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11Oct

As a landlord, it’s important to be able to assess whether a property is likely to be a good investment before you buy it. Then, once your property’s rented out, it’s helpful if you can check periodically to make sure the basic rental return is keeping up with – and hopefully beating! – the average for your local area.

Although there are a few different measures you can use to work out how well a property investment is doing (or is likely to do), gross yield is the figure that’s most commonly quoted in the lettings industry.

Gross yield is the annual rent expressed as a percentage of the value of the property. It’s a basic indicator of how good an investment a property is from a rental income perspective, and it allows you to quickly compare one property with another. Then, if you want a better idea of how much profit a property will generate, you can deduct costs to make a net rental yield calculation.

If you’re not used to working out yields, or you’re unsure about how they can help you compare investments, you’re in the right place!

 

Here’s our step-by-step guide to assessing rental yield:

Step 1: Know the property’s current value

The value of the property is the first figure you need in order to make the yield calculation. If you’re in the process of choosing a property to buy, you can take the asking price as the value. If you want to know the current value of a property you already own, you can check the price of comparable properties online or contact us any time for an up-to-date market appraisal.

 

Step 2: Know the annual rental income

Secondly, you need the annual rental income amount. If you already own the property, simply multiply the monthly rent you’re currently charging by 12. If it’s a property you’re considering buying, you can look online to see the advertised rents for similar properties or, for a more accurate figure, speak to one of our lettings team.

 

Step 3: Calculate the gross yield

Using the property value and annual rent figure, you can then calculate the gross yield. That will tell you how good the rental income is versus the property value, and it’s a good basic way to compare properties to see which could give the best return for your investment. A simple example:

  • A property is on the market for £100,000 and would generate £5,000 a year in rental income

(£5,000 ÷ £100,000) x 100 = a 5% yield

 

Once you know the yield of a property, you can compare it with the average for the area, the country or the whole UK. And where it becomes particularly valuable for you as an investor is when you’re comparing properties to buy, especially when they have different purchase prices.

For example:

  • Property 1 is £180,000 with potential annual rental income of £7,500
  • Property 2 is £210,000 with potential annual rental income of £8,500
  • Property 3 is £170,000 with potential annual rental income of £7,000

At first glance, it’s clear that the more you pay, the higher the rental income, but it’s harder to see which makes the better investment from a rental perspective. That’s where the gross yield calculation comes in:

  • Property 1 = 4.16% yield
  • Property 2 = 4.04% yield
  • Property 3 = 4.11% yield

So, property 1 looks as though it may be the better investment from a rental income perspective.

 

 

While gross yield is a helpful basic indicator that allows you to compare any number of rental properties, what’s often very useful for you as a landlord – particularly when you’re deciding between properties to buy – is to work out the net rental yield. This takes into account all the costs associated with an individual property, so you get a much better idea of which will give you the most relative rental profit each month.

 

Step 4: Know the ongoing costs associated with the property

In order to calculate the net yield and profit figure, you need to know all the ongoing costs associated with your rental property. Older homes, leasehold properties and properties with more land, for example, tend to have higher running costs. So, while different properties could have the same gross yield, the net yields might vary enough to affect your decision about which one to buy. Key annual costs you should investigate include:

  • Ground rent and service charges for leasehold properties
  • Approximate costs for general maintenance and likely repairs to the property
  • Garden maintenance costs
  • Servicing costs for fireplaces, log burners or specialist heating systems
  • Septic tank maintenance charges
  • Any shared access costs

 

And don’t forget to include the monthly mortgage payment, which may vary according to the purchase price.

 

 

Step 5: Calculate the net yield

Calculating the net yield is important, as it indicates how profitable a rental property is. The gross yield simply tells you the income in relation to the property value, but the net yield is about how much money you’re making. The calculation is similar to the one for gross yield, but it uses the annual rental profit figure, rather than annual rental income. For example:

 

  • A property is on the market for £100,000 and would generate £5,000 a year in rental income
  • The annual property costs are £2,200, giving a rental profit of £2,800
  • (£2,800 ÷ £100,000) x 100 = a 2.8% yield

 

Now, let’s say you were deciding between two quite different types of property:

 

Property 1: A modern leasehold flat, worth £175,000, with an estimated rental income of £10,200 a year (£850 pcm). The interest-only mortgage cost is £4,500 a year and the other costs around £2,300. That gives a gross yield of 5.8% and a net yield of 1.9%.

