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Selling Your Home – Making The Most Of A Conservatory

What is your motive for downsizing? Is it that you’ve had enough of looking after your home and are tired of all the housework and gardening you have to do? Is the idea to have more time to do the things you really enjoy? Focusing on your reasons for moving can be a great motivator for making changes to present your home for sale. One of the most challenging rooms to consider when selling is the conservatory and it is often a neglected and underused space. It can also be a fantastic asset so in this blog I want to suggest some ideas for making the most of it.

Purpose

One of the problems that we experience with a conservatory is that it isn’t always clear what it is actually intended to be used for. If you have read any of my previous blogs you will know that I frequently refer to the importance of giving each room a purpose (or defining different areas of a larger room). This enables buyers to understand how the room can be used. A conservatory can be used for varying functions – a living area, dining area, playroom or even a work space. When selling take time to consider if how you currently use it is the most appropriate for your target market and be prepared to make changes. The answer to this will depend partly on the rest of your property and what it offers. Is there something that is lacking? It is worth doing your research, speak with your agent and look at other similar properties on the market in your area in the same price bracket as yours.

Functionality

Having identified the most appropriate purpose for your conservatory next think about whether it is usable for that purpose. One of the common problems with conservatories is climate control – they can be either too hot or too cold. Whatever you are using the conservatory for you want to be able to use it all year round so generally that can mean blinds for the summer and heating for the winter. If you don’t already have these features then I appreciate that there is a cost involved in installing them which has to be balanced against the value of the property and the likely impact of the changes on the saleability of the property.

Presentation

Once you have decided what function of the conservatory and made any changes to ensure that it can be used for that purpose on a daily basis then it is time to present it appropriately. If you haven’t changed the function from what it is used for presently then this shouldn’t be too difficult. Start by removing any extraneous items of furniture that don’t fit the function e.g. a freezer, exercise equipment. If the conservatory is meant to be an additional living area, somewhere to relax and enjoy the garden perhaps, then you want comfortable seating, side tables etc. For a dining area then a table and chairs and perhaps a sideboard or console table. Greenery is an important element of a conservatory in my opinion and is a great opportunity to display some more exotic plants.

In summary, identify what the conservatory is to be used for, make sure it is practical and present it appropriately. Would you like me to come and sort out your conservatory? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me on judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West. Don’t Move Home Without Me!

Selling Your Home – Tackling the Garage Junk

If you are about to downsize and have a garage then getting ready to move could feel like a nightmare! Very few of us these days actually use our garage to park our cars unless perhaps they are classic cars and are valuable. One reason is the size, cars have got bigger and if your property was built some time ago then the garage may no longer be large enough to house a car. Another reason is that we increasingly use the garage as storage. It may contain leisure equipment such as bikes, canoes, skis or tools or pieces of furniture. Very often “stuff” just gets dumped in there. However, a garage is a very valuable space not only for genuine storage but also because it can present an opportunity for conversion.

In this blog I want to offer advice how tackle what may have become a space that is full of clutter.

Getting Started

The objective is two fold. One, you want to demonstrate the available space. Two, you are reducing what needs to be moved this saving time and money with removal costs. There is another consideration here, if buyers view a garage which is full to the rafters they may worry that it might not all be removed on completion. As with any decluttering task sorting out a garage requires a bit of planning. When I last moved I began by taking everything out of the garage but you may prefer to deal with certain areas at a time. By doing this you see what you’ve got, very often you come across things that you have forgotten about.

What Do You Do With It?

Having removed everything from the garage (or a section of it) it’s time to assess what to do with it. This may be quite easy in case of say, bikes or gardening tools but, it may still be worth asking yourself the question whether you will use it. It could be time to acknowledge that you are no longer going to be using that piece of sports equipment that has been languishing. Similarly it may be a piece of furniture, some offcuts of wood etc that you have been holding onto on the off chance. I have three categories

  • Dispose of
  • Sell
  • Keep

Dispose of means taking items to the tip or perhaps a charity shop. This includes old tins of paint although if you have done any recent decorating and the paint is still fresh then it may be helpful to the new owners and then same applies to extra tiles that have been left over. Sell could include a car boot or even a garage sale, an online portal or auction. Keep refers to those items that are definitely coming with you. It’s ok to have a “not sure” pile but make sure that you come back to it within a few days to make a final decision.

Styling For Sale

It may sound ridiculous to talk about styling a garage but trust me. I am not talking about styling in the same way as with the interior of your property but you do still need to think about the end result. I mentioned earlier about wanting to demonstrate to buyers the space available. This is particularly applicable if your garage is attached and ripe for conversion. So when you come to put things back then it needs to be neat and tidy. This also makes moving easier. Group things together such as sports equipment, garden tools, decorating equipment. Utilise shelving if you have it or even invest in some, it can come with you.

So get started, decide what to do with everything and replace what you are keeping in a tidy fashion. Overwhelmed by your garage? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West. Don’t Move Home Without Me!

Selling Your Home – Top Tips For Getting Your Home Seen

Downsizing is both exciting and scary. It’s exciting because you are looking forward to a new phase of your life. There are lots of reasons for downsizing – health issues, wanting to spend time doing other activities, not wanting to spend time or money on maintenance. It’s scary, particularly if you have been in your home for a long time, because you are making a big change.

Having your property on the market is very unsettling because you are in limbo and can’t move on until you have sold. So you want to sell as soon as possible. Part of that is getting your property in front of as many people as possible. So I have a few tips.

