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Selling Your House in the New Year

Selling Your House in the New Year

Christmas is a busy time of year for estate agents. Everyone wants to get their move in before the festivities really kick off, which results in a little bit of a rush. Invariably, this leads to stress on the part of both buyers and sellers. This is stress which can be circumvented by delaying the sale a month or so, and selling during the New Year. By using the Christmas period to upgrade your home, you’ll ensure it’s in the best possible shape when you come to sell. Let’s examine some of the more popular ways to get a home ship-shape, and thereby extract the highest possible fee from those looking to buy it.

Finish small jobs

When potential buyers are taking a look around your property, they’ll be looking for any signs that it will cause them hassle. If they test out a kitchen draw, or upstairs cupboard, and find that it doesn’t work properly, they’ll factor the cost of these repairs into their bids. Generally speaking, buyers tend to over-estimate the cost of these repairs. Instead of offering £200,000 for a given property, they might offer £195,000. Of course, it should be possible to repair all of the drawers and cupboards in your property several times over for far less than that.

It’s best to take a look through your home from a buyer’s eye perspective. If the front gate squeaks, oil it. If the doorbell doesn’t work, now is the time to fix it. Your expenditure will almost always be recovered by an increase in the value of the property. Start with the easiest fixes and work your way upward until you’re starting to doubt whether a particular upgrade will be worth your while.

Deal with the garden

Gardening is a time-consuming, demanding chore during spring and summer. But at this time of year, there’s little to do beside basic tidying and pruning. It’s worth getting these little chores taken care of now, and ensuring the back garden is as tidy as can be. That way, it’ll look spectacular when spring comes around with minimal effort.

Of course, this effect might be negated slightly if your neighbour’s garden looks atrocious, so it’s worth taking them aside for a quiet word if this appears to be the case.

Install a conservatory

If you’ve got a few thousand pounds to spare, then you might put it to work building a conservatory. Provided you invest in a suitably permanent one rather than a cheaper, difficult-to-heat specimen, you’ll almost always secure a return on the investment.

Remove clutter

When it comes to creating a good first impression with potential buyers, the sensation of space is all-important. The larger a property looks, the better. This means that all of the little items that you might have littering the place will need to be dispensed with urgently. This will obviously mean removing any unnecessary decorations that might be displayed on bookshelves and mantelpieces – but it might also be worth getting rid of larger items of furniture – even if you’ve only doing so temporarily.

Professional renovators and property developers will tend to pour significant resources into getting their properties dressed. A designer might be consulted, and thousands of pounds might be poured into furnishing an empty property. This will almost always provide a significant return – and so if you need to fill a space, it might be worth consulting an expert before doing so.

Install a downstairs toilet

If your property doesn’t come equipped with a downstairs toilet, then you could potentially be missing out on a huge selling point. If there’s a suitable broom cupboard, or some other similar room, making the conversion might be more than worthwhile.

Redecorate

Decorating, too, can add thousands of pounds to the price of a property – but only when it’s done correctly. A new coat of paint will help to cover up the wear-and-tear a property might have accrued over the years; damp patches, chips and cracks can be quickly disguised with the help of a roller and a pot of paint. The same principle applies to the exterior of the property, too; if your buyers encounter chipped and ugly paintwork on the way in, they’ll be accordingly less likely to make the purchase. For the price of a pot of paint and an afternoon or two, you’ll be able to boost the value of your property significantly.

Convert the loft

A loft isn’t just a place to store things – it has the potential to be an important room all of itself. The work and materials involved are expensive, to be sure – you might end up spending £50,000 or more, and several months, getting it looking right. If you’re in the middle of London, however, you might get a return of almost triple that. With such a prize on offer, it’s an option worth considering.

Get an estate agent onside

In order to sell your house, you’ll need an idea of how much it’s worth. After all, you could be sitting on a gem, and lose out significantly by accepting a low offer. Alternatively, you might be sitting on a dud, and waste time by turning away perfectly reasonable ones. A good estate agent will be able to provide a good valuation, and help to make the process as smooth as possible.

It’s best to audition a few different estate agents. Select one based on the price they’re quoting – but also on the experience they’re bringing to the table. In order to incentivise a rapid sale, you might offer to pay a different, higher rate if they manage to get the place sold within the first month.

In conclusion

A great many factors go into determining the price of a property, and the speediness of a sale. In the run-up to putting your property on the market, be sure to evaluate the extent to which each improvement will translate to an improved value for your property. That way you’ll be able to concentrate on the measures which matter, and ignore the ones that don’t.

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Phoebe Skinner

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