When it comes to selling our homes, we all want a good price and smooth sale. Achieving these two things can be much easier said than done – at least if you believe everything you read. A quick online search will return over 33 million webpages, all claiming to have the best tips about preparing your home for sale. No wonder selling your home is considered more stressful than bankruptcy or divorce!
Luckily, studies are emerging that suggest some tips and tricks aren’t as valuable to your sale as they would lead you to believe. If you’ve been bracing yourself for a house sale, have a look at the four most common tips and why you shouldn’t worry about them, as well a few things you really shouldn’t miss.
You “must” turn your house into a show-home
Reality: Your house should be presentable
Countless sources would have you believe that in order to sell, your house must be immaculate. The truth is that you can break your back (and budget) on hiring the tools and trades to get every inch sparkling, but it won’t cinch the deal. Instead, snag any lingering cobwebs, tidy up any dirt-traps like piles of papers and pet bedding, and try to stay on top of general cleaning until you have a buyer.
The same goes for “staging”. Yes, cut flowers and fresh coffee are universally appealing, but you’re going to give yourself grey hairs and empty pockets if you try to maintain a performance for every viewing. You’re still living in the house, and your buyers will understand that.
You “must” repaint everything in a neutral colour
Reality: Offer to tackle particular walls before you leave
On top of everything else in the moving process, the last thing you need is a big redecoration project. Neutral palettes are supposed to help people see each space as a blank canvas, and while this has some merit, give your buyers some credit. Unless you have a dated, clashing or garish design scheme in every room, don’t worry about stripping your personality out completely, and let guests use a little imagination.
You “must” spruce up anything and everything pre-sale
Reality: Prioritise work that needs doing
It’s unlikely that you will fully recoup the costs of any work you have completed just before a sale. With this in mind, only address problems are likely to scare buyers off, and don’t stress about the rest. You may need to adjust your asking price if there are a few outstanding jobs, but you will end with more in your pocket overall.
For example, you might feel like your battered wooden floors need some TLC, but most buyers will see ANY wooden floors as a luxury, character feature. The same goes with kitchen cupboards; many buyers want to install their own kitchen fairly quickly, so any updates will be completely wasted.
You “must” price high
Reality: Price reasonably
In uncertain markets, a high asking price can feel safe – after all, buyers are going to try and whittle you down with counter offers, right? Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Flip it around though, and a modest asking price will attract more buyers, making your property more likely to cause a bidding war. You can still easily achieve the full value of your property (or more).
3 things that DO matter:
It’s absolutely true that first impressions count, so make sure that your front garden and porch are looking clean and welcoming. Get rid of any gardening tools and dead plants, and invest in a fresh door mat to set the tone for inside.
Speed up your sale by getting your paperwork in order as soon as possible. Buyers will want to see reports and legal surveys, like EPC ratings, boundary lines and property dimensions. If you can hand these over as soon as their needed, your buyers won’t have time to get distracted by other properties. For a full checklist, see the Which? guide.
A good firm, like Hunters estate agent, will be able to sell your home at any time of year, but certain seasons will get you moving quicker. Spring is usually ideal, as is autumn. Too close to school holidays though, like summer and Christmas, and you risk interest drying up as families have their hands full. The longer your home is on the market, the more potential buyers will be looking for problems causing the slow sale – even when there aren’t any!