Top ten tips for preparing a property for a speedy spring sale
Sheree Foy, property consultant, Source Harrogate, sourceharrogate.co.uk
IT’S THIS time of year when buyers and sellers come out of hibernation and if you are putting your property on the market, you need your home to stand out from the rest and command top dollar.
Critical decisions at the outset include choice of agent, marketing strategy and guide price. You need an agent that is compatible with the type of property that you are selling and the buyers that you want to reach. You don’t need the cheapest agent, you need the best quality and the best service.
A clear marketing strategy is essential and key to this, as is knowing who is going to buy your home and how you are going to reach them. The guide price is like the bait on your fishing line: too high and there are no bites, too low and you sell your home too cheaply. The sweet spot is when substantial interest is generated. At the end of the day, the biggest prize often goes to the property that is best prepared.
So, here’s my 10 point plan to get your home ready for a spring sale.
1. Street Appeal. First impressions count. Wash the driveway and patio,sharpen up the garden and inject more colour with planting and pots. Make sure that your front door looks pristine, paintwork, varnish, knobs and knockers and that the doorbell works.
2. Snaglist. Everything needs to work as it should. Touch up paint scuffs, tighten up loose fittings and fix what is broken. If you think you can leave things for the next homeowner, think again. A discerning buyer will notice and wonder what else has been left to deteriorate.
3. Light and Bright. Clean all windows internally and externally and employ the fingerprint police to keep it that way before any viewings. Clean all blinds and keep curtains back to allow as much natural light as possible into living spaces.
4. De-clutter. This doesn’t mean move a mountain of unnecessary plastic objects to your garage. The garage also needs to be decluttered to demonstrate it is spacious enough to store a Hummer.
5. De- personalise. Although you might associate your home with wonderful memories, your potential buyers need to be able to imagine forming their own. Neutrals enable this more than feature walls, chintz and a shrine of family photos or trophies. It should be all about their future and not your past.
6. Define the rooms. If you’re selling a four-bedroom house then it needs to have four bedrooms with beds in each one. A study needs a desk with a laptop and you need a clear flow through the layout of the property.
7. Freshen Up. Deep clean carpets, curtains and ovens where necessary. Use a professional if it’s heavy duty and a major transformation is required. Your “des res” needs to sparkle and smell fresh.
8. Photography. Your home is now photo ready and a good photographer with the right equipment and an eye for detail is essential. Shoot when the weather and light is right (late afternoon is often a good time) and occasionally separate visits for internal and external photos are required. You naturally want all your photographs to look good for your sale but you need three great pictures and your “money shot” or thumbnail for advertising needs to stand out and grab attention for all the right reasons.
9. Viewings. No cars, no kids, no pets for the duration of the viewings. Buyers need to see a clear way into the home with no distractions once inside. Make sure it is spick and span,
10. Agree on a clear viewing strategy with your estate agent and check out the merits of an “open home” viewing.