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Selling your house this winter? Read our top tips…

The clocks have gone back, Halloween has been and gone, the autumn leaves are being blown from the trees….it’s a sure sign that winter is well and truly on its way.

If you’re in the process of selling your house, shorter and colder days can prove awkward when it comes to viewings so we’ve listed a few tips to help overcome a few of the challenges that face a winter seller!

 

Light up, light up…

As it gets darker much earlier in winter, having a well-lit home for viewings is vital. Daylight viewings are obviously preferable but not always possible, and some winter days can be gloomy throughout the day so don’t be afraid to put your lights on then too. You want to make your home look warm and homely so just prior to a viewing, flick the switches and light up every room! Use lamps and dimmers to achieve a good balance of light rather than just overhead centre lights which can be glaring, and also make sure that your door or porch light is on for evening viewings.

 

The heat is on…

Along with the shorter, darker days, the drop in temperature in winter is also a challenge. Heading out on a dark, cold night to view a house isn’t an ideal start to finding your dream home so help viewers see your property as ‘The One’ by making it as welcoming as possible and heat plays a big part of this. Have your heating on so they feel comforted on arrival and if you have an open fire or wood burning stove, light this too. This has the added bonus of allowing you to highlight this feature of your property.

 

Lipstick, powder and paint…

It can’t be stressed enough how important first impressions are for buyers. Winter can play havoc with the outside of our homes. Garden debris and litter can get caught up in hedges after a blowy night and leaves getting stuck in drains can make your house look unloved so keep a close eye on the outside and ensure pathways remain clear and any debris is removed. There’s not much we can do about the bare trees at this time of year but it’s worth considering buying a couple of brightly coloured pots/containers and plant with evergreen shrubs/bushes and place outside your door to give some colour and life to the approach to your property.

 

I’m free….

Most buyers want to view properties in the daylight and with daylight hours at a premium during the winter months, it helps if you can be as flexible as possible regarding viewing requests. 365 Estate Agents host viewings 7 days a week, 9am – 9pm which means viewers can see your property when you’re at work or out enjoying time with the family. If your agent doesn’t host viewings on your behalf, it is important that you try as best you can to meet any viewing requests. If it’s not possible, initial viewings may be completed in the evenings and if you’ve heated and lit your house and it has created that all important lasting impression, a potential buyer will want to second view during the day so work hard to meet this request. Selling your property is a competition. Your property is up against other similar properties in the area. If you’re not flexible, others may be and their house might then be snapped up so do all you can to facilitate viewings.

 

If you are thinking of selling your property, give us a call on 02891 180081 to arrange a valuation or if you are already on the market and feel your property is struggling to sell, get in touch and we can talk you through what could be done to improve your chances of a sale.

Top Tips for Successful Decorating

Now that children have settled back into the new school term and the summer holidays are a very long and distant memory, for some, it’s a perfect time to think about redecorating your home. With the evenings getting shorter each day and there is a distinct nip in the air, we think of snuggling down for winter and making our homes cosy and welcoming. Having planned your colour scheme and bought the wallpaper and paint, it’s important to stop for a moment and properly prepare the room to ensure you achieve the best possible finish.

 

 

  1. Take down all pictures and remove ornaments.
  2. Remove ceiling light fittings and shades.
  3. Move any furniture into the middle of the room. This allows you to move around easily – less chance of you tripping over with a full paint tray!
  4. Cover furniture with plastic dust sheets so you can see what’s underneath and there’s less chance of you setting things on top of it. (The poundshop ones are brilliant – big, thick and £1!)
  5. Cover floors with dustsheets to protect them from paint splatters and also to provide a non- slip surface for ladders.
  6. Use masking tape around the edge of carpets to ensure any paint from woodwork doesn’t drip. Masking tape is also brilliant around sockets and switches to ensure you get a lovely clean edge.
  7. Make sure all door handles, knobs and other details are covered with masking tape.

When the room is fully prepared, get your paint and roller ready and get stuck in!

Secure Your Home Before A Holiday

Secure your home before a holiday!

