Friday, 23 May 2008

Identify each room

If you are marketing your home as a three bedroomed property make sure it has three bedrooms - you need to show each room can holld a bed, and ideally if it's a double bedroom you need to put a double bed in it.

If your spare room is full of junk it won't hit the mark as a bedroom unless it has a bed in it. Sort out the junk!

If you use your spare room as a study then you should put a guest bed in too - some of the guest beds look nice with a few cushions as an attractive place to sit.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Pets or pests

Lots of people don't like pets. Some people just don't like them, and some have a positive fear of them.
Remove as many traces of your pets as possible.

Get the dog out on a walk whilst people come and view.

Hide pet food dishes. Keep them in a sensible place if you have to have them out.

I've heard recently about someone viewing a house who was horrified to find pet dishes upstairs. It's not that horrific unless there are rotting bowls of cat food, but I spose if you don't like pets you'd fine them a bit repulsive!

So keep the pets out of the way!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The bathroom

when you sort out your bathroom throw out all the empty shampoo bottles you've been hoarding. If there's dribbles left in them empty them all into one and ditch the rest.
Wash soap dishes, and all shelves and surfaces. Tidy everything away apart from any glamourous bottles of expensive stuff. Put a plant in if you've got room.

Coordinate blinds, shower curtain and towers. Have a set of brand new fluffy towels you bring out just for viewings. This makes the bathroom look very luxurious.

Get any nasty pipework boxed in and hidden. This makes the bathroom look loads better and makes it easier to clean! Less pipes to dust!
Hide away the cleaning materials once you've finished cleaning.

Keep the seat and lid down. Keep the door pulled too.

Ditch nasty carpet or lino!

Cleaning the bathroom. As well as a thourough deep clean of the bath, toilet, basin and shower clean the grout between the tiles. Make it white and sparkly however you have to! You can get grout pens or get them regrouted.

Make sure there's a mirror and that it's sparkling clean.

If you've got an aging or coloured bathroom suite you might have to think that it might have to be replaced. Be prepared to negotiate on price if you don't want to replace it yourself.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Sweet smell of success

Make sure your house smells sweet.

Pet smells, food smells, stinks and stenches will put people off.

Keep your house smelling nice. Keeping it clean is essential - wash out any bins, clean the bathroom, make sure dinner isn't cooking when people view.

Introduce nice smells. Freshly squeezed oranges smell amazing, bread baking is an old one - but risky if you let it burn, flowers are a nice though lilies can be operpowering.

Pot pourri is useful but not in excess,

Picking the right estate agent

Interview them for the job.
Do they offer you a copy of their contract of their terms and conditions?

Do any of them have an eye on the market, mentioning a quick sale price?

Ring them all up and ask them as if you were planning on buying in the area. How do they deal with you? (ok, get someone else to do it, or use a relatives address and name) - but this way you know how they deal with people. Doing this first might save you time interviewing them!

Ask them how many people they have on their books wanting houses like yours.

Chances are they all get the same customers - so you want someone who's efficient and easy to deal with.

What tie in did they all ask for? What fee? Will they negoiate?

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Everything must have its place

Everything must go somewhere!

Hide the vacuum cleaner and the ironing board, but find room somewhere sensible for them! People want to know you've lots of useful storage available.

And viewers do open cupboards!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Radiators and heating

If you've got radiators then make sure they're sparkling clean. You can touch up old ones with radiator paint.

Get together the info on your boiler. How old it is, when its serviced, how much does the service cost, what life is left in it, how good it is.

Make sure you dust round the radiators as the can become dust traps.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Drive by viewings

People need to be drawn to your house as they drive or walk past. They need something to stand out and make them want to explore inside. They want the kerb appeal factor to be high.

Achieve good kerb appeal with

  • Fresh looking paintwork
  • Roof in good order
  • Garden neat and tidy
  • lawn mown
  • bins out of view
  • house number clearly displayed
  • paths clean and swept
  • hedges neatly trimmed
  • hanging baskets full of flowers
  • empty drive way
Once you've got them in the inside must live up to the same standards

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Questions that might get asked on viewings

Any disputes or noise issues with the neighbours?

