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15May

What does your garden mean to you? For us, it can be summarised in three simple words: entertainment, enjoyment and peace. With it being such a pleasurable, versatile space, it’s no wonder several studies show that it’s within the top three priorities for a potential buyer. Surrounding your house at both front and back, it’s a large area that requires just as much pre-viewing preparation as any room inside – and that’s where we’re here to help!

Tidying the garden is one thing, but styling it is another – it’s the finishing touches you add to the space with considered layouts and accessories that will take it to the next level. So, after you’ve trimmed the hedges and pressure-washed the patio, the fun can truly begin! By bringing a flourish of style to the garden, you’ll be surpassing the viewer’s expectations, showing them the true potential of the space.  

Read on for 6 tested tips that will finesse your garden with a dose of charming style. 

1. Frame the front door

The first area viewers will see when they arrive is the front door, so it’s worth thinking about the inviting impression you want to create. After refreshing old letterboxes, handles and knockers, consider defining a pathway to the door with flanks of flower beds or potted plants interspersed with post lights.  

When it comes to the doorway or porch, draw the eye by framing it with hanging baskets and climbing plants. Alternatively, use candle-filled lanterns of varying sizes either side of the door – mix these in groups of three for visual appeal.

 

2. Get in the zone

Before you start accessorising the back garden, we suggest dividing it into different areas that are suited for particular purposes. Not only will this make your space feel bigger, but it will also be more organised, allowing you to show the garden in its best light.  

A few cleverly positioned dining and seating areas will help to subtly delineate your garden and enable potential buyers to envisage themselves in the space. Define the centre of the main entertainment area with a weatherproof rug, and use comfy furniture to outline the borders. For a balance of cosy and sophisticated style, use a glass-topped table and cushioned dining chairs made from natural-looking materials such as all-weather wicker or Lloyd Loom.  

If space allows, channel relaxation in another corner of the garden with an outdoor sofa or swing chair and a timber coffee table. To complete the snug look and feel, add a gas or electric heater.  

3. Light the way

Come rain or shine, illuminating your outdoor space with thoughtfully chosen lighting that looks just as good in the daytime as it does at night will add warmth and style. Consider the theme of your interior, and expand this into the garden. A set of bronze- and copper-toned fixtures will give an aged, antique look that’s in keeping with period houses and cottages, whereas matt black and silvered patinas will coordinate with the contemporary feel of a modern home.  

If you have a decking area, consider installing recessed floor lighting – for house viewings during darker months, this it will add an uplifting glow to the space. Alternatively, intertwine streams of festoon lights around an awning, hang them along the eaves of a shed or car port, or wrap them around a tree or two to enhance the relaxed atmosphere.  

4. Play with mirrors

An outdoor mirror or two is ideal for bouncing light around the garden and, if you position them in a clever way, they can also make the space feel bigger. When placing a mirror outside, consider what you want it to reflect. Fixing it against a fence or wall to reflect flowers and foliage is much preferrable to a view of trailing drainpipes!  

Think about the shape and size of the mirror, too. Going large will have the most impact, so when it comes to oversized mirrors, add one to your seating area to bounce light and reflect your table styling skills. Whether your garden style errs on the classic or modern side, a Crittall window mirror will suit the space. Give an arch-shaped one pride of place in an elegant countryside garden, or use a straight-framed square version in a more contemporary area.

 

5. Lift the space with colour

When it comes to nature, feel free to play around with colour to make your garden feel cheerful and inviting. For easy decorating, bring in container plants – they work especially well on a paved area or courtyard space where colour might be lacking. And if the flowers aren’t in bloom yet, then you can still add bright hues in the form of plant pots and baskets grouped together in coordinating colours.  

For quaint, older houses, a fast-growing climber such as wisteria or clematis set against a wall or fence will give your space a real ‘wow’ factor. Or for a modern home, use trailing plants housed in hanging baskets to create a living wall of foliage for a more minimal approach. Wooden or galvanised metal step ladders are also a creative way to make a fun floral display.  

