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Archive for the ‘Guide to Selling’ Category

Selling Your Home Step 4: Photos Make First and Lasting Impressions

Friday, August 7th, 2015
No advice on photography!

Why is there no advice on photography in their property guides?

Why are photographs of your property so important?

So you’ve done everything to make your home look fabulous for the first viewing, and most of the ‘Sell Your Home’ guides just concentrate on this first visit. However, we would respectfully suggest that they are missing a huge trick …

Modern first viewings

The Internet makes photos even more important when selling your home

In reality, the first time most buyers see their new home is on RightMove or Zoopla. The job of a website listing – and the property photographs that go with it – is to make people feel that this may be the perfect home for them and to encourage them to take the time and trouble to come and see for themselves.

In a nutshell:

1 Photographs act as your home’s CV, and should help it stand out from the crowd.

2 They should be a positive souvenir of your home after a viewing, to remind a potential buyer of what they’ve seen and good images may encourage a second viewing.

3 Your photographs are also something buyers can show to other people; family and friends are a key part of their decision-making process.

4 If buyers see a property in less than ideal climate – in the dark or on a rainy day – photographs can show what your property looks like in better conditions!

5 And if a buyer has to retrace property viewings after a sale falls through, good photographs may also encourage them to think again.

Enduring property photography

Property photographs are helpful to show the family after the viewing


Why not just let your estate agent take your property photographs?

Not enough emphasis was given to the photography of properties in the guides we looked at: perhaps they all thought it was something best left to estate agents! The problem is that your agent might not be there when the light is right in each room, or when traffic has died down, or when the sun’s shining.

With many estate agents spending no more than an hour photographing each property on their books, it can be worth taking a hand yourself. An hour could be enough, but often spending a day with a professional photographer can make all the difference.

Our client Patrick was fortunate when selling his flat because he IS a professional photographer, but most of us will have a friend with a decent camera and a tripod who might help you out.


General photography advice

Sun helps property photographs

A sunny day with no parked cars was worth waiting for!

Make sure the photos are of a clean and tidy home, taken in good light and at the right time of day (this varies from room to room).

If you need to wait for a sunny day, then do. And take your time – you may have to wait a couple of days to get the light right.

The most important photo is the front view – to get the right shot for the Hove flat, Patrick tells us he had to wait till there were no cars parked out front – not an easy task, but the moment came.

Following the advice from the rest of our posts on this issue, your property should have minimal clutter, and look light and bright. Even though you can’t yet photograph smells the presence of flowers and the absence of dogs helps!

In these days of Rightmove and Zoopla property photography is increasingly vital throughout your sale – from initial contact right through to completion. It is not something you should just leave to your estate agent.


Read previous post: Step 3: Light and bright – with no secrets

Selling Your Home Step 3: Light and Bright

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Light helps you sell property

If you’ve got nothing to hide, light it up!

Now Your Home Has Nothing To Hide, Let The Light Shine In!

Client flat in the Sun

Patrick waited for perfect weather for this shot

There is a reason that the best time to sell property used to be the spring: after the dark days of winter, everyone wants to live in a cheery and bright home.

These days the spring effect isn’t so pronounced, with autumn now a hot contender for the title of peak housing sales time, but people are still more drawn to property they’ve seen in the sun. And natural light bouncing around the interior of your house helps too, glinting off pristine surfaces through newly-washed windows and not being banished from dark corners.

Though none of our guides advises knocking in new windows to allow more light in, The Mail recommends removing bulky furniture, your dining table and “a sofa” (though it may be difficult to find somewhere to store them!). It also suggests stripping floorboards and removing doors for the same reasons.

HomeownersAlliance also recommends “removing bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture”.

Artificial Lighting – For When The Sun’s Not Helping

Artificial light helps you out

Artificial light helps you out if the real thing’s
in short supply …

You can’t always rely on the sun to illuminate your entire home, and that’s where good lighting comes into play. Almost all of the guides (except Sarah Beany’s) stress lighting:

HomeownersAlliance advocates “lamps on in any dark corners” and “a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow”;

Rightmove says that “the wrong lighting can make your home feel dark and drab so install brighter modern lights to make your home seem sunny, cheerful and up to date”;

HGTV agrees, you should “change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs”.

The Mail has a minimal “buying new/brighter lights/bulbs” tip.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … 

Now you’ve organised and ditched all your rubbish, given everything a good clean, freshened up the paintwork and increased the amount of light falling on it all, why not make the whole property look bigger using mirrors?

Mirrors increase the light flowing around

A mirror by the entrance is a great investment

If you haven’t got enough mirrors to make your home look bigger, then it might be a good time to buy some – they don’t have to be expensive.

