Many years ago I was lucky enough to work with Ann Maurice, the UK’s first ‘House Doctor’ in a TV series on Channel 5. On the programme, buyers used to view the property before Ann Maurice had carried out her makeover and then visited it afterwards, often helping to secure a sale and improving the recommended marketing price.
Although property programmes have evolved a little since the early 2000s, the three things she was insistent about still apply today:-
Today’s buyers typically want a property which is a show home, or a wreck. What doesn’t sell well and is difficult to value, in my experience, are properties which have some rooms which are in need of a good tidy and a lick of paint, while others are at, or near, show home level.
The problem with homes like this is they don’t suit people who are happy to pay a higher price for a home they can instantly move into and they don’t work for buyers that want a property to renovate to their own style. From a valuation perspective, you can’t make it appeal to either buyer as for one it’s too expensive and for the other it’s not cheap enough.
So if you have a home that is a complete wreck, talk to local agents, but in my view, it’s often not worth spending money doing it up, however, if you have a property which is what I call a ‘half and half’ then it’s much better to make sure it all looks like a show home.
And the good news is this doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take too much time. Ann Maurice’s budget for staging a home was around 1% of the value of the home. This often included refreshing the paint work, ensuring any bare wires or broken windows etc were fixed, and then making the property look its best with the latest fashion pictures, curtains and throws, cushions and rugs.
However, whether you have a wreck or a show home, one thing that is always essential is to make sure that the property is free of any clutter.
If you’ve lived in a home for a long period of time, it’s sometimes difficult to see what is actually ‘clutter’. You are used to what’s in your home every day, so a good way to understand what buyers are looking for is to visit a show home on a new homes site. Alternatively or in addition, if you have a friend that has an already well-staged home, ask them to come and tell you what they think needs changing.
Remember – don’t be offended by whatever anyone says, this is all about selling your home quickly and hopefully for more money, so anything you can do to achieve this is a good thing.
Whatever condition your property is in, go through each room and:
In addition, is there any furniture which is making the rooms look too small or doesn’t ‘fit’ with the style of the rest of the room or house? This could really devalue your home and it could take longer to sell.
Check carpets and flooring too for any stains or tears and see if you can get rid of them or if it’s worth putting down new flooring.
It might be you are good at throwing things away, or you might have things you want to take to your new home which could be stopping your current one from selling or devaluing it.
So work out what you want to chuck very early on in the moving process, then work out what you want to keep, but could affect the sale of your property and make sure you put it into safe storage. You might think the attic, shed or garage would be good, but I think it’s better to choose storage somewhere dry and safe.
If you transfer it out of the main house to somewhere else, it still has be moved when you complete and diligent buyers will see a lot of clutter in areas they may want to use, so at least consider using a good storage company.
This decluttering process is also a great way of helping you to start the ‘moving process’ even before you have potentially sold your home. It’s easy and quick to sort, especially if you do a bit each week. And when it comes to storage, don’t forget, like most things there are some good storage companies and others which aren’t so good, so worth reading our ‘how to store your belongings’ checklist.
And if you are keen to store some of your belongings, it’s worth taking advantage of Big Yellow’s special offer of 50%* off your storage fees (*Ts&Cs apply).
Finally, make sure each room ‘does what it says on the tin’. If you have three double bedrooms, they need three rooms with three double beds – or one with twin beds – in them. If one bedroom is currently an office and storage room, people are likely to assume that they can’t fit a double bed in it.
And it’s the same with a dining room. Either make sure it looks like a dining room or create it as a second sitting room, but whatever you do, don’t leave it as a mix of the two saying ‘we sometimes use this as an office’ too!
Finally, there is no point having a great house on the inside, unless you also make sure the outside looks good too. Make sure if you have a show room type house, the front door looks like it is freshly painted, there are no or few weeds in the garden and if it’s spring or summer, make sure you have some welcoming plants to ensure kerb appeal.
On plants, if you are concerned about the cost, you can buy pot plants (or create your own) so you get to take them with you rather than leave them behind for the new owners.
Hopefully, with these three key steps, your home will sell quickly and for the best price.
If you are having any problems with the sale of your home, do let me know and I’ll do the best I can to help, contact us.
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