We did it! After months of hard work renovating our house ready to get it on the market, it was launched with a local estate agent a couple of weeks ago. The third people to view the property (just four days after it hit the market) put in an offer for the full asking price. They have no chain and are in a great financial position to move things forward quickly, so our Australian dream is going to become a reality very soon, hopefully!
Renovating the house with young children around has been hard work. Although the current market had a lot to do with our fast sale, we also followed some tried and tested tricks to help maximise our chances of getting the best price for our property. I thought it might make for an interesting blog post, along with some of the lessons we learned along the way.
Tips and tricks to sell your home
1) Present rooms as they are intended, so people can visualise how they will use the space.
For us, this meant packing my desk up from the dining room and storing it in the loft, and taking the toy racks upstairs so the dining room could be a relaxing place to eat again.
2) Paint the walls a neutral colour.
Painting everything neutral makes it feel much bigger and presents a blank canvas for buyers. If you can’t live without colour, chose a few key accessories to bring out your style. If you have kids, put off painting walls until as late as possible otherwise you’ll end up having to repaint dirty finger marks, and make sure you choose a hard wearing paint. One coat paints are more expensive but they save so much time. For the first room we redecorated, we made the mistake of buying a cheap tin of magnolia. It took four coats to paint the room, and even then it marked easily and wouldn’t wipe down so we learnt our lesson that you get what you pay for.
3) Try to set up a designated toy area or play room so that toys aren’t scattered throughout the house.
It’s challenging trying to restrict toys to one place, but it makes tidying up ready for a viewing much easier. It also allows people to view your home easier without clutter everywhere.
4) Make the entrance to the property as appealing as possible by using hanging baskets and putting out pots of colourful flowers.
Unless you’re emigrating like us, you can take pot plants with you when you move so it isn’t a wasted investment.
5) Put out vases of flowers
Having young kids means I rarely have flowers in the house as they tend to get knocked over, but they really do brighten up a house. They can also inject a splash of colour into a neutral colour scheme not to mention the gorgeous smell! You don’t need to spend a fortune on them – you can easily pick some from your garden and if you don’t have a vase just use a pretty jug with a ribbon tied around it.
6) Remove some of your photos from the house so that buyers have the opportunity to see themselves living there instead of your family.
It’s fine to leave a few photos out because buyers want to see your house as a home, but they don’t want to feel that it’s YOUR home they are intruding on.
7) Get rid of clutter.
Do car boot sales, take it to the tip, sell it on eBay or just pack it up and store it in you loft. We did a combination of all of them and it made our house feel huge!
8) Make sure everything is spotless.
This takes a lot of time and is tricky with small people around, but keeping the house clean and tidy is essential. I tried to arrange for the kids to be out during the day for the first few days of the sale. I took them to the park or out for picnics, they went to preschool and the childminder or they went out with family. It was easier to keep all of us out of the way as much as possible. Every evening I spent time getting the house ready for viewings just in case I had a phone call the next morning asking if somebody could come around. I don’t think I could have kept this level of cleanliness up for more than a few days, but thankfully that was all it took.
9) Rearrange furniture so it fits the space.
We had an oversized sofa in our living room, so we sold it on Gumtree. In its place we put a sofa bed from one of the bedrooms. It was smaller and smarter, so made our living room feel bigger and more stylish. Taking the sofa bed out of E’s room also opened up her room.
10) Don’t be afraid of leaving a few quirky accessories out as they give the home character.
We have lots of pieces that show off our love of the beach. Some of them are quite striking, and others are small details that just add a finishing touch to a room. So long as the accessories fit the style of the house and aren’t too overbearing, don’t feel you need to remove all of ‘you’ from your home.
11) Give the outside of your property a facelift.
We made our drab looking, pebble dashed house look smart by replacing all of the plastic outside the property and painting it bright white. It took us months to do, and cost around £1500 (including the price of scaffolding we hired) but I believe it added £15k to the asking price. It also made our house look like the smartest on the street which definitely helped to get people through the door. As for the back garden, I sprinkled grass seed on the patchy lawn a few weeks before we put it on the market and made sure I watered it regularly so the grass looked green and lush, and I cleaned up all of our garden toys so it looked like a really appealing place for little ones to play. A few big pots of flowers helped seal the deal.
I love our new home! It’s kind of sad that we’ve sold it now. But it’s time to move on to our next adventure in Australia.