The uncertainty in UK politics during the lead up to Brexit – like many political changes have in the past – has created a feeling of uneasiness in the property market. Some people are holding off ‘until after Brexit’ before they begin to look at properties to buy or put theirs on the market.
As we have said in previous posts, while it’s always, always best to be cautious and do your research, moving home is something that Londoners need to do at various stages in life due to important changes such as new jobs, new relationships or family considerations. And the key point to remember is that these keep on happening despite political difficulties in Westminster!
With this in mind, we don’t recommend doing anything rash but we also don’t recommend putting everything on hold simply because you don’t know what’s going to happen to the market after Brexit. If there’s a home that you like and can afford that has been put up for sale, put an offer on it. And if you need to sell your home, put it on the market and see what happens. Given the lifestyle changes that lead to people moving home they may not be in a position to take their time in selling a property therefore if you keep an eye out there may be deals and good prices to available.
If you are hoping to sell but the current market is cold, here are our ten tips to improve your chances of attracting a buyer and making your property a more attractive investment.
Make sure it smells good
How something smells significantly impacts our judgement of it, so it’s worth making sure that your property smells nice before you let people in to view. Deep house cleaning that prepares a home for sale can significantly improve its scent profile, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be filling it with your favourite scents. What you like and notice won’t be the same for everyone. All people and homes have their own distinctive smell which we grow accustomed to but new guests will be unfamiliar with and potentially put off by. There has actually been a lot of research into which smells buyers find appealing and which can put them off. The main recommendation is to remove bad odours and neutralise the overall smell of the property, as opposed to making everything smell like sickly vanilla.
Give it a lick of paint
A fresh coat of paint, resealing, new mastic and re-grouting go a long way when it comes to presenting your house in the best light (this can also leave the property smelling fresh, in a chemically new paint kind of way). All of this provides a much-needed facelift to tired looking rooms but doesn’t have to cost much.
Keep the noise out
An entirely tranquil home is a rare treasure in the capital city but there are steps you can take to reduce external noise. Double glazing and sound proof fencing are great additions to a home to safeguard a homely peace and quiet. Making your agent aware of any noise pollution in order to guide the time that viewings are arranged for, is a really good idea. For example, if a viewing is arranged during rush hour, your agent can mention this to the people looking around so that they know it’s not always this noisy. It’s also good to bear in mind the parts of the property which are the quietest when allocating rooms. Again, mention this to your agent so that they know which aspects of the property to draw attention to or away from.
Let the light in
If you want viewers to feel positive about your property … let them see it for starters! Poor, inadequate, or harsh lighting affects the way that people feel in a negative way. Low light affects how well we see a property and it also affects our mood, energy levels and overall well-being. Get rid of unnecessary blinds, curtains or other objects obstructing natural light and make sure all light fittings work and are using good, warm coloured light bulbs to present your house in the best light.
Get with the times
Most Londoners are looking for a modern or freshly renovated period property, so permanent features that are neutral and not from the 19th century are reliable interest points. Avoid quirky décor or bold colours and patterns that might not be to everyone’s taste – anything garish or old fashioned could make the property feel dated and undesirable. As with the mess, it’s important for buyers to see themselves living there and décor plays a huge part in this, particularly as permanent features are difficult and expensive to change.
Seek planning permission or at least explore the property’s potential for any upgrades and renovations. All buyers will come to your property with different goals in mind, some will be looking for a home that they and their family can grow into and expand within, others will be looking for a project that can earn them a bit of profit when they come to sell. If you have had planning permission approved for any projects make sure you make your agent aware of this and when it will expire. They should ask you but if they don’t, flag it with them yourself. This could be a deal maker for certain buyers as having planning permission already granted will significantly speed up the process of any projects they undertake.
If complete renovations or extensions aren’t possible, there are ways that you can add value to your property and tick boxers for buyers which doesn’t involve extensive work. A front garden could be sacrificed for a functional driveway and parking space, the ground-floor pantry could be converted into an additional bathroom. Even if you haven’t made use of your outdoor space, it’s worth clearing it and making sure buyers can see its potential. Of course conservatory extensions, loft and basement conversions, will add more value but these aren’t always feasible. What’s more, if you’re not looking to stay at the property, you’re unlikely to ‘get your money’s worth’ from these investments (they’d have to significantly increase the property’s overall value).
If there are incomplete repairs, projects or issues raised in surveys, don’t necessarily be afraid of being open about these. In fact, doing so only sets the potential buyers up for disappointment and diminishes the trust between them and you as the seller. Similarly, not including photos of an ugly building or an awkward driveway won’t increase the chances of you selling. Buyers will discover these at some point but if they’re aware of them in the first instance but still decide to view, they can see for themselves the real impact they have and weigh this up with the pros of the property.
You might want to help your agent by making sure you’re there to point out all the things that you love about the property. But having a previous owner – however enthusiastic you are – follow you around on a viewing can be off-putting to both agent and prospective buyer. You’re far better off letting the buyer or agent come to you if and when they have any questions. A good home speaks for itself and if you appear to be using sales tactics or persuasion you may appear desperate which doesn’t speak in your favour.
It’s an obvious one but giving the place a quick clean and tidy ahead of viewings is advised. Remember that when people look round your property, they will be trying to imagine themselves living there. So it doesn’t need to be spotless (unless it’s empty and unfurnished) however, if it feels crowded and messy, this won’t send positive vibes. Prior to this, keeping the property well maintained can reduce wear and tear, leaving it in good condition for when you do decide to put it up for sale. Similarly to smells, it’s amazing how used to marks and chips in our own homes but these will jump out at buyers.
Make friends with your neighbours
We recommend doing this before you’re looking to leave but if you have seen little of your neighbours it’s worth building a good relationship with them so that you can request they keep their property well-presented while you’re having viewings. Observing a relationship and feeling of community in the neighbourhood is also a positive sign to individuals when they view your home. If you share a freehold with your neighbours, they might also be willing to split the cost of things like external works to the front of the property which will improve the presentation and first impression that viewings get.