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staging your home for sale red front door

Staging your home for sale

Selling your home can be an emotional and long process. Professional organiser Zoe Berry of Life / Edit shares her home staging tips in this blog post, to help make the process as stress free as possible.

Selling your house is well known to be one of life’s most stressful experiences, so anything you can do to ease the process must be a good thing. Home staging is something which is a standard part of the home selling process in some places (like north America) but here in the UK we are only just learning what a difference it can make both in terms of the speed of sale and profit you can make from your home. It’s amazing to think that buyers form an opinion in your home in around 10 seconds of walking in the door, so with that in context it’s incredibly important to make the right first impression. I recently staged a home for sale in Dundee and with a few tweaks and a keen eye, the property achieved 10% more than the pre-staging evaluation, and I only spent approx. 1% of the sale price on the changes.

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your property when you are selling:

Start with your kerb appeal

There’s no point spending ages making the inside of your house look desirable if the outside isn’t up to the same standard.  It’s important to make your home as eye-catching as possible from as soon as potential buyers first see it. So tidy up plants and lawns, give the front door a lick of paint and make sure your door furniture is looking super shiny.

Declutter and depersonalise

The most important thing you can do to showcase your home to its best standard is to declutter, as many people simply cannot see past someone else’s possessions. It is important that buyers can imagine themselves living in your house which is more difficult if your surfaces are full of your family photos and mementos. One or two carefully chosen pictures and ornaments are great – you don’t want it to look stark, of course.  Cast your eye around and check that your surfaces and floorspaces are clear.

Check your flooring

What state are your carpets in? Are they patterned and dated? Or have they worn and need to be replaced? What about your wooden floors? Do they need to be re-varnished? Remember the more jobs people mentally tot up in their heads when looking round a property, the more likely they are to be put off from making an offer.

organised entrance hallway decluttered

Is your décor up to date?

When selling your home it’s best to consider a neutral palate. That crazy feature wallpaper might be your taste, but to appeal to the widest possible cross section of people it’s best to go sophisticated. A subtle background means that people can imagine their belongings in your home more easily. Make sure that curtains and blinds are in good condition and fit properly. Long curtains can make windows feel larger and blinds can be a good option for replacing dated curtains as low cost.

Check each room one at a time

Hall

Buy a new doormat for your porch and clear all the usual shoes, coats and bikes away. A top tip for the hall is to hang a mirror on the wall to bounce light around.

Sitting room

Really look at your furniture placement. Yes, that might be where you have always had that chair but could it be repositioned to show the room off more? Make sure your sofas are in good condition and brighten them up with some new cushions. Clear magazines and books off shelves and from under coffee table and put back only what looks good: a few mags on the table and some carefully chosen pieces on the shelves.

APDO - staging your home for sale decluttering organising kitchen

Dining Room

Consider how your dining table looks with no one seated at it. A runner and a bowl of fruit or some flowers make it look inviting. Make sure you show the room size off as much as possible. If this means playing about with the positioning of furniture then do!

Bathrooms

When decluttering and depersonalising, all the same rules apply to your bathroom as elsewhere in your home . For a bathroom it’s also key to clear away any ‘functional’ items such as cleaning products, toilet brushes, weighing scales and toothpaste and toothbrushes. Update even a tired looking bathroom with fresh new towels, well-chosen toiletries and fix anything that needs updating such as grout/sealant etc. This way you show the buyer the potential of your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Bedrooms

Make sure you bed is in the right position to show buyers the proportions of your bedroom. Declutter and stage the room channelling  ‘nice hotel room’ i.e. make sure the bedding is clean, ironed and the bed made well. Make sure your bedside tables and dressing tables are clear, with just a few photos and carefully chosen possessions on show which compliment the décor.

Kids’ stuff

Children’s toys should be sifted through and, although you can’t disappear all of them, a large amount should be put away for when buyers are viewing.

APDO staging your home for sale organising decluttering playroom

Appeal to all the senses

Make sure you home is warm enough, clean and as bright and cheerful as you can make it. If it’s a dull day and your house is dark, make sure you have replaced lightbulbs. If you have a pet you need to eliminate any associated odours by washing upholstery, cleaning carpets and using air fresheners and giving the house a good airing.

And finally

You are trying to make your home seem uncluttered, have plenty of storage but also loved and lived in. It’s a fine balance and it’s a difficult one to achieve when it is your own home – which is why you might consider employing a professional organiser who specialises in home staging. It will be totally worth it when your house sale goes through. Happy selling!

If Zoe’s post has inspired you to stage your home for sale you can find more information about your local professional organiser here.

forgotten moving house costs

5 forgotten costs of moving home

Moving house can be an expensive and stressful experience, that much is a given. But with 40% of buyers overspending on associated moving costs, it’s important to organise your finances by putting aside enough to help your home buying along, as well as making sure you’re getting a good deal.

