Before putting your property up for sale, take a long, hard look at it. Be objective; see it as a potential buyer would. Don’t view it as your home – with a bit of luck, and planning, it won’t be for much longer – view it as a saleable commodity, keeping your target purchaser always in mind.
Here are our top 10 tips to get you moving. Some of them may not apply to your particular property (if it’s an apartment without a garden, for example), but the general principles will.
Get your timing right
Spring and summer are peak selling periods in most markets. Happily, they coincide with the times when most properties look their best. Late summer, when the school year starts, tends to be particularly slow, as do Christmas and the early New Year.
Boost kerb appeal
Before they make an appointment to view, most potential buyers will examine your property from the road. First impressions count!
It’s quite possible that you’ve almost ceased to notice the outside of your home; after a hard day, you’re probably more interested in getting inside and putting your feet up. Prospective purchasers, however, will not only be looking for an attractive exterior, they will also be seeking evidence that the property has been well maintained. Any sign that they will need to spend time or money may put them off.
Arrange any necessary repairs, such as repositioning slipped tiles and mending leaking gutters, before you go on the market. If paintwork looks tired, freshen it up.
Tidy your front garden and repair damaged fencing. Window boxes and planters can really enhance a property, while weed-infested paving will make it look neglected.
Light and bright
Having got potential purchasers through the door, now’s your chance to wow them with the inside. Keep decoration simple, using light, neutral colours to make your home appear more spacious. Touch up any chipped or scuffed paintwork.
Consider painting over patterned wallpaper. Your aim is to create a blank canvas against which people can imagine their own belongings. With a few cans of emulsion, you can achieve maximum effect for minimum expenditure.
Cut the clutter
Here again, your aim is to enable potential purchasers to visualise themselves living in the property. Less is more when it comes to ornaments, and steer clear of anything too individual. If people don’t share your taste, they may unconsciously be influenced against buying your home. Family photographs may distract, and are therefore best kept out of sight.
Charity shops are always glad of donations. If you can’t bear to part with some items altogether, ensure they are stored tidily in the loft, or check out one of the storage warehouses that are springing up around the country.
Dress to impress
Make it easy for prospective buyers to see the primary purpose and potential of each room. If a bedroom is a double, make sure it contains a double bed, not a single or, worse still, no bed at all. If you’ve converted a fourth bedroom into a study, market your property as a three-bedder or change the study back into a bedroom. If you’re selling through an estate agent, he or she can advise you on the option most attractive to your target purchaser.
Consider replacing worn or stained carpet. You don’t need to have an entire room recarpeted if only a small area is affected; patching can be very successful.
If you live in an older property, it may be worth reinstating period features, such as fireplaces, cornices and ceiling roses, which were swept away in the days when such things were unfashionable. Reclamation yards and antiques centres are good sources.
Subtle lighting is a must. Seasonal (for example, Christmas) decorations are fine, but keep them tasteful and don’t overdo them. Flowers are also fine, but avoid strong-smelling ones, such as lilies.
Keep it clean
We know it’s obvious, but do make sure your home is sparkling clean from top to bottom. Not only will this make it more immediately attractive, but it will also reassure prospective buyers that it has been well maintained in other, more fundamental, respects.
The received wisdom used to be that, as purchasers would wish to fit their own choice of kitchen, a vendor was better off dropping the price than spending money on updating.
These days, most people would rather buy a home that already has a reasonably stylish kitchen. If yours is just a little tired, you can pep it up by fitting new cabinet doors, worktops, handles, tiles and flooring as necessary. If it’s totally exhausted, consider replacing it. With so many good-quality, reasonably priced ranges available, you can do so without breaking the bank.
Ignore your personal taste if it inclines to the elaborate or highly coloured, and go for something simple. Resist the urge to save money by indulging in DIY unless you are confident of your skills; poorly fitted units are a real turn-off.
As far as suites go, you can have any colour you like … as long as it’s white. If yours is simply past its first youth, have it professionally cleaned. If it’s coloured, you may do better to replace it. This applies particularly to strong colours like the notorious avocado, of which examples can still be found.
The outdoor life
Even if you’re not the world’s greatest gardener, you can make your outside space look inviting – a few colourful pots and planters can work wonders – and show its possibilities. For instance, if you have a patio, demonstrate its potential for al fresco eating and entertaining with some strategically placed garden furniture. Ensure that, at the very least, your garden looks neat. Your shed should be well maintained and its contents tidy.
Don’t stop at creating the right look and feel for your home; giving some attention to your personal style and approach can pay dividends. Although the people who buy your property won’t actually be buying you, it may help to encourage them to make an offer if you seem like someone they can relate to. Be welcoming without being overwhelming. Ask a neighbour to look after your pets during viewings if possible; your dog’s enthusiastic greeting may not be to everyone’s liking. Be prepared to provide information about the property and your local area. Be alert to any feedback about your home (positive or negative), as it may be helpful for future viewings.
How should I manage my mortgage?
There are six ways that you can manage your mortgage to make it more affordable and to keep up with payments. The first tactic is negotiation. Sometimes you can get your mortgage lender to give you better rates or to waive certain fees, like document preparation costs or lawyer fees. The better your credit score, the more likely you'll be able to negotiate a better deal. You also have to make sure you pick the right type of mortgage; while 30-year fixed-rate mortgages cost more in the long run, they're stable. Meanwhile, adjustable rate mortgages can jump all over the place, so you have to make sure you'll be able to afford whatever rates are thrown at you. Another good trick is to make extra payments whenever you can. Any extra payment you make goes toward the principal, not the interest. That means you may be able to reduce the amount of time you pay off your mortgage by years. Similarly, you can try to adjust your payment schedule so that you pay biweekly instead of monthly. You can have your payment coincide with your paycheck, and you'll end up having extra payments built into your schedule. This way, you can get rid of a 30-year fixed mortgage in approximately 23 or 24 years. To avoid paying for private mortgage insurance and cut your mortgage costs, make sure you put down at least 20 percent at the outset of your purchase. If you've already started your mortgage payments and you're paying for PMI, keep an eye on your equity so that you can get rid of the insurance when you've paid off 20 percent of your home's cost. Also, double check that paying for points is actually saving you money and that what you pay will be regained while you're still in that home. Sometimes points save you money, but other times they don't.
How does the home valuation work?
Property valuation is an essential part of the Home Loan application process. In order to help, we’re going to tell you what factors are taken into account when valuing your property.
Valuations are used to determine the security value of a property being offered to secure a Home Loan. A valuation needs to be carried out when you borrow to buy a new property, when refinancing, or when you want to access the equity in your home.
We will consider a number of factors to determine the type of property valuation required. In some cases, a licensed property valuer will be brought in to complete a valuation on our behalf.
To assess a property’s value, a valuer will measure the property, record details on the number and type of rooms, along with fixtures, fittings and any improvements. A property’s unique attributes will also be taken into account, such as:
·Building structure and its condition
·Standard of presentation and fit-out
·Planning restrictions and local council zoning
The valuer combines these attributes together with recent comparable sales in the surrounding area and prevailing market conditions to produce a valuation report.
Valuations should not be confused with appraisals carried out by real estate agents. A licensed valuer must base their opinion on hard evidence and take legal responsibility for any information they provide. Estate agents are acting for the vendor and are rewarded for getting the highest price for a property.
Also keep in mind that the cost to build a property or the asking price doesn’t necessarily equate to value. It is easy to over-capitalise in real estate or be drawn in by a seller who is pitching their property above the market price.
As part of the application process, we will advise you if your property requires a valuation.