If you have any bare patches among your flower beds, then now is the time to fill them. Bring in a selection of easy-to-maintain perennials that look good all year round such as hellebore, libertia, liriope muscari and cranesbill.

6. Keep it low-key

Remember, you don’t need to go OTT with styling or make it appear high maintenance. Keep it depersonalised by opting for furnishings that highlight texture over pattern and, unless it’s in the form of flowers or plants, accessorise with calm, neutral colours so you don’t overwhelm the space.  

Keen for more tips on how to style your garden? Or do you need other advice on how to prepare your home ready to go on the market? Either way, we’d love to hear from you! Simply call us for a chat on 01364 652652 or send us an email at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk. No matter what your question is, we’re always more than happy to help.

01Apr

Spring is a wonderful time to sell a home – the buds are budding, gardens are springing into life, and a little bit of sunshine makes everyone’s home look better. Plus, buyers have traditionally always started home searching in the spring, and the property portals tell us this is still the case today.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, or your home is on the market right now, you may have some questions about how to make your move a success. Here are some of the questions we get asked at this time of year by many of our clients:

 

“My house has been on the market since wintertime – now my garden is flowering, should I get new photographs taken?”

Winter garden photos can look a little, well, sad. Bare trees and shrubs, bare earth and leaf-covered, muddy lawns can all be a bit off-putting to buyers. So when your garden starts coming back to life, it’s a really good idea to get some fresh and colourful images taken to showcase it to buyers. At Sawdye & Harris we offer new foliage images free of charge to our clients, to make sure their images online are always current and as attractive as possible. Why not ask your agent if they can do likewise?  

 

If I get an offer now, when should I expect to be moved by?”

Nationwide, the current time from accepting an offer to handing over the keys is around 12 weeks, but this can vary hugely depending on your buyer’s position, finance needed, any complications with your sale and much more. If you have a straightforward sale, no chain and your buyer doesn’t need a mortgage, then you should be moved by the summer, or around 10 weeks. Any complications or chain delays can more than double this, so ask an expert about your specific situation. We’re always happy to offer our advice on timescales and what to expect. Just give us a call on PHONE NUMBER and let’s have a chat.  

 

I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house tidy during the Easter holidays! Should I take a break from the market?”

We feel your pain! Selling a house with children off school is never an easy task, but there are some things you can do to help make your viewings successful and stress-free:

  • Encourage (bribe) your children to tidy up and keep tidy. Daily inspections with reward stickers for younger children and cash for older teens usually does the trick.
  • Keep the children out of the house as much as possible, so your home stays tidier!
  • Takeaways or eating out if you have an imminent viewing booked will save you having to clean your kitchen.
  • Resist the urge to do ‘messy’ playtime with the kids if you have viewings arranged – no finger painting, Play-doh or baking!
  • Make sure you’re out of the house for viewings, so you don’t feel stressed – being under pressure to have perfectly-behaved children will not result in an enjoyable viewing, for you or your buyers!
  • If you have a real house-full and really would rather not have to cope with viewings during the school holidays, tell your agent. They’ll be understanding if you want to take a break from the market until the kids go back to school.

 

“I’m thinking about moving home – is now a good time?”

A great question! We’re sure you’ve heard it’s a ‘seller’s market’ right now, and has been pretty much since the start of the Pandemic. But things are starting to change. More homes coming to market means more competition for buyers, and that creates downward pressure on house prices. We expect prices to remain strong for at least this year, and probably into next year, but we think the days of huge scarcity are now behind us. What does this mean for you if you’re thinking of selling? Well, if we’re right and property prices have peaked, you can feel confident you’d be selling your home at the top of the market. Whatever your situation, selling now when you know it’s a strong market is going to give you a more predictable sale price than waiting until next year and facing an unknown property market.

 

What are most buyers looking for right now?”

Some homes are inevitably in more demand than others – our buyers are looking for specific features, like work-from-home space, and often want a home with potential to extend. Bungalows seem to be very popular right now, as are homes with land. Whatever your home has to offer, we’d love to have a chat with you and tell you whether we have buyers registered who are looking for a home just like yours. Just give us a call on 01364 652652 or drop me a line at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk to get the ball rolling.  