Why are you moving?

Have you ever been burgled?
Have you ever flooded?
Has anybody ever been murdered here?

When was property last rewired.
How old boiler & ch system, is it checked regularly by BGas or registered corgi guy.
How old is roof - does it have any problems?

How long they have lived there?

If a flat, how much is service charge?

has the house suffered from any subsidence problems ?

What council tax band is it?

What did the previous owners do to the house? Is work under guarantee still?

Is there a good school near by?
Any good places for our kids to hang out--playground maybe? This might reveal it's a living hell if all the kids from miles around hang out near there

How are the neighbours? Are they nice? Do they have kids?

Is there anything really noisy nearby? (Pub, hotel, chippy, fire station, police station, motorway, industrial units)

Is the property on water meter?

What work have they had done? And when was it done, is it still under guarantee or warranty?

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Put your coat away

Make your hall look spacious by simply putting virtually all coats (and scarves and bags) away upstairs and not have the coat rack overstuffed with coats!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Fruity ideas

Have a huge fruit dish packed with lovely clean fresh fruit in the kitchen. It can look amazing and better than art! It'll add scent too if you use some citrus!

It'll bring an air of health and good eating to the room!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Why are you selling

Buyers are trained to ask this question - why are you selling?

Good reasons

  • Moving for work
  • moving for family reasons

Bad reasons for moving

  • house too small
  • horrid neighbours
  • too noisy round here
  • no parking
  • Can't afford mortgage
  • Split up need to sell

If you tell your buyers you're desperate to sell, they'll put in a lower offer.

So give them positives for moving and tell them how lovely it is living round here and how much you'll miss it!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Spacious homes

Do spacious homes sell quickly?

How can you make your home more spacious?

  • declutter
  • remove excess furniture
  • use smaller items of furniture,
  • have dining table for 4 if dining room is small
  • depersonalise the space by removing excessive photos and paintings from walls
  • paint throughout in a neutral colour
  • use same colour carpet throughout. This makes the spaces flow and feel bigger
  • Clean windows, pull back curtains completely
  • Remove items from windowsills
  • Declutter inside wardrobes
  • declutter under the stairs.
  • hide the vacuum cleaner
  • fold down clothes dryers in the garden, put them away if possible
  • Clean the garden of toys
  • Park the cars elsewhere (well up the street!)

Friday, 9 May 2008

Quick tidy up hints for viewings

Some emergency tidying up hints - when you're short of time before a viewing

1. Take the laundry basket and pick up the things that need to be put away. Don't put them away separately, keep them in the basket and hide the basket in a cupboard! Don't forget to sort stuff out after!

2. Next run the vacuum round the main areas.

3. Clean the bathroom. Quickly. You should have done a thorough clean at the start of the sale process so it shouldn't need much work

4. Boil the kettle. Make a cup of tea for yourself, pour another cup of boiling water and pop some scenty things in - a clove, some cinnamon, or a drop of essential oils (lavender perhaps)

5. Spray a quick squirt of furniture polish near the front door - not on slippy floors though!

6. Finish tea, rinse and hide cup, smile and read through the list of notes you've made about showing people round your home!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Dealing with half empty houses

I've just been looking at a case study of a couple who've split up and are trying to sell their home. However as she's moved out and took half the furniture with her the house looks decidely empty.

The dining room is a bit empty - and doesn't look appealing. There's a nice large table but it's only got a couple of chairs with it.
The lounge is almost full or a tired faded couch and chairs - but has a nice fireplace that needs to be made more of a feature. The house is in the country and should have it's cottage aspect emphasised.
The kitchen isn't too bad but is cluttered and needs some colour bringing in to it.

I'd recommend sorting out some more furniture - lay the table for perhaps a romantic meal for two, candles, flowers, plates and glasses out. Add some life into the old sofas with a smart throw and cushions, clean up the fireplace and make it so it's ready to light.

