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16Feb

 

 

 

 

After a winter of short, dark days sitting on the sofa working their way through the bottomless tub of Christmas ‘Celebrations’, home-hunters are hungry for a change.  Spring is on the horizon, the most salient time of year for house sales. With this in mind, we have put together a selection of nine tips to get you moving this springtime

 

1 - Clear out Christmas clutter

 

Christmas is over, it’s time to move with the seasons and remove any last trace of festivity from the home.  That includes the spiced cranberry scented candle in pride of place in the entrance hall.  Any unwanted Christmas gifts craftily piled up by the door in the spare room, donate to charity whilst still within their ‘best-before’ period. You know that pretty packet of bath bombs shaped like cupcakes will only accumulate dust and don’t even get me started on the jar of wild boar pate that Auntie Beryl bought you even though she knows you’re a lifelong vegetarian!

 

Bookcase overflowing? OK, not necessarily Christmas specific but our bookshelves can be natural accumulators of detritus so check them for Christmas cracker toys and whilst there, do a cull of hardbacks that you can bear to part with. Hospitals and charities in the UK and abroad will be most grateful…and your home will have space to breathe again.

 

2 - Deep clean

 

They don’t call it a spring clean for nothing! Whilst regular cleaning includes a hoover and mop of the floors, scrub of the bathtub and wipe down of the kitchen sides…a spring clean tackles ‘what lies beneath’.  Depending on how ‘deep’ you wish to delve, the possibilities are fathomless, so %company_name% have focussed on the essentials.

 

Clear out the cupboard beneath the sink. Viewers want to see everywhere, and half empty bottles of window cleaner and mouldy sponges can be rather off putting. Fatty residues lurking in the sink overflow should also be dealt with.

 

Whilst the focus is often on the glazing itself, don’t neglect to thoroughly wipe down frames and handles of patio doors and windows. The same goes for switches and sockets.

 

If you are considering leaving appliances as part of the sale, be sure to scrub away the deep grime that can build up behind washing machines and ovens.

 

In terms of the oven, if you’re blessed with a wipe-down induction hob or a pyrolytic oven, feel free to jump to tip 3. For the rest of us mere mortals, it’s time to don the Marigolds, dig out the Oven Brite and flex those elbows!

 

3 - From rugs to riches

 

After a winter tolerating muddy boots, mince pies and more, your carpets are ready for some TLC.  A thorough hoover is mandatory, paying special attention to the oft-neglected skirtings. This is especially important for pet owners as skirtings can act as a magnet for animal hair.   Take it to the next level by spraying foamy cleaner on any areas that may have taken a hard hit, before working it in with a hard-bristled brush and hoovering over once dry (check individual instructions).

 

4 - Scale and polish

 

Kitchens and bathrooms suffer the heaviest usage throughout the year, so these are the main rooms to focus your spring clean on. When it comes to limescale, we say ‘fight citrus with citrus’  Halve an old lemon and create a hollow in the centre of the fruit. Then push the same side up into the tip of the faucet and swivel it about until it feels secure and leave it for an hour or two before gently brushing off any remains with a toothbrush.

 

If this method proves too slippery, a white vinegar and water spray solution also works well. Cleaning a shower head? Keep a needle handy to clear the jet holes.

 

5 - Maximise kerb appeal

 

Nothing beats the influx of colour that comes with springtime. Take advantage of the glowing tones of nature to maximise your home’s curb appeal.  Any remaining leaf decay or straggly vines should be raked and trimmed. As soon as your boot stops leaving imprints in the lawn, lift the blades on the mower to their highest setting and give your grass its first haircut of the year.

 

 Top tip: Mowing in a diagonal pattern can help make even the most diminutive of gardens seem larger.

 

6 - Mellow yellow

 

Synonymous with chicks, daffodils and sunshine, yellow is the herald of springtime. The brightest of the primary colours, yellow also has a psychological role to play when selling your home.  Symbolically associated with light, cheer, enthusiasm, warmth, happiness and energy, this is definitely a colour you want to feature in your home this springtime.

 

Try not to overplay it, but a vase of daffodils in the hallway, a planter of tulips by the front door and even freshening up a gloomy room with a yellow cushion or throw will give you the psychological edge when it comes to viewings.