For Sale Board

Today when so much house hunting is done online it is easy to imagine that a For Sale board might not be necessary. I know that some people do not like having a board, they value their privacy or they don’t want the neighbours to know. However, I am a big fan of For Sale boards as a means of maximising the visibility of a property. Potential buyers may not all be looking online. Sometimes buyers want to be on a particular road and they are waiting for something to come up. A board can be the first sign of a property coming to market. A friend may spot it and let the buyer know. There is always the possibility of passing trade especially if your property is on a road that has a good throughput of traffic.

Identify Your Property

From my experience in estate agency, actually finding the house you are coming to view may not always be as simple as it sounds. Yes many of us have sat nav but not everyone does and it isn’t always accurate especially in more rural areas. There have been plenty of occasions when I have driven up and down a road trying to find a particular house number or name. Having a For Sale board is one aspect of making your property visible but if you don’t want a board then you definitely need to make your property easy to find. I am talking here about having your house number or house name on the gate post (not on the doorframe) so you can easily see it from the road. Cut back any greenery that is obstructing it. You don’t want your viewers arriving feeling frustrated. It also worth remembering that a lot of people will do a “drive by” i.e. will drive past a property before booking a viewing in order to check out its location and appearance

Kerb Appeal

This is a topic I keep coming back to – and for a reason. First impressions really do count and what buyers see when they pull up at a house can make all the difference, in some cases even to whether the viewing actually goes ahead. It can be important to people how attractive a property looks from the outside even though they don’t live outside, they may want to impress guests or simply get a sense of happiness when they arrive home at the end of the day. So make sure the approach to the property such as a fence or gates is well tended, the lawn is mown, that any woodwork has been painted etc. Consider replacing door furniture and painting the front door, check the door bell works and have some freshly planted hanging baskets or pots.

So to ensure maximum visibility to get seen by the greatest number of viewers – have a For Sale Board, check that the number or name of your house can easily be seen from the road and give your home kerb appeal.

To learn how call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West – Don’t Move Home Without Me!

Selling Your Home – Investing To Sell

I get it, you are upsizing and every penny counts. You’ve saved hard towards a deposit. You may have foregone certain types of expenditure such as holidays or your takeout coffee, made a packed lunch. It’s been hard. So why would you spend any of that hard earned money on your existing property? It seems counter intuitive.

In this blog I’d like to explore why spending money on your current property when selling is not a waste.

Investment Not Cost

Your home is your biggest asset and therefore it makes sense to maximise its potential. When selling you need to flip your thinking and regard any money you spend on presenting it as an investment rather than a cost. Styling your property for sale is still a relatively new concept in the UK but in the US it is commonly an integral part of the sales process.

To explain the concept I often use the analogy of selling your car. It is almost a given that if we are selling a car, before we advertise it or take it to a dealer we wash it and hoover it – perhaps have it professionally valeted. That involves a cost in time, effort and/ or money. Why? Simply, it’s because we expect to get a bit more for our car. We’ve made an investment in the car to make it looks its best. Styling your property for sale is the same principle. You invest in your property because you will ultimately sell for a better price and/ or sell more quickly

What Is Worth Doing?

What is worth investing your time, effort and money on? This will differ from property to property. Cleaning and decluttering are always worth spending time and effort on. If these are tasks you don’t enjoy, get someone in to do them for you. Consider issues that you may have encountered with your property yourself (and perhaps put to one side), if you’ve found it a problem chances are your buyers will. If you are already on the market make sure that you ask your agent to obtain honest feedback from viewers as this may give you a clue as to changes that you need t make. On one occasion when I was selling a property I extended the driveway to accommodate a second vehicle because I was aware it would improve the saleability of the property. Decorating (in neutral colours) is always worth doing. I probably wouldn’t do a complete new kitchen or bathroom. Repairs definitely. Outside space is always something that is likely to be worth while investing in.

Smart Investing

When it comes to spending money (as opposed to time and effort) it is worth bearing in mind that not all expenditure will be reflected in value added to the property. It might be that it is something that needs to be done to make the property more saleable. If a property struggles to sell the typical reaction is to reduce the sale price. A price reduction has to be sufficient in relation to the asking price in order to have an impact. Generally, and this does of course depend on what needs doing, what you invest in styling your property for sale will be less than the amount of the price reduction. If you are not yet on the market then it should be less than the improvement in asking price. I will always advise on what investments to make to be effective and taking account of your budget. However, a very basic guide would be between 1 and 2 per cent of the sale price.

To recap – regard any money you spend on presenting your property for sale as an investment rather than a cost, decide what needs doing and invest your hard earned money wisely.

Have you got a property you want to sell for the best price? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me on judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

Selling Your Home – Easy Kitchen Updates

When you are looking to move to a larger property every penny counts, so you want to maximise the selling price that you achieve for your current property. That can make all the difference between being able to afford that dream property (along with the right mortgage).

We all know that kitchens are one of the most important rooms when it comes to buying a property so it definitely make sense to make the most of the kitchen. The dilemma is that your buyer may not like your style of kitchen so you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new kitchen if the buyer is quite likely going to rip it out. The ideal is to have a kitchen that people will like but if they don’t like it they still feel they can live with it for a while and that it isn’t something they will have to change immediately.

So here are a few ideas for cost effective ways to bring your kitchen up to date.

Kitchen Units

You can change the look of a kitchen without installing a new one. Do the units look dated? If so you can still refresh your kitchen. If the units themselves are in a good condition then simply painting them can make a huge difference. If you don’t feel confident about painting them yourself it is worth getting them done professionally and they can be sprayed. If the cupboard doors are in poor condition consider replacing them. It may be possible to replace only some of them not all because units can be of differing styles e.g. floor cupboards can differ from wall cupboards. If the kitchen is small substituting shelves for wall units will make the kitchen feel spacious so this could be an option if you need to replace damaged cabinets. Replacing door knobs and handles gives an instant update.

