Among all the doom and gloom, there is one industry that seems to be thriving in many parts of the country: the property market.
Average house prices this week reached record highs, according to Rightmove, fuelled by a temporary stamp duty holiday and a so-called ‘race for space’ as increasing numbers of us consider a change of lifestyle.
So is it time to cash in? Here’s how to prime your home for a sale, and even add value to it.
Clearing out the cellar, loft and garage are obvious jobs, but estate agents say the canniest sellers should go much further.
‘This is particularly important in the entrance hall as first impressions count so make sure it’s as clear as possible.
‘You only need a small amount of furniture, so consider how easily people can walk around the property without being inhibited by things jutting out,’ says Christopher Burton of Knight Frank (knightfrank.co.uk).
Put away kitchen pots and pans to clean worktops; consign shampoo bottles to cupboards; under-bed storage drawers make bedrooms look much tidier; and if you start painting, remember that dark colors make rooms look smaller.
SHOW OFF OUTSIDE
Gardens have never been more sought after. So if you’re lucky enough to have outside space, make sure it’s at its best.
Prioritize the front garden if you have one, to impress buyers who ‘drive-by’ before deciding to visit in person.
Remove weeds, put out fresh plant pots and hanging baskets, and clear a pathway to a newly painted front door that has shiny brass or silverwork.
At the back, jetwash pathways, paving, and steps, as well as conservatory windows. Decking, in particular, may have become slippery, so will need refreshing.
Many sales have been frustrated by the state of the neighbor’s lawn next door. If they can’t mow it, why not offer to do it for them? It may help to sell your property more quickly.
CRACK INTO ODD JOBS
While major work involving gas or electricity will require qualified tradesmen, comparison website HaMuch.com admits there are many smaller DIY jobs which many people could do to make the home more attractive, and save money, too.
These include painting and wallpapering rooms, replacing old or cracked tiles, mending dodgy floorboards, and even replacing squeaky hinges.
Mark Lamb, of Victorian Plumbing (victorianplumbing.co.uk), says sellers shouldn’t be deterred by a job like a bathroom tiling, even if they haven’t done it before: ‘You don’t need the experience to master the job, you just need patience.
‘Getting the right amount of tiles is the key to successful tiling, take time measuring the bathroom, and always order 10 percent more tiles than needed.’
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, the general advice is to sell now. However, if you’re wanting to hold off until things settle, it may be worth giving certain rooms a revamp.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) says the main improvements that add value are kitchen and bathroom makeovers, so make them look fresh, modern, and hygienic.
‘Good lighting and clutter-free, clean surfaces in neutral colors can create a welcoming and spacious feeling quickly,’ says NAEA managing director Mark Hayward.
These days space or dedicated room which can be given over to working from home would add to the appeal, too.
SET THE STAGE
If the home you want to sell is empty, stage it. Some design firms offer ‘virtual staging’ — advice on what furnishings you can hire to ‘dress’ your home and impress buyers.
So now there’s no excuse: make sure your home is singing and dancing so you can cash in while prices are high.