There have been various articles and reports suggesting that the majority of buyers buy on emotion and impulse. The statistics vary depending on the source, however in general terms; individuals make the decision to buy in under 10 minutes of entering a property.
“You only get one chance at a first impression!’
With only a small investment of time and money, you can ensure you are displaying your property at its best, and maximising its selling price accordingly.
In Scotland before going to market, you will need to obtain a Home Report. This comprises a Single Survey, an Energy Performance Certificate, prepared by an independent Surveyor, and a Property Questionnaire that is the owner’s responsibility. This is often downloaded and viewed prior to viewing, and is therefore the first impression the potential buyer has of the property, so you want as few defects noted as possible.
For a variety of reasons, you may not wish to carry out significant repairs or make improvements to the outside of your property. I would suggest that you at least look at items such as repainting the front door and any other external woodwork. This helps improve first impressions at little cost. Other options for the outside of your property include employing a gardener to get the garden looking pristine, or (if money is an issue more than time), doing it yourself. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and make sure the borders are all well-tended to. If you have a patio, power wash it and invest in some attractive garden furniture and colourful plant pots to create an outdoor paradise, which you can take with you when you move.
Depending on the style of property, having the roof checked over and replacing slipped or broken slates is worth considering. Depending on the cost, it might also be advisable to attend to leaking gutters and downpipes – whether or not your property is “wind and water tight” will be covered in the survey for the Home Report.
One thing to watch out for, is your property being “marked down” on the Home Report for minor repairs? Therefore, before commissioning the survey, make sure you get round to correcting all those niggling little maintenance issues you may have been ignoring, such as the cracked glazing, otherwise they could end up costing you when you come to sell! While not all minor maintenance issues will get your property marked down on the Home Report, they can still leave buyers with a poor impression. That dripping tap, that loose handle, the dirty grouting in the bathroom…now is the time to sort them out!
Remember you are not just selling a house – you are selling a home, a lifestyle. Consider who might be interested in buying your property and what their needs might be. You might like to think about reinstating the dining room or spare room if you are currently using it as a study or children’s playroom, or consider the furniture configuration.
If you are selling your home, you might love it the way it is, but prospective buyers need to see how it fits with their lifestyles. You need to balance presenting your property as a comfortable home, with maximising space and possibilities. When downsizing, it's important to recognise the difference in getting ready to market and ready to move. De-cluttering is key. Do not, however, feel pressurised into clearing the house at this stage as it will take some time between getting your property on the market and handing over the keys - sometimes several months, during which time decisions can be made.
My advice would be to remove excessive personal items, and consider putting large items into storage - doing so will improve the look and feel of a room.
Avoid complete redecoration unless a room is in particularly poor condition – it can be very expensive and is generally not necessary. If you do decide to redecorate, keep it simple: neutral colours and plain wallpaper will suit most tastes. If there are small areas requiring patch repair, I would advise painting the whole wall. One thing you can always do is attend to chipped woodwork or worn wooden floors and floor coverings: this can generally be done at minimal cost and makes a huge difference to the look of a room.
As you start to consider a move, it's an ideal time to pull your paperwork together. Look out all the documents you have in relation to any alternations or installations (e.g. windows). Reports, guarantees and service agreements should also be pulled together. You will want these to assist the surveyor help you fill in the Property Questionnaire and speed up the conveyancing process.
Spring and autumn are traditionally the peak times for residential property sales, but homes sell all year round. If you are considering selling and your property is ready to market, then go for it!
If you have any doubts at all about your property’s lighting, switch on all the lights prior to the viewing. Switching a light on as you enter the room with a potential purchaser only emphasises how dark it is. You might also consider opening the windows to let some fresh air in.
Many articles suggest the smell of freshly ground coffee or baking bread always smell delicious and add to the favourable impression of your home. Fresh flowers have a similar effect and bring a splash of colour, too. Do not dismiss the power of the subconscious in encouraging buyers to fall in love with your property! Conversely, avoid cooking immediately before viewings, and ask a friend to look after your pets – an aromatic pot of fish soup, an un-aired teenager’s room or an overly friendly wet dog will have just the opposite effect on buyers!
Selling can prove stressful for many people. No matter how much you love them, children and pets are a distraction, and having your home full of strangers can be stressful – even for your family and pets. During viewings, kids tend to take up space and are never quite sure what they are supposed to do. Don’t make the process harder than it needs to be, consider making arrangements for them all to spend the day with friends or family, and if you yourself cannot bear the thought of the viewing, we can arrange for one of our experienced viewing agents to manage it for you.
Before the viewing, clean, dust and polish everything. No matter what the physical condition of the property, if it's clean, then it will be shown off to its best. Don’t forget the windows. Small touches make a big difference: replace worn rugs, put fresh towels and some attractive soaps in the bathroom, and add some new throws or cushions to tired soft furnishings. However, avoid getting carried away with cleaning prior to the surveyor’s visit – they are not interested, and in fact issues such as wet floors can cause problems when carrying out the survey.
It can feel like a mountain to climb, but we can help. Our experienced Estate Agency team can advise you on the whole process - from marketing strategies to rearranging furniture and “dressing” or de-cluttering rooms to maximise appeal to prospective purchasers. We can also manage viewings, and recommend a range of reputable trades people – from roofers, plumbers and joiners, to decorators and gardeners. We can even organise the cleaning and clearing of your property and book the removal company!
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE THE MOVE? CONTACT US TODAY ON 0131 229 4400.