Worktops and Taps

Another way of updating a tired kitchen is by replacing worktops. These obviously get a lot of wear and may be scratched or damaged in some other way or even simply look a bit tatty. Investing in a new worktop doesn’t involve huge expense but instantly looks smart and of course clean. Choose a style that suits your cabinetry and is neutral such as wood or wood effect. Opting for a material that is a bit more expensive can elevate the whole kitchen. This also applies to taps. A new tap in a modern style is a good way to refresh a kitchen and again spending a little more can be a good investment. I am a big fan of spending a little more on quality accessories to give the impression of a good finish.

Accessories

When it comes to kitchens aim to keep kitchen worksurfaces as uncluttered as possible so that buyers feel that there is enough preparation space for when they are cooking. However, using a few accessories such as storage canisters, kettle or mugs is how you introduce a bit of colour and lifestyle content. I have used a few cook books on a shelf or even some jars of spices. A pot of fresh herbs on a window sill introduces greenery.

In summary, consider refurbishing cupboard doors, replace worktops and/ or taps and pull the look together with some simple accessories. Not sure what to do or lack the time? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Storage Solutions

If you are upsizing then it’s very likely that you have a problem with a lack of storage. Obviously, you may be upsizing because the family has grown, you are accommodating relatives or because you need workspace. However, a lack of it, perhaps in combination with one of these other factors, is a prime reason for upsizing. It is important because if buyers feel that a property lacks storage they can be put off buying so you don’t want to give the impression that your home is bursting at the seams.

In this situation it can be tempting to simply go out and buy extra storage boxes, even furniture if you have the space for it, but stop and think first.

Plan

When moving you have to pack everything that you are taking with you so it makes sense to declutter. Decluttering also means that there is less to store which means that your storage requirements are different from what you thought they were. For example, you might have thought that a room needed an extra storage unit or a wardrobe but once you have decluttered you find that you can have freed up space elsewhere. Not only have you saved money at the outset but twice over if what you have bought isn’t right for your next home. So start by decluttering because that then enables you to assess what those storage needs are. Write down what additional storage you need for each room or area of your house.

Make The Most Of your Existing Space

When it comes to deciding how to achieve that additional storage, begin by considering the existing space. Are you making the most of it? A classic example is the space under the stairs. If it is open and not already boxed in then doing so is a very simple solution. If the space is large, having it divided with each section accessible separately makes using it easy. Another option is to have bespoke shelving built that can then take storage baskets but personally I think cupboards are neater. If you have a desk elsewhere in your home can you relocate it to under the stairs thus freeing up space elsewhere. Having shelves fitted in alcoves or around doorways is another good solution.

Storage Options

Furniture can be a form of storage but obviously does come at a cost. When deciding whether or not to invest in furniture, bear in mind whether you will need it/ will it fit in your new home (both in terms of size and style). Examples are divan/ ottoman style beds, media units, coffee tables with drawers or in the form of an ottoman. Cheaper is simply storage baskets which come in a wide range of styles and materials. If your storage is going to be on display then choose something that is appropriate for the room and will blend in, you don’t want it to stand out.

So to summarise – when you are looking to upsize and need extra storage start by planning and decluttering, make the most of your existing space and then decide on the best type of storage which can be furniture and/ or storage baskets.

To book a declutter/ storage session just call me on 07745 876182 or email me on judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Quick Bathroom Updates

Have you run out of space, do you need to upsize? If you are looking to move from your first home and this is the first time you have sold then you may be wondering what are most important things to focus on when preparing your home for sale. In terms of the areas in the home that are perhaps most important then kitchens and bathrooms are at the top.

If your budget is limited (you want to spend the most you can on your new property) you probably won’t want to replace the bathroom suite. The exception to that is if the suite is very old and is coloured then replacing with a new white suite is a good idea. Otherwise, I have 3 tips for some simple and cost effective refreshes.

Taps

New taps can completely transform the look of a bathroom suite and there are choices to suit all budgets. I personally like mixer taps but if your existing basin/ basin has separate taps you will need to change like for like unless you are also changing the basin/ bath. They come in all styles from traditional to very sleek and modern. When selling, as opposed to selecting for your own home, it is important to bear in mind the need to appeal to the widest audience so opt for a practical simple but stylish design. Consider the functionality of the tap as well as its aesthetic appearance i.e. is it easy to use particularly when hands are wet and soapy!

Flooring

Bathrooms tend to be small rooms so replacing flooring is usually not expensive. The first rule is carpet is a no-no. Yes it may be cosy underfoot, but for the majority of people it is regarded as unhygienic in a bathroom. You want a floor covering that is easily cleaned. Tiles are smart and practical but a bit chilly for bare feet unless you have underfloor heating. Vinyl or vinyl floor tiles are the cheapest option. They come in a variety of colours and can give the appearance of wood or tiles or stone. Since the amount required is small it can easy to find end of rolls or end of lines for tiles for a discount. Vinyl and vinyl floor tiles can be fitted easily without the need to incur the cost of a tradesman.

Accessories

The easiest and cheapest way to refresh the look of a bathroom is through the use of accessories. A set comprising soap dispenser/ soap tray and tooth brush holder and brush holder can give a completely different look. I would also include some new fluffy towels which are kept exclusively for the photos and viewings so they stay pristine. All these can be sourced from supermarkets and budget stores such as Matalan or Dunelm Mill. One of my favourite tricks is to have a bale of plain towels but add a touch of colour and luxury with say a guest towel from a luxury brand. I also include a few nice toiletries (with the everyday ones stored in a basket out of sight) and a scented candle.