 

7 - Shine like a star

 

If it can capture a reflection, let it shine! Light sells, so be sure to maximise the gleam in every reflective surface of your home in the early spring sunshine.  Begin with the windows, clean them inside and out until they sparkle. Make sure to thoroughly wash any dreary curtains too. It’s called window dressing for a reason, after all, who wants to put dirty clothes back on after a shower?

 

Hardwood floors should be polished to perfection, let the features of the wood really stand out. Splashback tiles in kitchens and bathrooms should be treated with the same standard of attention.

 

8 - Be weather wary

 

British springtime brings with it the promise of April showers.  However, deceptively titled, they make no promise to limit themselves to this month alone.

 

With changeable weather always on the horizon, pray for sunshine during those crucial viewings, but prepare for rain.

 

Have a ‘viewings only’ brand new, clean door mat ready for your viewers. It presents a good first impression whilst also saving your newly scrubbed carpets (see tip #2) from mucky feet.  If possible, have a place to store wet umbrellas out of the way for the duration of the viewing.

Wise also to check the state of your gutters prior to viewings, an overflowing downspout thrumming onto the conservatory roof may not warm the cockles of your viewers’ hearts.

 

9 - A visit from the Easter bunny

 

Curry favour by treating potential buyers to a tasty treat (after all, inspecting homes is a wearing business).  We’re not suggesting setting up an Easter egg hunt prior to every viewing (although that sounds like fun). However, a bowl of chocolates wrapped in shining colourful foil on the kitchen counter or coffee table can lift the spirits immeasurably.

 

With those tips in mind it’s time to ‘spring’ into action! So, if you’re ready to sell, we’d love to hear from you and help get you moving. Call us for a chat on 01364 652652, drop by and see us or send me an email -katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk. We would love to help you spring into gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

04Jan

 

Seven seconds....

 

That’s all the time you have in which to make a good first impression. During that brief timeframe, we create an indelible impression of ourselves.

 

Alright, so that research is person-centred. But fortunately for people, we can rectify a bad first impression with meaningful conversation, gratitude and compliments on the second meeting.  Trouble is, your home doesn’t have the luxury of anthropomorphism. So, how do you ensure your home creates a lasting, and glowing, first impression?

 

Seven seconds? How about seven ‘firsts’? Start the beginning of January with purpose as we reveal our seven sure-fire ways to create a resounding first impression.

 

 

 

  1. Put up a good front…door

 

When seconds count, details matter.

 

All that vacuuming stands for nothing if your prospective buyer has been instantly turned off before they’ve even had chance to set foot upon those perfectly primed carpets.

 

Often overlooked, when was the last time you truly took in the details of your own front door? Serving more for practicality’s sake than as a ‘wow factor’ when it comes to selling, nonetheless, the front door is the first thing your viewer gets up close and personal with.

 

Fear not, this one is a relatively easy fix. Unless your wooden door is rotting at the hinges, re-loving it can be a fairly stress-free process.

 

Firstly, check for maintenance issues. Pet owners pay heed! Look out for scratch marks towards the base of the door and give them a sand down. Pet feeders in porches can often leave un-slightly ‘splashback’ of gravy or jelly, so be sure to scrub down the sill and side casing of the frame.

 

Breathe life into faded paintwork with a makeover. We love a sophisticated splash of British racing green, or the warm welcome of lollipop red. For UPVC doors, a lick of paint may be out of the question, but a good scrub and polish can still work wonders. And for a touch of colour, why not invest in a pair of pre-prepared containers of seasonal planting for either side of the entrance?

 

 

 

  1. Dress for the part

 

Just because the viewer is there to inspect your home, that doesn’t mean you (or your agent) won’t be under the microscope too.

 

As always, presentation is the key. No need to dress for royalty, but leave your ‘comfy pants’ and tattered trainers firmly at the back of the cupboard where they belong.

 

Keep up appearances with a tidy, clean outfit, and be on hand to greet your visitors in a friendly and welcoming manner when they arrive. If you take this much care over your own appearance, your house must be well looked after, right?

 

Why not employ a touch of psychology to help secure a lasting first impression?