 

Property 2: A Victorian semi-detached house, worth 180,000, with an estimated rental income of £9,960 a year (£830 pcm). The interest-only mortgage cost is £4,560 a year and the other costs around £1,400. That’s a gross yield of 5.5% and a net yield of 2.2%.

 

So, although Property 1 appeared the better investment from a gross yield perspective, when you take into account the ongoing costs, it’s actually Property 2 that gives a better net rental return, even though it’s slightly more expensive and has a lower annual rental income than property 1.

 

 

Note: Check how advertised yields have been calculated

Generally speaking, the average yields published by companies like Nationwide and quoted in the media are gross figures that use the same basic calculation as we’ve detailed. However, some companies – and particularly new-build developers – have their own standards for what they call ‘gross’ and ‘net’ yields.

 

For instance, for the ‘property value’, they might include renovation costs or simply use the price originally paid, rather than the current market value. And for the ‘net rental income’ figure, they may simply have deducted the average mortgage payments, but no other costs. So, always make sure you’re clear on how other sources have calculated the yield they’re quoting; then you can make sure you’re comparing like with like.

 

Of course, rental yield is just part of the picture when you’re assessing the quality of a property investment. There’s also the annual return on your invested funds to consider and capital growth to factor into your profits over time. But if you know how to calculate gross and net yield, you’ve always got a reliable tool that will allow you to assess the level of rental return for any property.

 

If you have any questions about rental yield or you’d like to find out which properties and locations in your area tend to achieve the best yields, please get in touch with us. We’re always happy to share our experience and help landlords achieve the best possible returns. Call us on 01364 652652 or email katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

06Oct

Are you thinking about making a change to where you live? If you no longer need all the rooms in your home, you might have decided to downsize into something smaller. Or perhaps it’s the opposite – you need more space, in which case, it could be time to upsize into a new place. On the other hand, if you love your home and it’s in the perfect spot, maybe you’re toying with the idea of getting the extra room you need by extending.

report from UK Finance found that people stay in their homes for an average of 20 years, and selling and buying does tend to take time, money and effort. So, before you set the wheels of change in motion, try to look ten years ahead and think about how your needs might change over that time.

Whether you’re looking for more or less space, the clearer you can be about what you want and need from your new home – and why – the easier it will be to narrow down your options and find something that’s going to suit you well for the foreseeable future.

So let’s explore some of the options out there and what you need to consider as you move up or down the property ladder. You might even discover a great solution you hadn’t thought of before!

 

Extending or converting your existing home

If almost everything is perfect about your current home, but you just need a bit more space – perhaps a room you can use as an office, a bigger dining kitchen or extra bedrooms – it might be worth seeing if you could extend or re-jig the accommodation.

Two key things to consider here are:

  1. Would the cost of transforming your home be reflected in an increase in value? You might not have any intention to move in the foreseeable future, but at some point you may want or need to sell. So, once you’ve got a good idea of what changes you’d like to make, it’s well worth asking a local agent to give you their opinion on how much the work could add to the price of your home. We’re always happy to help with this – just give us a call on 01364 652652.

 

The best way to add value is to increase the amount of usable space in your home, perhaps by extending to add a reception room and bedroom above, or converting a garage or loft into living space. But bear in mind that your immediate local area will have a ‘ceiling’ for market values – that’s a price that a home is unlikely to sell above, simply because of the size and type of other homes around it.

For instance, if you live in a road of mainly three- and four-bedroom homes with one or two reception rooms, it might not be worth increasing your accommodation to five bedrooms, three reception rooms and a granny flat. If that’s the kind of space you need, moving to an area that has more homes of a similar size might be a better option. Again, come and speak to us to find out what’s likely to be the best investment from a resale perspective.

And remember that the best extensions feel as though they’ve always been there, so if you do go ahead with works, it’s advisable to choose an architect who has experience in designing for your particular age and style of home. While you may need to pay a bit more for the best solution, it’s well worth the investment to keep a good flow and feel to the home.