 

I thought this was supposed to be a seller’s market, but my home still hasn’t had much interest. What can I do?”

It’s hugely disappointing when you’re excited to put your home on the market, and no one seems interested. Especially if neighbouring properties are selling fast around you. The three key drivers of any successful property sale are presentation, price and promotion: how well your home is presented to the market, and whether it competes on how modern rooms like its kitchens and bathrooms are; whether the price is competitive and not over-optimistic; and finally, but probably the most important of the three, how your home is marketed. The images, written description and brochure are more important than most people assume, and just improving them can have a dramatic impact on how much interest a home receives. We’ve taken on , styled them and changed the photography, and sold them straight away without changing the price at all! So if you’re not sure if your marketing is really showcasing your home, we’ll be frank, and tell you honestly if it is. Send me a link to your home at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and I’ll tell you how you can improve your marketing and attract the right buyer.

 

“Our garden is looking lovely, but it’s still a bit muddy. Can we ask viewers to take off their shoes before they view our home?”

Yes! We always take off our shoes before going into a home, and so we expect the viewers to, too. Carpets with muddy footprints aren’t attractive to buyers, so let’s make sure yours stay clean!

 

If you have any questions at all about any of the points raised in this article, or you’d just like a friendly, no-strings chat about your house sale, we’d love to help you. Call me on 01364 652652 or email me at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk or WhatsApp me on 07768 065532 and let’s get you moving.

 KATIE GRIFFIN, proud owner of Sawdye & Harris

Covering Dartmoor and the Teign Valley

 

06Feb

2021 was a tremendous year for home price growth in the UK – the strongest since the mid-2000s – with many areas and types of home seeing values increase by double-figure percentages. This means a house bought for £500,000 only two years ago could be worth up to £600,000 today!

The huge imbalance between supply and demand, with many more buyers than homes available, has been the key driver behind these extraordinary increases. If you own a unique home and you’re thinking of selling, you have a rare opportunity to sell your home for far more than its ‘logical’ value.

 

Chicken and Egg 

Across much of the country, the best price rises have been at the higher end of the market. Historically low mortgage rates and a desire for extra space – especially as more people have found themselves working from home – has encouraged many homeowners over the past couple of years to upsize to larger homes.

The biggest challenge with the current lack of homes available to buy is that many homeowners can’t find anywhere to move to, so instead are staying put until that dream home comes on the market. This has created a ‘chicken and egg’ situation where the market is facing a stalemate – no one can move if no one is moving!

 

What’s likely to happen to prices as we move through 2022?

As more sellers decide to take advantage of current demand and put their home on the market, that increase in supply is likely to lead to slower price growth, with Rightmove predicting that average prices will have risen by around 5% by the end of this year, marking a considerable slowdown in price increases compared to the last two years.

At Sawdye & Harris, we are already seeing a significant increase in the number of people inviting us to give them an up-to-date valuation of their home. Therefore, although right now, demand from buyers is still far outstripping supply, we expect this gap to close over the next few months.  As this happens, buyers facing a greater choice will be less willing to pay a premium for their next home, even if they can afford to do so.

 

Getting the right price for your home

Sell sooner rather than later to get the best price. Of course, no one knows what’s going to happen to house prices in 2022, but early indications are that we just won’t see the record prices achieved in 2021. This means selling now will give you a degree of certainty and avoid you regretting sitting tight later in the year when house prices could flatten out. This is especially true if you’re downsizing or selling a second home, when you can best take advantage of the price differential or the funds you could realise in an early sale.

 

National, and even regional, house price averages are just that – averages. Every area has its own micro-market, and the price performance of different types of home can vary from one village, and even one street, to another. As your local property experts, we keep a very close eye on the details of the market, so we can best advise you on timing and selling strategy, to help you maximise your selling price.

 

What’s next?

Let’s have a chat about if and how moving on right now could be the right decision for you. At the very least, we can act as a sounding board to help you make an informed choice. And at best, you could realise a life-changing sum of money from your house sale and move on, secure in the knowledge that you captured the very peak of the market.

