There can be great upheaval in a home over the festive period, with guests to stay, an influx of new gifts and things getting lost. Early spring is widely acknowledged by property experts to be the best time of year to sell a property, so if you’re looking to move in the new year then it is worth planning in advance.
Susan Ward, residential conveyancing lawyer at Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, Lancashire provides her top tips on getting your house ready for sale as soon as you have packed away those Christmas decorations.
De-cluttering is key to making your home more attractive to potential buyers. Personal possessions tend to accumulate in every nook and cranny of most homes so have a good clear out. Put your excess stuff in storage or give it away to charity. Don’t be tempted to depersonalise too much though, as buyers are looking for a home not a hotel room.
Light and airy homes are always more attractive so put wall mirrors up to make rooms look bigger and lighter, place lamps in dark corners, and if a large piece of furniture makes a room look smaller, remove it. You should also clean your windows inside and out, and replace any broken light bulbs.
Cleanliness is important. Tidy your garden and, if your home is looking shabby, deep clean it and give it a lick of paint if required. Wash your curtains and try to get stubborn stains out of carpets and upholstery. Bad smells are a big turn off for buyers so if you have any strange odours, do not try and cover it up; get to the root of the problem by clearing out drains, cleaning bins and getting rid of anything that smells of cigarette smoke or animals.
Once you have your home in a saleable state, ask friends to recommend an estate agent. Check each agency’s credentials (estate agents now have to be members of The Property Ombudsman or The Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme) and consider opting for one which is also a member of a trade association such as the Guild of Professional Estate Agents or the National Association of Estate Agents – such membership means they will have to abide by a code of conduct.
Ask at least three estate agents to value your home before deciding on one. Ensure you check the small print before you sign up to find out how much the commission will be, what the tie-in requirements are, how your property will be advertised and who will handle viewings.
An important element of any house sale is selecting the right solicitor at an early stage. A good solicitor will see you through the whole conveyancing process, making a wide range of checks and searches and ensuring you have all the required documentation in order.
If you think that there might be any legal issues that could complicate your sale – such as a boundary dispute or a problem with a planning permission – then you should speak to us as soon as possible so that we can advise on a solution.
Do not let anyone pressurise you into using a cheap conveyancer who is miles away: as a local solicitor we have the advantage of local knowledge and contacts. And of course, you can pop in to deliver documents or photo ID by hand if need be.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.