Sun, sand and sea….it’s that time of year when many of us start to jet off to foreign climates on holiday. We spend time, months in some case, sourcing the perfect location and then the build-up really kicks in. Buying new holiday clothes for the family, the toiletries, pre-booking park tickets, booking airport parking….the list goes on. We all organise ourselves and our families to within an inch of life in order to ensure our holiday is the best it can possibly be however, not everyone gives consideration to the property left unattended whilst off having fun in the sun.

Unfortunately, it’s a sad reflection of the times we live in that the holiday period is the busiest time of year for burglars so before heading off on that long awaited and planned for trip, take some time to ensure your biggest asset is as prepared as possible for the break.

Having a house-sitter living in your home when you’re away is one of the best solutions, and often perfect if you have pets that need looked after in your absence. If you are unable to ask relatives or close friends, it is possible to employ a professional house sitter and if you have pets, this can work out more cost effective than placing them in kennels/pet hotels.

The next best option is to give your key to a neighbour or friend and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Offer to return the favour when it’s their turn to jet off somewhere! Ask them to clear post from view and pop in for a walk around every few days to ensure there have been no major incidents such as burst pipes etc. Also ask that they take out/in your bins to give the impression your house is still lived in. Even if you don’t wish to give a neighbour access to your property, it’s always a good idea to inform close neighbours of your plans and ask them to keep a general lookout in your absence.

Here’s a handy checklist you can run through before you leave to keep your property secure, not only from uninvited guests, but also from domestic incidents that can cause major disruption if unattended for even a few hours:

Unplug electrical items.

Check gutters and drains for blockages.

Stop any regular deliveries you have – milk, newspapers etc.

Lock windows and doors.

Remove any keys that can be seen from outside. Be careful to place then somewhere that is hidden from view from the outside of the house.

Lock the garage/shed.

Set timer switches on a few lights within your home.

DON’T advertise your trip on social media!!

Whilst it’s impossible to prevent your property from being targeted by thieves or incidents, these measures can help to make sure you don’t have a domestic disaster whilst you’re away. Remember also to make sure your home (and travel) insurance is up to date so that if the worst does happen, you know you are covered. All that’s left is for you to enjoy your trip!

May Day Fun Around North Down

The May Day Bank holiday weekend is nearly upon us! There is loads going on over the next few days in and around North Down. Here are a few of the highlights that we spotted:

MERRY MAY DAY

Holywood Town Centre, Monday 4 May, 10am – 4pm

Maypole dancing, competitions, musical performances and over 60 stalls. Loads for the family. See link for further details.

http://www.northdowntourism.com/Events/Merry-May-Day.aspx

MAY DAY WW1 CHILDREN’S CRAFT WORKSHOPS

North Down Museum, Monday 4 May, 12 noon – 2pm

WW1 themed crafts

http://www.northdowntourism.com/Events/May-Day-WW1-Children-s-Craft-Workshops.aspx

FAMILY FUN AT COCKLE ROW COTTAGES,

Cockle Row Cottages, Groomsport

Saturday 2 May, 2pm – 4pm Science Show – Gold & Gem Panning

Sunday 3 May, 2pm – 4pm Plant and Play – Make Your Own Fairy Garden

If you fancy heading a bit further afield, the FESTIVAL OF FOOLS is running in Belfast City Centre.

Friday 1 May – Monday 4 May

120 Comedy Street shows for free! Full timetable and further details can be found on the link below.

http://foolsfestival.com/2015/

Finally, the BELFAST MARATHON is on Monday 4 May.  If you haven’t signed up to run any of the events organised, your support as a spectator is always welcome.  There is a fun day for everyone at the finish in Ormeau Park which includes a fun fair, food stalls and U105 roadshow.  More details of spectator times and events can be found on the link.

http://www.belfastcitymarathon.com/about/Spectator-Information

Whatever plans you have, fingers crossed the weather is good to us. Enjoy!

 

 

Get To Grips With Gardening!

Now that spring has well and truly sprung, (ignoring the odd return of winter over recent days) there is loads to be done in the garden and what better way to get out and enjoy the weather.

Homeowners often forget that garden space is also part of their home and while many will spend hours looking at decorating and updating the interiors of their houses, all too often the outside space is overlooked. Having a well maintained garden can add value to a property as well as being pleasant for you and your family to enjoy.