To sum up – replace old taps with new to modernise, replace old flooring for a clean fresh feel and add new accessories and towels.

Struggling to upsize and need help? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me on judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Tips For Autumn Updates

Monday marks the Autumn Equinox, and we enter another quarter of the year. It’s a time when, traditionally, the property market has a bit of a boost. However, I have read reports that it isn’t happening this year. Christmas (sorry to mention it!) is a big focus for those to looking to move, it’s often a deadline for when buyers want to be in their new homes. So, if you are about to go on the market or are struggling to sell, time is running short to catch those who want to be in for Christmas.

I talk about “feel” a lot and creating the right atmosphere for buyers. This means that the presentation of your home, and the marketing photos, need to be appropriate for the season. I’m not suggesting a complete redecoration, but one of the advantages of a neutral décor is that it is easy to make changes so that buyers will feel comfortable according to the time of year. So I want to offer a few suggestions for autumn appropriate touches around your home.

Warmth

You can’t have failed to notice that we are now at a time when early mornings and the evenings are starting to feel chilly but you may be resisting the impulse to put the heating on. You want to buyers to imagine themselves being able to snuggle up when this happens. If you have an open fire or log burner, it’s good to light these if the weather is a little chilly when viewings are taking place, and they make lovely lifestyle images for your marketing. Throws are a must, ready to hand to pull over you when curled up watching a movie or tv.

Colour and Texture

Take a walk in the countryside for your colour inspiration. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn, flowers are fading and grasses are dying. So introduce darker greens, rusts, deep reds, caramels. As for textures, it’s time to swap the lightweight cotton and linen for wool and velvet but we are not in full blown Winter mode yet so not too heavy. Consider swapping art work to pictures in autumn colours. It is a well known fact that using the influence of nature is beneficial for our sense of well being.

And To Finish …

Finally add those little lifestyle touches that you might want at this time of year, what are your buyers likely to be doing? Create a picture in your mind. I have alluded to curling up with a book or perhaps a box set, so set out a book on a side table or leave a box set and tv remote on a coffee table. If your buyers are a family then they might be playing board games (currently enjoying a revival). They will probably be looking forward to mugs of tea so set out a tray with mugs and a tea pot on a kitchen worktop or in the living room, perhaps a bottle of wine and glasses if it is an evening viewing.

To recap – you want your home to reflect that we are now in Autumn so that your marketing material reflects the time of year and that buyers feel comfortable when viewing. Create a space that is warm, has touches of Autumnal colour and accessories that reflect what buyers are likely to be doing at this time of year.

Has your property been languishing for a while and you need to sell? Call me for help 07745 876182 or email judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Who Are You Selling To?

We are now well into September, the kids are back at school and you’re back at work (or perhaps you’re glad that everyone else is) You’ve been on your holidays to a perfect location and decided that you want to move there. You’ve come back enthused and full of the “September is the new New Year” mantra that keeps appearing, determined to make that lifestyle move. One of the tasks when you put your property on the market is to first identify your target market because, in order to maximise your sale price and sell quickly, your property needs to appeal to the right audience. In this blog I offer three tips to get you there.

Research

You need to identify who your target market are. You may think this is obvious, but research may suggest that it isn’t who you think it is or may show that the market is wider than you imagine. The larger the audience is, the better the chances are that you will sell quickly and as close to your asking price as possible. Scour the press, magazines and the internet for stories about the property market. Watch property related programmes such as Location, Location, Location or Escape To The Country. These can provide valuable insight into trends in what different demographics are looking for. For example, bungalows make great family accommodation. Speak with a variety of local estate agents to ask what kind of buyers have been buying your kind of property. Ask friends and family.

What Do They Want?

Once you have researched your target market and know who is most likely to buy your property, consider what is on their wish list in terms of what they want from a property. The starting point is to ask yourself what made you buy your property, often the factors that made you buy your home will be precisely what your buyers are looking for. Bear in mind that how we live changes from one era to another so what appealed to you may not be exactly what today’s buyers are after. An example of this would be the popularity of home offices. The point of this is that you may need to make changes to maximise the potential of your home. For example, I once created additional off road parking when selling a house.

Present Appropriately

If you have identified your target market/s and what they are looking for you then need to present the property in a manner that is most likely to appeal to those people. Even if you are aiming at a fairly clearly defined market such as families, it is always best to try to present your property in a such a way that it will also appeal to a wider audience or least not alienate them. So start by thinking about the practicalities such as flooring and décor. These should be neutral so that buyers can easily imagine putting their own stamp on your property. Against a neutral backdrop you can add interest and personality through the use of feature walls and accessories that will appeal to your target buyers. Here, you can use colours, textures and accessories that are in keeping with current trends. Add those touches that are going to most appeal to your target buyer. Add those touches that are going to most appeal to your target buyer.

In conclusion, when selling for that new lifestyle who is going to buy? – do your research into who they are, identify what they want and then present your home appropriately.

Struggling to sell and need help? Call me now on 07745 876182 or e mail me on judith@homestyle4u.com for a free no obligation fact finding session.

Selling Your Home – How To Avoid The Pitfalls of Unfinished DIY

When you want to make that lifestyle change and have decided to move, you have probably done your research. This could have taken a lengthy period of time and involved visiting different parts of the country. As a result, you may have found your dream property and need to sell quickly. One thing that often gets overlooked when moving is DIY and property maintenance. Especially if you have lived in a property for a long period time it is easy to not notice little niggles or even more major issues. Life gets in the way and you never get round to it. When you come to sell, however, be aware, your buyers WILL notice. Why is it so important? If buyers see minor things that need attention they may question how well the property has been maintained and wonder if they aren’t going to encounter more serious defects. Whilst little niggles may not put them off they will be mentally deducting the potential costs of repairs when calculating any offer (and likely over estimating such costs) and if there are an accumulation of little things they may decide it’s too much. So I have a few tips for avoiding the DIY trap.