 

Play to the strengths of your home’s ‘lifestyle factor’. If you have a stunning garden orchard, why not give your guest some ‘thinking space’ during the viewing as you disappear to harvest some of the crop. A woven basket lined with a checked tea towel, brimming with Egremont Russets paints its own picture of domestic bliss!

 

 

 

  1. Selling not smelling!

 

A fantastic first impression occurs when all the senses join together in pleasurable harmony, so don’t just focus on what your viewer can see with their eyes.

 

The best way to suss out if your home needs an olfactory overhaul is to invite a straight-speaking friend over to have a ‘nose’ about the place. That way you can freshen up the atmosphere before viewings. This is particularly helpful if you are a pet owner. Chances are you are accustomed to your pet’s odour. Even if you are militant about grooming, bathing and hoovering…a non-pet owner will sniff out their presence before you can say ‘walkies’.

 

Many smokers no longer light up in their home, however porches and cloakrooms can often harbour residual smells. Be sure to wash ‘smoking jackets’ and avoid smoking anywhere on your premises prior to a viewing.

 

 

 

  1. Kick skeletons out of closets

 

Admit it. There’s no shame. We all have that one room of doom. Usually the box room, with its unpleasant aroma of mildew, or if you’re lucky just a large coat closet.

 

Most savvy viewers will want to peek behind every door they come across in your home.

 

The lasting first impression you want for them isn’t the ambulance siren as they are whisked away to be treated for concussion after they open the airing cupboard door and the Christmas board game box topples down onto their head. Ker-plunk indeed.

 

Putting your house on the market is a great opportunity to clear out the cobwebs and de-skeleton the closets. Anything un-used for six months or more, donate to a local charity shop. There, now you can show off the wealth of storage facilities your home has to offer.

 

 

 

  1. What lies beneath…

 

Bathrooms and kitchens hold the key to a good first impression. Get them right, you could clean up. Get them wrong and your viewers will be looking to make a clean break.  For this first impression to be successful you really do have to go the extra mile. Mildew and the dreaded black mould are absolute no-nos. It’s time to don the Marigolds, reach for the bleach and scrub ‘til it sparkles.

 

If housemaid’s elbow really isn’t your style, then it’s time to get the professionals in. Good deep cleaning services are worth their weight in gold when it comes to clinching the sale. Another top tip for a pearly-white tile-smile includes grouting pens, designed to restore the gleam of stained tile grout in both bathrooms and kitchens.

 

 

 

  1. DO judge a book by its cover

 

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Yet the cover is designed for exactly this purpose. It displays clues and offers sneak previews of the inside on its front and back covers.

 

Just like your home.

 

Any signs of wear and tear, neglect or ugliness on the exterior are sure to resonate with your viewers for all the wrong reasons. Once inside, the glamour of your home’s interior may well win them back around; but it’s an uphill battle.

 

 With the stakes so highly set, do you really need the extra scrutiny?

 

 If your home lacks inherent ‘kerb appeal’, fear not. While you can’t change the intrinsic nature of the architecture, even the most eye-watering of 1970s extensions can be presented in a positive light with a little attention to detail.

 

Mrs Marigold to the rescue once more! Get elbow deep in the gutters; leaves and winter detritus not only look unsightly but can be damaging if left untended.

 

Peeling paintwork signifies an aging property and will put viewers on high alert for other flaws inside. A spot of TLC now will pay dividends in the long term.

 

 

 

  1. Space to shine

 

 

 

Having followed the above tips, it’s time to leave your home to do the talking.

 

 

 

As tempting as it is to shadow viewers around your home and ‘troubleshoot’ any negatives they may mention, space sometimes sells.  Pop the kettle on, and leave a pot of freshly brewed tea or coffee out alongside a plate of biscuits before leaving them to it.  Give them the space and time to make their own minds up about your home; after all, sometimes you just have to play it cool.

 

 

 

With those tips in mind, you’ve done your very best to show your home in its very best light.

 

And remember…you never get a SECOND chance to make a good FIRST impression.

 

So, if you are ready to sell, we’d love to help your home make an incredible first impression. Just call us on 01364 652652 or email us at hello@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll help get you moving.

