that it is very distracting for viewers,” opines Cutmore.

“Buyers want to visualise the space with their own furniture and belongings in it. Clutter not only makes this difficult, but it can also make rooms look smaller than they actually are.”

She says crowded kitchen countertops and piles of clothes and toys can make viewings overwhelming and create the impression your home doesn’t have adequate storage space – pushing potential buyers to question what other problems might be lurking inside it.

2. Carry out those repairs

Poorly maintained features, such as old appliances, stained doors, or an untamed garden, can make a home feel outdated and unappealing, says Cutmore.

“Investing time into basic maintenance and DIY, such as mowing the grass or repainting peeling walls, can significantly increase appeal.

“Adding a lick of paint will make a huge difference to a space. Neutral colours are most appealing to house buyers and can go a long way to giving your home a new lease of life.”

3. Give your garden some TLC

A garden is one of the top three features potential buyers look for, according to a poll by Saga Magazine, notes Cutmore.

“So, even if you have a small outdoor space, it’s a good idea to get this into shape. Not only could this lead to a quicker sale, but it could even increase your asking price.”

It’s important to remember first impressions count. “Having an untidy garden makes it difficult for the buyer to visualise its potential, so making sure your front garden is aesthetically pleasing will intrigue potential buyers,” says Cutmore.

“Trimming the hedge, pulling out weeds, sweeping the path and making sure your rubbish bins and recycling boxes are neatly tucked away will make a massive difference.”

4. Remove personalisation

Of course, potential buyers will love to see how you made this house into your home, but what’s more important to them is being able to picture themselves living here – too much personalisation may make viewers feel like they are intruding, suggests Cutmore.

“Temporarily take down the kids’ or grandkids’ artwork from the fridge, pare back quirky collections, and tone down the inspirational ‘word art’.”

5. Be honest about parking

“Let’s face it – most potential buyers will have one, if not two, cars that need a parking space. So if they arrive at a viewing and can’t see an obvious place to park, it’s going to be off-putting.” She continues. “No one wants to be carrying shopping back to the house from the next street, or have young children jumping out of the car and into the road.”

Cutmore says having off-street parking could add significant value to your house, with one report stating properties with their own parking facilities can get up to 13% more than homes without.

“The appeal of off-street parking will make your property easier to sell when it goes on the market,” says Cutmore. “So maybe consider creating parking – by switching your front lawn for a permeable gravel parking space.

“Adding value to your home is vital in the current housing market,” she concludes.