Assess

The first thing to do is simply walk round the interior and exterior of your property and take a good hard look. Pretend that you are a potential buyer having a viewing and determine to be highly critical. You could even consider getting a friend to do it with you or for you. Make a note of every little issue. For example, for one project, I checked all the lights and replaced bulbs that weren’t working, replaced a door chain and replaced a catch on a wardrobe door. Other common issues are doors or drawers that don’t close properly, a dripping tap. Make a list and prioritise. Some tasks wiil be a quick 5 minute job whereas others may take a little longer

Getting Jobs Done

Having prepared your list then it’s time to get stuck in. However, before you start, it’s worth considering each job in turn – is it something that you can easily do yourself or is it something that you are better getting a handyman or professional in to tackle. If what is at issue is an unfinished DIY project then the fact that it’s unfinished could a clue that it’s a good idea to get someone in to do it for you. Bear in mind when undertaking jobs that you want the job doing properly, a botched job is a big turn off for buyers.

Finishing Off

Once the actual task has been completed, depending on what it was, there may be a need for some residual action. For example, if you have replaced a skirting board or had a damp patch treated the skirting or wall may need painting. If you have a broken handle on a kitchen cupboard door and it needs replacing you may have to replace all the handles. Replacing handles is a very easy and cost effective way of sprucing up a kitchen, if you don’t want to replace them all then having one style on all the doors and another on all the drawers can work. Ensure that you have cleaned up afterwards – if you have replaced light bulbs then take the opportunity to wipe down the shades.

To conclude, when selling you need to work out if there are any jobs, big or small, that require fixing, get those jobs done whether you do it yourself or get someone in and finally make sure everything is finished off neatly.

Need help getting your property ready to sell? Call me on 07745 886182 or e mail me at judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

Selling Your Home – Pet Pitfalls


Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

According to website Statista, in the UK ” The pet population peaked in 2013 at 71 million, but as of 2018 is estimated to be around 51 million.” Given this statistic, it is highly likely that if you are selling you will be a pet owner. Perhaps you are downsizing with a pet and are struggling to sell. If you are selling and are a pet owner there are a few things to bear in mind. You love your pet, which means that you might not realise that not everyone shares your enthusiasm. Some people are allergic to animals or certain kinds of animal. Some people are scared of animals or particular animals, others simply don’t like animals. It doesn’t necessarily solve the issue simply to take the pet out when viewings are taking place, because things that provoke an allergic reaction, such as pet hair, may still be present. In extreme cases potential buyers won’t view or they take a quick look round and don’t take time to really consider the property. So if you want to downsize and have a pet, here are a few tips.

Paraphernalia

Image of container overflowing with pet clutterPets have a lot of stuff just like us – beds, litter trays, food bowls, toys etc. These take up space, are distracting and are likely to be seen as clutter. Take advantage of the downsize to declutter some of your pet’s belongings as well as your own. You may have old beds, carriers or toys that are worn or no longer used. Food and water bowls may also be regarded as unhygienic if kept in places such as a kitchen or even on a worktop. Even if you are scrupulous about cleaning up buyers don’t know this and may think the worst. Tidy away toys just as you would with your children’s toys or your own belongings. If you don’t already have some storage then get some.

 

Smells

If you ever watched the programme Secret Agent with Phil Spencer, you may recall that this was a frequent theme (along with dog mess in the garden). He would enter a property and immediately make a comment. If you have a pet or pets you may be unaware of odours (and friends are probably too polite to tell you). Ask your agent, a friend or a neighbour to give you a frank and honest answer to the question “can you smell Fido/ Flossie ?” It is always a good idea to have carpets or rugs cleaned and also upholstery cleaned. It is easy to hire carpet and upholstery cleaners. Wash your curtains or have them dry cleaned. Cover furniture with throws that can easily be removed for viewings. Throw open the windows and keep your property well ventilated. It can be tempting to use room sprays, I’m not a fan because firstly, they can be a giveaway and secondly, they can be overpowering.

Image of carpet being steam clean

Viewings

Image of car boot open with dog crateHave a routine for your viewings. Always take your pet out when viewings are taking place. I have found that whilst dog owners usually take the dog out, cats tend to be left in the property. Admittedly, they are less intrusive but bear in mind people’s allergies and attitudes and also the fact that they are a distraction whether it’s because the viewer wants to stroke it or the agent is trying to keep an eye on it and prevent it getting out so it is worth considering taking your cat out. Remove litter trays, food and water bowls and tidy away toys and beds, I recommend slinging it all in the back of your car. Whip off the throws and substitute some smart nice ones instead. Check your outside space for any “presents” and remove.

 

To summarise, remember that not everyone is a pet lover, declutter your pet’s stuff,  make sure your home smalls fresh and be ready for viewings. Make sure that your agent is aware of your pets and if you do have to make specific arrangements agree these in advance with the agent and ensure that all relevant members of staff are aware. If you are downsizing and would like some help call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

 

 

Selling Your Home – The Importance Of The Spare Room

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If you are downsizing this could be for any number of reasons, for example, the children have left home and you no longer need such a large property, you no longer want the expense or hassle of maintaining the property or perhaps the garden is too large. One consequence of children flying the nest is that you have bedrooms that you no longer use or that you have converted to a different use such as a home office, a hobby room or maybe even just a junk room. Why is this a problem? The difficulty is that viewers struggle to visualise how a space will look. It may seem easy to tell potential buyers that a room that is currently used for a hobby will be emptied and will be perfectly usable as a bedroom. It may be that the room dimensions are on the estate agent’s particulars so that buyers know the room sizes. However, some people aren’t able to translate room sizes into actual spaces so you need to do it for them. So here are my top three tips for making each room work when it has been repurposed.

