Preparing your home for selling – thrifty top tips
So you’ve made the emotional decision to move on from your home, and seek pastures new. Now the hard work really begins.
Before you start panicking about the costs involved with changing home, especially if you’re moving to a property that’s more expensive, be aware that there a number of steps that can be taken early on which will cost little and deliver lots. Start by making the home more inviting by taking a few simple and cheap steps.
The cost of renting a skip or travelling to the local recycling plant to throw items away can be offset by the thought that these objects could be stopping you from a quick sale, if they appear to make your home cluttered. Some expert property sites extol the virtues of depersonalising a home, which means removing items such as family photographs, prints, and certificates so that a potential buyer can more easily imagine themselves in the home.
Others warn against taking too much away and making the home too sterile and ‘unlived-in’, which could remove some of its charm, and wonder how far one could go – does this depersonalisation include furniture as well? A good rule of thumb, no matter what you remove, is that you should get rid of anything that gives the impression the room is smaller than it actually is. If you approach it in the correct manner, de-cluttering can actually be fun.
Certain, cheap steps can be taken early in the process to make the home more inviting. A full deep clean; a new lick of paint; and any repairs should be undertaken as a minimum. How far you go with repairs is up to you – the simple fixes such as wobbly door knobs and broken tiles shouldn’t be ignored. Even a new coat of paint for rooms, to make them brighter and welcoming, should not be underestimated. You might have some decisions to make on bigger repairs such as repairing or even replacing kitchen units, if these are real handicaps to selling the home.
Don’t forget the garden, even in winter – painting, repairing and simply clearing will give an immediate good impression for those approaching the home or driving past. If you’re a smoker, the smell of tobacco needs to be eliminated as soon as possible as this will be a major turnoff to anyone who does not partake.
One of the big decisions to take is how the home will actually be put on the market. In the 21st century it’s certainly possible to forgo agents altogether and find a buyer yourself, although you’ll almost certainly need a solicitor for legalities. However, an online agent will clearly have a much wider net to cast to find potentially interested parties – private sellers cannot advertise on Rightmove or Zoopla, for example – and most online agents now charge a flat fee that is not linked to the cost of the home itself.
You can pay the flat fee up front to avoid being stung by nasty hidden fees further down the line, and this could save thousands of pounds down the line. Agents are also more versed in negotiations, and these skills could pay for themselves if they gain you a good price. Your other option is to try a specialised home buying company, catering for the need for selling your house quickly.
These are just a few of the methods that can be used to drive down prices when preparing your home for selling. It’s a stressful process, especially in tandem with purchasing another home, but there is an ultimate end product that makes it all worth it.