You don’t have to paint every wall in neutral colours and invest in cushions in ‘accent colours’ before you put your home up for sale, but there are a few things that you can do that will make an impact. And that can mean getting the best price when selling your home.
Take advice about the price before you market your property
Don’t put your house on the market at the highest possible price thinking you can drop it later. Putting it on the market at a high price is not the same as getting the best price when selling your home. The first few weeks of marketing are crucial and it’s better to have two or three buyers desperate to secure your home than one who feels they’re paying over the odds.
Make sure buyers see your home in the best light
There are a few simple steps you can take that can give a good impression to any buyers from the moment they step through your front door.
1. Tidy up! Unless you naturally go for the minimalist look, you probably have junk and clutter that you don’t even notice anymore.
SAVVY TIP: You might adore your figurine collection or fluffy toys, but others may not. As a bare minimum, don’t have an obstacle course of children’s toys scattered across the floor and banish washing or piles of dirty clothes where they can’t be seen.
2. Make sure your bathroom and kitchen look clean and hygienic. When I last went house-hunting, the first property I looked at had a mountain of takeaway trays covering every available work surface and a pile of washing up in the sink. Funnily enough, I didn’t buy it.
SAVVY TIP: You may be happy to embrace your domestic slattern, but your buyers may have different ideas. Don’t feel you have to spend money buying a new bathroom suite unless yours is beyond cleaning up and making presentable, but think about re-grouting the tiles if it all looks a little tired and grey.
3. Get a friend to have an objective look at your home. Ask them what they’d change and what they like about your home.
SAVVY TIP: Don’t feel you have to repaint everything. Agents often say it’s not worth it as buyers will want to change the colour scheme when they move in. If your house looks too ‘done up’ buyers will think they’re paying extra for the paint and wallpaper.
4. Banish smelly pets and surly teenagers. You don’t have to have all family members lined up in their best clothes (which would probably make most buyers keep on driving!), but you want buyers to feel relaxed when they’re looking at your house. Surly pets and smelly teenagers should also be sent packing…
SAVVY TIP: According to estate agents, most people have made up their mind about a property by the time they get to the hall. What they see afterwards will either improve their first impressions or demolish any chances of a sale.
It’s not just how your property looks, but how viewings are handled that can make a difference. How viewings are carried out may depend on whether or not you’re using an estate agent and whereabouts you’re selling and even how much you’re paying the agent.
1. Accompanied or unaccompanied viewings. In many large cities, accompanied viewings are the norm, but if you’re selling a property in the country an estate agent may not volunteer to accompany the viewings. It’s a practical issue as it takes the agent so long to get from one viewing to another.
SAVVY TIP: If it’s important to you that an estate agent accompanies buyers, ask them to do this. They’re unlikely to refuse point blank.
2. Be out for first viewings. If you’re using an agent, it might be better if you’re out the first time a buyer comes round. It may not always be possible as you can’t be expected to put your life on hold while you’re selling your home. But if you’re not around it will mean buyers can make candid comments without worrying about you eavesdropping.
3. Be in for second viewings. Make sure you’re around if the buyer wants a second viewing. Buyers like to ‘look the seller in the eye’ and get a feel for the person they could be handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds to. Be ready to answer a few questions: why did you buy the property; what’s great about living here; what are you pleased about what you’ve done to the property; what do you wish you had done? You may not be asked any of those questions, but it may help you to include useful information that might help it sell.
SAVVY TIP: If a property doesn’t sell after 15 or 20 people have been to see it, there’s usually a problem that extra viewings alone won’t solve. It could be the estate agent, the type of people he or she is bringing to view the property, your property’s appearance or the price.
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