 

What is the Room’s Function?

Untidy room used for storageWhat is the room meant to be? This may be easy because you are probably going to turn it back into what it was before. Nonetheless, it may be worth taking a moment just to think, particularly if you have lived in your home for a long time. The way we live our lives has undoubtedly changed over the years – just think about the fashion for kitchen/diner/family room instead of kitchen and separate dining room and living room. Consider your target market, who is likely to buy your home and what are they going to want in the property they are buying? One word of caution here. If a room is intended to be used as a bedroom then reinstate it as a bedroom. The number of bedrooms tends to be a key criteria in people’s search and will be used as one of their filters when looking online. It also tends to be a determining factor when it comes to price.

 

What Should The Room Contain?

A room doesn’t need to be fully furnished, the less cluttered the better. What it needs to contain are the key elements for that particular type of room? A bedroom needs a bed of the appropriate size (a double if it is a double bedroom, if you have a super king size and it takes up the whole room swap it for a king size or even standard double) storage and a side table or bedside shelf. Storage doesn’t necessarily have to be a traditional wardrobe, it could be a hanging rail or fabric covered metal framed wardrobe can suffice as long as it demonstrates that there is space for storage and where it would go. If you are presenting a dining room it needs to contain a dining table and chairs and a sideboard or console table. A study should have a desk, chair and storage and/ or shelving. If you have got rid of the original furniture from the room and won’t need it at your next property then borrow, use online sites such as freecycle or many charities now have furniture outlets.

Image of metal framed wardrobe with fabric cover

 

 Dressing the Room

Image of bedroom with wall papered in Chinoiserie wallpaper in green and orageFinally, the room needs to have the right ambience so you need to dress it using accessories such as lamps, cushions, throws etc. For a dining room, I am not a particular fan of an overly laid table – it can look overdone – but a couple of place settings with a few pieces of attractive crockery and glassware will set the scene. A study should have a few files and a desk set etc.

 

In summary, each room needs a function, it needs to contain the key items of furniture and be dressed to engender the desire to buy in your viewers. Let me do this for you. Call now on 07745 876182 to book an appointment or for more information e mail Judith@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West. 

Selling Your Home – Making The Most Of A Small Garden

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If you are upsizing then you may be lacking outdoor space, perhaps you live in a flat and only have a balcony or you live in a terraced property and have a courtyard. Whatever your situation never underestimate the importance of outside space. We all want somewhere where we can sit out and enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and preferably look at some greenery, perhaps have a barbecue. You only have to reflect on this week’s heatwave to understand the significance of outside space although admittedly you might want to enjoy it early in the morning or later in the evening. A friend once talked to me about her morning routine – getting up early making a cup of coffee and enjoying it while sat outside or wandering round her garden. It struck a chord with me. Your space might be limited and there may not be much to walk around, if anything, but there is always something you can do to create that special space. Here are a few ideas.

Seating Area

A seating are is a must have in any outdoor space. Even a balcony is likely to have room for a bistro set or chair. Consider the style of your property and chose a style of furniture that compliments it. This will link your outdoor space to your indoor space – bringing the outside in. So if your property is modern  choose something in a contemporary style and material such as steel or aluminium whereas if your property is more period then go for something more traditional such as teak. If you opt for a chair rather than bistro set then consider one that comes with a footstool which means that you can use it as a recliner but also use the footstool as a side table.

Manuti Napoli    recliner and footstool

Greenery

Greenery and plants are essential to an outside space as they create that connection to nature and help us feel calm. In a small space don’t be afraid to go bold and add drama with small trees and foliage plants such as palms. With a balcony, pots and toughs are the obvious starting point but it is important to consider weight, will the structure be strong enough to support the weight of the container and its contents. A courtyard gives you more scope both in terms of the landscaping materials you use and the structures you place on them. Again bear in mind the style of your property. Landscaping materials include gravel, paving, decking or even artificial grass. Mindful of the increasing temperatures we are experiencing it’s a good idea to incorporate some shade using a pergola, awning or simple parasol. Make the most of a small space by introducing height using plants, trellis or hanging baskets.

Image of garden wall with trellis and plants growing up it.

Water Feature

There is nothing more relaxing than the sound of running water so if you have space then I would include a water feature and this doesn’t have to be big. It’s more about the sound and the feeling that it generates although you can make a water feature the focal point of your outdoor space. Some water features require connection to the mains but some are solar powered which means that they are easy to install and can be taken with you when you move. I like the fact that that this buddha water feature can be tucked away among your plants to introduce an element of mystery.

image of a water feature in the form of a buddha statue

In summary, you want to create a seating area, introduce greenery and if possible a water feature. Now you might have a modest budget but research consistently suggests that outside space is a good way to add value to a property. Research by Sellhousefast.uk discovered that homeowners who improve their garden could reap the rewards when it comes to selling. In a list of ten improvements that can be made to outside space, installing a decent quality patio came in second to top (behind a garden shed), with 76% of respondents saying that it is a feature they look out for. Overall, a nice garden could add as much as 20% to the value of the home according to the study. So improving your outdoor is definitely worth the investment and garden furniture and planters can move with you.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas as to how to create an inviting outdoor space when that space is limited. Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at judth@homestyle4u.com if you’d like some help. I’d love to help you sell. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the NorthWest.

