The nights are getting darker, the kids are back at school and Starbucks is selling pumpkin spice lattes. It's official: although summer gave us a sunny last hoorah, it couldn't hold autumn back forever. If you want to avoid estate agent fees and host viewings yourself this season, these top tips will make sure your home looks its best – whatever autumn throws at you.
Get rid of fallen leaves
If you have a garden, make sure the lawn is clear. If possible, rake the leaves as near to the viewing time as possible. If you do it too early, more leaves may fall and ruin all your hard work. If you live on a tree-lined street, you should also consider sweeping the pavement outside your house.
Host viewings early
Try to encourage viewers to come during the day. Everything looks better in daylight, plus you can see more. This will be easier during September, as it simply means arranging viewings for before 6:30pm. By the end of October it's dark by 4:30pm and at the end of November it gets dark as early as 3:55pm if you're in London. If you live further north, it will be even earlier. Keep track of local sunset times and don't be afraid to host viewings on weekends if potential buyers can't get out of work early.
Get the lighting right
Even if you arrange your viewing during the day, in autumn you're not guaranteed sunlight. Centre lights can be very harsh, so try to light each room with softer side-lights and table lamps. A few fairy lights can add a whimsical, wintery touch, while candles add a soft glow.
Bring on the hygge
Hygge, the Danish word for 'cosiness', is everywhere this year. As a decorating trend it's great for combating dark and rainy days. Turn your home into a hygge sanctuary by draping big blankets on your couch, lighting a few scented candles (cinnamon spiced) and offering viewers a hot drink on arrival. Emotion plays a big role in buying behaviour; if your viewers feel relaxed and warm they'll feel more positive towards your home.