 

  1. How disruptive are the building works going to be? If you’re converting the loft, it might not be too intrusive, but if you’re extending, then parts of your home might be unusable for weeks or even months. In that case, you may want to think about moving out while the improvements are being made. Bear in mind that if you have to pay for an alternative temporary home, that’s going to add to the overall cost of the project.

 

Something else to consider is whether you could gain the extra space you need by building separate accommodation in the garden – assuming it’s big enough. If what you’re after is an office or guest annexe, there are some excellent self-contained units on the market that you could have up and running in under a month. Going down this route could be easier, cheaper and quicker than carrying out works on your home.

With any building project, it’s important to check with the local council whether planning permission is required and what building regulations you’ll need to comply with. And bear in mind that it could take up to eight weeks for the council to consider even straightforward planning applications, so factor this into your timescale.

Moving up the property ladder

If you need a bigger home and you’re ready for a change, or it’s not possible to extend where you live at the moment, then you’ve got a pretty open book of options. There could be plenty of homes for sale that are the right size, but how do you make sure you pick the one that’s really right for you?

Well, when you’re moving for a specific reason, it’s important to be led by your head and not your heart. It’s all-too easy to fall in love with a beautiful kitchen, a fabulous view or the perfect family room, but if you let your emotions chip away at the square footage you know you need, you could end up running out of space again in just a few years.

This is where an estate agent can really help. It’s worth spending some time speaking to them before you start viewing potential new homes, to explain exactly why you’re moving and the number of bedrooms, reception rooms and other spaces you need. Then they can make sure all the homes you view at least meet your minimum requirements, and you can be confident that anything you’re tempted by already ticks the size box. Give us a call and we can take you through what we’ve currently got on the market in your range – maybe one of them will be the perfect fit for you!

And if you’re prepared to do some work to turn your next purchase into your dream home, again, be clear with the agents you speak to about how much of a project you’d be happy to take on, and they should be able to show you a variety of homes with potential.

Downsizing to a smaller home

At the other end of the moving spectrum is downsizing. Maybe you’ve spent years having friends to stay, entertaining and making full use of all the rooms in your home, but now that whirl of activity has come to an end, and you just don’t need all the space you currently have. You might be moving to a much more expensive area for work or lifestyle reasons, and your money simply won’t stretch as far, or it could just be that you’ve decided you’d prefer a smaller home.

If you are looking to downsize, you might also want something you won’t have to spend much time and money maintaining. So, even if you’ve enjoyed living in period homes until now, it may be time to consider something modern that has guarantees and warranties and will be low-maintenance and energy efficient.

It’s also important to think about whether you want this downsizing step to be your last move. If so, it’s worth planning ahead and making a wishlist of everything you think you’re going to want in your new home. Although compromises sometimes have to be made when you move, if this is your ‘forever’ home, it should be as perfect as possible – even if it takes a little longer to find.

Whatever your reason for downsizing, it can be the trickiest move to make. Even though it might feel like the natural ‘next step’, the reality is that you’re not going to be able to take all your furniture and possessions with you. So, as well as cutting back on living space, you have to work out which things you really want to keep and what won’t be making the move with you. There are plenty of house clearance companies and auctioneers who will be happy to value the items you’ve decided to part with; then you can choose what to include in the sale and what you’d like to sell separately. And make sure your agent has a full list of fixtures and fittings with prices, so they can negotiate with buyers and hopefully help clear one job off your moving list!

Whether you’re upsizing, adapting your current home or downsizing, we’re always very happy to chat through your options and lend our expertise to help you make the right move. Just give us a call on 01364 652652  or email us on katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.

03Sep

If your home’s not selling and you’re thinking of changing estate agents, check out our great guide to making the move to a new agent as smooth as possible.

A great agent will be focused on selling your home at the best price, in a timeframe that suits you. If everything goes well, they’ll put the right value on it, market it effectively, then negotiate and progress your sale so you can move on to your new home as planned – and they’ll make the whole process as pain-free as possible. That’s what we strive to achieve for every one of our clients, and it’s what every seller hopes their experience will be.

But it’s not always plain sailing, and if your home’s been on the market for a while, with no sale in sight, you might be feeling disappointed and thinking of changing agents.