 

 

 

27Dec

The winter is upon us and while it promises more opportunities to relive or create fond memories while snuggling by your fireplace with a hot chocolate or having fun snowball fights, it can also lead to problems. This is particularly true for homeowners whose properties are not ready for the coming season.

Good Housekeeping noted that the three-month-long extreme freeze last year resulted in insurers paying out a staggering £194 million on burst pipes alone. Aside from frozen pipes, there are many other ways winter can cause damage to your property. To avoid accruing damages and future costs, here are some things all homeowners need to do to make sure their houses are ready for the winter:



Clean the gutters

Clogged gutters cause many issues during the winter months. Clogged gutters prevent melted snow from draining properly and as a result, water finds other routes to escape. It can either overflow and speed up the deterioration of your exterior—or worse, find its way to your property’s foundation, which can potentially create bigger problems in the long run.

As mentioned in our post ‘Eight Things Landlords Can Do to Prepare Their Property for the Winter’, it is extremely important to keep gutters clear to avoid structural damage.

 

Trim nearby trees

As harmless as they may be, trees can be a serious safety risk during the winter. The Balance suggests that snow and ice can potentially take down branches or cause an entire tree to fall due to the weight. To ensure the safety of your property as well as your tenants, inspect all trees immediately outside your property and cut down dying ones which could potentially fall down, as well as trim any branches that could wilt under pressure.


Service your boiler 

As the cold season approaches, it is best to check if your properties have functioning boilers, especially as tenant-landlord laws require rental properties to have their heating systems in good working order. To make sure that your boiler is in its optimal condition, get a professional to inspect it and be sure to follow their advice. Plumbing service providers HomeServe also recommend getting insurance for your boiler and central heating system. This is particularly important as predictions suggest there will be over 2,500 boilers breakdowns this year as the temperatures are projected to be harsher than usual.

 

Clean chimneys

Aside from boilers, chimneys can also be an efficient way to keep your property warm and cosy. The Washington Post notes that a good chimney sweep will not only increase its efficiency but also ensure safety. For a more thorough cleaning, get a good chimney sweep company to do it for you before winter arrives and have them identify and resolve maintenance problems. If you don’t plan on making use of the chimney, remember to board it up or use a chimney balloon to keep cold air out and warm air in.



Insulate properly

One way to make your property energy-efficient this winter is by making sure that it is properly insulated. Proper insulation will keep your property warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thus reducing the work needed to be done by the boilers to keep the property at the desired temperature. At the same time, you can also have your pipes insulated to keep them from freezing or bursting.

For more top property tips and advice simply give us a call on 01364 652652 or pop in and see us!

 

04Dec

 

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat…you won’t sell your house while it looks like that!

 

While the whimsy of festive folk songs may conjure images of capering ruddy-cheeked children, of twinkling tree lights framed behind snow-frosted latticework and of plump, steaming turkey breasts, dripping in trimmings and set on grand dining tables just ready to be carved; the reality is a little more Dickensian fact than fiction.

 

The kids have churned the grass into a mud bath, the house looks tired and worn once the glamour of the Christmas decorations has gone and the house still smells vaguely like turkey curry a week on from Boxing Day.

 

But sometimes, needs must.

 

Panic not. If you are selling your home this festive season, take a look over our top tips to help you market your home more successfully over the wintertime. 

1. Play to winter’s strengths.

 

Take advantage of the seasonal weather by creating a cosy sanctuary from the cold…your viewers might never want to leave!

 

Fight the impulse to close the curtains as soon as the sun drops. Instead, light your table lamps to create a warm and inviting glow through the windows.

 

If you have a log burner or open fire, now is the time to light it. Be sure that you have cleaned the glass on any multi-fuel stoves prior to lighting and that your hearth has had a good sweep and polish. Nothing beats the rustic allure of a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night.

 

For the icing on the (Christmas) cake, prepare some homemade treats to welcome your viewers.

 

Gingerbread is a fairly simple and seasonal recipe; not only does it store well, but the spicy smell of fresh-from the oven gingerbread can thaw even the coolest customer. Top tip – reheat premade biscuits in the oven just prior to viewing to release that enchanting aroma.

