Welcome to 2022. Have you made any plans/ resolutions?
Perhaps you are thinking of moving home.
I think we are probably all aware that the market has been very unusual over the last 18 months or so. You may even have tried to move but been unable to do so as a result of the speed at which things were happening or the rapid rise in prices.
So, if you are hoping to move, what are the signs?
According to Rightmove “ your chances of finding a buyer are very high, as we are still seeing huge levels via demand, and not enough homes available to buy.” They anticipate asking prices to rise by a further 5% in 2022 although they point out that it is important to get the asking price right as buyers still have limits on what they are willing or can afford to pay.
Having moved house several times I know what it’s like when you have made the decision to move, perhaps prompted by seeing your dream home, and whatever your reason for moving you don’t want to miss out. You may have heard that presentation is important but don’t know what to do or what not to do.
So in this opening blog for the New Year I thought I’d share some tips on the things that can hold your sale back.
Our homes reflect our personality – the way we decorate, the furniture we buy, the accessories we add. This is a good thing, after all it would be very boring if every property was exactly the same. However, when you are selling, that personality as reflected in the your home may be getting in the way of that sale without you being aware of it. An added difficulty is that because it is your personality, potential buyers may not actually feed back that that is what is putting them off because, on the whole, we are polite and we don’t like to give offence. This means that viewers may give some other reason why the property isn’t right for them.
So exactly why can personality sabotage a potential sale?
- Decor – we all have our preference for the way a property is decorated whether we like a lot of colour or we prefer neutrals. It is very easy to assume that potential buyers will see past a colour scheme and realise they can change it. However, some people struggle to visualise and others simply don’t want to be bothered doing a lot of decorating. My advice is that the major aspects of decor such as walls and flooring should be neutral. Add colour with a feature wall with paint or wallpaper or with accessories such as rugs, throws and artwork.
- Personal items – we all like to have things in our homes that remind us of people or events. It could be items we have brought back from a holiday or family photos or portraits. Too many personal possessions can give off a very strong statement of ownership and potential buyers can struggle to imagine themselves living in the property because the property reflects the current owner so much. I recommend removing family photos and portraits and replacing them with images that are more general such as landscapes, foliage or abstracts.
It is difficult because you want to make it easier for potential buyers to picture themselves living in your home with their own possessions, but at the same time you don’t want your property to be bland and uninteresting.
Colour and decor can have a major influence on how we feel about a space even if we aren’t obviously aware of it. So in what ways could the decor in your home be having a negative impact on your chances of achieving a sale?
- Dated – we all know that there are trends in interiors just as in fashion. The decor of your home could be a giveaway for when it was last updated. If your decor reflects the 1980’s that may suggest it has not been done for some time and perhaps even indicates the property has been neglected. Whilst potential buyers might not mind decorating they may wonder if there will be more serious repairs to be undertaken. Buyers can also be worried what they will find if they have to strip wallpaper and need to replaster.
- Distinctive – Decor that is very individual is a risk when selling. You are taking a chance that someone will view who shares your taste. You want your property to appeal to as broad a range of potential buyers as possible. This can be especially tricky if your property could suit a wide range of groups rather than just one or two. It is best to decorate with neutral colours in the most important aspects such as flooring and walls. This doesn’t mean that it has to be boring but it does provide the proverbial blank canvas that enables potential buyers to easily imagine themselves living in your home. Do inject some colour and interest in the use of accessories which can easily be taken to your new home. Soft furnishings provide colour and texture, artwork provides colour on walls and rugs add colour to floors.
Lack Of Purpose
Have you ever viewed a property online or in person and wondered what a room or area was supposed to be?
One potential issue is that if a room or space lacks purpose it can be difficult for buyers to work out what it is meant to be used for. Don’t assume that buyers will be able to visualise how it can look. Make it easy for them by dressing the room appropriately
Few of us have the luxury of too many rooms or too much space. This means that the majority of us want to make every inch count. If a room or a space seems to lack purpose then it may be considered wasteful. Even if a room is given a label in the agent’s particulars some buyers may struggle to “see” it as that. At the other end of the scale, when a property is larger than the owner needs (e.g. the empty nest), rooms may end up as a dumping ground, laundry room or just left empty.
Open plan living spaces can be a problem, if everything seems to meld in to one and activities spill over from one area to another, they can seem messy and disjointed. So zoning is very important – living area, dining area, work zone etc. There are various ways in which you can zone – using a different colour or wallpaper on the walls, flooring or rugs, pieces of furniture that divide areas.
According to an online survey conducted by Statista in 2021, it was estimated that 12 million dogs and 12 million cats were living in UK homes in that year. In addition, the pet population in the United Kingdom also included around 1.3 million indoor birds and one million rabbits. If you are selling and are a pet owner there are a few things to bear in mind.
You love your pet, which means that you might not realise that not everyone shares your enthusiasm. Some people are allergic to animals or certain kinds of animal. Some people are scared of animals or particular animals, others simply don’t like animals. It doesn’t necessarily solve the issue simply to take the pet out when viewings are taking place, because things that provoke an allergic reaction, such as pet hair, may still be present. In extreme cases potential buyers won’t view or they take a quick look round and don’t take time to really consider the property. So if you are selling and have a pet, check out my tips here .