When selling a property, it is vital to concentrate on the external ‘rooms’ of the house particularly as these are the first a potential buyer sees and it goes towards improving that all important kerb appeal and creating a great first impression. Even if you have no intention of moving, taking an interest in the garden can bring pleasure and is also a great form of gentle exercise!

If you’re new to gardening, and the prospect of pottering about in the undergrowth feels alien to you, the first thing to come to terms with is that you will need to get your hands dirty and there are creepy crawlies out there. Once you’ve got this into your head, you’re good to go!

Gardening doesn’t have to mean building yourself a greenhouse, buying a potting shed and being able to recognise a skimmia japonica at 20 paces. As a newbie, it’s enough to start small and keep it simple. Know that watering and tidying is enough to see great results and once you get these basics right, there is scope to immerse yourself fully into the green fingered world!

* Water the plants

It’s best to water plants either in the morning or the evening, but be careful as too much watering can drown plants and too little can cause death by thirst! The trick is to find the right balance and there are a few things to watch out for that will help you to establish what is right for the plants in your garden.

Overwatering symptoms – Soaked soil around the stem of the plant, moss or mould growing on the surface of the leaves and yellowish leaf margins.

Underwatering symptoms – brown or dead leaves and plants growing slowly.

* Weeding

Give a weed a chance, and it will try to strangle your plants at every opportunity and any plants that have already been choked, provide a nesting ground for pests that can wreak havoc on your garden. Remove any dead vegetation and pull out any weeds before they take hold and choke your flowers. Cutting the grass also helps to keep weeds at bay.

* Next steps

Once you’ve managed to control any plants you already have, take a look at some of the brilliant gardening websites available, www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics or www.rhs.org.uk and once inspired, visit a local garden centre and stock up on new items. Beautiful gardens needn’t be hard to look after, it just takes a little time and attention. Follow the basics of watering and keeping the space weed free and your garden will be flourishing in no time! Then you can start to think how best to use the additional room you have now created. Add a gazebo, a pergola, maybe a decked area, the possibilities are endless….

Selling your home is a big competition!

It’s a competition and you have a part to play!

The process of buying and selling property is no different than going out to buy a new car, a new outfit or even just out for a coffee. The world of sales is all about competition and as a seller, you must do all you can to ensure your ware, that is your property, is offered for sale in the best possible way.

Imagine taking a walk along the main street looking for a coffee shop to grab a quick drink. You want somewhere clean, inviting, with atmosphere. You may look for somewhere a bit trendy. You will probably walk past one or two shops before settling on your choice. You make all of these decisions quickly in your mind, more than likely without realising it and house hunters do exactly the same thing. You are unlikely to stop at an establishment with dirty tables etc. Likewise, when searching for a new home, the biggest purchase any of us are ever going to make, we like to buy the best that’s on offer.

When selling your biggest asset, you enter into a competition and a fierce one at that, and it all starts even before your property is placed on the market.

Clean it, declutter it, love it to the point you want it to shine!

Prior to the photo shoot for your listing, invest in flowers and place in vases on dining tables, kitchen tables, maybe in the bathroom. Have displays of brightly coloured fruit in your kitchen. Set places at dining tables. Brighten up neutral colour schemes with cushions on sofas or beds and place fresh, fluffy towels in bathrooms and loo areas. These easy touches will help the photographer take great shots of your home which is a vital part of the process.

New properties are listed daily on the property portals, PropertyNews and PropertyPal and these are the places house hunters go shopping and in most cases, they won’t know exactly what they are looking for. They may know, for example, they want 3 bedrooms, 2 receptions, a garden etc. in a certain area but what that looks like exactly, they don’t know. So they look at the houses on sale, maybe they’ve refined the search to include their budget and once they scroll through the listings, the only thing they’ll see is your first photograph. Maybe they’ll like this, they’ll check the price before going further and if it still suits, they may actually click onto your property. If not, you’ve lost them. It’s that cut throat.

If they do click through to your listing, this is where you want your property photos to really sell your home and really grab their attention. If they don’t, the house hunter will quickly move on and again, you’ve lost them. If the photos do attract them, they’ll read the description. If this is dull and standard, “3 beds, 2 recs, rear garden in lawn and UPVC windows throughout….” again, potential buyers can lose interest and head off to the next listing.

