Author Archives: Sam

If you’re buying a new build and struggling to sell a current property to fund the purchase, part exchange (PX) could provide a solution. But how does it work and is it a good deal? In this beginner’s guide to part-exchange, we’ll provide all the information you need to decide if it’s the right choice for you.

What Is Part-Exchange (PX)?

A part exchange house scheme enables a buyer to purchase a new-build home before selling their current property. The property developer buys the homeowner’s current property and deducts its value from the price of the new house. 

Part exchange is a great option for people who want to move quickly, are struggling to sell their existing property or simply wish to avoid the hassle of selling their home. The developer benefits too as they have a guaranteed buyer for one of their properties. 

How Does Part-Exchange Work?

Many of the big-name new-build property developers offer PX as it boosts their reputation for customer service and helps them to attract more customers. Each developer will have their own process, but the fundamental steps are the same, regardless of which developer you choose to purchase from.

Once you’ve found a house you’d like to buy with a new-build developer that offers PX, your current home will be valued. Standard practice is to complete two independent valuations. Some developers will only offer PX to buyers whose current home is no more than 70% of the value of the new-build property. If there is less than 30% difference between the value of the two properties, the sale becomes unprofitable for the developer. This is why — in general — PX is popular with homeowners looking to move up the property ladder.

The developer will make the homeowner an initial offer based on the valuations and subject to a survey. If all parties are happy to continue, the homeowner secures a mortgage and instructs a solicitor to complete the sale. Some developers will require a reservation fee to secure your preferred plot when the offer is accepted.

Once the proceeds of the sale are safely in your bank account, which typically takes around four to six weeks, you can purchase the new property.

Is PX a Good Idea?

Part-exchange is only available to people buying a new-build property. It’s generally most suited to buyers who are seeking to upgrade to a more expensive home. There are various pros and cons to PX and whether it is a good idea depends on the individual circumstances and priorities of the buyer. 

Pros

  • Security. When both parties have agreed to the transaction and signed on the dotted line, the sale is guaranteed. Unlike traditional house sales, where the buyer can pull out up to the day of exchange, there is no risk of the sale falling through last minute. 
  • Speed. It takes an average of 50 days to find a buyer in the UK and a further 12 weeks to complete the sale. Almost half of all house sales fall through before completion. Opting for a part-exchange house means no waiting for the right buyer and a simpler, expedited sales process.
  • Avoid Estate Agency Fees. The average agent fee reached 1.53% in 2019 and homeowners in prime locations can be charged as much as 3.97%. There are no such fees or commission to pay for part-exchange houses, which could save you hundreds or even thousands of pounds. 
  • No Property Chain. One of the biggest headaches of traditional house buying in the UK is the dreaded property chain collapse. This occurs when multiple house sales rely upon one another and if one person pulls out, the chain falls apart. There is no risk of this with PX as there is no chain. The sale agreement is between you and the developer only.
  • Less Stress and Disruption. When homeowners put their property on the market, they can endure months of viewings and disruption. Not to mention the constant stress over finding a buyer. Part-exchange removes all this hassle. There are no viewings and you know exactly where you are in the sale process.

Cons

  • Lower Offer. Property developers are in business to make a profit, so it stands to reason that their offer on a PX home may be less than the market value. The independent valuations aim to offer a “selling price” rather than an “asking price”. If you’re determined to get top dollar for your home, PX may not be for you (although bear in mind the money saved on estate agents fees, mortgage repayments etc.).
  • PX Is Not Guaranteed. Even if a developer advertises a PX scheme, your home must still meet certain criteria to be eligible. Many developers will not accept properties with a short lease left to run, for example. And as mentioned previously, a minimum 30% difference between the value of your current home and that of the new property is often required.
  • Diminishing Returns of New-Builds. New-build properties start to depreciate the moment you move in. Unlike some older properties, which can retain or even increase their value over many years, a new-build may be worth less when you come to sell it than the price you purchased it for. 

To PX or Not to PX?

Part-exchange can be an excellent solution for homeowners who have their eye on their dream home and need to move fast. It’s simple, straightforward, secure — and much quicker than putting a property on the market and hoping for the best. However, it’s not for everyone. Some homes will not be eligible for part-exchange schemes and it’s not the right choice for sellers who have ambitious sale figures in mind. Review the pros and cons, speak to the developer and make the choice that is right for you. PX could be the perfect way to sell your home in a slow market.

About the Author: Chris Hodgkinson is the Managing Director of HBB Solutions. Chris is passionate about the property sector, he loves making deals and he is focused on building the business in an ethical, fair and sustainable way.

heart ornament beside window

heart ornament beside window

I often get asked the question, “Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?” Once upon a time, this strategy made perfect sense.  After all, before properties were advertised on the internet, how else could you make sure that buyers across different geographical areas would see your home, if you didn’t use two, three or more agents to market it?

But then came the property portals, and everything changed.  Almost all buyers (93% at last count) look online to find their home, often browsing a couple of portals, then simply call the relevant agent to book a viewing on a home they like.

What’s the point in being listed twice like this?

So is there any point these days in instructing more than one agent? The short answer is ‘no’.  If a buyer spies your home listed several times online, at best it’s annoying, and at worst it’s misleading, because if the agents involved have used different photographs and descriptions to advertise the property, a buyer could be forgiven for thinking that the adverts belong to different houses.

And doesn’t this look like a different property? It’s not!

When a buyer enters a search criterion on one of the property portals like Rightmove, properties appear in a list, in descending price order, ie with the more expensive houses showing first.  Any properties that are marketed at exactly the same price will appear in a random order, to be fair and not favour any particular agent. However, one agent I know gets around this rule by adding a pound to his prices, so that his properties will show first, and therefore you’ll see property prices like £300,001 from him!

Another factor to bear in mind, is how does it look to a buyer if you as the seller have instructed several agents? Desperate perhaps? In need of an urgent sale?  This could have the effect of generating some very low offers from those buyers looking for a bargain, whilst genuine buyers may stay away completely, fearful of being stuck with a property that they themselves can’t sell when the time comes.

Finally, there’s the question of cost.  If you instruct more than one agent, depending on the type of agency agreement you have, you’ll either pay the standard agency fee, but only to one of the agents; sometimes called ‘winner takes all’. Or else you’ll pay a higher fee, and it’ll be split between the two agents, typically 2/3:1/3 or else 50/50. The average uplift for a joint agency agreement is around 25%, meaning that if the average fee in your area is 1.5%, you will be paying 2% – 2.25% for a joint agreement.  This could be an extra £2250 on a £300,000 house – not an inconsiderable amount, particularly if it doesn’t actually net you any higher a sale price.

So my advice is to pick one agent, show them your loyalty and let them do their job. Don’t agree to a long contract, and if after say, 3 months, you’re not getting the interest in your home you had hoped for, drop your price, or find another agent and improve your marketing. Or all three….

Happy selling!

Sam

Feeling a little lost looking for the right estate agent? All you need is a trip to Venice and a good coffee!

Selling your home can be an emotional and tiring slog, perhaps even onerous at times. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is such a thing as an enjoyable selling experience, and all you have to do is choose the right estate agent. Read our guide to sell your home and keep your sanity too!

Let’s take a break from house talk, and enjoy a walk through the streets of Venice; after a little sightseeing, you pause at an independent coffee house to enjoy the views of the square. You enjoy the Italian barista’s stories, and they introduce you to the coffee bean farmers sat opposite. They listen as you describe your ideal coffee, and ask about your favourite foods and wines.

The barista leaves you momentarily to enjoy the surroundings, before treating you to your own customised coffee blend. It’s brewed and roasted to your exact liking. The personalised dusting that lays on top is impressively artful, and their efforts are appreciated. They smile as you taste, because they know they’ve got it just right, and watching people enjoy their coffee brings them happiness too. Their experience means that they get every note just right, and the warm crema topping spoils your taste buds.

You make your way back to the airport, but before you board the plane, you fancy one last Italian coffee. There’s plenty of choice, but none particularly catch your eye. So Cafe Nero will do. The cafe offers convenient and cheap refreshments, and the noisy bustle inside is a nice nod to the popularity of the chain. The waitress smiles, and waits for you to place your order. The menu offers a reasonable yet generic selection, but with a growing queue behind, you quickly default to your usual latte.

Personalisation goes as far as a flavoured syrup, before a button is pressed and the end liquid passes through the machine. The ‘to-go-cup’ is promptly popped on the end counter, and in a sea of cardboard blue, you ask the waitress to point out which is yours. Efficient, polite service, but unforgettable all the same. And the coffee? It’s good. You peel off the plastic lid to see a templated bean dusting. It’s trying to be the independent barista, but it’s just not. You don’t finish the cup, but it’s served its purpose. You board the plane, and head back to the UK.

So, on your trip to Italy, you enjoyed two Italian coffees. Each quenched your thirst, but only one made an everlasting impression. And only one experience gave you a story that you’ll share with your friends.

Choosing the right estate agent is exactly the same. Some agents have perfected the art of convenience and speed. Their service is almost templated, and for homes that fall into a particular mould, it can work. Take new builds for example. Developments are plentiful and scattered throughout the UK, and the homes are marketed at the Joneses. Prices generally fall in the lower brackets, and there isn’t too much variant in house styles.

These homes are functional and affordable, but they aren’t unique; so selling these home with a templated marketing service makes sense. But when you see a home with true personality and character, the convenient ‘one-shoe-fits-all’ approach just doesn’t, well, fit. That’s because when a home really is unique, it needs unique marketing too.

If that means that your home calls for a bespoke brochure, or you need the helping hands of a home stylist, your estate agent should have a team of professionals to hand. When they sit down to pen a marketing strategy with you, it should feel unique. Because if every effort is made to approach buyers differently, and to show them all the wonderful features of your home, people will want to step inside to experience it themselves.

So, perhaps you don’t need that trip to Venice after all. Because you may just find a team that can give you a unique experience back home. Make sure you choose the team that will indulge you with an extra special coffee, though.

Happy selling!

Sam

Table with magazines on top Dropping your asking price when your house won’t sell

Table with magazines on top Dropping your asking price when your house won’t sell

If you have had your house on the market for some time without success, dropping your asking price may seem an inevitable, if undesirable, next step.  Your estate agent will often suggest this move if they have run out of ideas, motivation and most importantly, confidence in your asking price.

But is dropping your asking price really the answer to selling your home more effectively?

It’s true that for some properties, reducing the asking price can generate new interest from buyers who would have been previously unable to afford your home.  It’s also a step that for some sellers, is unfortunately necessary, if they have an urgent move, for example, or are facing repossession.

However, with many houses – particularly premium homes – dropping your asking price is not always the answer, and in fact it can even harm your chances of selling your house effectively.

I’ve compiled these DOs and DON’Ts of dropping your asking price to help you get the result you want and move on with your life:

DON’T drop your asking price by less than 10%

Or it just won’t make any difference to the interest you get. Buyers will usually look at homes 10% either side of their budget anyway so you’ll need to reduce by at least that to get noticed by a new set of buyers.

DO ask your agent why you need to reduce

– Your property was originally valued based on sound research and by an expert in the industry.  What’s changed? Understanding whether your agent misjudged the market, or the demand has changed for houses like yours, will help you make the right decision to either reduce or to stick it out.

DON’T keep making small drops in price

–  A price drop can cause suspicion among buyers, who may wonder what’s wrong with it?  Why have you lowered the asking price?  A buyer may not want to risk buying a house that seems to be falling in value. Each drop can signify a red flag to a buyer, so make your drop big and impactful, but make it just once.

DO drop to the next Rightmove price banding

– You can find these by going to www.rightmove.co.uk and entering a search. The list of price bandings that comes up is your guide as to the price your house should be marketed at. For example, there’s no point at having an asking price of £399,999 when the Rightmove banding is £400,000. You can read more about this subject here.

DON’T try to break the ceiling for your road or area

– Not only does this make buyers jittery, it will also make your surveyor nervous, too. Unless you really can’t avoid it, try to price your home at less than the highest price sold in your neighbourhood.

DO ask your agent the right questions before you drop your price

– If you’re feeling pressure from your agent to reduce, or you have a moving deadline looming and can’t afford to drop your price, ask your agency what else could be done to secure that sale, other than reducing your asking price. Have a review with them and look at your marketing critically. Could it be improved? A new twilight image or drone shot could show your home in a whole new light and generate new interest from motivated buyers.

DON’T give your buyers an excuse to make a low offer

– Make sure your home is wonderfully presented, with every room polished and attractive, otherwise you’re literally leaving money on the table. Home staging can add thousands to your asking price and making a few small changes now can help you reap the rewards when you do get an offer.

DO give yourself some negotiation room – but not too much

–  On average, you can expect to achieve around 95% of your asking price, with 5% lost in the negotiations with your buyer. This will depend on other factors of course, like how fast your local market is moving, the confidence in the housing market while you’re selling and how long your home has been on the market. Taking 95% as a benchmark, losing 5% of a £400,000 asking price means you will eventually receive £380,000 on completion. But if you reduce the asking price to £375,000 say, you’ll only get £356,250; quite a drop. Not only have you reduced by £25,000, you’ll also have lost an additional £23,750 in negotiations, putting your total ‘lost’ sale monies at £46,750, a significant loss of 12% of your original asking price.

DON’T forget to analyse your price per square foot

– it’s a far more accurate way to value a house than other methods. If your agent hasn’t already done this for you, make a spreadsheet of the other properties for sale and sold in your area and calculate the price per square foot of each, then compare it to yours. Read more about this way of valuing here – Price per square foot – a more accurate way to value

When your home hasn’t sold and you’re wondering if it’s the asking price to blame, use the above DOs and DON’Ts as a checklist to see if you’re doing everything you can to get your house sold. If your price per square foot is about right and you’re not trying to break the price ceiling for your area, and your home is presented in the best way possible, and you have time to wait it out, then have confidence in your asking price. Because if you don’t, no one else will

Happy selling

Sam

In a tricky market like this one, it’s difficult to keep up the momentum that perhaps you once felt when you first put your home on the market.  Now, many months down the line and still no sale in sight, you may be losing heart.  When once you might have changed the bedding, banished the dog and bought fresh flowers for each and every viewing, now it all seems like too much effort for what you’re sure will be another timewaster.

However, it’s not all about doing what you can to make your house look as appealing as possible, though obviously this is important; you also need the right mindset.

Think of something difficult you have tried to do: perhaps you’ve given up smoking, lost weight or passed an exam.  Maybe you tried several times before you actually achieved your goal.  If you look back on your previous attempts, why did they fail when achievement was clearly in your grasp?

It’s all to do with mindset; any dietician will tell you that you have to be in the right mindset to lose weight, otherwise you’ll keep failing.  Those friends I know who have successfully given up smoking after many years of ‘trying’ tell me that eventually they just set their mind on their goal, and that made all the difference.

But when you’re selling your home, it’s not in your control whether your viewers actually offer or not, right?  Wrong.  Of course, you can’t force them to make an offer, but you can make sure that you are totally focused on your goal of selling.

When you are focused, you will call your agent more often, research the competition, keep your home looking beautiful, make suggestions to improve your marketing campaign; and all this because your mindset is that of a seller.  When you give up, you lose the fight.

To help you get into the seller’s mindset, make a list of all the reasons you want to move.  Write them in two columns:  one list for your motivations to move out, and the other for all the reasons you want to move to the place or home you have chosen.  Keep this list taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard you use every day.  Read it often, and use it to motivate you to get out the vacuum cleaner one more time for a viewing; or polish the bathroom taps, or clean the front door.

Stay focused, stay motivated, and the buyer will come.  All because of your mindset.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

I had an enquiry recently from a rather cross man who has had his house on the market for six months.  In that time, his agent has only managed to produce one viewing.  Given that his asking price seems at first glance to be perfectly fair for the size and location, I listened carefully to his tale of woe in order to discover the reason for the total lack of interest in his house.  I didn’t have long to wait….

I asked him to talk me through what had happened so far, and he began his story with his negotiation on the agent’s fee.  “She wanted 1.75%!” he exclaimed with disgust.  “No way was Ia prepared to accept that,” he sniffed, “I told her I wouldn’t pay a penny more than 1.25%, and she eventually caved in” he added proudly.  I think he wanted me to congratulate him, but I moved swiftly on to his photography, which I thought was pretty awful.  The rooms looked dark and poky, and the outside of the house was very shadowed, and had been photographed at some very unflattering angles.  “I was offered professional photography”, the seller explained, “but the agent wouldn’t include it in his fee; she wanted another 400 quid for it!” he exclaimed,  astounded.  “I told her to take the pictures herself, and she did”.  So what about the brochure, I asked.  “That was another thing”, he said, heatedly, “the agent wanted me to cough up for that too!”

“What was he proposing?” I asked, but I knew what was coming….. “Well she expected me to pay £250 for a glossy brochure but everyone knows they don’t make a difference” he said, pleased with himself.  “The one she’s done on the office printer is pretty impressive actually”, he added.  I could just imagine it….

Had he noticed anyone driving slowly past the house, looking interested, I asked.  “They can’t”, he explained, “we live behind big gates; you can’t see the house from the road”.  So the photography and brochure were going to have to work hard to tempt viewers to pick up the phone.

So far, this seller had cut the agent’s fee to the bone, and used a cheap brochure and poor photography to market his house.  He’d fallen into The Seller’s Trap.  Is it any wonder that to date, only one viewer had been tempted enough to come to the property?

It’s a tough market out there at the moment, and your house really has to stand out from all your competition.  Here are the 3 golden HomeTruths’ rules to get you sold:

  1. Don’t negotiate on your agent’s fee, unless it’s upwards.  Incentivise them by offering over his commission fee, by at least 0.25%
  2. Always always always use professional photography.  At an average of £400, it can return 100 times your investment in your eventual selling price
  3. Pretty brochures DO sell houses!  Look at the types of brochures premium brands use to sell their goods, and compare the value of the product to your house!

Look at the commission fee you’re paying your agent: are they really being paid enough to want to sell your house?  Don’t forget 1% of nothing is nothing! You need to create an ally, and keep them onside, so pay them well.

And if you’re not sure your photography and brochure are up to the task of selling your lovely house in an very challenging market, give me a call.  I’ll tell you whether they are good enough, and if not, what you need to do about it.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: Sales Progression Management – what is it?

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

There’s a story I once heard about a Spanish bank. Apparently their elderly customers were taking up a disproportionate amount of their staff’s time, yet their business was of little value to the bank. But how to gradually ease them out without causing offence and starting a PR scandal?

They simply increased the height of their steps that led to the bank.

Of course, nowadays this would be terribly non-politically correct, and anyway, there would be a ramp! But this was some time ago, and the original stone steps were the only way into the branch.

So, the bank increases the height of their steps and one by one, the elderly customers stop coming, and over time, the average age of the bank’s customer decreased. Yes, they probably did upset some of their older customers, and I’m not necessarily advocating this as a customer retention method (!) but in the bank’s case, it did mean that they could offer a better, more appropriate service to their younger customers.

When it comes to selling your house, it’s your estate agent’s job to raise the steps, metaphorically speaking. If he adopts an open-door, anyone-can-view policy, you will spend your time preparing your homes for one time waster after another to view. There will be those who ‘haven’t sold yet’, those who are ‘just looking what we can get for our money’, and even the ones who admit ‘we’re just the neighbours – always wanted to have a look inside’. Not to mention those viewers who ‘haven’t checked yet’ what they can borrow and the “can’t afford it but thought it was worth a cheeky offer” types.

And slowly but surely, with each viewer who views your house, and each month that your house spends languishing unsold on the market, it becomes less and less desirable. Even your once-optimistic agent starts to become disheartened: “20 viewers and no offers” he will note glumly, “must be the price.” And so you begin the inevitable downward spiral of price drops, resulting in seller demoralisation and despondency, and agent bewilderment. At HomeTruths, when we re-launch a client’s property to market, we give a very clear instruction to the estate agent: only show the house to buyers who can actually buy it. Do your homework, we tell him: find out the viewer’s budget, their buying position, what else they’re looking at, and ask lots of questions about the type of house they’re looking for. By making viewings by invitation only, overtly or discreetly, a buyer will feel they are being allowed to see an exclusive property, for which they have been especially selected.

A HomeTruths’ client last year had experienced 60+ viewings over the course of a year, and yet had not received one single offer: not even a cheeky one. We re-launched her house with a new, motivated agent who was fully supportive of her asking price, new photography and a beautiful brochure, and told the agent to screen all her potential viewers carefully. The result? Only four viewings in eight weeks: but two offers. She accepted the higher of the two, and she and her family were able to finally move on.