 

Freshly brewed tea in a pot, hot chocolate with a swirl of whipped cream and freshly mulled wine are other reviving refreshments with which to welcome visitors.

 

2. Give your garden some love.

 

You’ve tended your bedding plants lovingly all summer, your free-flowing hanging baskets have been the talk of the town! But now that summer is over, and you’ve tucked your garden up for the winter, do remember to check in on it from time to time. For working homeowners, the garden may barely catch your eye over the winter months; particularly if you’re up and away before the sunrise and home well after it sets.  

However, whilst potential buyers may not be out to scrutinise your flowerbeds on a winter viewing, the subliminal effects of a tatty garden can contribute to that make-or-break moment in a viewer’s mind.

 

Consider your garden as an additional reception room. Hoover it of any dirt and debris in the same manner, with a quick rake up of leaves and blitz any green fuzz off the patio with a power washer.  If you have an edging spade for the lawn, neaten up the edges for a crisp overall aesthetic appeal.

 

 A bird feeder placed nearby a lounge or kitchen window can be especially charming on a viewing (who doesn’t love a Christmas robin?) but remember to keep the feeders cleaned and stocked.

 

Finally, a simple wreath of leaves and berries on a traditional front door can really set the mood around Christmas time.

 

 

3. Winter-proof your home.

 

If you’re thinking of putting your house on the market over winter, a seasonal tune up might be in order. Nobody needs a boiler backfire on viewing day!

 

Consider employing a professional to sweep the chimneys of any open fires or log burning stoves. This is particularly important if your stove has not been used over the summer, in case of nesting birds or blockages.

 

Fountains and ponds may be switched off for the wintertime, but ensure they are also drained, cleaned and stored carefully over this period. Clean and store any pumps or filter systems ahead of spring, to ensure that gentle splish-splash is ready to herald the spring again in a few months. Patio furniture should also be carefully cleaned and stored, to prevent damage. Ice can cause glass tables to crack, whilst upholstered chairs will encounter water damage in the inclement weather.

 

 

4. Turn up the heat.

 

No need to treat your viewers to sauna-level temperatures, but try to maintain a comfortable warmth throughout your home.  This is particularly important if you will be out at work whilst viewings are taking place; time to get to grips with that pesky timer!

 

In spare bedrooms and lesser-used rooms, try to compensate for any stale energy and brighten the mood with a lit, seasonally-scented candle or even a small pot plant.

 

A warm welcome can also be created with a lick of paint in any tired rooms. This can particularly come to light in the post-Christmas period. Once the decorations have come down, see your spaces in a clear light. Is it time for a facelift?

 

 

5. No muddy shoes (or dogs) allowed!

 

Some of us are stricter on our ‘no shoes indoors’ policy than others, but to secure that winter sale, it’s time to get militant.

 

This can be particularly challenging if you have younger children, pets and no porch; but don’t despair!

 

In addition to dirt and odour, muddy shoes can wear out good carpets. Why not invest in a set of ‘house shoes’? For those with mobility issues and those not partial to slippers, this can be a great way of keeping your feet warm and snug at no detriment to the carpets.

 

Outdoor lifestyles don’t necessarily go hand in hand with cream carpets, especially for those with no boot room or porch. However, by installing a traditional boot scraper and brush by the front door, you will remind yourself to knock off the heavy-duty muck before entering.  If in doubt, treat your carpets to a professional clean!

 

 

 

All done? Snuggle up and get ready for that sale. ‘Tis the season, after all…

 

 

 

02Dec

We all know that moving home can be stressful, especially if you’re a previous homeowner trying to prepare your old house before settling into a new one. There are a lot of factors to consider, like finding the right estate agent, comparing house removal costs and the current state of the local property market that sometimes you question whether it’s even the right time to continue.

 

To ease your mind throughout the process, we’ve discovered the prime times to be selling and why now is actually a good time to do so.  We have also added a few useful tips for when you’re ready to commit, preparing you for those all importnant viewings.