 

 

 

Selling Your Home – When the Kitchen Table is Your Office

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Lots of us work from home these days, whether it’s running our business or, if you are an employee, you might work from home a certain number of days each week. Depending on what exactly we do, our work space needs will differ. In this blog I am concerned with the most common scenario, namely where you need a computer or laptop and perhaps some storage.

Needing more, or more functioning, work space is a common element in why we look to upsize but how do we address the problem of selling but still needing to work while our home is on the market?

Define Your Work Area

If you are upsizing in order to obtain dedicated work space or improved work space, then it’s likely that you currently use the dining table or perhaps a corner of a living room or bedroom. One of the most important things to do when presenting a multi functional space is to avoid confusion as to the purpose of a space. A lot of buyers struggle to visualise how a space or a room can be changed so make it easy for them and show how it can be done. This doesn’t mean that a space can’t be used be for more than one purpose, simply that the space needs to be demarcated for each function. For example, in a living room or dining room that is also used as a work space, identify where is the best spot to create a dedicated work area, preferably in a corner, an alcove or under the stairs. I recommend starting by analysing what is the basic workspace you need bearing in mind that this is a temporary measure e.g desk, work station, storage. Can you reduce what you need as this may make it easier to create your work space? Having done this, consider rearranging your furniture or even relocating your work area to a different room. In an open plan space, zone the work area using a rug or painting an alcove a different colour. In a small home you don’t need to remove all evidence of a work area, in fact, having a work area can be beneficial as it demonstrates to buyers that there is an area that can be used to work from. On the other hand,  if you have a bedroom that is used solely for work and have squeezed two beds or bunk beds into another bedroom to achieve this then change the office back into a bedroom and create a new work area elsewhere in the property or even rent some office space short term. Buyers usually want a certain number of bedrooms and need to see them as bedrooms.

Image of a living room with an area zoned as a work area

Workspace Solutions

Image of a bureau with drop down lid, drawers and cupboardClearly the type of office you need depends on what you do. If the nature of your work is “office based” i.e somewhere for a computer or laptop and printer plus space to set out paperwork etc  then it will be quite straight forward. However, consider the environment in which you are working. If it is a multi functional space then try to use furniture that will fit in with the other furniture in the room and the style of the room rather than traditional style office furniture. A wooden desk or table can easily be transformed with a coat of paint and can you utilise an existing dining chair rather than an office chair? In a living room you may prefer to use a workstation that closes up and looks like a cabinet, it can be left open or partially open on viewings to show what it is.

 

Storage

Image of padded storage ottomanIf you work from home you may well need storage. Again, think laterally, if you have filing cabinets can the contents be transferred to a cupboard and the cabinets stored elsewhere (this may course depend on whether the contents need to kept securely) or could you simply move the cabinets and continue to access them elsewhere? Can storage be made to blend in with the other furniture and consider storage that doesn’t look like office furniture. An ottoman can contain a lot whilst at the same time serving as a coffee table.

 

In summary, when looking to upsize when working from home, define your work area, select appropriate solutions for your work station and choose storage. remember that anything you buy can move with you to your next home. Need help when preparing your home for sale call now on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com and book an appointment. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

 

Selling Your Home – Add The Wow Factor


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When you are upsizing for the first time it’s all a bit of a mystery and you are not sure what you need to do, if anything, other than instruct your estate agent. Your agent is part of the marketing process because, after all, when selling your home you are selling a product just like a car, a dress, or a sofa. Infact you are selling a dream – a dream of what life is going to be like for the buyer.

Think about looking through an interiors magazine. You read the story about how the homeowners transformed the property and you see the photos. Those images will demonstrate the home owners life – a line of wellies lined up in a hallway, a cosy corner with a comfy chair draped with a throw, a tray with tea things on a coffee table. It’s similar with adverts for luxury cars. Who are your target market and what kind of life do they aspire to? One area of the home where you can create this aspirational feel is in a bedroom. With people traveling widely even for mini breaks the “boutique hotel style” has become increasingly popular. For these tips I’m taking inspiration from this Superior Grade room at the London Mandarin Oriental.

Image of an opulent bedroom

Décor

The décor is understated with soft grey walls, grey curtains and wooden flooring which provides a neutral backdrop against which the other elements stand out. This works perfectly when selling because the neutral setting allows your buyers to imagine themselves living in the property and can easily be changed to suit their tastes. These Compton eyelet headed curtains from John Lewis have a textured finish with sheen that gives a fabulously glamorous feel. In the Mandarin Oriental, gilded mirror artwork has been used to form a feature behind the bed, but a wallpaper would give a similar feel and when a design has been discontinued a couple of rolls can be bought cheaply. The rug softens the wooden flooring for walking on and introduces an element of colour for interest.

Image of gold coloured floor length curtains with chair with cushions on it

Furniture

This particular room features a desk with chair. You might not need a desk but a console table and chair which could be used as a desk or a dressing table is a nice touch if you have room. A small occasional chair is somewhere to sit and relax. A feature of the hotel bedroom above is the statement headboard and matching bench style seating. This teal blue upholstered headboard by Mercury Row at Wayfair has similar impact. However, one very cheap and effective trick is to use a piece of stunning fabric such as the Velika Velvet range by Harlequin pictured below to cover a plain headboard using a staple gun. Use the same fabric to cover the lid of an ottoman at the foot of the bed.

Teal blue upholstered headboard    Image of cushions in a range of colours

 

Finishing Touches

A beautifully dressed bed is an essential component of the look. Start with plain white bedlinen of a good quality (remember you will be taking it with you so it’s worth investing, I like The White Company) and dress with a bed runner or throw. I think cushions stacked at the head of the bed are a nice finishing touch although they haven’t been used at the Oriental. A pair of bedside tables with lamps provides symmetry and positioning a book and small bud vase with a few flowers and perhaps a scented candle creates the lifestyle, viewers can picture themselves relaxing with a good book before going to sleep.

