EXAMPLE PORTFOLIO Click on an image for a sample of the accompanying text for each blog article. As well as being a time for food, family and friends, the festive break provides an extended period to prepare your home for sale in the new year. The idea can sometimes feel daunting, but by starting small you’ll soon be on your way to having your house in order. Try out some of these tips.Whether you're thinking of selling your property this year or simply fancy a change of scene indoors, paint is perhaps the easiest answer. From gracing the streets with a freshened-up front door, to colouring a wall or decorating an entire room, there are multiple ways to use paint as a bold or subtle statement: make a room seem bigger or cosier; highlight a particular feature; add interest to an inconspicuous space; or give any part of your property a new lease of life.Piles or sinks of washing up are a definite no-no. If you've got a dishwasher, hide any dishes in there. If the dishwasher is staying, perhaps use the rinse hold function when you go out to ensure that anyone checking their potentially future appliance isn't faced with a gruesome sight. No dishwasher? Wash up the night before and put things away so you only need to deal with breakfast stuff in the morning rush.A down-valuation is when a surveyor or mortgage lender puts a value on a property that is less than the agreed sale price. Although down-valuations generally only happen when the economic climate is weak, they can still happen to any property, irrespective of the general overall state of the housing market. For example: where a lot of modernising or repair work is required, or simply when a valuer believes an agreed sale price is too high.Paying attention to the way your home is lit is an important factor in getting the most out of viewings, particularly in the winter months. A soft and welcoming glow beats a fluorescent strip any day of the week and is just the ticket to warm buyers to the delights of your home.Sometimes, of course, it's just bad luck. But that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do. From re-arranging furniture and taking new photos to changing your price or switching estate agents, there are plenty of options for trying again.Of course it can be disruptive, but it's vital to stay on top of the way your home looks while it's up for sale. Dealing with any untidiness before you go to bed reduces the stress on your morning routine: do the washing up; put clothes away; plump up the cushions on the couch.There is, in fact, no evidence that open tubes of toothpaste, bottles of Head & Shoulders, discarded underwear or limestone covered shower screens are in any way conducive to a successful viewing. And yet!You can save valuable time later on by instructing a solicitor as you soon as you put your home on the market. They can be putting together the legal paperwork in preparation for when you accept an offer and getting the draft contract ready to send without any delay.