With more people viewing properties now than in the last five or six years, it is extremely important that houses for sale look their very best to maximise their value potential. Adrian Tod of Hayward Tod makes a few suggestions on how to start.

In the US staging – preparing a property for sale - is big business. Professional staging firms clean, de-clutter, furnish, re-furnish, hang pictures and even decorate to make sure that an individual property looks, smells and feels its very best. Getting a property ready for sale sometimes costs thousands but can add tens of thousands to a sale price so is usually well worth doing.

In the UK staging hasn’t really taken off - despite the TV property programmes that show just what a difference a fresh pair of eyes and a bit of imagination can make.

But while we may not feel the need for a stager we should be aware of that vital first impression which is influenced by the cleanliness, neatness and order of a well-maintained and well-loved home when it is shown at its very best.

As we come into the autumn property selling season now is a good time to think about how your property will appear to a buyer. Your home will look more spacious with fewer things in it. Surfaces should be cleared of clutter. Also it is surprising what a difference can be made by taking away just one piece of furniture from each room. Everywhere will look so much more spacious. Give your home a deep clean and if you don’t want to do it yourself get in a good cleaning company to do it for you. As the evenings draw in get the fire going if you have one. A fire in the home is one of the basic human needs and people always respond.

Telling a seller that the look or condition of their house is not actually doing them any favours can be hard for anyone including an estate agent. It is a highly personal subject. So make it easy on yourself - ask your agent what should be done. And then follow his or her advice.

Preparing a house for sale takes practice and the understanding that more of a blank canvas is preferable so potential buyers can build and decorate in their imaginations without the distraction of other people’s taste. So if you are selling this autumn choose an agent who is not merely going to put your home on the market but one who will help you stage a coup as well and make yours the one that’s most desired.

That is the real way to make more money from a sale - it won't come simply by adding a few thousand pounds to the asking price and hoping for the best.