One thing that often gets overlooked when moving is DIY and property maintenance. Especially if you have lived in a property for a long period time it is easy to not notice little niggles or even more major issues. Life gets in the way and you never get round to it. When you come to sell, however, be aware, your buyers WILL notice. Why is it so important? If buyers see minor things that need attention they may question how well the property has been maintained and wonder if they aren’t going to encounter more serious defects. Whilst little niggles may not put them off they will be mentally deducting the potential costs of repairs when calculating any offer (and likely over estimating such costs) and if there are an accumulation of little things they may decide it’s too much for them to do.
The first thing to do is simply walk round the interior and exterior of your property and take a good hard look. Pretend that you are a potential buyer having a viewing and determine to be highly critical. Make a note of every little issue. Make a list and prioritise. Some tasks wiil be a quick 5 minute job whereas others may take a little longer. For more tips read here.
Are you looking to upsize for more family space? Life has moved on since you bought your current home – you’ve married, got a partner, had a child and the family is growing. In short, you’ve outgrown your home. Selling with a young family is difficult particularly if you are upsizing. There are the practicalities of day to day living while you are on the market such as needing toys, equipment etc to be accessible, mealtimes and school work. In my experience a lot of home owners expect to continue as normal without understanding that when you are selling certain compromises need to be made. The practicalities are combined with the fact that it may be obvious why you are selling – toys, play pens etc. taking up a lot of space.
Stuff – We all know that children have a lot of things and that they seem to get everywhere. If you are moving because the house isn’t big enough you don’t want to advertise the fact. If viewers see toys, games consoles etc all over the place they will conclude that the property isn’t big enough for them either. Remember, clutter prevents potential buyers seeing the true space on offer. Store the resulting boxes out of the way. For more tips read my blog here
Are you upsizing because your family is growing and are you struggling to juggle your home being on the market and family life?
You may have heard the expression “cleanliness is next to godliness” and I certainly feel that the importance of cleanliness cannot be over emphasised when selling your home. Alongside clutter, cleaning is one of the most important factors when selling.It may seem obvious but it can get overlooked in the busyness of every day life why is it so important.
First impressions count – viewers looking round your house will make a decision very quickly about whether it’s the right property for them.
A house that is clean and smells fresh is appealing and sends out the signal that it is looked after and cared for by its owners.You don’t want potential buyers Walking out of the front door feeling that they need a shower.feeling that they need to shower.
When you sell your house you asking people to spend a lot of money, buying a house is usually the biggest purchase we ever make so I feel that the least we can do as the homeowner is ensure that the property is sparkling clean.
Start by having a thorough clean at the outset, including all the aspects that you might save for a Spring clean, such as doorhandles skirtings et cetera. If you are not a fan of housework or don’t have time, consider employing a specialist cleaning company to do a one off deep clean.
We hear a lot about clutter, often in the context of well-being and the effect the clutter has on our emotional state. It may be thought that this has nothing to do with selling your house but actually, how potential buyers “feel “about your house is very important. If you’ve moved before have you ever heard yourself saying “I can’t put my finger on it but it just doesn’t feel right“. More directly, clutter can be having a negative impact on your prospects of selling the three reasons –
Space -clutter makes the room feel smaller than it actually is, leading viewers to decide that the property isn’t big enough for them. This is true even when viewers have the dimensions of the room from the property particulars.
Visualisation-a common response when the subject is raised is “but buyers know that this stuff isn’t going to stay “or “but I’ve got to live here and I need this “. In reality a lot of people struggle to visualise her room would really look either empty or with their belongings in it
Distraction – too many “things” may mean that people are looking at pictures, ornaments etc and aren’t focusing on the actual space.
Can’t Be Found
If you’ve moved house before, have you ever had the experience of waiting for potential buyers to turn up for a viewing or perhaps you’ve been notified by your estate agent that the viewers didn’t turn up? If so have you ever wondered or been told that it was because the prospective purchasers couldn’t find the house?
When I was undertaking viewings during the time I spent as an estate agent, sometimes I would arrive at the stated destination but be unable to locate the actual property. I know that these days sat nav makes finding an address very easy but it isn’t always accurate, especially in more rural areas.
A For Sale Board helps your property stand out and can alert potential buyers who might not have been actively looking. Ensure that your house number or name is clearly visible.
Does your property lack kerb appeal?
Kerb appeal – it’s a phrase that is commonly used in property circles, but what is kerb appeal? Kerb appeal refers to the external appearance of your property and its surroundings. It includes the property itself and the garden or outside space, are they well-maintained, do they look attractive and instill in prospective buyers a desire to go inside?
Does your property need a boost to its kerb appeal, are you worried about the impression viewers will form of your property when looking on Street View or when they do a “drive by”?
I know that at the present time there is still a dearth of properties for sale and in those circumstances it is very easy to believe that the property will sell itself, perhaps for even more than the asking price.
However if you are highly motivated and want or need to sell quickly or if you simply want to achieve even slightly more for your property what would that enable you to do?
If you would like an informal chat to find out more about home staging and whether it would benefit your property then give me a call on (07745) 876182 and let me help you sell. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales.