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Spring Clean Your Home Towards A Sale

Spring is here and now is the time many of us look to carry out a major blitz of cleaning on our homes and it is particularly important to do a big clean if you are selling your property.

We’ve said it before – first impressions count. It’s vital if you want to attract a potential buyer that you do everything you can to make their first impression the best it possibly can be. Taste issues can be forgiven by a potential buyer (in most cases!) but cleanliness is a given so get the marigolds out, let Mr Sheen be your buddy for the next few hours, turn the music up loud and get cleaning!!

To ensure your property shines throughout the selling process, we recommend a deep spring clean and then it’s much easier to keep on top of day to day cleaning prior to any viewings.

1. Open all windows – get plenty of fresh air in! Stale air is unpleasant so make sure you air your home daily.

2. Steam clean carpets – stained carpets are very off putting so get the steam cleaner out. Failing that, get the professionals out. Although buyers may look to change carpets as soon as they own the property, that bad first impression can be enough for them to look elsewhere.

3. Vacuum and mop flooring areas – shake out rugs and door mats.

4. Wash windows, inside and out – make sure as you wash when the sun isn’t shining directly on windows or you will have loads of streaks, not the polished look you’re striving to achieve.

5. Polish everything – floors, skirting boards, mirrors, taps, door handles, light switches, light bulbs…sounds extreme but any dust can stop light reflecting brilliantly and you want your home to shine and be as bright as possible.

6. Wardrobes and Cupboards – viewers look everywhere and will have a nosey into wardrobes, especially built in ones, and kitchen cupboards. Make sure these areas are clean and tidy. If they aren’t, viewers can feel that space is an issue.

7. Clean the oven and the fridge – again, viewers will look into these so make sure they are clean, fresh and tidy. Don’t forget to clean the cooker hood.

8. Wash and squeegee-finish tiled walls and shower screens/doors – soap scum can leave tiles and doors looking dull and do nothing to help a viewer picture themselves living in your house.

9. Wipe down kitchen surfaces – clear all worktops and ensure you clean every inch of the surface, making sure to dry off so there are no streaks. Viewers will run their hands over kitchen worktops so you don’t want toast crumbs, residue from split drinks etc.

Once you’ve finished on the kitchen surfaces you deserve to stick the kettle on, sit back and relax!

 

Smell your way to a sale!

You’re on the market and you’ve viewings booked, it’s all getting a bit exciting.

It’s worth remembering that smell is one of the most emotive senses.  It really does contribute to how a person feels about an experience so it’s worth making sure that your home wafts out the right keynotes to encourage any potential buyers.  Follow our tips to have your home deliver a welcoming fragrance…

DON’T BE A FAKER!

Avoid the use of plug-in air fresheners.  These are chemical based and create a ‘fake’ smell, which can make viewers think you are trying to cover up something nasty!

Step away from the aerosol room spray too!  It’s obvious when these have been sprayed and again, are you trying to hide something?

DO BE AN AROMA MAKER!

Go all Nigella and bake some bread!  The aroma of baking bread will waft around and help viewers see your property as a home.

Coffee is another great scent that helps viewers to get that ‘hug’ from a property.  Have ground coffee percolating in the kitchen just before your viewers arrive.

Get bouncing!  Buy some of the tumble dryer sheets and place one or 2 on discrete radiators and have the heating on.  A lovely, fresh aroma will radiate around your property, giving viewers a fragrant welcome.  Wiping fabric softener onto a radiator with kitchen towel has a similar effect.

Fresh flowers are always a good idea and have the added bonus of making rooms look beautiful!

Whatever scents you use to make your home homely, make sure pet litter trays are clean, bins are empty and trainers are locked away!

Top Tips For First Time Buyers!

You’ve taken the decision that you want to get your foot on the property ladder. Before going any further, we’ve made a list of a few things you should consider before you start house hunting:

Futureproof your purchase!

Have you thought ahead? When you buy, its vital to think ahead and have a rough idea of how long you intend to live in the property you are considering buying. If you’re looking at a one bedroom apartment but see yourself possibly starting a family in a couple of years, it might be worth having a re-think. If you were to buy, you may find yourself needing to move again quickly, incurring moving expenses, and possibly have to sell at a loss to gain much needed space.

Are you ready for the responsibility?

Owning your own home is a dream for many but it can also turn into a nightmare for others. Are you prepared for the maintenance costs of a property? Boilers can and do break, pipes can spring leaks and there are a host of repair bills that will crop up. Make sure you’ve built potential costs into your plans going forward, particularly if you’ve been used to simply contacting a landlord to resolve issues. You will be the one sorting any issues in future!

Are you good to go if the right house comes on the market?

Houses that attract first time buyers are generally snapped up very quickly so to ensure you are best placed to offer and hopefully buy a popular property, do the groundwork early. Make sure you have spoken to a mortgage advisor and have assessed your ability to borrow to the limit you think you may require. It is also wise to have a Mortgage Promise/Mortgage in Principle in place. These are generally dated for 6 months and are not property specific. You are not tied to the lender this is with and you would have the option to search for the best deal when actually applying for your mortgage when you have an offer accepted however it does indicate your ability to borrow which can make your offer more attractive if you are in a competing offer situation.

After giving these things some consideration and property ownership is for you, there is one final and vitally important thing to think about – set your absolute limit before offering on any property!

You’ve found the perfect pad but there is another party just as interested so you increase your offer to seal the deal. Have you really thought through the increase? Can you afford to pay a higher mortgage than you’d originally planned for? It’s all very well having a lovely home but if you can’t afford to enjoy it, the dream may not last too long. Have a back-up plan if mortgage rates were to increase otherwise you may be forced to sell.

Happy househunting!

De-cluttering Made Easy!

 

As the leaves start to turn and fall, our minds turn to autumn and the cooler, shorter days and what better time to carry out a de-clutter. Not only a vital task if you are moving, de-cluttering is a great way to ensure your home and the storage space it provides works for you.

For some, the thought of de-cluttering is a scary prospect but it needn’t be. Take small steps, see easy wins – start with a counter top, a shelf, maybe a drawer. Once complete, the sense of satisfaction will kick in and you’ll be off and before long, you’ll see great results. 5 minutes a day is enough of a start!

When looking at the space to be decluttered, allocate items to one of 3 piles:

Keep

Recycle – Charity/Re Gift

Bin

If you find you are really struggling to get into de-cluttering and you feel the task ahead is just too big, try the ’10 Items A Day’ challenge. Each day, try to dispose/recycle 10 items. Once you get started, you’ll see how easy it is and there will be no stopping you and a tidy and de-cluttered home will be yours!

Selling in the summertime

The sun is out (for now anyway!) and the days are long so what better time to sell your property. Whether you’re on the market already or you’re just coming to the market now, the summer months are an ideal time to make your property shine. Many house hunters are keen to find the property of their dreams at this time of year as the moving process is much more pleasant in the bright, longer summer days than struggling with a removal van with the entire contents of your life on a wet, cold and dark winter’s afternoon.

To make sure you use the summer season to really improve your chances of selling, follow our top tips!

Perfect presentation

It should go without saying that you need to put effort into making your home look its best when selling at any time of year, but in the summer, it’s more important than ever! Sunlight is lovely but can show up dust and window smears clearly so clean, clean and clean again. Open windows and doors for viewings to create an airy and spacious feel that buyers will love.

First impressions

As the outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers see, it is vital your property has kerb appeal at all times. Potential buyers can drive by at any time so it’s important the outside of the property is clean and tidy, not just when you have viewings planned. Keep the drive tidy and free from leaves, make sure the porch is uncluttered, keep bins tucked away from view and have lawns well kept.

Gorgeous gardens

The summer months are the time to really show off the garden and outdoor space around your property and in particular, if your property is ideal for young families, enclosed gardens are a huge selling point. Make sure plants and shrubs are pruned, patios are power washed and the lawn is mowed regularly. If you have a decking or BBQ area, highlight this as an entertaining space by having a table and chairs laid out and if this space flows from the inside through patio or French doors, have them open during viewings. Your garden is an extra room at this time of year so paint this picture for buyers.

Flexibility

The longer, brighter and hopefully warmer days bring with them the opportunity for longer viewing hours so it’s important to be as flexible as possible to accommodate requests. With daylight hours creeping well into the late evening, our busiest times for viewings are 6pm – 8:30pm which gives buyers the chance to view a number of properties after traditional working hours. If you have any holidays planned, there’s no reason to put selling on hold or to miss viewings if you work with your estate agent. At 365 Estate Agents, our preference is to host all viewings for our clients so holidays cause no issues for us however, if you normally carry out your own viewings, ensure your agent has access to the property in your absence and they can continue to take viewings for you while you relax on your trip.

The summer really is the perfect time to sell your property so make sure you do everything you can to make the season work for you.

It’s the little things…

So you’ve decorated, tidied the garden and completed the biggest de-clutter of your life in preparation for selling your home. To ensure all your hard work doesn’t get ruined at the last hurdle, make sure you do a final top to bottom house check prior to any viewings.

First impressions are vital when selling a house and the smallest issue can have a huge effect on a buyer. House hunters are very emotive and when viewing, they want to be able to picture themselves in your home, in your life almost. You are selling the dream, the house, the lifestyle, so details matter! Over the years, we’ve received lots of feedback from viewers about why a particular house wasn’t for them. Layout, outside space, room dimensions are some of the normal reasons a potential buyer doesn’t like a house.   Sometimes it can just be a feeling, but sometimes, it can be the smallest thing and an issue that could have been avoided with a quick pre-viewing sweep!

Prior to any viewing, check for the following:

Are there dishes in the sink?

Have all toilets been flushed?

Is there laundry hanging around drying?

Have the cat litter trays been used?

Are there strong pet or food smells?

It only takes a few minutes but it can make all the difference!

Choosing an estate agent – are they all the same?

Once you’ve decided to put your house on the market, next comes a pretty big decision, one that can really impact on not only your chances of a sale but also your experience of the whole sale process. So how do you go about choosing the best estate agent for you?

High valuations or lowest fees charged should never be used as a basis for selecting the agent you instruct to see your largest asset. Follow our tips below to ensure you select the best fit for you!

Anyone can give a high valuation, but obtaining that price is another matter. Ask yourself if the figure quoted is based on experience and knowledge of the area or are you being told what the agent thinks you want to hear? You should be given comparisons as standard by a good agent. If not, ask for them!

Never base your decision on fees alone. Paying a low fee can be false economy. Your agent should display enthusiasm to sell your property and be someone you feel comfortable with and trust to work with you throughout the selling process. If fees then happen to be lower than other agents, it’s a win/win situation!

Buyers work, just as you do so having your agent available after traditional working hours and at weekends is crucial to get maximum activity from buyers. Your agent needs to be able to react quickly to viewing request and accommodate viewings in the evenings and at weekends. The same goes for phone calls. If you can’t get through, neither can your potential buyers.

Estate agency isn’t all about sales. A huge element of the job is about people. Does your agent show an interest in you and what your plans are? They should! Part of their role is to help you make the next move and they need to understand what you want from the transaction of selling your property and what you want to be able to do once it completes so if they don’t show an interest, maybe they aren’t the best agent for you.

A good estate agent will have experience, display enthusiasm and have knowledge of the market. Some estate agents will employ different staff to value properties and other staff will sell and progress your sale. Don’t get caught out – make sure the person you meet first and instruct is available throughout the process. You should feel comfortable with them, have a good rapport with them and feel they are someone you are happy to work with and trust to work for you.

Spend time making your decision. It’s important to get it right when it comes to something as important as selling your property.

 

 

Are professional property photos really that important?

These days, we all spend a lot of time running about with busy lives. With time short, 97% of house hunters look to the internet to find their new property and as a result, decisions are made quickly as to whether a property warrants further investigation. With this in mind, first impressions are vital. New listings are coming onto the market daily and buyers will move on quickly if your property photos do not show your property at its best.

Photography Equipment

Properly lit, high resolution photos are the only type of photos your agent should use. If your agent produces a smartphone or a small compact camera to take your property photos, it is time to re-think if you have chosen the best person to sell what is probably your biggest asset. An experienced photographer with quality equipment should be a given!

Photoshoot preparation

It is said that Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance and in order to create the best possible first impression, your photoshoot should be planned with your agent. Have your home clean and as decluttered as possible and ‘staged’. At 365 Estate Agents, we will discuss home staging with you prior to your photoshoot to ensure your property is photo ready and our photographer will work with you on the day to move things around if necessary to help present your property as well as possible.

Remember, selling a property is a competition. If other properties coming on the market are being presented with clear, well-lit, professional photos and yours isn’t, your property is at an instant disadvantage from the outset. Never underestimate the importance of a quality, professional photographer. If you want to sell your property and achieve the best price, don’t settle for anything less.

How to remove the stress of moving before you’re even on the market!

It is often said that moving house is one, if not the most stressful events in life but it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Yes, there are occasions along the way from initially going to market with your property to finally locking up on completion day and being handed keys to your new home that can be bumpy at the very least. However, forewarned is forearmed and you are not completely powerless. We’ve listed 4 top tips you can use to ensure your house move is as plain sailing as possible.

 

  1. Select an agent you trust and feel comfortable with – Estate Agents aren’t just there to market your property and find you a buyer. They are highly skilled people who have years of experience in handling every sort of scenarios when it comes to buying and selling houses. They are there to guide you through the process to ensure it’s as smooth as possible. You will hopefully have chosen your agent based on your relationship with them and your confidence in them as an agent and not just on their fees or the fact they put a higher price tag on your property than others. They should be approachable and contactable. With the choice of a good agent, they will guide you through the process and alleviate any stress you may have.
  2. Be aware of the house buying process – Know the steps and understand the possible issues that can cause problems and delays to the overall process so have a discussion with your agent. Use the resources you have to hand – your estate agent is on your side and wants to help you to achieve not only the best price for your property but also to ensure your next move is the one you want!
  3. Engage a solicitor early – Delays can come from solicitors trying to obtain Deeds for your property and gathering the relevant paperwork so once you have taken the decision to move, talk to your solicitor and advise them you are going on the market. This allows them to get things prepared at their end which will help once you have a buyer.
  4. Be fully aware of your finances– Have a clear understanding of the minimum price you will accept on your property and build in all costs relating to your move….solicitors fees, estate agents fees, stamp duty etc. Ensure you budget for removals and finalise the maximum amount you can spend on your new property, taking all of this into account. Then make sure you build in a reserve, just in case! If you see a property that ticks all the boxes but are unable to increase your offer just a little higher to clinch it, this can add unwanted stress.

 

Moving house is can be a stressful time but by being aware of the areas that can cause stress and using our tips to alleviate these as much as possible, you will be in more control of the situation and therefore relaxed and ready to get hunting for your new dream home!

Deck The Halls! Festive Decorating Tips

Our Top Tips for Christmas Decorating When Your House Is On The Market.

It’s true that the housing market gets a bit quieter in the run up to Christmas and there are often not as many buyers out viewing properties for sale during this time. However, the buyers who are looking tend to be very serious and motivated, so ensuring your property looks its best at this time is a wise move.

Christmas is an emotive time of year and as a house seller, you should use this period as an opportunity to show potential buyers how your house can look and feel, paint the picture of what Christmas in your property is like to ensure your house is the only place they want to spend Christmas next year.

As a nation, we can be divided on how best to decorate our homes over the festive period but the message here is less is definitely more! Before you start decking the halls, make sure you stick to simple items to highlight your house’s features and steer clear of the ‘Griswold Family Christmas’ method of decoration!

Our tips can help you transform your property into Christmas chic…

  1. Kerb Appeal – Always important and even more so at Christmas. Use lights to brighten up the doorway for evening viewings but avoid coloured or flashing lights. Use classic white to create a welcoming entrance and consider hanging a classic wreath on the door. Inflatables and ‘Santa Stop Here’ signs can be fun for the children but do nothing to enhance your property to a potential buyer.
  2. Pick a colour theme – Choose 1 or 2 colours for your decorations and use these colours for any small presents you wrap under the tree. You want to achieve a look of classic elegance so keep things simple and consistent.
  3. Choose a smaller tree – Whilst you may love the idea of having a large tree at the window of your property, it’s not a great idea when trying to sell your house. Light will be blocked out and the living space will be reduced in size, making the room appear smaller. Add to this mountains of presents spilling out from under the tree and you’ll convey the idea of a house that struggles for space. Instead, choose a smaller tree, and place it well out of walkways, maybe even consider a table top tree to free up floor space. As for presents, a few under the tree will do no harm but stash others away from view (best from a security point of view too)
  4. Christmas Cards – Mass displays of Christmas cards can look cluttered and messy, as can cards being stuck to door frames/windows. Select a few cards to display and keep others from view.
  5. The smell of Christmas – Who doesn’t love the homely smells of Christmas…pine trees, cinnamon, mince pies. Use these smells to create a homely atmosphere in your property by lighting scented candles just before viewings. As well as providing a lovely aroma, the candle light will add to the overall atmosphere of your property.By adopting these ideas, you really can make your home stand out from the crowd and help make viewers really imagine their family spending Christmas in this house next year.

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