Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Guest Blogger: Sarah Beeny, founder of Tepilo.com asks if now is the right time to be putting your home on the market?

Traditionally there are busier and quieter times of the year for house selling. These are based on what much of the population is doing. December is quieter as everyone builds up to Christmas but the market tends to pick up in the New Year - equally August tends to be quiet. However in these more uncertain times, I personally recommend that you don't wait, as despite what you endlessly read, the truth is nobody has any idea what is actually going to happen in the market. If now is a good time in your life to sell, sell now, as you never know, the market may have moved down if you wait.

There are many random statistics about how many seconds it takes us to make up our minds about a person or place, but the underlying truth is that buyers decide whether they like a property very quickly indeed. So, without doubt, the first impressions of a house are very important. I believe that the way a house looks from the front is one of the most valuable selling tools around. What you don't want to do is to put off buyers before they actually reach the front door.

Fifty years ago, city society was very different from today; people took pride in washing their steps, polishing their brass letterboxes, even scrubbing their bit of pavement. Nowadays, though, it tends to only be the inside of our homes that we lavish ‘tlc' on, abandoning the space beyond the front door as if it didn't exist. Even if it's not littered with bits of car engine, crisp packets or drink cans, it generally doesn't match up to the sparkling interiors within.

It need not take a great deal of money to make the front look cared for. Just picking the litter up is a start. Follow that with a lick of paint and bit of weeding and planting. If you have a communal front door, whether you're trying to sell or not, my theory is that it is often easier to scrub the common parts yourself than to argue with whoever's turn it is.


Of course, you can give a house a complete fa├žade lift, changing the front door and windows, replacing dilapidated drainpipes and gutters, or even adding cladding. It's pricey, but it can often add substantial value to a plain or uninteresting property in a sought-after location. But whatever you do, remember the outside of a property remains a reflection of the inside. If you're selling, make sure it looks smart. The front of a house is a statement to the world about how you live.

Here are my top things to do to your home before putting it on the market

CRUCIAL STEPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR PROPERTY

* Clean the windows - inside and out.

* Clean the whole house - if you smoke, stop smoking inside and clean all ashtrays - if you have pets, wash their beds. Pet and cigarette odour are the two smells that come up most often in ‘put off' smells list.

* Look at your kitchen and bathroom from an outsider's point of view - if they are really manky, do something about it - often it only requires bleaching the grout and cutting out and re siliconing - get in behind the basin and loo and get scrubbing there, too.

* Deal with outside - start on the street - what do you see - potential viewers will stand and pause just there too and it's their first impression.

* Don't argue with neighbours about who is going to do what - check if they don't mind and get on and clean it up yourself.

* De-clutter - as if you haven't heard it before, but use this as the perfect moment to move the piles of stuff you don't use to a charity shop - if you do a good clear out in one go, you will be better about getting what you don't need to a suitable recycling unit or charity shop where someone might actually use your silly unwanted nonsense. You are then able to clear surfaces - this will give a much greater sense of space and almost more importantly, less of the feeling that the house is rather hard work to live in.

* Outside space - however small, in fact even more importantly if it's small - outside space is a real luxury and one that should be cherished, especially in an urban setting.

* Give it a clean - get a few cheapie pot plants and look out for an inexpensive table and chairs to show you can use the space.

* Small rooms - like small gardens it's rather more important to dress small rooms well, otherwise people may not be able to really envisage how the room could work.

* Try to avoid putting things just inside the door of a room - you ideally want to be able to get inside a room before you trip over something.

Tepilo.com enables buyers to sell or let their home with no charges or commission.

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