Tidy kitchen and add some colour using storage jars and matching accessories.

Tidy the garden too! It's inexcusable to have poor photos when you're desperate to sell your home. Estate agents should be prepared to tell you this when they come to take photos. You need to maximise people coming to see your home and if the images they see first are unappealing this does you the seller and the estate agent no good at all.

When no photos of bedrooms are shown I always wonder why - and when a house is a bit tired and faded in the other photos I always fear the worst! Even if you have to make a fake bed up out of packing boxes and bedcovers you need to show bedrooms as having room for beds!

It is hard when you're divorcing and sometimes you should think whether you should stay together a little longer just for the sake of the house sale!

Get photos taken when all furniture is in - before other partner takes half and leaves.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

It's curtains for you

Curtains can say a lot about a room. You'll find they also say a lot about you. Some people I know change their curtains every year, some never. Whatever you do you should consider if they're right when you're trying to sell your home.
Blinds are an attractive choice for many people - and can be bought cheaply online. Pick neutral blinds that fit in with the current decor.
If you've got curtains then consider washing them (or dry cleaning) and ironing them - or just beating them whilst they're hung over the washing line to get the dust off them. A touch of freebreeze can liven them up to remove any stale smells, but if they're yellowed or dirty you should replace or get them cleaned.
Nets can look nice when they're brand new - they can be a cheap way of covering windows that have slightly offputting views.
Voiles are thin smooth fabrics used to dress windows. They can look very attractive.

If you're looking for cheap options check out charity shops for curtains - you might find some lovely ones that match, or look online at cheap curtain shops.

By dressing your windows you make your home look more attractive.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Light my fire

If you've got a real fire why not light it and show it off to it's fullest?

Obviously if it's very hot you might not want to, but it's a real feature if your home so you could set it up ready to light, giving people the vision of a crackling fire in an instant.

Open day or viewings in a row?

Is an open day an option? Clearing the house for one day may be one way of doing viewings en masse and it can work! Getting the house ready for one day can be hard work - but you have to be confident you can pull it off within the given timescales.

What about asking the agent to organise viewings following each other, give everyone half an hour or twenty minutes and then you can do the tour several times in one day.

This means you've got oen lot of tidying up to do and you get it over with in one go. You have the downside that people might well want to come back for a second viewing which means you've got to do it all again!
Your tour spiel will improve the more you do it so it's worth rehearsing it too.

More kerb appeal hints

Additonal hints for great kerb appeal.

Buy a new doormat. Not a cheesey one with welcome or beware of the dog on it, but a plain new doormat.

Check the gate shuts and closes. You'd be surprised how often you just don't notice the state of your own gate! Make sure it doesn't squeak. A fresh coat of paint on gates and fences can make all the difference.

If you've got hanging baskets then please water them! Nothing worse than dead plants hanging by your door.

Remove any stickers from the windows of bedrooms. And avoid garish curtains too. Go and stand across the street and look at your house. Does it need something doing to it to make it look smarter? Does your front door need a lick of paint?

Don't leave these things till after you've had viewings. Do them before!

Ask for feedback

A good estate agent will always ask people for feedback about your home after they've viewed. Sometimes there's nothing you can do because they say the location is wrong.

But what else might they say?

Some houses I've seen have had issues which I felt were offputting. A kitchen too narrow for a dishwasher might be no good for someone who's after room for one. A house with too much work needing doing might be overpriced for someone who's after a bargain.

Take in feedback. Consider what you can do about it. Next time you could suggest that there is room for a dishwasher in the kitchen if you swap something round, or you could consider dropping the price a little.

Sometimes you won't get feedback and you're left wondering why someone doesn't like your house. Don't worry too much - get on with the next viewing!

Dig out your guarantees

Got double glazing? Got cavity wall insulation? Do you have the certificates you got given when they were done? Dig them out - they'll be useful when you're selling your home - you can put copies of them in the HIP.

If you don't have the certificates your buyers solicitor might ask for an indemnity certificate which can cost you money.


Lights, cameras, action!

