Guild Blog: Top 10 Ways of Adding Value to your Home

We all want to add value to our homes. After all, property is one of the best investments so why not make the most of it. The rule of thumb when it comes to adding value is to utilise what you already have. Any additions that are too costly might not bring you much of a return when you sell, so work with the space and think how it could be transformed to make it more useful.

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Guild Blog: What are the 10 biggest turn-offs for home buyers?

Pink cottage on the South West Coast path as it passes through Empacombe Quay at Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall

When it comes to selling your property, making a good first impression is imperative. Our Guild agents share their expertise and identify the top 10 biggest turn-offs for prospective buyers and how to avoid them.

 

1. Clutter

Clutter is not only distracting, but it could indicate that the property does not have adequate storage.

Nick Manson from Mansons Newcastle upon Tyne said: “De-cluttering is a great way to increase your chances of completing a sale, but that doesn’t mean that you have to part with your prized possessions. You can box them up and store them in the loft or garage. If this is not an option, ask family or friends to store them. Failing that, there is always the option of self-storage.”

Creating a clutter-free, minimalistic environment will help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. Additionally, too much furniture can make a property seem a lot smaller than it is.

 

2. Smells

No matter how pleasant your home appears, persistent odours such as the smell of pets, cigarettes, or pungent food can be detrimental when it comes to selling your property.

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire explains: “An unpleasant odour is sure to put off a prospective purchaser or tenant. Whether it’s the whiff of stale food, pets or even something more… ‘human’… make sure that your property is free of unwanted smells. Ask a trusted friend to give your home a ‘sniff test’!”

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we suggest opening your windows to air out your property before a viewing and use air freshener or light a candle to ensure your home doesn’t smell unpleasant.

 

3. An untidy exterior

Overgrown, unkempt gardens are a big no-no. Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “The first thing viewers see is the exterior. Ensure your bins are not overflowing and your pathway is weed free. Do whatever you can to make your home feel inviting from the outset. Don’t forget, our viewers have probably already done a drive-by before making an appointment.”

 

4. Noise

Most people expect their home to be a place of peace and tranquility. It may not always be preventable, but there are steps you can take to reduce unwanted noise from your property.

Mandy Thomas from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Upgrade your glazing or install sound proof fencing. Alternatively, try to avoid organising viewings at busy times of the day such as rush hour, when traffic will be particularly bad.”

 

5. No natural light

Light and warmth are two of the most important factors to attract a buyer for your home, especially in the colder months of the year. Angie Kraft from Simmons & Sons Henley-on-Thames explains: “A cold or poorly lit home can be an instant turn-off  to potential buyers by making the property appear dingy and dark in places. If this is the case, it gives the impression of a house that is unloved and uncared for.”

Resolving this issue can be simple. Philip Trollen from Keats Estate Agents Haslemere said: “Natural light is very important as dark rooms are always off-putting. Ensuring the room is well lit, whether that be naturally or with staged lighting is quite simple to do. Make sure the curtains are open and remove those net curtains!”

 

6. Bad décor

Avoid controversial or quirky décor in your home as it is not to everyone’s taste. What you think is retro, others may consider dated. Bold colours and patterns can turn-off a prospective buyer, as it is important for them to see themselves living there and décor plays a huge part in this.

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller Wakefield said: “Replace heavily patterned retro carpets, when purchasers are greeted with such a carpet all they see is decades of dirt and grim – I can guarantee the viewer will want to leave as soon as they’ve stepped through the door.”

 

7. Nightmare neighbours

Nobody enjoys noisy or messy neighbours, especially not a potential buyer. This is something you cannot change, but it is something you can manage. Whether their garden hasn’t been cleaned in years, or their pet dogs incessantly bark, get to know your neighbour and perhaps they may be able to help. If all else fails, organising viewings for when they are not home might be beneficial, too.

 

8. Poor presentation

Poor attention to detail such as: flaking paint on soffits, grubby kitchen units, tatty net curtains, unemptied ashtrays and nicotine stained walls are taken into consideration when viewing a property.

Lizanne Simmons from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “First impressions are massive and we often find ourselves apologising for the sights of the less cared for properties. We always arrive early to a viewing to open the windows, curtains, close the lids to the toilets and pull a duvet into position here and there.”