You can reach me, Katie Griffin on 01364 652652 or at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk, and I’ll very much welcome the chance to chat through your potential plans.

05Jan

The new year encourages many of us to make positive changes in our lives. A popular choice is pledging to do more exercise, while some people might decide to learn a new skill. But if you were one of the many sellers who put their home on the market last year and you haven’t yet found a buyer, this new year you’re probably resolving to get that sale!

 

As estate agents, we find that pretty much every new year brings with it not only a flood of requests from homeowners for valuations, but also a steady stream of enquiries about homes for sale. That means as we make our way through winter towards the spring, the market is usually buzzing.

 

So, how can you best take advantage of this activity and make sure your home attracts and secures the perfect buyer?

 

Here’s our round up of five positive steps you can take right now to revamp your marketing strategy and ensure this is the year you move on and make a fresh start in a new home.

 

 

  1. Take a brief rest from the market

In our experience, a home tends to generate the greatest interest from buyers in the first two to three weeks that it’s on the market. When your home appears as a new listing, buyers who are registered with online portals should receive a link to the details, and your agent should be sending out the brochure to their own database of potential buyers.

 

But after that initial flurry of activity, things often settle down on the viewing front, and we find that the longer your home is on the market, the less likely it is to attract the perfect buyer. As those who have been looking for a new home for a while keep seeing your listing, the fact that it hasn’t sold yet may make it less desirable to them, and you’re more reliant on new buyers who are just starting their search.

 

So, if you’ve been advertising for several months, it could be a good idea to take a break just for a few weeks, in order to reignite interest. Give the market time to move on a little bit – let some sales of other homes that are comparable to yours go through and wait for new buyers to enter the mix – then you can relaunch your home with some fresh marketing.

 

And while you’re temporarily off the market, you can use the time to review your sales and marketing plan with your agent and take some positive actions, beginning with a review of what buyers who have already seen your home have said about it.

 

 

  1. Review feedback from viewings

Feedback from potential buyers who have viewed your home can often be incredibly useful. Finding out what they liked and what didn’t appeal so much helps both you and your agent understand what could be discouraging people from making an offer.

 

For instance, if viewers thought some rooms felt a little dark or smaller than they’d hoped, could you change the lighting or perhaps rearrange some of the furniture to maximise light and space? Or, if the feedback was that certain rooms felt dated or needed some work, would you be prepared to spend a little money on upgrades or redecoration, to help achieve the best possible price for your home?

 

So, discuss with your agent the feedback people have given so far, and if several buyers have highlighted the same points, look at whether there’s anything you can do to change those things and make your home more attractive to buyers. And feel free to contact us for some advice – we’re always here to help!

 


 

  1. Style your home for the spring

Some simple restyling can be a great, cost-effective way to give your home a new look for the new year, and you might be surprised what you can achieve with just a few accessory changes.

 

Pack away any dark-coloured or heavy cushions, throws and rugs – all the touches that helped make your home feel extra cosy through the winter – and replace them with lighter fabrics. Invest in some crisp white bed linen (which will also brighten up the bedrooms in your new home when you move!), and make sure curtains and blinds are well drawn back to let as much daylight in as possible. Breathe new life into each room with freshly cut flowers and leafy plants, and swap large pillar candles and storm lanterns for just a few more subtle, light floral-scented candles. You can also check out the latest issues of home magazines for more current style tips.

 

Finally, think about how the furniture is positioned – could a different configuration make a room feel more spacious and inviting to potential buyers? And don’t forget, you can always ask for some help with this. We know ourselves that it can be tricky to look at your own home objectively, so maybe ask a friend to cast their eye over it and give you an unbiased opinion.

 


 

  1. Ask your agent to take new, professional photographs

Professional photographs can make all the difference to the success of your home’s marketing. Great eye-catching photographs don’t only show what’s in a home, they tell a story and illustrate a lifestyle that really grabs the imagination of potential buyers, making them want to live that life themselves.