OK, just lights - what lights make your home feel more cosy? What lights make your kitchen feel bright? Consider extra uplighters and lamps around your home and get them switched on to suit your home. If you've got a dark room, putting several lamps on can add the feeling of light and welcoming to people coming to view your home.

Bright lights are good in the kitchen and bathroom but most other rooms benefit from soft mood lighting, layers of light giving a feeling of depth and space to a room.

Play around with lights - and when you've got it right, make a note. Then when you have people come to view your home you can revert to staged lighting and help them see your home in a great light!

Picking the right estate agent

Test drive a few estate agents before you decide which one you'll use.

Ask to view houses. What are the agents like? Are they helpful? How long does it take for them to arrange viewings? Do they get back to you when they say they will? How long does it take for them to organise accompanied viewings?

I know one estate agent locally who took 2 weeks to show someone round an empty property they had the keys for! That sort of timescale is pretty shocking and might put off many buyers.

Will they treat your viewers the same?

For getting valutations pick several estate agents

  • Look at valuation - is it too high? Have they given a much higher price than any of the others?
  • What fees do they have? Will they negotiate?
  • Do they pay for the HIP?
  • What if you change your mind? What costs are you liable for?
  • Do they have people on their books looking for your type of property?

Monday, 5 May 2008

Buy it privately

The UK's fastest growing private property sales directories - Buy it Privately -featuring thousands of properties for sale privately. We encourage people to sell their homes privately thus avoiding hefty estate agent fees. They can sell whether they use an estate agent or not. There are no commission fees to pay

Bright sale online estate agent

BrightSale is the UK's leading online estate agent, charging just 0.5% to sell any property in the UK which is a huge saving over traditional high street estate agents Our service is simple, list your home with us and you only pay if we sell it. It is as simple as that. We do not ask for a sole agency tie-in period, putting the onus on us to provide excellent customer service and a successful sale at the right price. Our team of trained property professionals is on hand 8am to 8pm 7 days a week to guide you through all the steps from listing to completion. We handle negotiations, arrange viewings, help with conveyancing and we manage your completion chain. We are with you every step of the way

Pets or pests?

Lots of people don't like cats and dogs. Lots of people are put off from buying a house because it has pets in, or is smells of pet.

When showing people round take the pets outside - or take them to a neighbours.

Remove dog beds and check carpets are clean. It can be worth replacing stinky carpet rather than trying to clean it.

I have read that some people have put their pets in kennels for a few weeks when trying to sell their home, but I think this is a little extreme. As long as you have time to check the house doesn't smell each time someone views then you should be ok.

Use freebreeze or other deorderisers on areas the pet sleeps. Brush pet hairs off sofas and beds. Check the curtains too! If your cat brushed past a curtain to get onto the window sill then the curtain may well be coated in hair!

Remove pet food dishes too. Stinky pet food is likely to put people off your lovely home!

Mow the lawn to sell the house - useful hint

It's vital to keep on top of the garden as well as sorting out the inside of your home.

Once you've started cutting your lawn after the winter break you must keep going. It can be quite a chore, especially if you've got hedges to clip too. But it's so important as a house selling hint to keep the outside looking neat.

If the outside looks uncared for then people will approach your house warily thinking that you also don't care for the inside of your home.

If you hate mowing the lawn then consider paying someone to mow it for you. Either professional gardeners or odd job men (or even your own or a neighbour's teenager!) will cut your lawn and hedges.

Also if you don't care for the garden it makes it look hard to manage and therefore detracts from the value of your home.

Paint fences if you have them and make sure they're in good order.

Think about the area around your home too. If there are alleys are they tidy and clean of graffiti? You might find that they're not and if so, contact your council to get them cleaned up! Every bit of your neighbour hood is important - you never know when someone will walk to your home and go via one of the local disaster spots.

Report grafetti - you can often do it online by email which makes like easier. Check it gets done and if not, chase it up!