HomeownersAlliance says they make a room look “bigger and lighter”, and that you should “consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways”, and The Mail agrees, suggesting the use of “strategically placed mirrors to increase the impression of space”.

The use of mirrors worked for Patrick in Hove, but only once the flat had been fully cleaned and decluttered! “Mirrors improved the saleability of the flat without using artificial light”, he says.

Mirrors can also be a way for potential buyers to literally see themselves at home in your property!

Interestingly, the guide that doesn’t recommend using mirrors is … The Mirror.

At the end of these brightening tips, you will have light streaming in through clean windows into your airy home, glinting off gleaming mirrors and any dark spaces lit up with lamps that show that your home has nothing to hide.

In the next issue: The actual first impression is before the viewing …

Read previous post: Step 2: On Flowers … And Smells

Selling Your Home Step 2: On Flowers … And Smells

Friday, July 24th, 2015
Everyone can tell you how to sell your home

Selling your home? Mixed views on flowers & odours

Appeal to all the senses – and don’t forget the nose!

When your house goes on the market it can be easy to concentrate on the look of the place, as this is obviously  vital when the photos are being shot. And the photos are genuinely how potential buyers first meet your home.

Dog smells can put buyers off!

You may love your dog, but their smell lingers …

However, when the fabulous photos have done their job and you have people booked in to actually visit the property, remember that they are bringing all their senses with them – and ideally you need to appeal to all 5, and not just sight. So let’s have a quick word about smells.

Not everyone has a sensitive and discerning nose, but the key thing is to at least remove any negative odours. So when selling your home it would be a very good time to give up smoking, as well as banning anyone else from smoking in your home. And you really should lose your pet for viewings, and if possible for a time before showing people round!

Some unpleasant smells – such as cigarettes and dogs – might have been around for so long that you don’t notice them any more, but you can be sure that potential buyers will not all have such a forgiving sense of smell! A thorough clean will of course help to get rid of some pongs, as will having the windows wide open if possible.


Replace bad smells with something more alluring …

Fragrances Help Sell Homes

Flowers look good and are a recommended sales tool!

It might seem to be an expensive habit, but there was a lot of encouragement from the ‘experts’ to fill your home with fresh flowers before a viewing – almost as  if they were all secretly promoting a chain of florists.

There is something to be said for the old ‘fresh flowers’ trick; The Mail and Zoopla both agree that they can be a handsome addition, though only Homeowners Alliance thinks that fragrance plays a part in making your home alluring.

Our clients’ flat in Hove compromised, using plastic flowers as they don’t wilt and last longer than fresh flowers. As a compromise, they followed the Homeowners Alliance guide and made sure all the houseplants were pruned and watered.

Instead of the fragrance of freshly-cut flowers, you might want to turn to those old staples, coffee and bread to work for you. Or even distribute tasty and fragrant biscuits on viewing days.

In a nutshell, the right smells sell

All agree that pleasant smells can appeal to the instincts of the buyer, and they can be be achieved in a a cost-effective way. Remember, you are selling a home, a feeling and a lifestyle – and not just a property.

The pleasant smells of fresh bread, coffee and flowers are your friends – but more importantly the pong of rotting rubbish, cigarettes and dogs can lose you the deal!

In the next issue: Step3: Light and bright – with no secrets

Read previous post: Step 1: Tidy up, Declutter and Clean

Selling Your Home Step 1: Tidy up, Declutter and Clean

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
Everyone can tell you how to sell your home

Selling your home? They all agree about decluttering

When Selling Your Home, Start With A Declutter. And A Clean Sweep!

All the guides we looked at advise a seller to declutter before showing potential buyers around their home.

In the real-life example of Patrick – our conveyancing client in Hove – the decluttering process was undertaken earlier, before the photographs were taken and as part of the moving process.

Decluttering is a win-win-win choice, no matter how much of a struggle it is. Think about the numbers – a day or two spent organising and taking rubbish to the tip and charity shops could add thousands to the price you achieve, making it a very attractive (tax-free) investment.

Cleanliness comes before a sale

Clean & bright entrance

A clean & bright entrance starts selling as soon as buyers step through the door.

The same goes for cleaning – clean and tidy everything, including the windows, carpets and especially the all-important entrance area.

Cleaning and decluttering are a vital part of getting the sales process going – bear in mind that you are selling a home, not just a house. This means making making it easy for buyers to imagine living an attractive lifestyle in their new home.