There could be several reasons why things haven’t gone as you’d hoped. Your agent may have seemed like the perfect choice to sell your home in the beginning, but they haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Maybe the viewings you were promised never materialised and now the agent is putting you under pressure to drop the price. Or perhaps they were attentive and positive at the start, but now their phone calls and emails are getting less and less frequent, and you feel as though getting your home sold is no longer a priority for them.

On the other hand, you may think your agent really has done their best, but for some reason things just haven’t worked out, and it’s probably time for a change.

Whatever the situation, if you feel you’ve come to the end of the road with your current agent and you want to switch to a different one, what’s the best way to go about it?

Here’s our handy guide to making the transition from old agent to new as smooth as possible:

  1. Be clear on exactly what’s not working for you

It’s often helpful to make a list of what you’re not happy with and what’s been done to address things to date, so that you’re well prepared for a frank conversation with your estate agent. Doing this will also help you be clear on what you want a new agent to do differently. 

  1. Check the terms of your current agreement

The most common contract between an agent and their client is ‘sole agency’, meaning that only that estate agent has the right to sell your home and claim the sale commission. Check if you have a tie-in period, and what notice you need to give, so you can plan accordingly.

 

  1. Have a forthright discussion with your estate agent

     

Before you jump straight into terminating your agreement with your agent, have a chat with them. They may have no idea you’re unhappy and disappointed with the way things have gone so far, especially if you haven’t voiced your concerns to them. A good agent will ask for a review meeting with you and suggest ways in which your saleability could be improved. They may offer to re-photograph your home, re-launch it on the portals or suggest a reduction in price.

Whether you decide to give your estate agent another try or terminate your agreement and switch to another estate agent, you’ll feel more in control of your home sale by taking affirmative action now.

 

 

  1. Shortlist alternative estate agents

     

If you’re ready to switch estate agents, ask your friends and family which agents they would recommend in the local area and why. Then check out these agents’ portfolios. Are they currently listing and selling homes like yours? Would you be the most expensive, or the cheapest, house in their portfolio? Check out their reviews on Google and Facebook and what their standards of photography and marketing are like.

When you have one or two agents you think would be worth chatting to, call and arrange a meeting at your home.

 

 

  1. Ask the right questions

     

Asking the right questions of a prospective new estate agent will furnish you with the right information so you can make an informed decision, and potentially improve your chance of selling and moving on.

Use this list of questions as a checklist to start an open dialogue with the agent:

  • Why do you think our home hasn’t sold? Is it the price, the marketing, the presentation…?
  • Is there anything you think we need to do or change about the presentation and styling of our home to achieve the best price?
  • What will you do differently to our previous agent? This is a really important question, because you don’t want the same challenges you’ve already faced to reappear with a new agent.
  • How do you plan to market our home? This should give you an insight into how proactive they are in finding and matching potential buyers, how creative their marketing is and what gives them the edge over other agents.
  • How often will you communicate with us, and will it be by call, email or text? For instance, will they phone you with feedback after each viewing? In our experience, when clients aren’t happy with their agent, it’s often because of a lack of communication – and that can be a challenge regardless of whether you’ve been on the market for a week or several months – so get a commitment from them on staying in touch and keeping you informed.
  • What kind of agency agreement do you offer and what is the minimum term? If you weren’t happy being tied into your previous agent’s services for several months, you may be able to negotiate more flexible terms this time.

During the valuation meeting, notice whether the agent is also asking you questions. You want an agent to be interested in understanding your situation, as well as your motivation for moving home, so they can tailor their approach to give you the selling experience you deserve!

 

 

  1. Seal the deal

Choosing an estate agent is a bit like dating – do you like them enough to want to see them again?? When it works best, the relationship between you the client and your estate agent is a partnership – one that will last at least for months, and sometimes, years. You need to feel that your agent has your back and will be your biggest supporter when times get tough down the line, especially in challenging negotiations with a buyer.

 

Whilst our advice is not to jump straight into a relationship with a new estate agent straight away, if you really feel you’ve exhausted the will, patience and skill of your current agent, then moving to a new agent could be just what you and your home needs.

We’d love to have a confidential chat with you about your options, and we’ll tell you frankly and openly why we think your home has not yet sold and what we think the answer might be. We rarely suggest a price reduction and prefer to use our marketing and styling skills as a first approach, but let us tell you more about those in person!

