It is estimated that some 370,000 pending house sales are currently stalled because of the coronavirus lockdown, according to a posting by online listings website Zoopla recently.
A stalled market at the moment, of course, might be the precursor to pent up demand post-Covid19. If you are looking forward to that occasion to put your own home on the market, here are a few tips and suggestions about getting it ready and being certain you are presenting it in its best light – as well as ensuring you have the necessary paperwork to ensure a smooth move.
The press may be full of nationwide surveys on house price movements. But these may have precious little to do with what’s happening just where you live. There are likely to be marked regional differences – and sharp price differentials even from one area to another within any regions.
The key to getting your home ready for the market, therefore, is to have realistic expectations, based on what is happening in your particular area.
First impressions count – and a big difference can be made with relatively little effort.
All that might be required is a general sprucing up of your home – make a checklist of those irritating maintenance chores that could do with addressing and think about giving inside and out a new coat of paint.
Kerb appeal is important as this is the first impression your potential buyers’ will get. Paint the front door and pot up some colourful plants for outside. Make sure that the first look someone gets at your home is that of a welcoming, well-maintained home.
Clutter, clutter, everywhere
Clutter is practically inevitable in a lived-in home – it is less appealing, though to that potential buyer you are waiting to show around.
Put away your own things – even pre-pack them ready for your move – to show potential buyers the spaces they will have to put their own belongings. If you have lots of footstools or side tables in the lounge, put as many away as possible – the more visible floorspace, the more spacious a property will seem.
De-personalise rooms where you can – make your home as much of a blank canvas as possible so that buyers can see the property as a useable space that they can make their own.
Lighting and staging
A tip from Property Reporter last month draws attention to the fact that in many show-houses, all the sidelights and wall lights have been switched on. This very much intentional, since suitable lighting gives a warm, cosy, and welcoming atmosphere to any room.
Before a viewing, brew up a filter coffee or bake some bread (read makers make this very easy). Make sure that any smells in the home are good ones!
Calculating the cost
Attracting the buyer is only one side of the coin, of course. Any house sale and the removal which follows is likely to prove expensive.
Before you commit to that expense, try to get a firm handle on just how much it is all likely to cost. That means the removal costs themselves, the possible storage of furniture and belongings if there is any delay in your move to the next house, redirecting your post, and care for any pets that will be moving with you.
Potentially, there is a whole mountain of documents you might need to assemble and make available to any prospective buyer. The sooner you have them to hand, the less chance there will be of time-consuming – and expensive – delay.
The documents include, for example:
- Property Information Form (TA6);
- Energy Performance Certificate;
- documents confirming the freehold or leasehold tenure of the property;
- building regulation certificates on any alterations that have been made;
- FENSA certification – if your home has had its windows replaced; and
- Gas Safety Certificate for any new boiler.
Armed with these – and any other documents you might need to make available to potential buyers – you may be helping to make sure that the sale takes off quickly and proceeds to completion more smoothly.