As you declutter and clean, you might find the paintwork needs a little attention – Rightmove and HomeownersAlliance both suggest fixing up the paintwork, and let’s be honest, it’s something that is unlikely to break the bank.

When it comes to the front door, there is universal agreement that it’s worth repainting – even if it’s a shared front door for your flat!

Mirrors are also a key tip from the HomeownersAlliance and Mail. They amplify your space (also reflecting the quality of your paintwork and cleaning) – reflecting light into dark areas.

To de-personalise or not?

Family wedding photo

Is this 60s wedding photo too personal?

There is some debate about this one – most suggest brutally de-personalising before you attempt to sell, but HomeownersAlliance suggest deliberately personalising, but only in a way that shows your life in the home was fantastic and that anyone who buys will have that too.

You are selling more than bricks and mortar, and you’re asking people to make a very personal decision.

To sell his flat in Hove Patrick got rid of all family photos – apart from a large wedding photo from the early 60s. The Mail suggested removing artwork, but he bought some generic IKEA pictures to fill in gaps. It seemed to work; the eventual purchaser said how much she liked one of the pictures, but it didn’t necessarily encourage her to buy.

It seems to be important that your home looks lived in – but by a very house-proud owner who has an attractive lifestyle. And good taste in art.

If your home is very new / modern, buyers will be more likely to expect  more minimal and sparse furnishings – think about the sort of buyer you need to appeal to.

In the next issue: Step 2: Flowers, smells, appealing to the nose!

Read previous post: The Truth About Selling Your Home Effectively

The Truth About Selling Your Home Effectively

Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Everyone can tell you how to sell your home

Selling your home – whose advice do you trust?

It looks like exciting times for the homeowner with itchy feet: the housing market’s looking buoyant, with demand far outstripping supply (they say).

The economy’s on the up, interest rates are still at a historic low – it’s a perfect time to sell your home! Pretty much wherever in the country your home is, there are buyers panting to take it off your hands.

Success in selling a home

Success in selling a home

Selling Your Home Isn’t A Simple Choice

When you sell your home, you will also probably need to buy another – unless you don’t mind renting for a while. If you move around a lot owning a home can definitely tie you down and renting is a much more flexible way to live.

There is also the consideration that if you decide not to sell, you free up a lot of cash that can be spent on revitalising your existing home. Just to sell your home the costs can easily reach over £20,000 – this includes stamp duty, estate agent’s fees, legal fees and the cost of removals. Continually moving house is a very costly habit, and staying put might be more sensible – and who knows, once you’ve got your house in tip-top order you might fall in love with it again!

But you’ve thought about it: you need more – or less – space and you need – or don’t need any longer – to be handy for local schools. You really do want to move away from – or to – the city, and you have to have – or have had enough of – a large garden. You’ve watched the video about selling your home in the conveyancing pages of Cunningtons.co.uk, and now it’s time to make sure you sell your home for the most money. So what steps do you take, and whose tips do you listen to?

We’ve looked at a number of property-selling guides and put them together with an example of one of our clients to come up with what we think is a definitive guide to getting the most from selling your home in 2015.

Top Guides For Selling Your Home

Rightmove guide to selling your home

Rightmove’s guide to selling your home

There are some very useful guides to take you through what you should do to increase the selling price of your home.

There are also some ‘tips’ from those who clearly have a vested interest in how you approach the sale – so reader beware!

We’ve looked at guides from Rightmove, Zoopla, The Daily Mail, HomeOwnersAlliance, Sarah Beany – even The Mirror has a ‘hot’ tip to sell your home successfully. We’ve also added the US website HGTV for an international slant.

All this is compared to the actual steps that were taken by a Cunningtons client to secure a healthy sale on a 2-bedroom flat in Hove in December 2014. There’s nothing like an actual case study to put all the expert advice into perspective!

Tune in to the next post to see what steps you should follow to make the most from your most valuable asset …

In the next issue: Tidying up, De-cluttering and Cleaning

Selling A House Online … The Next Phase

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

As of late June 2013 Patrick now feels ready to put his house firmly on the market. The story started here: Selling a House – the Modern Way

As an experiment, he tried posting the house on one of the free house selling websites, but found that it generated little response and when he did get enquiries they were of poor quality.

After this experience, he has decided to use one of the larger commercial property marketing sites – where you place your property for a fee. The cost of the site he chose is relatively modest at £195 plus VAT for 6 months; for that you get a visit from a representative who photographs the property, works with you to create an accurate description, advises on valuation, and draws out a floor plan.

The house will be for sale online with all of the marketing leading house sales websites from July 1st 2013.

