Selling a house, which has been your home for a number of years, can be a long process. It consists of hard work, beginning with making it look presentable for potential buyers right through to finalising the papers. Nevertheless the excitement for your new beginning doesn’t stop crossing your mind, increasing the desire to get the house on the market. It all comes down to three points: clearing out the house, making any final touches and then getting the valuation. In my experience estate agents are just as impressionable as potential buyers so make sure the house is “sale-ready” before inviting the estate agents in.
1. The Clearout
When moving house, you realise the amount of necessary and completely unnecessary possessions you have kept over the years.
Over a period of four months, I de-cluttered the whole house making it presentable for potential buyers. I firstly began with the jam-packed loft and garage, where I had been storing items over the past twenty years, all of which I had decided had sentimental value. The aim was to clear the junk out of both the loft and the garage so that I was able to store items there from the rest of the house that I wanted to keep.
Many would have classed what I was storing in the loft as complete junk, and as hard as it is I have to admit that some items might have just been that, such as the magazines I had kept from the 90s. So I painstakingly went through every item attempting not to put everything in the “to keep” pile.
Luckily the garage was much easier, as over the years it reached a point where the bikes would no longer fit in so we would have a good cleanout meaning we had not stored years upon years of items in there, unlike the loft. So after multiple trips to the dump both the loft and the garage were clutter free and now it was time to de-clutter the house!
Every space in the house was used for storage and all of it was items which I definitely wanted to keep, however, it made the house too cluttered which, let’s be honest, is not the best when you are trying to get your house sold. So I began placing items in the garage and loft till there was no more free space. I had hoped that the house would have looked clutter-free by now, however, this was not the case and I had still not moved some extra furniture out.
So what was my best option? I considered asking family and friends, however, everyone was stuck for space. A self storage facility was my only option, but I feared the cost of it would break my budget, so it had to be cheap. I was able to find a storage space in London which enabled me to quickly store all the extra items I had around the house. There are also a variety of self-storage money saving tips which have helped keep the cost down. So after weeks, the house looked uncluttered, with the loft, garage and my self storage unit being filled to the rafters.
2.The Final Touches
With the house being clutter free it was more obvious the repairs which need to be undertaken before the house could be put on the market. All of these were minor, and could easily be fixed such as the holes in the wall where shelving and pictures had been taken down. I also wanted to repaint the dining room to freshen it up. I found myself unsure what colour to paint the walls, however, I reminded myself that hopefully I would not have to live with it for along, so I played safe and picked an off-white, which apparently helps viewers envisage their belongings in the room better. I had also recently done up the downstairs bathroom but had not yet done the flooring, but I was now thinking of some large porcelain tiles.
One thing you have to be careful of is to avoid making it seem that there is not enough storage in the house. Through de-cluttering this was easily done but I had to pay attention how I stored the remaining items in the house. For many there is never enough storage especially if you are a hoarder like myself, so through correctly storing your belongings it could give the impression that there is more than enough storage space. Even having your cupboards neat and tidy could make the difference as a large majority take a look inside when viewing a house.
These little changes are said to make a large difference in how your house is portrayed on a viewing, as it is not easy selling your home. So with all the changes in place it is now time for the estate agent to come and make a valuation.
3. The Valuation
Estate agents are hard to read, they are both trying to get you and potential buyers the best possible deal so you don’t know really were they stand. To begin with I had three estate agents come to value my house, they attempt not to offend you about your home but at the same time are trying manage your expectations on price. This left me feeling confused and uncertain where I stand, as other houses in the neighbourhood had been on the market for quite a while, and I was unsure of the reason why.
I realised the only way to get honest advice was to be persistent, so I ended up having five estate agents value the house. However, by the fifth agent I realised that I might have been too persistent. He told me that I had to get rid of some of the clutter as well as do some re-decorating. I do wonder what he would have said if I had the valuation before I put my belongings in storage as well as the redecorating. The problem is that estate agents are susceptible to first impressions but so are potential buyers, therefore, I could have not been happier with my choice to clear out the house.
After a long decision, I finally selected the estate agent. Bring on the viewings!