 

For example, a professional sitting room photograph might feature a roaring fire and some glossy magazines next to an afternoon tea on the table, conveying a sophisticated, yet warm and relaxing feel. And a bathroom shot might show a steaming bubble bath, surrounded by candles and soft lighting, to give the feeling of a luxurious spa.

 

A photographer who’s experienced in shooting homes for magazines and sales brochures will know exactly how to capture each room looking its absolute best – from the angle and lighting to incorporating the finest lifestyle features into the shots.

 

 

So, once you’ve revamped the styling of your home, ask your agent to have some new, professional photographs taken. Not only will that ensure your images look current and in line with the season, but if you’ve taken a break from marketing, it means you can relaunch with an entirely new portfolio of stunning shots and potentially attract buyers that might not have noticed your home before.

 

  1. Update your brochure

Take another look at the brochure your agent’s been sending out to prospective buyers. Are you happy with the quality, and do you feel it properly reflects the value of your home? It should showcase a desirable lifestyle that will grab buyers’ attention and entice them to view – does it do that?

 

Once you’ve had new photographs taken, your brochure will need updating anyway, so this is your opportunity to make any other changes that could help attract that perfect buyer. So make sure:

 

  • The front cover features a striking photograph of the exterior – we find a twilight shot with all the interior lights on often makes a stunning first impression
  • The order of the interior photos takes buyers on a logical journey through the home, as they might see it on a viewing
  • The written copy has an enthusiastic tone and is full of descriptive and emotive adjectives to capture the buyer’s imagination
  • There is a floorplan that includes room dimensions and the overall floor area and shows the orientation of your home.

 

Of course, depending on how your agent responds to your suggestions and how happy you are about your experience with them to date, you may feel it’s time for a complete change of approach with a new agent. In that case, take a look at our blog‘Thinking of changing estate agents? – Our smooth move guide’ - https://bit.ly/3m3z9TP

 

And if you’re ready to step things up a gear so you can get moving this new year, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch and we’ll be delighted to take you through our bespoke marketing approach and discuss how we can help you achieve a successful sale at the best possible price. Just call on01364 652652

 

or emailkatie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk

 

and we’ll get right back to you.

15Dec

 

Selling a home might not be an exact science, but there are a number of factors that will make a huge difference to how successful your sale will be.

 

Our experience has shown us that homes that sell quickly and for a good price tend to have certain key things in common, so we’ve developed a checklist that we can use to analyse the saleability of any home. We rate various elements of your marketing approach across five categories, awarding up to a maximum of five points for each element to give your home an overall ‘Saleability Score’.

 

Using our scorecard, you’ll be able to see for yourself where there may be room for improvement in your marketing. Once you’ve identified which areas aren’t as strong as they could be, you can discuss those points with your agent and work together to turn things around so that your home makes the right impact on buyers.

 

 

So, if your home has been on the market for a while and perhaps you haven’t had quite as many viewings as you’d hoped, run through our Saleability Scorecard and see how your marketing stacks up. Set aside a couple of hours, and make sure you have your printed brochure and online listing to hand. Think about every question carefully, and try to look objectively at your marketing materials and how your home is presented. Then give your answers in the form of points, awarding from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 5 for each bullet point listed under each element below:

 

1. Your estate agent

Communication and feedback are key to helping you understand how the marketing is going and reassuring you that your agent really is doing their best to sell your home. So:

 

 - Do they call you regularly – at least once a week?

 - Do they accompany every viewing?

 - Do they give you detailed feedback after each viewing?

 - Have they made any suggestions around how you might be able to generate more viewings – other than dropping the price?

 

 

2. Your brochure

Your brochure needs to convey the quality of your home, setting a standard and value before the prospective buyer sees it in person. And the photographs have got to showcase a desirable lifestyle, grabbing buyers’ attention and enticing them to view.

 

 - Does the brochure fully represent your home – we usually recommend 16–20 glossy pages – and does it have a luxurious feel?