Simon Bradbury from Thomas Morris Cambridgeshire said: “Dirty kitchens or bathrooms are not a nice thought and certainly not something that a viewer will want to see. My best advice: have the property professionally cleaned before going to market.”

Small and affordable fixes such as: freshening up the paint work, or having your home professionally cleaned will make a world of difference and worth it in the long run.

 

9. An unexpected problem

Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole Mid Wales said: “There is nothing worse for a viewer than turning up to find there is a significant issue with a property which they were not aware of such as a structural defect, a problem with something in the neighbourhood or compromised accommodation. It is a wise precaution to maintain compliance with Consumer Protection Regulations, but it also makes good business sense – the viewers are more trusting of us and willing to discuss the issues and the available solutions.

 

10. An over zealous vendor

It is common for a vendor to want to take part in the viewing or show off their DIY aspects of the property. However, vendors being present at viewings may not always be a good thing.

Stephen Ingram from Penny & Sinclair Oxford said: “A seller that follows the viewer around is never well-received. With the best intentions, those scenarios always highlight why it’s best to leave it to your agent.”

Take a step back and let your agent do the work, it is their job after all and you will thank them later.

 

Are you looking to sell your home? Contact your local Guild Member for help through the moving process.

Guild Blog: Which room convinces you to buy?

Which Room Convinces you to Buy your New Home?

When you step into a house there is naturally one room which buyers gravitate towards. The important question is, which room convinces you to buy? If you’re looking to sell your home it is useful to know which room to prioritise for open houses, images of the property or facts about your home.

Read what some of our Guild agents had to say about their experiences of which rooms convinces people to buy.

Simon Davies, Branch Manager of Norman F Brown said: “I believe the kitchen is the heart of a home. The current trend is a space where everyone can be together. Historically this was the sitting room, but recently there is a shift to living kitchens, especially if there is an open-plan design with the sitting room. The best kitchen I have seen interlinks the garden with French Doors or Modern Bi Folds to bring the outside in and make the garden more inclusive.”

Simon Bradbury, Managing Director of Thomas Morris said: “The room which I believe most convinces a buyer to purchase a home is the hallway, although it’s not technically a “room”. Normally, it’s the very first internal part of a property that a buyer will see. Therefore, the hallways establishes the tone for their experience with the rest of the property by setting a positive or negative level of expectancy. The hall should be bright and feel warm (or cool depending on the time of year) and inviting. Clutter should be put away to make the area appear more spacious. Air fresheners, diffusers, scented candles or flowers are simple, but effective methods to enhance a buyer’s first impression of a property.”

Does the Living Room help you to decide whether to purchase a new home?

Simon Miller, Partner of Holroyd Miller said: “Open-plan kitchens create the lifestyle of family and friends coming together in a space that can accommodate eating, drinking and socialising. The kitchen is normally the most expensive and time-consuming room in a home to decorate or renovate. A kitchen already supplied with good quality appliances and high-end worktops are favourable. Buyers are usually looking for minimum effort, focusing on moving in and opening a celebratory chilled bottle of fizz.”

Steve Wayne, Director of Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents said: “The centre of any home is often thought of as the kitchen. Depending on the size of your kitchen, it can often be the social hub of any home. It is where loved ones come together and a space in which you can get creative, both in design and culinary delights. The advantage of an eat-in kitchen allows for communal meals and socialising. Good food and communication makes for a happy household.”

Jenny Owen, Head of Marketing for Sawyer & Co. said: “A room with a view is always a great selling point for buyers. A well-fitted, spacious bathroom is really popular and at the moment.”

Pav Lotay, Account Manager for the Guild of Property Professionals Head office said: “For me, the living room is the most social space in a property and the area which I spend the most time in. This is the room that stands out the most and would convince me to buy. I look for a homely property: a spacious living room where I can see myself having guests to visit and putting up a Christmas tree.”

Are you looking to sell your property? Contact one of our Guild agents today. Find your nearest office here.

Guild Blog: Do you have a Gorgeous Garden?

What do you think makes a Gorgeous Garden?  They can be the found in the smallest tranquil Courtyard setting or in acres of stunning landscaping.