You want your photos and descriptions to grab and keep attention and inspire a potential buyer to want to see more. Video tours and floor plans can keep interest even further with the main objective being to secure a viewing for your property and hopefully then offers and a sale.

Remember, the process is that of selling your biggest asset, to get you the best possible price at the time of sale. Work with your estate agent to market your property as best you can. If they aren’t doing what you feel is enough, tackle them about it, ask for photos to be re-taken, descriptions to be changed. It’s your product, you’re selling it together, you need to be happy with how it’s presented.

If you’re thinking of selling or you’re already on the market but unhappy with how your property has been marketed, give us a call and we can give you a valuation and discuss how best to take your asset to market so we can get started together on getting you moving.

5 Top Tips to Attract Viewers To Your Property

 

Spring is traditionally the time when househunters start the search for their dream home in earnest. New properties are listed daily, with For Sale boards popping up across the country.

If you have decided the time is right to put your house on the market, we suggest you consider the 5 top tips we have listed below before instructing an agent to sell your property. They will help your biggest asset stand out from the rest and attract attention as soon as your listing goes live.

 

 

1. Declutter

Have a walk around your home and think about the items you have out on display.  Think about the furniture in each room. Does each piece need to be there? If not, then put it away but try not to strip your house totally – viewers want to see your house as a home.

2. Tidy the Garden

When selling a house, kerb appeal is vital so tidy the garden, trim back overgrown trees and hedges, remove dead plants from pots etc and once the property is listed, make sure you mow the lawn regularly and keep flowerbeds weeded.

3. Deep Clean

Have carpets steam cleaned and ensure wooden and laminate floors are polished and dust free. Clean tiles and tile grout. Windows should also be spotless, a beautiful sunny day is great for showing up dirty windows!

4. Spruce up the Driveway

Use a pressure washer to clean any the driveway and any paved areas and remove moss and weeds.

5. Consider Repainting in Neutral Colours

We all have our own style, particularly when it comes to decorating our homes but not everyone can see beyond decorating choices that are very different to their own. It’s always an idea to repaint in a neutral colour which will appeal to everyone.

Win an iPad Mini!

WIN AN IPAD MINI

Did you know that more than 95% of house hunters start the search for their new home online?

Long gone are the days of traipsing up and down the high street scouring Estate Agents window displays. House hunters now take to the sofa, glass of wine or cup of tea in hand and flick through the property portals on a tablet or pc in the comfort of their own home.

With that in mind, 365 Estate Agents are giving away an iPad mini! To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, head over to our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/365estateagents and follow the instructions.

GOOD LUCK!

 

Competition ends 30 April 2015 with the draw taking place 1 May 2015.

 

Should You Move?

SHOULD YOU MOVE?

Now that we are nearing the end of January and the days are starting to get just that little bit longer, many start to think about new beginnings and give thought to a change of scene. Holidays get talked about and booked and in some cases, consideration is given to a more permanent change of environment, that of a new home.

Before putting up a ‘For Sale’ board and thinking about packing up your belongings, it’s a good idea to think about the motives behind your desire to move house to ensure it’s the right thing for you. This is particularly important if a new area/town/ country is involved! Better to ask yourself some questions now to get your really thinking than let the process get seriously underway. You don’t want to have cold feet at the last minute, possibly leaving you out of pocket and causing disappointment to any prospective buyer!

Answer Yes or No to these basic questions to give you a rough idea of where your thinking process is…..

  1. Do you want to move closer to family?
  2. Are you excited by the thought of moving to a new area you have highlighted?
  3. Will the move give you new opportunities to develop as a person?
  4. Are those you will be leaving behind an important part of your life?
  5. Are the schools good for all of your children?
  6. Is housing affordable in the area you wish to move to?
  7. Are better employment opportunities driving your desire to move?
  8. Can you all continue with social activities you currently enjoy?
  9. Do you already have friends/acquaintances in the new area?
  10. Will your partner and/or children be happy and adapt to the change?

Although not an exact science (!) if you answered mostly Yes to the questions above, your move should be a success! Any more than 3 No’s, maybe you should give more thought to those areas before making any decisions regarding moving house.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

365 Estate Agents wish all of our customers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!  We look forward to helping you move in 2015.

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