Georgina Blaskey shares her top tips on how to clinch the sale of your home and move to pastures new
If you’ve made the decision to put a For Sale sign outside your door, it’s time to ensure your house looks as smart as it can to seduce that potential buyer. Shoving yesterday’s dirty socks under the bed isn’t going to cut it in today’s market. Your house needs to sell itself and that takes a bit of time and money on your part. Here are our top tips to seal the deal:
Make sure you’re happy with the estate agent’s photographs and they look as professional as possible. Your checklist should include whether the room looks bright enough, is the bed made, is the blind straight, is there any mess in view, are the pictures in focus, taken from the best angle, showing each room at its full potential?
Neutralise where possible – from patterned rugs to bright walls. It’s important viewers can imagine the space as what they want it to be, so while you may not need to do a full paint job from top to bottom, it’s worth calming down any loud interiors that might put buyers off. Phil Robinson of Paint The Town Green advises using the same wall colour on skirting boards and dado rails. “Using just one colour throughout can make the room appear larger and give the room a calming effect,” he says.
Store excess and outdated furniture, broken toys and any tatt off-site. Remember, viewers will want to look in the garage or loft cupboards so don’t just shove it in there so it falls out as soon as they open the door. If the house is hiding mess, they’ll wonder what else it’s hiding! Make sure everything is as tidy behind closed doors as what is on display.
Get your house in order and give every room a purpose so it’s clear what the space has to offer. Put toys in the playroom or child’s bedroom, not randomly piled on the stairs; make the guest room presentable, not a dumping ground for excess clothes or furniture; keep desk areas ordered and sparse.
WHEN YOUR POTENTIAL BUYER WALKS UP TO YOUR HOUSE, NAIL THAT FIRST IMPRESSION BY ENSURING IT IS SHIP-SHAPE. HAVE THE WINDOWS CLEANED, MAKE SURE THE LIDS ARE ON THE BINS AT THE FRONT, KEEP A WINDOW BOX WELL STOCKED. INSIDE, GET THE CARPETS CLEANED AND KEEP PET AREAS SPOTLESS.
If you’re going to update any room, choose the kitchen. It’s the most valuable room in the house (per square foot) and could swing the decision. Whether it’s a whole new fit-out or a lick of paint and fresh worktops, you could make your money back on the sale. So, what colour to choose? “Deep blue has become quite a trend,” says Vivienne Warman, Director of Kitchen Coordination. “Clients are moving away from the all-white kitchen that was popular a few years ago.” And what materials to use? Roundhouse says, “Highly textured, rough-sawn oak or river-washed walnut ply or bleached driftwood, are trending; use them in unusual combinations with handpainted matt lacquer and beautiful natural stone.”
Tackle any unfinished DIY projects – get the shelves up, oil creaky hinges, fix dripping taps, replace cracked tiles, bleach any grouting, check every door handle turns, and make sure all light bulbs are working. It demonstrates you’ve cared for the property and are maintaining high standards for future owners.
Remember all the obvious touches that can make a difference – the house should smell clean and lovely, beds must be made, fresh flowers should be dotted around, and coats and shoes must be tidied away.
WHEN VIEWERS COME, MAKE SURE CHILDREN AND PETS ARE OUT OF THE WAY! A SCREAMING CHILD ISN’T A GREAT SOUNDTRACK FOR LOOKING AROUND A HOUSE, AND A DOG JUMPING UP AT A POTENTIAL BUYER OR PADDING MUD AROUND THE HOUSE ISN’T CREATING THE RIGHT IMPRESSION EITHER.
STYLE TO SELL
The housing market is tough, and buyers in short supply. Here’s how to secure that offer:
Maintenance work is key. Broken fences, peeling windows and weed-filled beds are bad first impressions.
It’s your home, now convince buyers that it should be theirs. Use storage for a limited time – it’s a small cost.
Keep colour schemes subtle and complementary through curtains and soft furnishings, furniture and flooring.
To set mood and ambience, the right mix of ceiling, wall, floor and table lamps can transform rooms.
Listen to your estate agent
Good ones know the local market, and do act on feedback – it’s not personal!
Experienced interior designers have contacts and trade discounts for furniture and lighting rental, and can commission decorators, electricians and gardeners.
Costs associated with house sales are generally recouped with competitive offers.
Prospective tenants make better offers for better properties – good bathrooms, modern kitchens, tasteful colour schemes.
Think of websites with gorgeous properties – now be that house!
Source: Clara Bee Limited
Get planning permission for a loft, basement or extension. If you haven’t done the work yourself, buyers will be keen to see what they can get for their buck. It will show the massive potential of your property and take some of the hard work away from your potential buyer, which could lead to a quicker decision.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN REDECORATING
- Timing. Make sure that you schedule the work when you can afford for rooms to be out of action and check how long it will take.
- Costs. Does the woodwork (skirting boards, windows, alcoves) need painting as well as the ceiling? Ask what’s included (not all quotes will include paint, for instance) and who is responsible for getting the paint.
- Nasty fumes. If you are using the rooms soon after, check the levels of fumes in the paint to avoid headaches.
- Making good. Be sure to add any new sockets, move lights or remove unwanted shelves before decorating. Making good afterwards can increase costs.
- Choosing your decorator. Check if they have insurance in case of an injury or accident. It’s wise to have more than just a mobile number so you can contact them should anything go wrong.
Source: Paint The Town Green
Scrutinise your home as an interior designer would do. Is there a dark corner that could benefit from a lamp or uplight? How about a large mirror in a hallway to bounce light around the narrow space? Are your scatter cushions tatty and in need of updating? Could a wall benefit from a picture or two? A few small touches can create a big impact when it comes to seducing potential buyers.
If you’re going to do it, do it right. Be true to the period of your home, particularly when replacing windows. Ayrton Managing Director Robert Ditcham has noted a positive trend in this regard, in the “level of accuracy in replication of the originals right down to copying detail such as the style of the sash horns in the street which of course vary enormously.” He says that replacing windows “has become an obvious progression of house refurbishment after the kitchen and bathrooms.”
Prepare a file on the local area for potential buyers.
Include transport links, catchment areas for local schools, amenities and medical services. If your street has a strong sense of community, big it up! The annual street party, local firework display or high street fete is of real interest to many buyers who want to join a vibrant area as much as buy your property!