Saturday, 11 May 2013

To move or not to move? That is the question!

I have been a little distracted of late. Some while back I had a burning desire to sell up and move house. In fact, I am pretty sure our families are probably fed up by now about hearing of our plans to move and where we would like to move to. I think so far this has included the north, south, east and west of the UK!

The decision to move is not an easy one. If it is thrust upon you, perhaps because of a job relocation or something like that, then the decision is out of your hands to a degree. Our situation is slightly less clear cut. Work plays a big part but on top of that we have to juggle schooling for two young children, for both now and for a couple of years on when one moves up to senior school. There is family to consider. There are friends to consider. There is budget to consider. All of a sudden a house move becomes akin to spinning several plates in the air at the same time!

Oh! the sleepless nights! Do we or don't we?

Well. The house is on the market so hopefully we are a step closer to a decision. As yet, we are undecided on where we will go...still working on balancing all the above factors!

Having made the decision to sell we set about getting the house ready. Below is a checklist of things to consider when getting your home ready to market.

1. Disassociate yourself with your home.

Tell yourself that your house is a product that you want to sell.
Don't look back, try to look forward and remind yourself on a regular basis the reasons you want to move. Whilst it's good to show a buyer how much you have loved living in your house, avoid convincing them not to buy!

2. De-personalise.

Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. It's fine to have one or two photographs around but keep it to a minimum. Buyers find it hard to see past personal artifacts if the house is overloaded with them.

3. De-clutter.

Pack away knickknacks and generally store away 'stuff' that may have collected over time. Buyers need to be able to see the space your house has and this is almost impossible for most if the house is full of belongings on display.
If you are a collector, this is the time to put your collectibles into storage boxes. Again, it is fine to display the odd item....after all...a buyer might be equally put off by a house that doesn't look lived in....but if you are an avid collector of elephants or cats or porcelain dolls then I'm afraid you will need to put your own emotions aside and remove them from display!
The key to making your house attractive to someone else is to make the space as clear as possible so that the buyer is able to picture themselves and their own possessions in the house.

If, like us, you have children, try to tidy (them!) away any toys, books, games etc as much as possible. It's easier for people to imagine putting their children's toys in a room rather than trying to imagine it the other way round, if that makes sense. We have a room which the children play in and there is no mistaking that it is a 'family room' but I have tried to minimise the amount of stuff that we have in there for now. It was originally a dining room so I want to show that it still could be. On the other hand, I haven't got rid of all evidence that the children exist! It is a family home (or it could be) after all.

4. Tidy/re-arrange cupboards.

Buyers love to have a little snoop and therefore it is important that they don't open a cupboard door to check out storage potential only for a pile of clothes (or shoes in my case!) to fall on them! Cupboards crammed full of stuff also gives the impression that you are short on space.

5. Make minor repairs.
Have a look around and fix any little jobs that may need
completing. Tidy up paintwork, patch any holes, replace any worn seals around baths, showers etc. Ideally walls should be painted neutral colours. Again, this goes back to reminding yourself that your house it a product that you want to sell. Look from the buyer point of view rather from your own. You may love bright orange walls, but you can't assume that everyone who views will. Most people will want to make changes when they move into a new home but if they feel that they would need to make immediate changes and many of them, it may put them off. Neutral walls can easily be lived with whilst a buyer considers what jobs are priority. Neutral colours also show off the size and potential of rooms far better.

6. Make the house sparkle.

Wash windows, clean out cobwebs, wash floors, wipe door handles. All fairly obvious jobs really. Can be a bit of a thankless task when you have small children!!
Put fresh towels out in bathrooms, make sure your beds are all perfectly made. I'm always slightly surprised when I see pictures on the internet of houses for sale and the beds look like they haven't been made! Invest in a bottle of room scent. Have a quick spray (Crabtree and Evelyn Nantucket Briar is my fave.) around (on soft furnishings, bedding etc) before viewings. On that note, avoid cooking anything spicy the night before a viewing, or even avoid completely whilst trying to sell. No one wants to be knocked out with curry fumes as they walk through the front door!

7. Check curb appeal

Step outside and take a good look at your house and imagine that you are a viewer pulling up for the first time.
Mow lawned areas. Tidy up the garden. Make sure window frames front door are tidy. Paint if necessary. Plant some tubs to go by the door or along the drive. Apparently yellow evokes a buying emotion so go for yellow!

8. Think of questions a buyer may ask prior to viewings.

Have as much information to hand as possible. Think about local schooling if your viewers have a family. Work out your answer to why you are moving. Obviously avoid giving reasons such as needing more space or garden not big enough! Don't alert your viewer to any negatives! If there are any obvious negative factors, try and think of solutions to offer if you are put on the spot....had we been staying we would have.....
If you have had alterations or work done on your house, make sure that you have any relevant paperwork and mention it if alterations are asked about.

If you can do all of these things...none of which require a huge amount of expense, then you will go a long way to giving your house its best chance of selling...obviously providing the price is right!

Anyway. Better go and hoover, dust, flush, tidy, store and spray as we have another viewing in less than an hour!