Why are you moving?
We all have a reason for moving house – it can be positive such as a new addition to the family. Or negative, such as a separation.
Whatever that reason, when selling your home it pays to have that reason at the forefront of your mind. Perhaps you could find a single image or create a mood board which encapsulates that reason – a vision of the future. Print it off and stick it somewhere prominent or have it as wallpaper on your phone.
That image can then act as a focus to remind you of the goal.
We all know that moving house is extremely stressful so it’s a good idea to focus on what you need to do to get your property sold.
You may have heard about Homestaging and be worried about certain aspects so I’d like to reassure you.
We are (on the whole) fond of our homes. We have become comfortable in them and they reflect us, a bit like that comfy pair of slippers we put on when we get home at night. It is understandable that the idea of employing a homestager raises a vision of a stranger coming in to our home and immediately telling us that we have to change x, y and z which can feel like a personal attack on us and our taste. It isn’t like that.
The objective of staging is to present your property in a way that is likely to appeal to the buyers who are most likely to buy your property. We are all individuals and decorate and furnish our homes in a way that suits us. It’s not that our tastes are good or bad but they are OUR taste and we have to acknowledge that not everyone shares our taste.
If I make suggestions for changes to a property then I am always respectful of how I do it and will explain why I am making the suggestion. I never want to upset a client or offend them and so, if on my initial visit, I think that might happen I will suggest that perhaps that this isn’t the right moment for the client to use staging.
If we are moving house it is understandable that we are reluctant spend money on preparing it for sale. We feel that any money spent is “wasted” because we won’t see any benefit from it. I always explain that any time or money spent on staging is an investment. It’s worth it to achieve that goal (remember the image you created). It is also true that the costs are likely to be less than that of your first price reduction. If you reduce your price then that reduction has to be significant in order to have any impact. For example, say your property is marketed at £400,000. Even a 5% reduction is £20,000, which is a lot of money. There is no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on staging a property, it all depends on the property. However, as a very general ball park you could say between 1% and 2% which is obviously a lot less than 5% or even 10%.
I appreciate that everyone’s circumstances are different and you may have a very limited budget. If that is the case then I will prioritise those steps that I have identified that will have the maximum impact and use budget friendly options.
Value For Money
You may worry that the recommendations won’t be value for money. This is an aspect of cost. Any assessment of a property involves consideration of what is likely to be achieved. What is the ceiling price for the property. You may imagine that I am going to suggest that you spend money on a lot stuff that you won’t be able to use in the property you are moving to or perhaps you aren’t buying another property.
Staging isn’t all about going out and buying a load of new stuff. The starting point is what is already in situ, can things be used to better effect elsewhere in the property or recycled. One important aspect of staging is decluttering which offers the opportunity to sell items and actually make a bit of money. Any element of expenditure is carefully considered to be cost effective. It is also worth bearing in mind that, if there are things to be changed, buyers may walk round and mentally tot up what they think they need to spend and either not proceed or base their offer on this figure. Their calculation is likely to be more than the actual cost. So get any DIY done, it gives your buyer less excuse to knock you down on price.
What’s The Reason For The Sale?
I touched on this in the introduction to this blog, but I’d like to explore this in more detail because, ultimately, this is what matters. When we sell a property, there is always a reason – positive or negative.
- You have formed a new relationship and are going to live together so you are selling one property and moving in to the other or perhaps you are selling two properties in order to buy a new property together.
- Your family is expanding and you need a bigger property.
- You, or a partner, have had a promotion or got a new job and can afford a bigger/ better property.
- You are separating and need to sell the family home.
- A family member has died and their home has to be sold.
There is always some form of emotional attachment to a property and it can be hard to say goodbye to a property. This emotion can get in the way when selling so it is important to focus on the next chapter in your life. What is the next chapter going to look like keep that at the forefront of your mind. I often advise clients that the moment they decide to sell they need to change hats. You need to cease thinking of the property as your home and treat the sale purely as a business transaction.
Most sellers have one of two priorities – maximum sale price or quick sale. OK, if I’m honest they probably want both but usually, if pressed, either one or the other wins out. So why do you want more money?
- You’ve found your dream house but you need to squeeze every penny from your sale in order to afford it.
- You could buy a bigger house or buy in a better location.
- You could reduce the amount of mortgage you need and with it the month repayments, giving you more cash to spend on other things.
The other point, and this really matters to me, is that you maximise your property’s potential. Your home is generally your biggest asset. You may well have spent money on the property as well as paying a mortgage and it’s only right that you should benefit. It’s surprising what even a small amount of time, effort and yes perhaps a little money can make. Would you rather make a few changes and achieve a higher selling price or not make those changes and let the buyer make them and reap the rewards?
There can be many reasons for wanting a quick sale.
- Minimising the disruption to your life that comes with being on the market.
- Perhaps you or your partner have relocated for work and you don’t want to be apart or you are paying two lots of outgoings.
- Minimising the period of uncertainty. Having moved several times myself, I know what’s like being on the market. Living on tenterhooks waiting for the phone to ring with news of a viewing or an offer.
You are in limbo until you sell. Again, it comes back to being able to move on with your life, start that next chapter. Yes, if you stage your property this may involve some changes to your normal lifestyle e.g. getting rid of that extra chair, not using the spare room as a laundry room or dumping ground but it’s worth some short term inconvenience.
I spent a number of years working in estate agency. Initially I worked as a part time viewing representative. This role involved showing potential buyers round properties. As part of this process I would listen to people and try to help them see how a property would work for them. I subsequently worked as a sales negotiator which involved registering applicants, taking details from them of what they were looking for and helping them to find the right property for them. Undertaking these roles meant that I I heard the comments that potential buyers were making as they viewed (what they liked and what they didn’t), I saw how they would look inside cupboards and basically got a very good idea of buyers’ thought processes.
This background means that I have a very good understanding of the sort of issues around presentation that do actually matter to potential buyers and some of these might surprise you.
Room By Room Analysis
My process when I stage a property for sale begins with a room by room analysis of the property. This includes the exterior of the property and the outside space both front and back. The exterior and outside space is very important, it’s what we call “kerb appeal” and it’s important because when people are conducting a property search online , generally the first image they see is one of the front of the property. Kerb appeal, or lack of it, can result in potential buyers dismissing your property without giving it proper consideration
The room by room analysis includes identifying any aspects that might potentially put off your target market but, equally, those aspects that are a positive and which should be highlighted. Home staging is not just about avoiding the negatives but about highlighting the positives.
I understand that when you are selling your house every penny counts and you do not want to spend unnecessarily. I also understand that everybody’s circumstances are different – some people don’t have time, some aren’t interested in being hands on, and some have other priorities.
For these reasons I have a variety of packages that range from a simple walk round appraisal with the home owner taking notes, to a written report detailing the analysis I have undertaken (so you don’t have to worry about the note taking or hands on where I undertake (perhaps in conjunction with other professionals as necessary) all the steps that are required to present your property for sale. The latter option is particularly appropriate if the property is empty and/ or you do not live locally to the property. Click here for details of the packages.
One of the things can that can hold us back when selling is lack of time. Let’s face it, who of us doesn’t feel time poor? We all lead busy lives and we all have preferences for how we spend our time. I’ll admit that housework is not one of my favourite activities although I love the feeling when it’s done. In all areas of our lives we make choices about how we spend our time, and choose to let someone (or something) else do a task in order to free up our time. You might pay someone to do your ironing or employ a VA (virtual assistant) in your business. I can save you the time involved in presenting your property for sale (and give you tips on how to maintain that condition)
Don’t Know Where To Start?
If you realise that your property needs some changes before you put it on the market, that’s a good start. If you have lived somewhere for a while we perhaps become a little too familiar with it. However, it’s one thing to be alert to the possible need for action, it can be a little overwhelming. You may recognise that it’s not as appealing as it could be but you don’t know where to start. That’s where I help because, whichever package you may prefer, there will be a plan.
What Things Should I Do?
The next dilemma is what are all the actions that you need to take? You might have no idea or you might think that there are certain things that you should do but they may not be the things to focus on. This is of particular importance when you have a limited budget. You might not be able to do everything that is desirable. In this case you need to focus your funds, your time, and your energy on those actions The ones going to have the biggest impact.
Remember the reason why presentation is important is the fact that the majority of househunting is done online stop this means that if potential buyers don’t like what they say when they’re scrawling through Rightmove or which ever portal they are using for their search, they will dismiss your property. I often compare househunting to online dating-you have your criteria, you scroll through your feed and you swipe either left or right.
One word of caution… Homestaging is not appropriate for every property (if I don’t believe that it is, then I will say so). It may not always result in a sale – there may be other reasons why a property doesn’t sell so it isn’t a magic wand.
If you are thinking of selling your home and would like to maximise its potential, or are struggling to sell your property, then call me on 07745 876182. I offer a free chat without obligation so you can find out more. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, the North West and North Wales.