Spring into action: 9 top tips for selling your home
The official first day of spring has finally arrived, along with the first flowers, chirpy birds and warmer weather – and house-hunters.
With spring comes the annual buzz of the property market – a time when the market traditionally picks up again. Gardens are in spring bloom, adding a variety of colour to a home; the weather is brighter which helps enhance the appeal of a property and a wave of potential buyers looking for good quality properties they can make their own, flock to their local estate agents. This is particularly true for families, who begin their search now for a home they can move into before the start of the new school year in September.
However, to ensure plenty of viewings and the best possible price, it is vital that you spring into action now to make sure your home stands out from the crowd, before you put in on the market.
How to prepare your home for the sales market:
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and photographs are the first thing that potential buyers will see on a property portal, website or brochure. This is the moment they initially judge your home and consider whether it’s worth a visit to view it. A poorly presented home will be reflected in photographs, and will suggest it is low quality accommodation, which could impact the price and the number of viewings you get.
2. Kerb appeal
As a potential buyer approaches your home, the first thing they see is the front of it. Tidy up, weed and mow the front garden, remove dead flowers and trim the bushes. Pay attention to the window frames, driveway and pavement too. A fresh coat of paint or a pretty potted plant could also add further appeal to your front door.
Serious attention to detail is required here. Clean the windows inside and out, ovens, fridges, carpets and curtains. Dust like there is no tomorrow – skirting boards, light fixtures, furniture – hoover, remove cobwebs, scrub the kitchen and bathroom until they’re spotless and remember to polish all taps and mirrors.
4. Minor repairs
If it’s broken, fix it! Everything inside and outside the property should be working as it should be. For example, fix the leaky taps and cupboard doors that you’ve meant to replace for some time. Fencing and gates should be in good order. Broken light bulbs need to be replaced and any mould issues such as bathroom grouting addressed.
Nobody likes clutter. Store items from sight, sell or give to charity any items that you don’t need anymore – this way you’ll have less to pack when you move too! These might include books, CD’s, DVD’s, ornaments, knick-knacks, garden/kitchen tools and so on. It’s perfectly normal to have accumulated lots of bits and pieces over the years but they shouldn’t be visible when selling your home.
You need to allow buyers the chance to imagine what it would be like to live at the property. They won’t wish to see the life you have made there. Reduce the amount of photographs of loved ones you have in the hallway, sitting room, bedrooms and so on, including the children’s paintings pinned to your fridge.
Don’t spend a lot of money on this but a coat of paint here and there can have a significant impact on appearance. New carpet, flooring or curtains can also be an effective way to update a property.
8. Let there be light!
Replace dim light bulbs with higher wattage, repaint darker rooms with lighter colours, remove heavy curtains or put in some extra lamps into rooms that need brightening up. Nobody likes ‘dark and dingy.’
Once you have covered all of those points, you are ready to call your local estate agent. Which brings me to my last tip for you…
9. Choosing the right estate agent
Base your choice of agent on their professionalism, local knowledge, marketing clout, and whether you like them – after all, you will be entrusting the agency you choose with the sale of what is likely to be your most valuable asset. It is not wise to choose an estate agent based on how low they’re prepared to discount their fees, or be seduced by suggestions that you could ask a much higher price for your home – and reduce it later if no buyers bite. You need the price to be right first time. And you want to make sure your property is being marketed to the widest possible audience, and that includes national newspapers and magazines. Otherwise you restrict the number of people that see your home. Most importantly – and what some forget to check – you need to be confident that the agent will work in your best interests to see a sale through all the way to completion, that they will negotiate well on your behalf and work hard to achieve the best possible sale for you. Your estate agent needs to be your ‘rock’ during a time in your life that some say can be one of the most stressful you may experience. Finally, it is always a good idea to check for accreditations and memberships of organisations such as NAEA, RICS and the Property Ombudsman – and remember to ask others what they think about the local estate agents or check the agents’ websites for genuine customer reviews.
Remember, once you’ve chosen your agent you want your home to look its best. That way you maximise your chances of getting more viewings, the best price and a timely sale. Good luck!
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