 

 - Are your photographs professional, and do they sell a lifestyle? The features of each room should be shown in crisp detail, and the images should convey an aspirational feel. In a sitting room, for instance, fires and candles should be lit, fresh flowers put out, and lights switched on to ensure the room looks spacious and bright, but cosy and inviting at the same time. A gently bubbling bath with flickering candles is selling a relaxing and luxurious lifestyle, not just a bathroom. And for kitchen photographs, some fresh baking will bring the image of the room to life and stimulate more than just the buyer’s visual senses.

 

 - Is the written description enthusiastic in tone and full of emotive adjectives? The copywriter should be conveying a narrative that really captures the buyer’s imagination and makes them want to experience your home for themselves.

 

 - Does the floorplan include dimensions and the overall floor area and show the orientation of your home?

 

 

3. Your online advert

This is your virtual shop window, and with the possibility of hundreds of other homes appearing in search results, your listing needs to stand out.

 

 - Does your main photograph grab a buyer’s attention and encourage them to click for more information? We find that a twilight shot with all the interior and exterior lights on can be a particularly striking image and is often the best one to use online.

 

 - Does the listing have a punchy, eye-catching headline?

 

 - Is the description concise, while still selling the best features of your home in a flattering way?

 

 - Is there a good-quality image of the floorplan, and brochure download button available?

 

 

4. The price

If a home is marketed at too optimistic a price, it tends to sit on the market for longer. So you must make sure your home is advertised at a price that both reflects its true value and attracts buyers.

 

 - Is your asking price a round figure, e.g. £950,000, not £949,999?

 

 - Does your home appear at the top of a search in your price range?

 

 - Do you know how your price per square foot compares to that of other similar homes in the area?

 

 - Have you stuck to your asking price, even if your agent thinks you should drop it?

 

 

5. Preparing your home for viewings

You must do all you can to make buyers fall in love with your home – from the moment they first see it on the market to the end of their viewing.

 

 - Do you style and tidy the outside – both the garden and your home itself?

 

 - Do you have fresh flowers inside?

 

 - Do you dress all the beds?

 

 - Do you switch on lamps, light candles and have fresh coffee or baking to create a homely and welcoming atmosphere? For more inspiration, take a look at our blog, ‘6 simple steps to prepare your home for viewings’. 6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Home For Viewings

 

 

Now, add up the points.

 

If you have a Saleability Score of more than 80, well done – that suggests both you and your agent are on top of your home sale! Just take note of the areas where you might want to make a few tweaks, and if you still find you’re not getting enough viewings, then get in touch with us.

 

If you’ve scored between 50 and 80, there are probably quite a number of areas that you and your agent could work on. The good news is, this means there’s every likelihood that if you can just make the right improvements to your marketing, you should be able to attract much more interest and start to get some offers coming in.

 

However, if you have under 50 points, it’s probably time to consider a full marketing makeover. And if your current agent hasn’t already addressed the various challenges, it could be time to switch to one that’s more proactive and professional in their approach. We would be more than happy to discuss how we can help you with this, so please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

 


 

And if you’re feeling a little disheartened by your result, be encouraged by the fact that there are plenty of things you can do to make your home much more saleable – with the right agent on board. The important thing is that you take action right away. If you don’t, your home will simply sit on the market, leaving it at risk of possibly going ‘stale’, which is likely to reduce your chance of getting a good sale price. When buyers see the same home being advertised in the same way, week after week, it gives the impression that something isn’t quite right. So it’s time to grab the bull by the horns!

 

The first port of call is to speak to your agent, show them our Saleability Scorecard and find out whether they agree with your ratings. It may be that they have their own ideas about the kinds of changes that could be made and are keen to work with you to turn things around.

 

However, if you don’t get the response you were hoping for, give us a call – we can review your marketing ourselves and give you our expert opinion on what needs to be done to secure a successful sale. Then, once we’ve visited your home to appraise it fully, we’ll come up with a bespoke marketing strategy that focuses on promoting all the best features of your home and relaunch it onto the market in style!

 

If you’d like to discuss your current situation and find out how we can help you and your home get the sale you deserve, just give us a call on01364 652652 or 01626 852666

– or emailkatie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk

 

– and I will get right back to you.

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