Perhaps you've started looking longingly elsewhere, in Estate Agents’ windows on your way to work, or flirting with Zoopla or Rightmove in your coffee/lunch/afternoon breaks. Maybe you've surreptitiously slipped House & Garden, Country Home, or another gorgeous little glossy into your shopping basket when buying your weekly groceries, or begun following some exciting decorating sites on Pinterest?
Something's amiss, and you know it! You're beginning to get itchy feet and starting the separation process from your current abode.
You may be reminiscing about when you first bought your property, all the big plans you had for decorating, improving, spending hours beautifying the patio, garden, refurbishing in your own unique taste - the kitchen, bathroom and making your bedroom a safe and cosy haven from the world outside.
Or you may be thinking - I've done all that - maybe it's time to move on.
But before you do, maybe you've simply reached the point in your life called the 'Should I stay or should I go?' syndrome. Not everyone becomes afflicted, but it's generally associated with other changes/stages in your life - new partner, new baby, additional baby, change of job, empty-nesting, loss of partner...
If you love your home, there is, of course an alternative to consider - can you extend? If you love where you live, your neighbours are adorable, your family and friends surround you, and all the shops and entertainments you indulge in are within easy striking distance, then extending your home is something to consider.
Let's look first at all the possible places where you may be able to extend:
c) at the back of a property i.e. Conservatory
d) in a garden (for eg an office)
e) divide a large room into two
f) a side extension
g) convert a garage, or build above
h) demolish and rebuild (this is a huge undertaking)
You will need to consider the costs, upheaval and getting the right people to work with - architect, planning consultant, builder, project manager, interior designer, decorators – and keep cool, calm and collected at the same time.
Don't forget you may need planning approval and building regulations or you will definitely come unstuck when you try to sell!
Your project plan needs to be watertight so that everyone works to an agreed schedule - you don’t want to be left waiting for months because someone forgot to order the windows/bi-fold doors, tiling for the kitchen/bathroom.
Your budget must be carefully worked out, and certainly contain a contingency of a sum of up to 20% for unseen problems.
If you've exhausted the possibility of extending, then maybe it is time to go, to leave, closing the door behind you for the last time, no looking back, for all the right reasons. So where do you go from here?
Here are my top tips for taking that next important step in selling your home:
Put emotions to one side, and start with a solid, sensible SMART plan
- Specific - WHEN are you going to move? WHERE to?
- Measurable - dot the i's, cross the t's - does everything add up?
- Achievable - can you afford to move? Do you need to look at borrowing?
- Realistic - is this a pipe dream, or a real possibility - are you 100% committed or known for your sudden changes of heart?
- Timely - will it be the right time to move? Will you be able to sell your property in the right timescales? Certain times of the year are better for selling homes than others (retirement homes tend to stick on the market during winter months; families prefer to move at the beginning of the year, or in September, before the start of a school year.
Understand your buyer’s expectations and plan according to THEIR timescale, not yours.
Review and regroup if need be, check with your estate agent and commit.
Decide on a launch date in unison, mark it in your diary, and schedule all the tasks you need to undertake to meet that deadline.
Make sure your home is ready for photography and viewings. You should spend time and effort –and even a small budget – on this very important preparation for marketing. Take a good long look at your property objectively, or ask a friend to give you some feedback. Could you make it look more attractive without spending a fortune? Ask a home-stager for professional advice, or visit show homes in the area for inspiration, latest trends, and colour schemes.
Select your Estate Agent at the beginning of your moving journey, and you'll make life a whole lot easier for yourself. If you don't know who to choose, use our checklist, and 'mystery shop' the more prominent local companies and assess the way they handle your enquiry, perhaps about a property you feel would compete with yours in some way or another. Then shortlist two or three, and interview them in your home. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and make sure you feel comfortable with them. It can be a very emotional journey and you may want more handholding and support than you think - which a good agent will offer wholeheartedly.
It's not necessarily about the lowest fee and highest valuation – take into account the Agents' professionalism, local successes - and whether you like and trust them or not. Your relationship could last several months after all ...
Professional photography definitely helps sell a house effectively online. After all, a picture tells a thousand words, and buyers don’t like reading text and will often decide whether or not to view based solely on the photographs of your home. Check whether your Agent offers this service.
Your brochure and description of your home (in print and online) needs 'buyer appeal' to really sell your home. Differentiate your property from your competition, using lifestyle descriptions that will make your buyer's dreams come true - it's not all about bricks and mortar.
Does your asking price fit in with an online search? Do you and your Agent agree on the price? Nowadays, over 90% of property searches are online, and you need to select an asking price that will ensure your home is found by the maximum number of buyers searching the property portals.
Choose a rounded figure that fits in with the price bandings the online portals use, such as £500,000. This will maximise the number of buyers who will see your property.
Sales Particulars (or Details) are OK printed on the office printer. But your Sales Brochure needs a professional touch on quality card to make everything look as attractive as possible.
Thursdays or Fridays are great launch days, to make it fresh and to generate weekend viewings. The first 4 - 6 weeks are key to successful selling; offers you receive during this time are more than likely to be the best you will ever get on your property.
Once you are on the market, your home should be kept nice and beautifully tidy for viewings. Fresh flowers, new towels and bed linen for viewings only are just the ticket, so you can quickly freshen up your home with minimum effort when your Agent phones to bring a buyer round for a viewing.
Keep in touch with your agent at least every 10 days, if not more frequently. Your Agent will send you Property Performance Reports and indicators of activity eg enquiries, viewings, comparables. And will also be there to progress the sale through to a successful completion.
If you'd like a consultation on preparing your home for sale, email me firstname.lastname@example.org .
Because I love property with a passion,
59 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2BD / 01273 735237 / email@example.com
B1 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3QZ / 01903 831338 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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