Houseweb - selling your house

Since 1996, the UK’s longest establish property web site, has been helping 1,000’s of homeowners sell their home with or without an estate agent, saving on average £5,500!
Threee steps to selling your house:

1) Select Submit Property and register.
2) Enter your property details using our easy online form.
3) Add your photos (or we will scan them for you).


renovate alerts

Are you interested in taking on a renovation project?

Renovate Alerts offers a unique service - they search the internet looking for property for sale thats in need of renovation. Every few days they will email you with links to the latest properties. Subscription starts from only £10

Renovate Alerts

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To see the type of properties that are found see click here. The samples are live - that is they are the latest email listing sent out for a particular region. This sample may not be for the region you are interested in, but it should give you a fair idea of the information subscribers receive.

How much does it cost?
It depends on which regions you select. For a complete list of the prices see the Apply page.

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Emails are sent out every few days - the average is about every 4 days.

Are properties repeated in each email?
We try not to duplicate links to properties in each email - only the latest ones are listed. However, if a property is on more then one website then it will be listed more than once.

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A guide to the number of properties in each region can be found here.

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No. To make sure you get the information soonest, and to keep costs down, we only send the information out by email. Once you have subscribed you can also access the information from the Members page on this website.

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Kerb Appeal

What is kerb appeal?

This is the impression you get from driving past a house. Does it look nice? Does it look tired and tatty?

If you go past houses on your street which looks the best?

Does the one with neat hedges look better than the one with unkept hedges?
Does the one with hanging baskets look better than the one with the unpainted gutters and window frames?
Does the one with sparkly windows look better than the one with a boarded up window?
Does the one with a nice neat swing playset in the garden look better than the one with a clapped out old car on the drive?

Next time you're outside have a look at your house and your neighbours house. Sometimes it's not your house or garden that's the problem. For getting a sale sometimes you have to go above and beyond and although I wouldn't suggest painting the neighbours house, you might consider giving them a one off hand with their garden!
If your house is next to a scruffy one this will impact on your house sale. Ask the neighbour if they'll give their garden a spring clean - be polite and nice though - explain you're looking at moving and you think it'd help. Offer to trim hedges or weed their garden! An hours work might pay handsomely on your house sale.

Clean the windows and make sure the outside of your home is well maintained. Get some planters or hanging baskets (You can take them with you!) and make the outside of your house more attractive.

Move refuse bins to the rear of the property, or build a binstore to hide them. Although we all have to deal with our rubbish people don't want to see 4 big bins stood outside their potential new home! Even if you always leave them at the front - stop doing this until your house is sold!

Weed paths and jetwash if they're looking tired. Adding gravel to top up a drive or bark to flower beds can change the look of a garden and hide a multitude or sins.

If you've got a drive then how many cars can you park on it? Make sure you have a dropped kerb though as local authorities are very strict on you having one! Keep the drive clear and weed free!

definition of kerb appeal - how nice a house looks as you go past.

Sometimes a quick walk round your local area gives you ideas and inspiration for making your own house look nicer!

Quick hints for viewings

Some very easy and quick hints when doing viewings

  1. Fresh flowers
  2. Fresh fruit arranged in nice dish
  3. Clean house!
  4. Lights on if needed
  5. Heating on for a quick blast before they arrive
  6. Clean windows
  7. Check outside of house for litter
  8. Move cars so parking spaces look bigger
  9. Make sure no cooking going on - unless you fancy baking bread! This is supposed to give a very homely feel to a house so would work better in a cottage than a smart flat.
  10. Place glossy lifestyle mags on coffee table
  11. Brew coffee (I've read this one works! )
  12. Clean the inside of the front door with a spot of furniture polish - it'll give a very clean smell when they walk in.
  13. Check no shoes left by the front door. Hide coats off coat rack.
  14. Decide which doors are to be left open - sometimes opening doors to reveal rooms is better, but some rooms make a house look more spacious if doors are open. Try both and decide which is best.
  15. Decide which way round the house to show them!
  16. Rehearse the positives of why you've loved living here
  17. Have a good reason why you're leaving - not just that you've outgrown it. Having to move for work or family reasons is a good one to use.
  18. Iron duvet covers!
  19. Arrange soft furnishings to give a nice look on sofas and beds
  20. Empty all the bins.
  21. Arrange rubbish bins neatly outside.
  22. Ask them questions too! You'll be able to point out local schools if they have kids!
  23. Tell them about how nice your neighbours are
  24. Tell them about the local area if they don't know it - what shops are nearby, transport links etc
  25. Dress nicely! You're selling your home so don't look like a slob

Have you heard of HIPS?

