The current UK housing market could easily be compared to an angsty teenage romance. One minute it is all systems go, the next things have ground to a halt. Then there’s the period of silence where you don’t see, hear or speak of it for a while. You mostly feel confusion, frustration and some underlying excitement. It is certainly fair to suggest that buying and selling property is a fundamentally dramatic and stress-inducing period. It’s unpredictable and fluctuating, particularly when selling.
Putting your house on the market can feel a little stagnant, like sitting atop a dormant volcano waiting for the eruption of activity, looking out for that moment someone takes an interest and you can put a deposit on your next place. This stagnant period can understandably cause a great deal of anxiety. The perfect way to eradicate these anxieties and consequently push the selling process along is to consider ways to make your home more appealing to buyers.
There’s an ongoing disparity in the housing market at the moment in regards to whether or not people are more inclined to buy houses to fix-up or effortless buys. The happy medium is to offer a solution that falls somewhere in between. Here we explore the optimal ways to make your home buyer ready.
First impressions count, and whilst it is ultimately what’s inside your property that will really seal the deal for you, there’s no harm in making your exteriors as inviting as your interiors. Replace your front door with a renovated, freshly painted version. It doesn’t hurt to update your locking system or add a secondary lock to your door to ensure buyers your house is safe. If you’re lucky enough to own a property with a front garden, make sure it’s not overgrown or obstructing any pathways. Finally, it is worth repainting any fences, walls or gates in your front garden to enhance the first view buyers will get of your house.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but when you're viewing a property every room gets a chance to shine. Despite the fact that most sellers are taking their furniture with them, and a great number of buyers intend to fix up a house, furnished houses still show better than empty ones. Dressing a room for viewings, cleaning up and arranging the furniture appealingly gives buyers an idea of what you can do with the space. It allows them to see how furniture fits into a room and visualise how they would make it work for them.
Never underestimate the power of a lick of paint. The simplest and smallest details can go a long way to increasing the value of your home. As an added bonus they are often the bits that cost the least to fix. Visible dirt, mould or flaky paint creates the impression that the house hasn’t been well cared for or that there may not be underlying problems such as damp. Ensuring the house looks clean, even by cleaning the limescale from around the taps, is a fast and effective way to make those first impressions of your home count.
If a buyer specifies that they’d like to purchase a property with a garden, it’s probably a good idea to ensure that they can see said garden. Now it’s not necessary to transform it into the gardens of Versailles, but pressure washing your patios and cutting back your bushes and shrubbery will show the multitude of things your buyer could do with it. A garden should be marketed as a luxury extra space, so treat it like you would any other room in the house and give it a good spruce up.
These are the jobs that you’ve been saying you’ll do for the duration of your stay in this home but just didn’t. Now is the perfect time to commit to doing it, because it could increase the price of your property exponentially.
First of all, address you plumbing and pipes. Do you have decent water pressure? Is there a dripping tap that acts as a form of nightly Chinese Water Torture? Is your boiler efficient enough to see you through the winter? Have you had a smart meter installed? Do you bleed your radiators regularly enough or at all? And all of this only applies to your plumbing and pipes.
You’ll also need to consider any loose wires, or loose sockets, any flickering light bulbs or beeping smoke alarms. Anything you remind yourself to do just before you drift off to sleep at night, only to forget it by morning, now is the time to get it done.
Research suggests that the best way to add value to your home is to add another bedroom, usually through loft conversions. For many of us, this is an unrealistic expectation. We scarcely have the money to afford a ladder to access the loft, let alone turn it into a spare bedroom. But there are ways to display the potential your property has for expansion without actually expanding it. It will cost you to request planning permission for a remodel and to get drawings done, but it will be a fraction of the price of committing to the building work. Potential buyers who are keen on additional space will have confirmation that it is possible.
Other partial renovations that are simpler to make, is to update your kitchen appliances. Full kitchen renovations do not come cheap, but by replacing some of your ageing appliances you can make the room look almost new. Alternatively, painting the units and replacing the cupboard handles are cost-effective ways of refreshing your kitchen and making it look new.
The same can be said for bathrooms, fresh taps, showers and bathtubs. But if you can’t afford to go that far, de-lime scaling taps and replacing the shower head will still go a long way. Even updating the paint and retiling will help your bathroom to look almost new.