You can reach us on 01364 652652 or at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk - we’re really looking forward to hearing from you.

 

02Aug

Summer is a great time of year to sell your home. With bright, sunny days, gardens at their greenest and flowers blooming, your marketing photos will look fabulous!

More daylight hours and generally better weather than at other times of year give people much more opportunity to view your home at its best and brightest. And there’s nothing like a sunny day to put people in a great mood, which means they’re more likely to have a positive mindset when they’re viewing.

So, how can you best take advantage of the benefits of selling during the summer?

 

Photographs

The marketing photographs in your brochure and online advertising play a huge part in enticing buyers to view your home. Importantly, they’ve got to be in line with the season, so if your home’s already on the market and the photos were taken earlier in the year, we’d suggest you replace them with some up-to-date ones.

Have the interior photographed when there’s maximum daylight outside so the sun streams in through the windows, really boosting the natural brightness of your rooms. And if you’ve got a patio, balcony or terrace, open the doors and have a shot taken looking either inwards or outwards – it can create a really captivating image, with a hint of ‘summer holiday villa’, which could be hugely appealing to many buyers.

Two great times to have exterior shots taken in the summer:

  1. In the middle of the day, in bright sunshine. If you’ve got a good-sized garden, a shot from the end – front or back – looking towards your home and taking in the lush colours of the trees, flowers and shrubs can look beautiful.
  2. On a clear evening, around sunset. A mid-length shot of the front or back against the twilight sky, with exterior and interior lights on, can be quite stunning.

 

Styling your interior for summer vibes

The styling of your home is important at any time of year to help buyers imagine themselves living there, and it should resonate with the season. To give your home that summer vibe:

  • Pack away any dark, heavy throws and blankets and replace them with lighter fabrics
  • Floral cushions bring a summer vibe to any room
  • White bed linen will help make bedrooms feel bright and fresh
  • Scented candles are a great aspirational and welcoming accessory all year round, so choose some light, floral scents for bedrooms and living areas
  • Any aroma that reminds people of being on holiday, such as coconut, can boost their positive mood even further! You could have some fresh coconut cake in the kitchen or a coconut diffuser in the bathroom.

Of course, the glass surfaces in your home should be gleaming whatever time of year you’re selling, but it’s even more important that they sparkle in the summer light. It might be worth having the windows and glazed doors professionally cleaned inside and outside before you put your home on the market and perhaps periodically until you secure a buyer.

Indoor/outdoor living is becoming increasingly popular, so fling open your sparkling doors and windows before people arrive to view, and have plenty of plants and flowers around your home – particularly near doorways – to help the flow of greenery from inside to outside. 

 

Showing your garden at its blooming best

Many gardens are at their finest during the summer, but it’s the time of year when everything is growing quickly, meaning it takes a little more effort to keep everything looking fabulous. Some of our clients choose to get extra help from a gardening services company while their home’s on the market – so why not consider doing the same? It’s one less job for you to do, and you can be confident your garden will always make the best possible impression on buyers. Just touch base with us if you would like us to recommend one of our local, excellent gardeners.  

Styling is just as important for the outside of your home as the inside, so think about things you could do to show off how you enjoy the garden. If you already have garden furniture, great; if you don’t, then it might be beneficial to buy a reasonably-priced table and some chairs, as that can really help set the ‘lifestyle’ scene outside when people come to view. Put a vase of flowers on the table and lay out some refreshments – even if that’s just a big jug of freshly-made lemonade and some glasses. The garden will look even more welcoming and inviting, which will encourage people to stay longer to appreciate everything your home has to offer.

 

Families on the move

For growing families, being cooped up together indoors over the winter months often makes them realise it might be time to upsize! And with school-age children on holiday, summer is a popular time for families to look for a new home, as they can all view together, find something everyone loves and then move in early autumn without disrupting the middle of the academic year.

So, while demand tends to be strong across all types of home in the summer, we usually find the ‘family home’ market is particularly busy – especially for those homes that have generous gardens. As children get older, many families really appreciate having extra space outside, so summer is the perfect time of year to sell homes with large lawns, where viewers can watch their young ones safely running about and enjoying the space.

