CLINCH THE SALE
If you’ve made the decision to move, you’ll need to make your property work as hard as possible in the current market. Here are ten top tips to help get that offer on the table. Words: Georgina Blaskey
Create a wine storage area Your basement space offers the ideal conditions to store good wines: cool and often dark. A walk-in, air-cooled wine cellar is the top end of the spectrum but a neat shelving unit can also do a sterling job.
Pathway to success Invest in maintaining your path so it sets the right tone for your property. Any chipped or damaged tiles should be replaced; power hose the others to have them all looking as good as new. Give your front gate a lick of paint. No one is going to be impressed with peeling Elephant’s Breath paint.
Build a basement Space is at a premium in London’s family homes. Gone are the days of dig-outs producing a bland playroom and noisy extractor fan in the loo. Think differently and it’ll pay off when you move. Consider digging under the garden and using glass panels to let light in, with a stylish garden redesign at the same time, or a back-lit wine cellar behind a glass door, as much of a decorative wow factor as useful storage. Local resident and property guru Phil Spencer says, “I have just had a basement put in at my home. It cost £300 per square foot to dig and fit out, but houses in the street sell for between £700 and £900 per square foot, depending on condition. In theory, it means that for every £1 invested into the house, potentially £3 was added to its value. Also, when I bought the house it was 2,200 square feet and now, with basement and kitchen extension, it’s 4,000 square feet so it has virtually doubled in size. As I say, the real value lies in increasing your living space.”*
*Adding Value To Your Home by Phil Spencer (Vermilion £12.99)
Create a dressing room Bring the ultimate fashionista luxe to your home. It doesn’t need to be big to be effective (although who wouldn’t want Gatsby’s; remember the shirt-throwing scene?). It’s about creating bespoke storage for your clothes and accessories. A potential buyer with the odd pair of Manolos may have shoe storage in her top five must-haves.
Paint the house When a buyer approaches, you want your property to stand out as the best on the street. If your painted bricks are peeling, you need to maintain them to seduce a potential buyer. Whether it’s the whole house or a few window frames, a fresh lick of paint will make a fantastic first impression. If a home is well cared for on the outside, it must be well cared for on the inside too, and that could be enough to encourage an offer.
REFURBISH THE FRONT DOOR YOUR FRONT DOOR IS THE CENTREPIECE OF YOUR KERB APPEAL SO REPAINT IT IN A TASTEFUL COLOUR AND BUY A NEW DOOR HANDLE, HOUSE NUMBER AND LETTERBOX. UPDATE THE OUTSIDE LIGHTS AND PUT POTTED PLANTS BY THE DOOR. MOVE BINS, AND ADD WINDOW SHUTTERS FOR A REAL FACELIFT. “CHOOSE BETWEEN ASH, AMERICAN WHITE OAK, AMERICAN BLACK WALNUT, WESTERN RED CEDAR, AMERICAN CHERRY, MAPLE AND TEAK,” SAYS THE NEW ENGLAND SHUTTER COMPANY.
Apply for planning permission Securing the council’s approval for future plans is a bonus. You’re sending a clear message that this is a property brimming with potential on which any buyer can make their own mark. It might cost a few thousand pounds in surveys and drawings, but it could turn a viewing into a sale.
Return each room to its original purpose Defining your space is akin to decluttering – a place for everything and everything in its place. Remove the running machine from the dining room and replace with table and chairs. If family viewings are likely, turn your office/dumping ground into a playroom. This way, buyers can easily imagine themselves living there.
De-clutter Nobody wants to see a messy house so fill those empty walls with a bespoke unit that perfectly fills the space, then hide everything away and make your home look larger. “My client gave me a photo for this commission in a kitchen extension and I worked it out from there,” says Mirek Herman of MTM Herman.
Freshen-up the kitchen Installing a new kitchen as you look to move may feel counter-intuitive, so updating what you already have can work wonders. Re-facing your kitchen cabinetry or replacing worktops could just swing it with a prospective buyer.
Revisit your lighting How a space is lit can change the feel of a room. Booking a lighting professional to come and review your room schemes could reveal your home in a…totally new light. According to award-winning lighting designer Sian Baxter, not all LEDs are created equal so opt for more expensive bulbs with a warmer glow.
GET THE PRICE RIGHT BEGIN BY GETTING THREE LOCAL ESTATE AGENT VALUATIONS AND GO FOR THE AVERAGE. BE AWARE THAT NATIONWIDE AND HALIFAX HOUSE PRICE INDICES BASE AVERAGE PROPERTY VALUES ON MORTGAGE VALUATIONS, WHILE THE LAND REGISTRY RECORDS THE ACTUAL SELLING PRICE OF THE PROPERTY. ALSO CONSIDER THE LOCAL ASPECT – IS YOUR HOUSE ON THE ‘RIGHT’ STREET, AND AT THE ‘BEST’ END? SMALL VARIATIONS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE, SO BE MARKET-SAVVY AND REALISTIC.
PERIOD PROPERTY? Retain cornicing, stained glass or tiles in the lounge or hallway to add curiosity, even if you have a very modern extension at the rear of the house.
SIZE UP Use large pieces in small spaces, such as an overly large sofa or artwork. Many think small rooms need small furniture, but larger furniture can make a room look much grander.
GO ASYMMETRICAL Play around with heights, layers and textures, creating interesting little cameos.
THE UNEXPECTED Try not to be too samey. Mix and match textures such as wool, velvet, linen and leather, and also new pieces with vintage finds to add depth, cosiness and luxury, particularly in lounges and bedrooms.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN Planning room layouts, ideas for paint schedules, flooring and any bespoke furniture helps to visualise the project and eradicate delays.
USE COLOUR Don’t be afraid to use colour and bright colour. It can lift a room to another level.
GET THE LIGHTING RIGHT Lighting is crucial. Create a lighting scheme and position downlights with what you are actually lighting. Have a wall light, table lamps and even candlelight. Put all your lights on dimmers for different moods.
MOVE YOUR FURNITURE AWAY FROM THE WALL This will enhance the flow of the room, add interest and make rooms appear much grander. If space is tight, angle furniture slightly inwards or move forward a few inches with a shelf or console behind.
GO DARK Painting a room in a dark colour adds warmth, depth and glamour, and anything put against it will ping! Or simply paint your woodwork darker than your wall for a contemporary update.
Read more… DRESSING THE PART