Guild Blog: How to Make a Good First Impression

When it comes to selling your home, making a good first impression is vital. Here are our top five things to avoid when trying to entice prospective buyers:

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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: How to Renovate on a Shoestring Budget

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

Wanting to make a good impression and make your home stand out in the crowd doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are numerous budget-friendly ways that you can use to make your property more appealing to potential buyers and increase your chances of selling for the highest possible price.

You can make a big impact without spending big money, too. Subtle, well-thought-out and inexpensive updates are sometimes all that is needed to make a lasting impression and give you the edge in the market.  Here are some budget-friendly updates you could do before listing your home: 

 

Start with a renovation checklist 

Before doing anything else, walk through your home and visit each room to make a list of what needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s might be difficult, but try to be objective, focusing on how buyers would view your home. A second opinion from a friend or family members could help during this process. Look for outdated styles and fixtures, bold patterns and colours, unfinished projects and over-cluttered cupboards or countertops. Consider which elements showcase the home in its best light and what doesn’t. Once the checklist has been established, the next step is to set a budget and make time to complete the tasks.

 

First impressions count

It takes people just 15 seconds to decide whether they like a house or not. That just highlights the importance of making a good first impression. A buyer’s impression of your home is not only formed by what they see on the interior but starts from outside the property walls. People passing by will judge whether they want to have a look at the property by the way it looks from the street. Curb-appeal is vital and contributes to the success of attracting buyers. Start maintenance outside the property and work your way inside. Basic updates such as painting or refinishing of fences sheds and garage doors, cutting the grass and planting some flowers can improve the look of a home from the outside. 

 

Use transitional styles

Every home will have a style that is as unique as the people who own it. Ideally, you want to incorporate modern aspects into the home without losing its character and warmth. A transitional style walks the line between traditional warmth and homeliness, and the clean lines and subdued tones of a contemporary look. You want to tick the ‘just right’ box – not too cold or formal and not too fussy. 

 

Kitchen and bathrooms are key

As some of the most frequently used areas in any home, the kitchen and bathrooms will be a focal point for buyers. Pay extra attention to these areas to ensure they are fresh and look great. Things such as stained shower stalls, broken or missing grout and leaky taps or dated cabinet hardware are easily replaced at minimum cost. Exposed pipes in the bathroom can be boxed in and hidden. 

If laminate on kitchen doors is warped, there are companies who will re-laminate the kitchen doors and carcasses for a fraction of the cost of replacing them. A fresh backsplash is also a great way to update the look of the kitchen while giving the impression of a much bigger renovation. A new kitchen backsplash is surprisingly affordable and DIY-able.

 

A fresh coat

A new coat of paint is an inexpensive way to revitalise the home, especially if you have the skills to do the job yourself. Paint can breathe new life into a dated space and can be used in a variety of applications on walls, doors, cabinets, fixtures and even tiles. It is best to stick to a neutral muted colour palette when deciding on which paint to select, as these colours will appeal to the largest number of people. 

 

Replace or repair skirting boards

It is possible to repaint the skirting boards, but sometimes they can be over-painted and in need of a refreshed look, especially next to repainted painted walls or new carpets. At approximately £1.25 per metre, it’s a cheap fix and there are online companies offering a wide range of styles, meaning you can match styles with any skirting boards you wish to keep. 

 

Replace internal doors and door handles 

If your property was built in the ’70s and you still have the original doors and handles, then they are nearly 50 years old. It’s safe to say that these types of doors and handles will not be coming back into fashion anytime soon. Handles cost as little as £7.99 each, while a door will cost around £46.99 depending on the style and material chosen. 

 

Put up new window coverings

New window treatments can enhance a room without requiring much effort. You can find reasonably priced and easy-to-install shades, curtains, and rods at stores such as IKEA.

 

Light switches and electric sockets

Another cheap but highly effective update, replacing the light switches and electric sockets won’t break the bank but will bring the home into this century. A switch will cost around £1.32, while a socket will set you back approximately £3.89. Think safety first – always employ a professional when replacing electrical elements.

 

Repair failed double-glazed windows

While a blown double-glazed window was once very expensive to repair, this is no longer the case. There are many specialist companies who can remove moisture from inside the failed double-glazed glass, clean and re-seal your windows for a fraction of the cost of buying new double glazing.

 

Hang wall art

The look of a room can be completely changed simply by hanging artwork. Before making holes in the wall, layout the artwork on the floor to get the right arrangement if there are more than one or two pieces. Markets, antique stores and second-hand shops are great resources for finding expensive gems.

 

Updating your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. By making these small changes before listing a property, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of setting your home apart. 

To find other budget renovation tips check out our video on ‘How to upgrade your home for less’.