For many, the ideal garden is a perfect blend of manicured lawns, flowerbeds overflowing with abundance, trimmed topiary and box hedges. An escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, gardens can be a refuge designed to suit any lifestyle. From small kitchen gardens to grand country grounds, each has its own character and can be a place of serenity amid the daily routines of life. We look at a few properties with gorgeous gardens guaranteed to inspire.

 

1.Edford, Exeter – £1,000,000

A superbly appointed detached Regency residence reputedly built in the 1820s, Ebford House has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and modernisation programme creating a grand home of distinction and great character. Located in a highly desirable hamlet close to Topsham, Edford House’s gardens wrap around the home with an array of mature trees and shrubs. To one side is a woodland style area with an old oak tree and Douglas fir and an area of lawn with raised beds, a greenhouse and garden shed. To the front of the property is a veranda terrace with wisteria. Steps from the terrace lead down to a gravel pathway which in turn has steps down to a good-sized lawn with mature planted borders and trees.

For sale through Wilkinson Grant & Co (topsham@wilkinsongrant.co.uk, 01392 875000).

 

2. Grove Park, Camberwell – £2,875,000

On a sizeable corner plot in Rylstone, this seven-bedroom Victorian home is somewhat of a hidden gem. Named in honour of William Wordsworth’s poem ‘The White Doe of Rylstone’, the property enjoys many original features, including stained glass, textured Ashlar coving, fireplaces and decorative wooden detail. Another standout feature are the three separate garden areas, which each supply a peaceful space to unwind. Tall trees on both sides of the garden afford it privacy, while still allowing for plenty of sunlight. Adding to the charm of the home, mature creepers make their way the up the walls alongside wide bays of sash and casement windows. Not just aesthetically beautiful, but functional as well, the paved patio garden area outside the kitchen is where the current owners cultivate all manner of vegetables and herbs.

For sale through Wooster & Stock (sales@woosterstock.co.uk, 020 7952 0595).

 

3. Dennis Lane, Stanmore – £2,395,000

Located in beautiful grounds of just over three quarters of an acre, the garden of this seven-bedroom detached home in sought-after Dennis Lane, Stanmore, offers plenty of space for entertaining or enjoying outdoor activities. The west-facing rear garden of the country-style family home, complete with sun-trap terrace and heated swimming pool, features ample lawn area and high mature trees and scrubs providing both privacy and shade.

For sale through Breslauer (sales@breslauer.co.uk, 0208 954 2200).

 

4. Sussex Square, Brighton – £575,000

Located in the Kemp Town Conservation area, this three-bedroom apartment in Sussex Square looks out across the greenery of the beautiful landscaped gardens of Kemp Town Enclosures. A communal garden, Kemp Town Enclosures is owned collectively by the freeholders of 105 houses that make up the Kemp Town Estate. Residents have access to these private enclosed gardens and can enjoy easy direct access to the seafront without crossing the coastal road via its secret tunnel.

Local horticulturist, Henry Phillips was responsible for landscaping the gardens in 1828, around the same time that the Kemp Town Estate was being constructed. The tunnel to the esplanade was added later in about 1830. Royalty such as William IV and Queen Adelaide, and later Victoria and Albert, enjoyed walks in the gardens on their visits to Brighton.  In 1908, the gardens were set aside for the exclusive pleasure of Edward VII when he and his daughter stayed at 1 Lewes Crescent.

For sale through Sawyer and Co. (brighton@sawyerandco.co.uk, 01273 685111).

 

5. Valley Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol – £1,600,000

A magnificent six-bedroom Edwardian home in a leafy private road on the very edge of the city, in the enviable location of Leigh Woods. Three Gables was built for the Wills family in 1908 in a bespoke style and now occupies an outstandingly beautiful plot of around a quarter of an acre. The beautifully manicured gardens in the front and rear of the home have an array of mature tree and plant specimens alongside impressive, well-tended lawns and have clearly been a labour of love.

The front garden enjoys a southerly aspect, while the rear faces a north westerly direction. With the overall plot measuring just over a quarter of an acre, there is ample space for interesting features such as the hexagonal summer house to located on the western boundary of the rear garden.

For sale through Hydes (post@hydes.co.uk, 0117 973 1516).