Reallymoving aims to make moving home easier, and make those costs transparent, helping you to get quotes for surveys, conveyancing and removals. Once you’ve saved up the deposit, here are their 5 top areas you’ll likely need funds for and whether you can get a better deal:

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid when a property is bought. The amount you pay is based on the price of the property, and is fixed by the government as follows:

Purchase price bands (£) Percentage rate (%)
Up to 125,000 0%
125,001 to 250,000 2%
250,001 to 925,000 5%
925,001 to 1,500,000 10%
Above 1,500,000 12%

Changes to Stamp Duty in the 2017 autumn budget mean that first time buyers are now exempt from paying Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, and will not pay any on the first £300,000 of a property worth up to £500,000.

How is a first time buyer defined? You can never have owned residential property before, either in the UK or abroad. If you are buying with a partner you both have to be first time buyers.

If you are buying a second home, or a buy to let property, a 3% increase on Stamp Duty has been introduced.

You must pay your Stamp Duty within 30 days of completing on your new property, and it can be paid through your conveyancing solicitor.

Conveyancing Fees

A conveyancing solicitor, or licensed conveyancer, will be able to formalise your sale, dealing with transferring money, paying fees and organising the transfer of the deeds. Conveyancing costs will include the time of your conveyancer, but also ‘disbursements’- these are fees associated with your purchase, that the conveyancer pays on your behalf. These include things like local searches of the property, paying estate agent fees, land registration fees and if you need to pay it, Stamp Duty.

You can work out an approximate cost of conveyancing using our moving cost calculator, as it will depend on whether you’re buying, selling, or both.

decluttering services

Surveys

Getting a survey is one of the most important things you can do when buying a property, and remember, a survey is NOT a valuation. A mortgage lender will offer a valuation to assess how much they are willing to lend you. A survey however, carried out by a Chartered Surveyor, will check the quality of the house, from the foundations to the wiring, and make sure your investment is solid. A survey will tell you what issues may arise and how much it might cost to fix, giving you room to bargain when buying.

There are two main options: a HomeBuyer’s Report and Building Survey. A Building Survey is more in depth, recommended for older properties, those that have had a lot of work done to them, or ones you intend to do a lot of work on. A HomeBuyer’s Report has been recommended by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) as a good, in depth option for most other homes. You can chat to your surveyor about which one suits your property.

Removals/Storage

You want to choose a great value removals team who can be depended on to turn up, but there are a few ways to manage costs and make sure you get the best deal. Choose a removals team who will survey your property – they can see how big the home is, if there’s any issues with access and parking, and can assess how much stuff you have and how long it will take to move. This means a more accurate quote and no nasty surprises.

Get rid of as much stuff as you can – throw away those old children’s toys and clothes from years ago, or even better, donate and sell stuff! Removals are charged based on the amount of stuff to move – the less you have, the cheaper it is. Engaging an APDO declutterer and organiser could help you reign in your belongings and help you identify what’s truly needed in the next phase.

Think about which items need to be disassembled in advance, and give your removals team notice that this is needed. Make sure you know exactly when you’re picking up the keys. Delays in conveyancing on the day can keep a removals team waiting around for hours, which you’ll be charged for.

Also work out if taking advantage of a packing service is better for you. A professional team know what they’re doing and can work efficiently, meaning safer items and less stress for you.

If there isn’t any crossover between leaving your old home and moving into your new one, paying for storage will be necessary. Look for companies that have great security at their units and maybe pick a removals company that can offer this along with their main services – it may work out cheaper for you. Consider if you need access to your items between moving days and if so, what times of day or the week you’d want to get in. As a rule of thumb, storage is more expensive the more flexible access you require.

house has been sold

Insurance

When getting a mortgage, you will be required to purchase buildings insurance, starting from the day of exchange. Confirm with your existing insurers if you can transfer your home and contents policy to the new premise or if there are any admin charges to set up a new policy. Decide if you want to pay these policy costs upfront for the year or make monthly direct debits to manage cashflow during this period of heightened expenditure.

Most removals companies will have removals cover, but check their small print so you know the process for making claims, and whether this still applies if you have packed the boxes yourself. Be sure to make a list of any furniture/large items as well as your boxes (or better yet, number them as well as naming them with the contents, so you can tick them off on arrival). Be sure to compare removals companies’ rates and reviews, so you know you’re getting the best deal.

Planning for these supplementary costs can make your moving experience much more manageable; do your research well in advance so that you know likely timeframes when each cost will hit your bank balance. Always compare services to make sure you’re getting the best deal and avoid any unexpected extras.

Best of luck in your new home!