Your mind is made up, and it’s not been an easy decision, but you need to sell your house quickly. You may think the first and only step is to put your house on the market and then sit back with fingers crossed as potential home buyers come flocking through the doors. That isn’t how it works though.
Time is of the essence here, and a fast house sale entails putting yourself in the buyer's shoes, from spotting the property to viewing, to making an immediate offer and moving in. How do you do this? Just follow our easy to use a checklist to ensure your home appeal stands out among all the other houses on the market.
To put yourself in buyer's shoes, walk through your house as if you are seeing it for the first time. Contrary to belief, most house buyers aren’t looking at what is nice about the property, but what repairs are needed and how much effort, time and money they will have to spend on it.
Carrying out the repairs now could make the difference between a buyer choosing your property over another. This is an essential step for older properties. Completing this step will also prevent any hidden surprises coming out in the property survey.
Repair or replace broken fixtures and fittings, locks, door handles, kitchen cupboard handles and wardrobe handles. Get rid of broken mirrors, repair broken tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, renew grouting in the bathroom too, if looking a little black or mouldy and repair any holes in the walls where pictures once hung.
Experts advise spending money now to carry our repairs and maintenance will make much difference to the final asking price, so if you have the cash to pay, look at what needs updating, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, two rooms that add real estate value.
Other things to check for include….
1: If the roof is a poor condition, repair it. Check for loose tiles, leaks, moisture and if a tree is overhanging the property, cut it back or even have it removed.
2: As new-build properties settle, it's reasonable to incur vertical wall cracks, but buyers don’t want to see them so fill in them, and repair doors and windows that don’t close.
3: Signs of damp are a sure-fire way to hamper a house viewing. Nobody will invest in a new home with looming black patches covering the walls, roofs and windows. Anybody prepared to buy a house with damp will want it for a much lower price.
4: How old is the boiler? Boilers last for years, but if the pilot light keeps going out, it may need a boiler tune-up.
1: Single and Double-Glazed Windows: A single glazed window isn’t a problem but is around 20 times less efficient than a double-glazed pane. Double glazed means there are two separate panes of glass with a vacuum between so they are more energy efficient. Most home buyers prefer property with double glazing.
2: Documentation for Extensions or Conversions: Buyers and estate agents will want paperwork for extensions and property conversions, mostly the planning permission and building regulations. It pays to have these ready rather than waiting for buyers to request them because this can set any potential house sale back weeks. Lack of documentation also affects the final selling price.
3: Swimming Pool and a Targeted Real Estate Market: Swimming pools are great fun, but many buyers see them as expensive to run and difficult to upkeep. In the UK, there is also the question of how often you use an outdoor swimming pool? During summer, fill the pool and make it seem inviting, but regardless, your target selling audience should be the luxury real estate market.
The aesthetic appearance is just as important as the interior. It shows your house off to passers-by and is the first sight for potential buyers. A home with curb appeal is inviting, clean and tidy. Place bins out of view, cut and weed the garden grass, invest in pot plants or flower displays, and give all garden furniture a good wash down and clean.
Check the fences for repairs and if they need another lick of paint. Also, check the exterior door and window frames. Do all the locks work? Are hinges oiled? This may seem trivial, and some real estate investors and buyers wouldn’t think twice about replacing them but remember you are aiming for a fast house sale. Pretty pot plants or hanging baskets by the front door will add a splash of colour and give a welcoming feel to the property.
Think of a garden as a sanctuary. Prospective buyers need to see themselves enjoying the sunshine and preparing a BBQ, eating alfresco and seeing their children run around in a safe area. Trim the lawn, clean patio areas, and repair garden furniture. Clean out the shed, paint fences, trim bushes and tidy up flower beds. Anything that is not appealing to the eye should be repaired, tidied up or thrown out.
Savvy home hunters and keen gardeners will recognise and know the devastation Japanese knotweed causes. A 2018 article in MoneyWise said this invasive plant knocked 20 billion GBP off the housing market. It grows up to around 10 centimetres per day, and its rapid growth rate causes damage to foundations resulting in subsidence. It will try to grow through any weak points such as wall cracks and damage paving and tarmac.
Set the mood in the evening with candles and lamps; it makes rooms smell nice and gives a cosy feeling with the right lighting. Odours from spicy food and fish put potential buyers off, but they love the pleasant aroma of fresh bread and cakes.
Your home must be clean and tidy, so this is the time to have that de-cluttering session you’ve been putting off for years. Buyers need to envisage themselves living there; they want to see space and imagine their furniture and belongings there. The less clutter, the easier it is to do that.
Does it need a fresh coat of paint?: Most homes have scuffs and scrapes, but nothing that a fresh coat of paint won’t fix. Neutral colours are best, nothing bold or too bright, but something resembling a blank canvas, so your buyer can put their stamp on their new home. Neutral colours make a room look airy and spacious, so this is ideal for box rooms. Adding a mirror also gives the illusion of a larger room.
Spruce up bare windows with free-flowing curtains or window blinds whichever is the cheapest option. Add plants or fresh flowers but don’t forget to water them, nobody wants to look at dying plants and dead flowers! It’s vital for buyers to see and feel a comfortable and cosy home.
A good estate agent will give you a realistic property valuation, but you can also check comparison websites to see what homes in your neighbourhood are selling for.
Good marketing is also essential, as is choosing an estate agent with knowledge of the local area, e.g. school catchment areas and transport links plus amenities.
If your estate agent doesn’t use a professional photographer, hire one yourself. The investment is worth it. A professional photographer will know the best angles to use and the correct lighting to make your home look it's best.
Pictures will be used for advertising and prospective buyers. This is the first glance of a massive real estate investment they will make, so you need to leave an impression. The fee won’t break the bank, and the photos will present your home in the most attractive way possible.
This brings our checklist of handy tips to sell your house quickly, to an end, but if you want to read more articles about the UK and overseas property market browse our blog. Also, use the chat messaging feature to the right-hand side to speak with a sales representative about today’s real estate market.