Selling a house online in 2013

Tidying up the garden is vital

One of the advantages of having a long gap between tenants leaving the house and putting it on the market is that there has been time to maintain the garden. As tenants are not renowned for their devotion to a rented garden, there was some remedial work required. As you can see, the garden is now fully restored to its former glory!

We will report in July on how the online marketing campaign progresses …

Selling A House – The Modern Way?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Selling a house in the 20th century was pretty well impossible without employing an estate agent. Has it got any easier in the 21st? With current average agents’ fees at 1.8%, it is still quite a slice – meaning that the cost of selling a £350,000 house includes estate agent fees of £6,300 (usually plus VAT), conveyancing costs of around £600 and removal costs of an absolute minimum of £200. Estate agents therefore are usually the largest expense when looking to sell your property.

The days of the agent may be numbered though: increasingly people are taking advantage of the Internet to do things for themselves without paying a third party to get involved. The savvy home seller now is looking for ways to circumvent agents’ fees – how easy is it to do? Has the property market yet evolved to a state where properties can be bought and sold without an agent?

We will be following the progress of Patrick Gold as he sells his home near Ipswich in Suffolk – http://claydonsuffolkhouse.co.uk/. Is it too early to depend on the Internet for all the help you need to sell your house?

Can Patrick sell this house easily using the Internet alone – with no agents?

Patrick bought his 4-bedroom house 25 years ago, and has now relocated to Sussex. For 3 years he rented the house out, but when the last tenants moved out in August 2012, he decided it was time to sell up and move his money elsewhere. He is not in a hurry to sell, and is happy to bide his time and wait until the market is ready to give him the best return on his investment – he sees this lack of urgency as a factor in choosing to sell his house in this way.

He has used estate agents to buy and sell before:

My experience of estate agents has been less than positive, and the only reason I would have used them in the past was that they had access to the right advertising channels. These days we all have access to these channels.

Patrick has the advantage that he is relaxed about the timescale, and has  been able to create his own website with the property details. However with the advent of several online estate agents, anyone can advertise their house online. He has decided to wait until he feels comfortable with the condition of the house before he takes the step of paying for placement on the key house sales websites.

Now he is slowly improving the maintenance and decor of the house, making sure that it looks at its best before putting it on the market in the summer of 2013. 

Why not follow his progress on our site?

The second phase begins here … >>

Selling Your Home in the UK: Cunningtons video

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Advice on Selling Your Home

Jason Bradshaw, a partner with Cunningtons Solicitors, discusses some of the potential issues with selling your home.

You will find plenty of information on all the legal aspects of property transactions on this website: just look at the residential conveyancing area.

For help with buying or selling your home and for a free conveyancing quote, talk to Cunningtons.

Selling Your Home: To Sum Up

Monday, October 8th, 2012

We hope you found our potted guide useful; selling your home is a stressful time, no matter what the state of the market. With the large amounts of money at stake, making mistakes could have repercussions for you and your family for years to come – so following these simple guidelines will help you to avoid some of the most obvious pitfalls.

When it’s time to sell, you should be sure that you are doing the right thing and that you won’t have any regrets later. Think about the consequences of moving and all the upheaval involved, and if you do decide to take the plunge:

Your Family Deserve a Stress-free Move

If you do everything right, your move from old to new home can be exciting and come with minimum stress. Let’s hope that’s your experience too!

Same Day Completion – Yes or No?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Every chain of housebuyers and sellers involves different people in different situations, with different means and different priorities. This is why it is very difficult to give definitive answers regarding the wisdom or otherwise of all parties in the chain attempting to exchange contracts and complete their respective sales/purchases on the same day.

Same Day Completion Can Work …

Yes, often it all works out fine, with no problems. Obviously, the shorter the chain, the less potential there is for hiccoughs. With an honest and sensible chain of people and representatives, same-day completions are smooth. However, remember that we are solicitors – not a profession known for its wild and carefree approach to life. This is because we deal with the law. The law is not flexible or adaptive – it is rigid and codified. It’s not something you should take a chance with.

Of course you want to settleyour family as fast as possible

Therefore we are bound to say that same-day completion is something you should avoid if you can. It can be extremely stressful and you may incur extra expenses if forms need to be amended – not to mention the added costs of removals should the nightmare happen with you are left high and dry, packed, waiting, with either nowhere to go or no sale having been made, or both.

Don’t Be In A Hurry!

The best advice, as with every aspect of the buying and selling of property, comes from the experts; people who can spot potential difficulties (or people), people who know every legal angle, people with a reputation to uphold: qualified, experienced, local conveyancing solicitors.

Next instalment: To Recap: Selling Your Home

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