The lesson here is to raise your steps. Don’t make it too easy for a buyer – make them work a little. Play a little hard to get; we all know how attractive that can be.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: “What’s that smell?!” What prevents your home from selling? 

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

Floorplans are a relatively new addition to property details. Originally they were only made available for either very grand homes, or new builds. Now much more prevalent and even the humblest of studio flats usually have a floorplan on the details. But why are they so important?

There are three elements to a floorplan that are important in its usability; firstly, it needs to include measurements. Too many poorly-drawn floorplans often have the measurements missing, or else they are instead included in the written description where they lack context.  The right place for room dimensions is in the floorplan, so that a buyer can easily ascertain their relative sizes. Secondly, it should include a compass market, so a buyer can tell which way the front of the house and more importantly, the garden, faces. The last element that should be detailed on a floorplan, is the overall square footage. This allows the house to be compared with other properties, so that a buyer can instantly see how much house he’s getting for his money. In the UK, we often sell houses on number of rooms only, and as a result, room sizes are getting smaller and smaller. These days, a four bedroomed house can take up the same footprint as a three bedroomed property would have done thirty years ago. To be able to see the total floor area gives a buyer the opportunity to ensure he is getting good value for money.

So why is a floorplan important? There are three main reasons:

1. It helps a buyer see how the house ‘works’, and therefore whether it is worth a viewing. Room flow, relative sizes and layout are all factors that a buyer will take into consideration, especially family buyers, and he won’t want to waste time by viewing properties which just aren’t suitable for his needs.

2. A floorplan can help a buyer to visualise the property after the viewing. This can become useful when he may be considering making layout changes, perhaps knocking down a wall or installing an ensuite, and a floorplan is vital for this kind of thought processing.

3. Floorplans can make a house seem larger. It’s very easy when you’ve viewed a house to forget rooms that you’ve seen, or overlook a part of the house altogether. This is especially true of boxrooms, or areas that aren’t being fully utilised, like storage rooms. By showing the house in its entirety on a floorplan, no area will be omitted and as a result, it can even add perceived value.

In summary, make sure you have a floorplan on your brochure, and preferably available as a separate download on the online property portals, ensure it is clear and informative, and that it includes the total floor area. Your buyer will thank you for it.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: What’s the Point of a Viewing Rep?

What to do next: Sign up to my Selling Secrets https://www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets

Before viewing a property for the first time, buyers dream of opening the door to a picture perfect showhome. But, as any seller knows, getting the glossy magazine look doesn’t come cheap. Well, it doesn’t always come cheap. Take a read of our favourite makeover secrets- they’re inexpensive, and they’ll transform your entire home too. Because creating an elegant finish is achievable, even on a modest budget!

Inspiration

To gain a little inspiration, take a look through online ‘lookbooks’; Next and Ideal Home feature beautiful collections and pieces, and their home staging photography show complementary textures, colours and accessories. Don’t be tempted to splurge though- you don’t have to break the bank to replicate these looks.

Rediscover

So, you’re full of inspiration and ideas- but where do you start?
Clear each room of anything unused or unloved, and regain some space. Or, in short, get cleaning. Decluttering isn’t the most appealing start, but it’ll help you to uncover all the unique features that made you fall in love with your home the first time you viewed it. And after a few trips to the local charity shop, you’ll feel happier and it’ll breathe life back into your home too.

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to make a rule and stick to it. The one year rule works well; if you haven’t used an item in the past 12 months you’re unlikely to need it in the future, so be ruthless and let it go. If your home has become a collection of old furniture, you’re not alone. So if you have any bulky items that won’t look right in your new home, get ahead, and take a trip to your local tip now.

On that note, why not take this opportunity to begin the packing process for your new home? Anything you want to keep, but isn’t used daily, can be kept safe in storage until it’s time to be unpacked in your new home.

Rearrange

Feeling a little more spacious? Great!
Now that each room has been stripped back to the essentials, it’s time to get creative. Take another flick through the inspiration guides and online lookbooks above, and look carefully at the room arrangements.

