Property experts are, in general, predicting a bumper year in 2016 but it will be a bumpy ride for the prime market with increased stamp duty levies hitting this sector the hardest.
Surrey estate agent, Barton Wyatt, suggests that vendors to undertake a 'MOT' on their property before selling and here are their top 10 tips:
First Impression – “This can be make or break” says Sales Manager Oliver Clarke. “If a potential purchaser is put off before the entering the front door then we are doomed. So take a look at the outside of your home as a stranger might see it. It might be winter and very wet but for a small sum or some time and energy you could tidy the garden and plant a pretty pot by your front door.”
Odour – It may seem minor but the aroma of your house is really very important when you are selling. A simple diffuser discretely hidden in the lobby could do the trick. Some people proffer the advice of coffee and home baked bread but we are realistic, it could take a few weeks to sell your home and you cannot be there ready to turn on the bread maker at the drop of a hat.
Tidy – Be obsessive about this, as it is a make or break to a prospective client. Our advice is to have a seriously good clear out before you put the house on the market – even if you bundle up your prized possessions and take them off site. Prospective buyers want to see clean lines and uncluttered work surfaces that create a feeling of space.
Clean – Fresh, sparkling and inviting would be perfect. Hard to achieve when you have an active life with pets and children running amuck we know, but the cleaner your house is the easier it is to sell.
Temperature – Heating houses is an expensive business. However, taking a client into a house that has sat empty for the weekend without the heating on is going to put them off instantly – keep your house ticking over at a pleasant 15° C – it will stop your pipes bursting and mean that we don't shiver round the viewing!
Animals – People's pets are much loved by the owner but very often just the owner and not necessarily the person that is going to buy the house. Pets also can have quite a strong odour, not to mention the litter trays, food bowls and paraphernalia that goes with having an animal in the house. Try to keep pet evidence to a minimum.
Bathrooms – Generally we don't advise sellers to refit a bathroom prior to sale – unless it is really ghastly. Do the obvious instead – re-grout, re-silicon, fluffy towels, pleasant scent, clean and spotless please!
Kitchen – Spare a thought for the poor estate agent as you dash out of the house without loading the dishwasher! We want to take pride in your house when we show clients around and leftover breakfast is not the first thing they want to see as they enter the kitchen.
Problem areas – It is possible that you have a part of your house that you would rather not draw attention to, perhaps somewhere that is mid repair. Our recommendation: don't put the house on the market until it is in tiptop condition. Make it your problem, not the client's.
Brief the agent – The more we are prepared to answer questions about your house the easier it will be to sell it and allay any fears that prospective buyers may have. As an estate agent we dislike not having the answers. And we particularly dislike not knowing how your gadgetry works so please do show us how to use the iPad entry system, the drop down cinema and the fancy lighting system! If we make it look easy the clients will love it. If we don't know how it works, then they won't.