And with high demand comes buoyant prices, which means you may be able to get more for your home than if you try to sell in the winter months.

 

Would an open house suit you?

Summer is also a great time of year to have an open house, where different buyers can view at the same time over a period of a few hours. In nice weather, buyers can spread out through your home and garden, take their time to view – and, as long as it’s dry underfoot, you don’t need to worry too much about your carpets getting dirty! While it might not be the right strategy for every home, for some it can be very successful in creating a buzz and encouraging great offers, so speak to your agent about whether it could work for you.

 

Moving in the autumn

Once your summer marketing has led to a successful sale and you’ve found a new home that you love, you can start planning the next exciting step. Moving in the autumn has its benefits, as it won’t be too hot or too cold when you’re shifting all your furniture and possessions in and out of buildings and vans – which removals companies certainly appreciate!

 

And here’s a valuable tip if you’re using a removals company: contact them as early as possible, even if you don’t have a firm moving date yet and particularly if you’d like to move on a Friday, as that’s the most popular day. They can come and do their survey of what needs moving, give you a quote and you have the opportunity to negotiate the best possible price. We’d suggest you contact Cambridge Removals, amongst others, as they’ve got a great reputation locally – their website is Removal Company Plymouth | Home | Cambridge Removals & Storage (cambridge-removals.com)

 

While some people find moving house one of life’s more stressful events, doing it in the autumn means you’re nicely positioned between the rush of the summer and Christmas holidays, so you should have some breathing space – and you’ve got the festive season to look forward to!

 

So, if you’ve been thinking of selling this summer, or perhaps you’re already on the market and are looking for a new approach to secure a buyer in time for an autumn move, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 01364 652652 or 01626 852666 or why not email me at katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we can get things moving right away to ensure you take full advantage of the summer buzz!

01Jul

One way to add value to your home is by renovating it; another is through increasing the amount of accommodation, by either building an extension or converting something like the loft or a garage to create an extra living room or bedroom.

But if you don’t want to undertake that kind of building work, or you’re not able to because of planning or available space, the good news is, there’s another way you can add value – without calling any contractors!

If you invest some time and can spend a little money simply on the presentation of your home, that can carry a huge amount of weight when it comes to securing a buyer and getting the best possible price. The power of first impressions is the reason we have stylists on our team that work with photographers to create the best possible images for our clients’ marketing brochures.

Research carried out last year by The International Association of Home Staging Professionals found that the majority of homes that had been professionally furnished and styled sold for between 4% and 20% more than the asking price. And we know ourselves that when buyers see a home that’s beautifully presented, showing off every room at its very best and suggesting an aspirational lifestyle, they’re much more likely to see its value and make a strong offer.

So, here are our top tips on how to style your home so that you add real value. Not only could that mean securing a higher sale price, but you’re also likely to sell much quicker than other comparable homes on the market that are missing that all-important styling touch.

Maximise light and space

The lighter, brighter and more spacious a home looks, the better buyers tend to feel about it. That’s partly a reaction to rooms appearing larger than they expected and partly because you’re showing them that there’s plenty of space to fit in everything they’ll need to enjoy the home.

The first thing to do is tidy and simplify each room so that the interior space can ‘breathe’. You can still have photographs, ornaments and books on display, but just a few of each placed around a room is enough to show some personality, while still allowing buyers to easily visualise their own possessions in the space. If you’d like some advice on what to keep out and what you should put away while your home’s on the market, just give us a call and our stylists will be happy to help.

Once you’ve created more physical space, it’s then a case of using some optical illusions. Well-placed mirrors can transform a home, bouncing light around and giving an impression of depth, which is particularly helpful in narrower rooms and hallways.

And think about the size and orientation of both mirrors and pictures. The human eye naturally scans vertically before horizontally, so wall hangings with a ‘portrait’ orientation will give the impression of more height in a room. It’s also generally true that larger pictures tend to make rooms feel bigger than if you have clusters of smaller ones. If you don’t already have any larger pieces of artwork, there are many companies that will print images on canvases in a variety of sizes, very cost-effectively. Look through your favourite photographs – something like a unique shot of an attractive landscape can make a stunning feature in a room.

