Property advice: Getting your house in order By Mrs Jaimie Rice, Manager, Phoenix Estate Agents. January is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the housing market. Properties that are well presented often have a better chance of reaping the benefits by securing an early sale to a motivated buyer or even to just encourage a more sensible offer. After all as a seller you want to help you estate agent to get the best possible price for you on your property – so help them by working with them, rather than having the presentation of your property being the thing that holds you back. There are some relatively quick and inexpensive steps that can help you to present your property in the best possible light: 1. CLEAR THE CLUTTER Be ruthless in clearing items out of view, think clear windowsills & uncluttered worktops and not having piles of stuff in corners. De-cluttering is important as is allows buyers to appreciate your property’s space and better imagine their belongings and furniture fitting in. Use it constructively to get rid of things you don’t intend to keep when you move and box up anything you won’t need as that will only give you a head start on the packing you would do when you move anyway. It may even in turn make the process of packing less stressful in the long run! 2. REMOVE TRACES OF PETS Particularly important in kitchens where some buyers may not like the idea of pets and food mixing. Vacuum sofas etc and make sure pets hairs aren’t visible on surfaces. Ideally try to confine pets to one room whilst viewings are happening – you want the buyers to pay attention to your property not your pets. 3. MAKE IT SMELL NICE/CLEAN Bad smells can be one of the biggest put offs and could make a buyer rush round and not look properly if the find it unattractive. Don’t cook a big curry or garlic meal the night before a viewing where the smell may linger, try to avoid smoking in the house, get friends to be honest with advice about pet smells. Flowers and pots of herbs can look attractive & also help with neutralising bad smells. Buyers will associate bad smells lingering in a property with added work – like pet smells or smoking – they will assume that they will have no choice but to replace floor coverings and completely redecorate for the property to feel clean to them and to permanently remove that smell. 4. GIVE IT A THOROUGH CLEAN A thorough dust, cobweb sweep and a good vacuum round are huge pluses in making a property more appealing if it looks like you have kept on top of cleanliness and maintenance – otherwise a buyer may get the impression they will find more negative things when they scratch the surface and you’ve moved out. Plus the better the light in your home the brighter and bigger it will seem – especially in these low light months of the year. One of my biggest tips is to ensure the grouting in the kitchen and bathroom is given a spruce up & the oven is clean – discoloured grout & dirty ovens very off end up putting buyers off as it leads to the assumption of poor hygiene & cleanliness. Like common statements of ‘I couldn’t see myself living there – I’d have to rip the bathroom out and replace the suite before I’d feel comfortable using it, or I wouldn’t want to eat food cooked in that kitchen’. 5. STAGE YOUR HOME Imagine that the photos are about to be taken of your property for a magazine for all to see. You wouldn’t want the washing up bowl full, or washing o the line, toys and paperwork everywhere and unmade beds. So show it at it’s best. Think fresh flowers, baked cakes or bread, fresh coffee brewing, open curtains and blinds to let the most light in, television off, neat cushions, fresh, matching and neatly folded towels in the bathroom all can help give the impression of a clean and cared for home. Buyers will factor the cost of anything negative into their decision. The better you present your home and the better maintained it looks, the better the chance a buyer won’t try to knock you so hard on your price – so financially for you it’s in your own interests to give the best impression. Also remember if you don’t do talking to people or your attitude on a viewing could put off a buyer then get your agent to do the viewing. After all you don’t want a good potential buyer to be put off by you because the atmosphere is off. Any good agent who cares about helping you and who feels you aren’t going to take it the wrong way will be honest and give you advice to help you present your property at it’s best. I know it’s not always nice to hear if there are negative points mentioned – but you have to remember to not take it personally – it’s advice to help you after all. No good employing an agent and not enabling them to be honest with you. We are expecting January to be a very busy time for both sales and new properties coming on the market, so give yourself the best chance. If you would like any further advice or information please get in touch with call us on 01406 359131.