Your estate agent will tell you about HIPS. They'll cost from about £300 and you can either organise your own or ask your estate agent what they charge.

Compulsory documents include:

* Home Information Pack Index
* Energy Performance Certificate
* Sale statement
* Standard searches
* Evidence of title
* Additional information for leasehold and commonhold sales, where appropriate.
* A HIP for a newly built home must have a certificate (or interim certificate) showing the rating that the home has received in respect of the Code for Sustainable Homes or a nil-rated certificate showing that the home has only been designed to meet current Building Regulations.

Optional documents in a HIP include:

* Home Condition Report - read about the benefits
* Legal summary
* Home use/contents forms
* Other documents (including mining search, searches cover rights of way, ground stability and actual or potential environmental hazards such as flooding and contaminated land. Plus include guarantees and warranties for work already carried out on their homes. eg: FENSA, CIGA etc)
* Additional information for leasehold and commonhold sales, where appropriate

The official government website about Home information packs gives you more info on HIPS.

More decluttering

Think about how much stuff you use everyday. Look around at the shelves packed with old phone books, old mobile phones, toys, junk, games and dust!

Before you advertise your house for sale you need to accept that at some point you'll have to pack everything up anyway - so by starting now you'll be saving yourself time in the long run.

Start on one room first. Have three boxes.

  1. Charity shop stuff
  2. Broken stuff for the bin
  3. Stuff to keep
Sort out everything in the room. Keep the furniture! Clean everything!

By decluttering you are removing most of the personalised aspects of your home. It may be that these are the things that stop other people from seeing themself living in your home. By removing your personal items you're making your home a bit more of a blank canvas and giving others the chance to see their own stuff in your home.

Keep a few personal items: family photos in nice frames add class to a room when places right.
Look at the walls too. If you've got dozens of family photos up you need to take them down.

The three box method is sometimes supplemented by another box which you put things in your are not sure if you should get rid of. Label up the box as to what's in it and put the date you seal it. If you've not got anything out of the box after six months then throw it away!

Remember to declutter the garage, shed, loft and utility rooms! These rooms are well worth sorting out to make sure your home is shown off to it's best.

Declutter to sell

Decluttering means removing all the excess items from your home.

All the books, excessive ornaments, furniture, shoes, coats, toys, junk, rubbish, suitcases, clothes that don't fit anywhere - all the things that make you feel at home - make your house seem smaller.

You need to remove all the excess items. Have a good sort out - throw away the broken items, send the good stuff to charity shops and keep the stuff you want to take with you into storage either in paid storage or at a friends house.

Think about how show houses look. Aim for that clean, fresh feel with a lack of personal items. Save a few high quality ornaments and pictures to dress your home but get rid of the vast majority of stuff.

It'll make your house look bigger!

By clearing out the junk room and dressing it as a bedroom you'll show potential buyers that the house is suitable for them.
Dress your dining room with the places set for a nice meal. Arrange cushions on sofas and beds in coordinating colours to match your home.
Dress the kitchen with a few carefully chosen items.

No magazines or books strewn about unless they are posh, uncreased glossy magazines.

Every item in your home should be chosen because it adds to the look.

Before every viewing run round and check for books, toys and other junk that will creep back in. Remember you are decluttering to sell your home - not to live free of junk forever.

Hints and tips on selling your house

When you have trouble selling your house you need to have all the help you can get.

We aim to list all the tips possible for helping you sell your house quickly.

Our advice is always given in good faith and you should take professional advice before undergoing any building work, or investing further in your property in order to sell it.