 

Reasons Why Now is a Good Time to Sell Your Home

 

 

     Selling Your Home in the winter months

 

 

With Brexit affecting the property market and making buyers more cautious, selling your home now may seem like a daunting task. However, it could be the best decision to make as there has recently been a 1.1% boost in house prices since the Brexit delay. With prices rising, a sum of up to £3,500 could be added to the value of your home. Patience is key but now is a great time to sell.  Many buyers are becoming more impatient, wanting properties now rather than later. The uncertainty of the market has actually increased the number of first-time buyers this year, improving the pool of potential viewers. 

 

 

    Early Spring as a time to sell

 

 

Spring can be a prime time to put your home onto the property market! Spring is one of the best times to sell your house, with March, April and May being the preferred months. With Easter bank holidays allowing buyers more time to browse, houses sell more quickly, spending less time on the market.  With the dull, dark Winter days disappearing, Spring introduces blooming gardens, more daylight and a better atmosphere in general for house hunting. Early Summer is also a great time to sell but once you hit August, it often begins to deflate again. Everything comes back to life in Spring, including buyers.

 

 

5 Tips to Help Prepare Your Home Before Selling

 

 

  1. Declutter and Depersonalise

 

Prepare early and get your home looking as clean and inviting as possible. Don't leave everything until the last minute. Bathrooms and kitchens should be given extra care as they are prime areas that buyers will want to inspect. Prepare the house as if you were viewing it, think about what factors you’d be looking for in a home.

 

Whilst you’re cleaning, don’t forget to depersonalise the rooms. This step is important as it allows viewers to picture themselves living in the space. Family photographs, trophies, niche ornaments, everything personal to you should be temporarily removed. You could keep a few unusual items on display to add colour or interest but the house needs to be a blank canvas for potential buyers.

 

You could also start decluttering your home ready for moving day. The more unwanted items you get rid of, the easier the cleaning process will be. It’ll also save you money in the long run as the less you have to move, the less you’ll have to pay. You could even try the KonMari method of decluttering to get you started.

 

 

  1. Fix Any Cosmetic or Minor Issues

 

Sometimes, the biggest help when selling a house is something as simple as giving the rooms a fresh coat of paint. Keep the decor as minimal as possible and stick to white or neutral colours to allow viewers to imagine themselves adding their own personal touch. Use high-quality paint to ensure less maintenance is needed for future tenants.

 

If there are any minor but obvious issues, it would be wise to fix them before any viewings are booked. Small tweaks can make a huge difference. Replace fixtures like dated light fittings, replace light bulbs or fix any doors that won’t close correctly. A well-maintained house is vital for a good first impression.

 

  1. Ensure Your Garden is Well-Presented

 

Many viewers can be reluctant to buy when the garden is overgrown or untidy. It would require a lot of future work and expenses, discouraging them from buying. You don’t need to go overboard but simply prune any overgrown plants and perhaps rearrange any furniture to appear more homely. Cleaning gutters, decluttering any mess, fixing uneven paving slabs, every little step can help make your home appear more desirable.

 

  1. Make the Most of Natural Light

 

Creating a bright and inviting home is vital when selling your house. Natural light is a key factor that can change the atmosphere of any room. Open the windows, add mirrors to reflect the Spring light, create a cheery and larger looking room that’ll impress the viewers.

 

If your property doesn’t have an abundance of natural light, simply replace dim light bulbs, add small lamps, take down the curtains, repaint darker rooms, anything that can make the home seem as bright and airy as possible. The more appealing and cared for your house looks, the more attractive it is to viewers.

 

  1. Hire a Reliable Solicitor or Conveyancer - get the legals ready!

 

One of the most important factors when moving house is the paperwork. Ensure that you hire a reliable conveyancer or conveyancing solicitor to aid you in the legal aspects of buying and selling a house. With a conveyancer on hand, they can answer any questions you may have and help complete the contracts, giving you peace of mind. You need to be just as prepared as your house will be.

 

It’s important to get everything in order before the transaction. By having someone to aid you in the paperwork, you’ll feel a lot more organised and fully prepared to sell your home. The more help you have, the more efficient the process can be.

 

Whether you are on the market now or planning on being we would love to help you.  Just give us a call on 01364 652652 or contact us at hello@sawdyeandharris.co.uk - we will be waiting !

 

Images Source: Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

 

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