Do you feel trapped in a house that you just can’t sell? Have you had lots of viewings, but no takers? Do not despair, for every home there is a buyer, but there are practical things you can do to give destiny a helping hand. If you want to get a big SOLD sign put up outside your home, follow these tips to success…
First impressions are so important, that’s why it’s number one on the list. If your property is advertised online, and let’s face it, all properties are these days – make sure the photo used is the best possible shot. Taken on a sunny day with blue sky but no shadows across the façade, the house should appear neat, well cared for and loved. The exterior should be well maintained with a tended garden or parking area and some jolly flower-filled pots for extra colour. A poor, un-enticing photograph simply causes online house hunters to swiftly click on to the next candidate.
Kerb appeal is the next step on from first impressions. If you manage to lure a buyer to a viewing, once they see the house close up they need to have their positive expectations fulfilled. If wooden framed windows are rotten and covered with peeling paint, think about getting them restored or replaced. Likewise, if guttering is old and inefficient it looks bad and creates doubts about damp walls. Consider getting these twin exterior blights fixed and immediately the outside of the house looks much more appealing. Finish off with a freshly painted front door (red=warm and welcoming, black = smart and elegant, pale lemon = homely) and clean windows so they sparkle, and your house will be brimming with ‘buy me now!’ charisma.
Neutralise the interior
Yes, it is your home – but you have decided you would like somebody else to live in it now. This means neutralising the interior of the house, so that it is easy for another occupant to imagine themselves living there. If you have a large collection of china pigs (for example) that dominates the living room, it’s going to make it difficult for viewers to see past these. Box up ornaments, photographs and knick knacks, ready for moving on to your next house – and leave space for prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. De-cluttering your home is very important as it makes rooms appear more spacious and enables people to see the house clearly. Freshening up all over the house with a neutral paint colour such as magnolia sounds like a cliché, but it works. Buyers confronted with loud, psychedelic wallpapers and ill-chosen paint colours tend to head to the front door fast, never to be heard of again.
Vacuum before viewings and arrange the house to look its best. Keep cats and dogs out of the way and remove pet hair as many people are allergic to it. Do not smoke or cook spicy food just before an appointment to view, as this can put people off. Great bathrooms and kitchens sell houses, so focus deep cleaning in these areas. If re-tiling is out of the question, re-grouting is a great way of freshening up these areas.
Buyers get fixated on how many bedrooms a property has, and if you are using your spare room as a home office, for example, you are selling your house short. Is there some way of moving the computer and desk into a hall area or alcove elsewhere in the house? Some buyers are notorious for their lack of imagination and visualising skills – so you have to do it for them by staging your house in the best possible way.
Get the timing right
Maximise your chances of success by putting the house on the market at the optimum time. In the UK, the period when most people are house hunting and demand really outstrips supply are Spring and Autumn – so be prepared and get ready to strike at these times.
Tell everybody you know that your house is on the market – there may be some who have no idea. Maybe they know somebody who has been waiting for a house to come on the market on your street for years. Have a verbal pitch prepared – know about the local schools, railway stations,nearest gym, supermarkets etc and really talk up your house and make it sound like a fantastic place to live. If you are getting lots of views but they aren’t translating to a sale, ask a good friend for a candid opinion on why the house isn’t selling – they may have a different perspective you haven’t even considered. Be brave, they might say something bruising, but if it identifies a problem you can fix, then that’s got to be a positive.
In the darkest days, keep reminding yourself that there is a buyer out there somewhere for your house. And if you follow these simple, common sense tips, you increase the likelihood of that buyer knocking on your door…