Look at each room of your home, and pick out the key feature. This might be a fireplace or bay window, or an interesting architectural feature. Try arranging the furniture around this focal point, because, with a little shuffling, furniture can be used to frame interesting and unique aspects of a room. Make sure that nothing sits too close to the focal point, though, and keep checking that the feature is in eye-shot as you walk into the room.

If you’re struggling to find any obvious character in a room, don’t worry, there are other ways to create a focal point. Try hanging an oversized mirror centrally on a blank wall; it’ll create a sense of light and space, as well as act as a focal point for your furniture arrangement. Awkward, small rooms can appear spacious and inviting too. All you need to do is remove large pieces of furniture, and delicately position key pieces. Try to keep furniture away from windows and french doors, because obstructing any source of natural light will darken the room.

Restyle

So, now it’s time to accessorise!
Now that each room is arranged beautifully, it’s easy to add the finishing touches. Let’s start with the walls. If they are a montage of your favourite family snaps, consider storing them ready to unpack in your new home. Potential buyers want to picture their family in your home, and that’s a little difficult to do with another family’s holiday snaps all over the walls. After a spot of depersonalising, your walls should be clean, neutral canvases. But blank walls can also feel a little clinical and unfinished too.

Whilst a feature wall is an option, paint and wallpaper can be pricey; a cheaper alternative, and a quick way to add life to a room, is to invest in some wall art instead. Take a look on Etsy and Art.com for inspiration; they offer a huge selection of affordable art, so with just a few clicks, you’ll have beautiful prints on your walls, and they’ll bring warmth and colour to your home. Remember to keep checking your inspiration guides, and choose prints with subtle colours and patterns. Minimal and clean is key, so steer clear of anything too fussy, dated or loud.

Now that the walls have a little colour, it’s time to add warmth with textiles. Choose colours that work well with the wall art, and if you can’t decide between two styles, plump for the more neutral option. Matalan offers style and affordability, and choosing cushions and throws for the living room is even more enjoyable when you know it won’t cost the earth. Remember, once your home is sold, the accessories can be taken to your new home too- so nothing is lost!

A sprinkling of greenery in each room is uplifting too. Fresh herbs smell beautiful, and they are cheap and delicious too. Dot a few pots around your kitchen, and they’ll instantly breathe life into the room.

To complete the makeover, open the curtains, straighten the bed linen, and switch on any low-level lighting; burn candles, and relax in peaceful tranquility.

Where to buy

Ready to start your makeover? Here’s our top five homeware shops that will transform your home on a budget:

Matalan
https://www.matalan.co.uk/

H&M
https://www2.hm.com/en_gb

TKMAXX
https://www.tkmaxx.com

WorldMarket
https://www.worldmarket.com

The Little House Shop
https://www.thelittlehouseshop.co.uk

Enjoy your project!

Sam

Sellers often come to me desperate and despondent, having had viewer after viewer reject their home.  “So what was their feedback?” I ask them. “Not suitable they answer.”

Not suitable? Why? What didn’t they like? What did they like more about the homes of your competition?

You don’t know? That’s because your agent hasn’t asked them!

The wealth of information that your non-buyers could tell you, could help you reach a successful sale so much quicker and with less pain.

I can guarantee you that every single item on your supermarket shelves has been tested, tested, and tested again before going on sale. If it didn’t make the grade, you won’t find it on the shelf.  Those lucky manufacturers who have managed to successfully get their products accepted, have almost certainly changed the packaging, the text, the photographs or graphics, and the product itself, before it was finally deemed of a high enough quality for us to be able to buy it.

So – think of your viewing as market research! Educate and if necessary – beg – your agent to ask lots of questions of your viewers. Tell him you promise not to be offended! Encourage him to really open his ears to every comment during the viewing and report back to you.

You don’t need to hear endless comments about factors you can do nothing about, such as the proximity to the road, or the fact that you have a teeny tiny garden, but maybe your viewers just didn’t appreciate your orange carpet or your lime green ceilings! If you know what the stumbling blocks are to your sale, you can do something about it. Otherwise, all you can do is wait, and gloomily consider a price reduction, persuaded to do so by your agent who just can’t bring himself to suggest you slap a bit of magnolia on the walls!

So when you get your next “not suitable” reach for your notepad. You may just have a house-selling success plan.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

What to read next: First impressions

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