You can also emphasise the size of a room by having something that immediately draws the buyer’s eye to the furthest point from the doorway. That could be a particular piece of furniture, a large plant or a striking piece of art – just something that catches their eye as soon as they walk in. The same trick can be used outside, so that people are immediately encouraged to look down the garden, whether that’s to a lovely seating area or a brightly-coloured shrub.

Furniture

Given that a home is often the most expensive purchase many people will make in their lives, you’ve got to show that every bit of space they’re paying for is valuable, which means furnishing and styling rooms so that they have a clear purpose.

We find one room that often falls into the trap of looking a little like wasted space is a conservatory. So, if you have one, style it clearly as a peaceful sitting room or a light and airy dining room. Another common challenge is the smallest bedroom. No matter how tight the space, it’s important to style it so it’s functional, so set it up as either a single room or a study. For buyers who work part-time from home or maybe run their own small business, an office space can be just as valuable as a third or fourth bedroom and can make then feel as though they’re getting more for their money.

And make sure you allow furniture to ‘breathe’. In an effort to create more space, some people make the mistake of pushing furniture into the edges and corners – particularly in bedrooms – when this actually has the opposite effect. Spacing the furniture out a little will let buyers see that there’s plenty of room for it to fit properly, without feeling cramped.

 

Add warmth and colour

While light, neutral décor is certainly attractive to buyers as a basic canvas for your home, make sure you then brighten it up and add some personality with soft furnishings.

Pick a colour scheme for each room and put a few textured cushions and throws on chairs and sofas. You can go for a touch of glamour with velvet or fur, but limit the number and variety of accessories, otherwise it can start to look confusing. The idea is to add a splash of colour and interest, while not intruding on the overall impression of light and space.

Rugs can add warmth to wood or tiled floors and tend to work well in larger rooms. Generally speaking, try to avoid breaking up the flow of the flooring in smaller rooms and keep the number of accessories in proportion with the size of the space. A good rule of thumb is no more than one cushion for every seat and a maximum of two items on any surface.

Finally, make sure you have plenty of lamps around your home. They cast a much more flattering light than overhead fittings and can make rooms feel warm and welcoming, even on a dull day. Don’t forget to have some lighting outside, if possible, particularly if you’re accepting viewings in the evenings. Some solar-powered lights throughout the garden can also create a pretty effect and help make a memorable impression on buyers.

 

Lifestyle touches

When you’re selling your home, you’re selling a lifestyle, and if you can show people that you enjoy the space in a way that also appeals to them, it’ll encourage them to picture themselves there. And the more ‘at home’ they feel, the more likely they are to make a great offer.

The key is to pick the kinds of accessories that you see in aspirational magazines and boutique hotels, that buyers can easily recognise and identify with. Candles are a really simple and effective way of creating a welcoming atmosphere and, although you don’t have to light them all, some softly-scented candles in the main reception room and bedroom can help buyers to feel relaxed and connect emotionally with the space.

Plants and fresh flowers bring life to a room, so go for a mixture of greenery and colour throughout your home. Peace lilies are easy to care for and look great anywhere, while orchids are perfect for coffee tables and in bedrooms. Hand-cut posies of flowers are great for period and rustic homes, while longer, more elegant stems suit a modern style – and don’t forget to have a few glossy magazines on display as well.

 

The kitchen is traditionally known as the heart of the home, so make sure it’s beating! Have a lovely big bowl of fruit and a vase of fresh flowers on the counter tops, and then put some fresh bread on a board or cake on a stand before viewings.

Finally, in the bathrooms, have some fresh toiletries on display that have recognisable, aspirational branding such as Molton Brown or L’Occitane. Remember to keep a full set aside that you don’t use every day, then they’ll always look fresh for viewings. Finish the look in the bathroom with some clean co-ordinated towels.

As with soft furnishings, the golden rule with all these lifestyle touches is not to have too many and to place them carefully.

While you may have to spend a bit of money on styling your home, it should only be a fraction of what you’ll get back in terms of pounds on your sale price, so it’s certainly well worth the small investment.

So, whether you’re on the market already or just thinking about selling, if you’d like our advice on how you could add thousands to the value of your home through styling, call us on 01364 652652 or email katie@sawdyeandharris.co.uk and we can help you transform your space. We’re always here to help and would love to hear from you!

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