Good question! We deal with a huge number of people who are somewhere in the house selling (an/or buying) process here at The Store Room.
Indeed, many of the people currently renting space from us are doing so because they are either: preparing for a move (so they are de-cluttering); have moved, but their new home is not ready (so they are storing in between properties); or they have moved but don’t have the space at their new property for all their old items (so they rent a self storage room for the things they just can’t let go of).
People often ask us if we have any tips or ‘tricks’ for people that will help them sell their home, or at the very least sell their home quicker. So… we thought we would gather all our knowledge (with the help of our Manchester self storage team) into one place and this post is what we ended up with. Below is a list of advice and recommendations that we hope will help you on your property-selling odyssey.
Many potential buyers report having been put off a property before they had even entered the front door. Things such are making sure the grass is mown, getting rid of any weeds and even planting some new flowers in the beds can make first impressions ten times better. Also, take a step back and look at any external paintwork – flaking paint and tired fascias are not going to impress anyone. Finally – don’t forget the front door – the metaphorical portal to your buyers new life – brightening it up with a coat of paint can make all the difference.
Firstly, you should get quotes from several agents. Expect to pay between 1 and 3% in fees but with most there is always potential room for negotiation. Some sellers even look to give added incentives to their estate agents by offering to pay a higher fee or commission if the house is sold within a certain number of weeks or months.
Also – don’t base your decision simply on the agent giving you the highest valuation – other things like how punctual they are for meetings and how quickly they respond to your questions and enquiries should be taken into account also. Finally, we all know that there is no substitute for word of mouth recommendations, so ask others that you know have used a particular estate agent and search for that estate agency on-line to see if there are any reviews of their service on third party websites.
Potential buyers want to see themselves living in your home, so de-personalise it. They will not be interested in your old wedding photos or seeing your kids’ drawings stuck to the fridge – so try and make the house as ‘neutral’ as possible. This applies to the décor also – you might think the bright pink paint job that you did in your daughters bedroom is OK, but buyers have their own ideas so if you you need to re-paint walls to a plainer colour then do so. Stop thinking of the house as ‘your home’ (hopefully you won’t be there much longer anyway!).
De-cluttering excess furniture and other items by putting them into storage is one of the oldest tricks in the book – that’s because IT WORKS. It instantly gives a greater feeling of space to people who are viewing the property. Again, the last thing you want is a buyer thinking that the house is not big enough for them when you know that half the house is hidden away behind kids toys, exercise equipment and under-utilised furniture. It would be wrong of us not to mention at this point that this is a major reason why people looking to sell their home have used our Manchester storage site over our history.
When you have a viewing there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure it goes well. Firstly, the less people around the better – send the kids round to their friends or get someone to look after them. The same goes for pets – anyone with a dog will know that a new person coming into the house can cause a ‘wild’ reaction so best to get them out of the way too. Why not kill two birds with one stone by getting the kids to walk the dog for an hour?
This might seem obvious, but it’s probably not a good idea to cook a garlic chicken (or any other strong smelling meal) before the viewing is due to happen – you should try and make the house smell as fresh and neutral as possible. Also, wherever you have natural light coming in, make sure those blinds or curtains are open! This will also add to the feeling of space in the property.
You will get asked a lot of questions by buyers and agents – so make sure you know your onions. People will want to know how much utilities and other bills cost at the property so make sure you have average figures for electric, gas, water and council tax to hand. These days you may even get asked about broadband speed!
Other things that will be good to know depending on your buyer and location are things like the reputation of the local schools, motorway access, distance to local amenities and if you are in a rural or semi-rural area the travelling time to the nearest large town.
If you have anything that makes your property unique and that will stand out in a buyers mind, make sure you emphasise this! If you have a bar built into your cellar, if you have a an integrated sound system, if you have a wine cooler built into your kitchen set-up, if you have a secluded pond in the garden – then these are all things to make sure you mention.
These tips cover just a snippet of what is involved in the selling process, but we hope that you find some of them useful. In the near future we will do a blog post on the ‘nitty-gritty’ of, offers, acceptances, exchanging contracts and the excitement of moving day – so please look out for that. Finally thanks to the self storage team at Manchester for their help on this post – we’d love to hear your comments and if you have any other tips to add.