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The traditional, busy new year housing market is now well underway and this year is proving no exception when it comes to instructions and viewings, according to Shouler & Son.

But, like all good estate agents, the Melton Mowbray-based agent is always looking to refresh its stock of instructions to present to a range of prospective buyers in the area.

By sharing some ‘insider’ top tips about how best to ‘dress’ a home for viewing in wintertime, the agent is urging would-be sellers not to be deterred from thinking that this time of year might not present their particular home in the best light.

First, do not ignore the basics of property maintenance.

So far this winter the weather has been rainy more than frosty - with the odd exception - so check gutters, downpipes and surface water drainage. These should be clear of obstructions, such as accumulations of leaves, so that water can run away freely. Remove visible vegetation from gutters or chimney stacks.

Inside or outside, any deterioration to window frames or sills or the presence of condensation should be mentioned to the estate agent so they can be prepared for any mention by potential purchasers at the point of viewing.

Sheds and fences in the garden should look secure at least, if not well maintained, ideally. Barbecue sets and garden furniture are best covered for presentation at this time of year.

Viewings on a grey day in winter can be brightened up by tubs of snowdrops or other early flowering spring bulbs at strategic points in front and back gardens.

Untidy homes may sell in a busy market but they don’t sell as well as uncluttered properties.

It might be worth considering short term storage unit rental for the duration of the marketing and viewing period of the property if the seller is not a follower of modern minimalist trends.

Cleanliness and freshness are always watchwords when presenting a home for viewings.

Aromas of freshly brewed coffee or freshly baked bread are a bonus but can play their part in the way wet washing draped over radiators or airers and the smell of damp dog just do not.

A comfortable level of heat and light is a must for viewings at this time of the year. A warm background heat and well-positioned lamplight give a welcoming feel to a viewing.

Finally, Shouler & Son advises that it’s important to walk through the house in the shoes of a potential buyer who has no emotional connection to the home. If this is something sellers, understandably, are unable to do themselves they might want to ask a good friend.

Estate agents will give advice about dressing each specific home for photography and for viewings. But it is important that comments should not be taken as a judgment on the seller or their lifestyle.

They are purely a professional opinion, focused on securing a sale in the context of the market in the neighbourhood at that specific point in time.

To talk with Shouler & Son about a marketing appraisal of your home or for information about current properties for sale, contact Shouler & Son, tel 01664 560181, email or see