White Co sheet

Although the bedroom at the Mandarin Oriental is definitely at the luxury end, it is certainly possible to develop the same ambience on a more modest budget appropriate for when you sell.

Like what you’ve read and need some help? Call now on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

 

Selling Your Home – How To Sell If You Have Children

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Are you looking to upsize for more family space? Life has moved on since you bought your current home – you’ve married, got a partner, had a child and the family is growing. In short, you’ve outgrown your home. Selling with a young family is difficult particularly if you are upsizing. There are the practicalities of day to day living combined with the fact that it may be obvious why you are selling – toys, play pens etc.  So here are a few tips to manage selling when you have children.

Stuff

Room with kids toys and clutterWe all know that children have a lot of belongings and that they seem to get everywhere. If you are moving because the house isn’t big enough you don’t want to advertise the fact. If viewers see toys, games consoles etc all over the place they will conclude that the property isn’t big enough for them either. Remember, clutter prevents potential buyers seeing the true space on offer. Decluttering children’s toys is difficult because children might not understand why they can’t have all their things out. Enlist their cooperation in whatever way is going to work with your children. Involve the children in the adventure of the move and explain that you need to sell the house in order to have the adventure. Start by seeking to pack up as many items as you can, this will also help towards the ultimate packing up that you will have to do anyway. Whilst doing this see if you can persuade your children to part with at least some of the toys they have grown out of and donate them to a local children’s charity. If your children are engaged in the current debate on the environment this is a great tool for encouraging them to donate. Store the resulting boxes out of the way.

 

Storage

Having reduced the amount of items find appropriate storage. Create extra storage capacity by, yes you’ve guessed it, decluttering existing storage either by getting rid or packing up. Bear in mind that viewers are likely to be nosey and open cupboards so don’t cram them so full that things on them. Cupboards need to be tidy otherwise that will give the impression that you don’t have enough storage. If your property is likely to attract buyers who will want to start a family then it’s fine to show that it is a family home, for example, coloured storage baskets.

Children's bedroom with storage

Be Viewing Ready

Child tidying upSome vendors like to be present during viewings, they feel they know their house better than the estate agent or they like to be on hand to answer viewers questions. If you are one of those vendors and you have children do try to arrange for the children to be elsewhere during viewings. However well behaved the children are they are likely to be a distraction and you don’t want the potential buyers to be distracted. Have an action plan and,  if the children, are old enough, assign them certain tasks such as putting toys away (in that storage we created earlier) when they go bed or finish playing,  hanging clothes up, making the bed etc. It’s handy to have a large storage crate that you can pile things in and then put in the boot of the car.

In summary, selling your home when you have children isn’t easy but reducing clutter, having storage and being ready for viewings make sit a little less stressful. If you would like some help then call today to book a decluttering session. Call 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com.  I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

 

Selling Your Home – Moving For A Change Of Lifestyle?


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If you are moving in order to achieve a change of lifestyle then it’s likely to involve a change of area. Prices may be different in the area you are moving to – cheaper or more expensive. Indeed, you may be moving to a cheaper area precisely in order to move to a bigger property or have more money left over to enjoy other activities. What if it’s the other way though and prices are higher in the area you want to move to? Clearly, finding the right mortgage is crucial but so is maximising the sale price of you current property, that extra £5,000 or £10,000 may make all the difference. We all want to make as much money as we can when selling but when every penny counts it is even more important. Getting the best price for your home is all about maximising the appeal of your property to get lots of viewings which lead to offers. Here are a few suggestions.

Space

Imafge of outlines of furniture on floor

Buyers love space. Look around your rooms and ask yourself “is there anything here that isn’t necessary?” – a table for example. Apply this to ornaments as well, it is surprising how a lot of “nick nacks” (if you’ll forgive the expression) make a space seem cramped and they are a distraction. Are there pieces of furniture that impede the flow of the room and make it difficult to walk around or move from one place to another. If so try moving them around or remove them. A useful tool is to take the furniture out if you can, cut a template from a piece of pieces of newspaper, place them on the floor and move them around. This will give you an idea of how much space they take up and it is much easier to move paper around than actual furniture.

 

Zoning

There is connection with space. If your living space is open plan then it can be difficult for buyers to work out how they would use the space. It is important to create definition whilst at the same time keeping that feeling of space. There are several ways of doing this. One is to use different flooring in different areas, for example, wood or laminate in a dining area and carpet in a living area. Alternatively, use rugs. Another option is to use different wall colours or a combination of paint and wallpaper. You can also use room dividers, a low storage unit or console table or sometimes simply rearranging the furniture is enough. These are all cost effective options. After all, styling your home for sale isn’t about spending lots of money.

Open plan living room with kitchen which has been zoned

Colour 

I think we are all aware that colour has the power to influence how we feel. Colours such as blue feel cool while yellow feels warming although it also depends on the shade and tone of the colour. Refreshing your décor with a coat of paint is a very easy way to make a space feel more appealing. When selling remember that it’s all about attracting the maximum number of viewings so if you have walls decorated in strong colours that aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, tone it down. You aren’t going to please everyone, and it is true that most buyers will want to put their own stamp on a property but you want them to walk in and think that they can live with what is there in the meantime. Off white, pale grey or a pale sage green are good neutrals.

Bedroom decorated in a variety of jewel colours                         A bedroom decorated in neutral tones

To sum up, if you want to make that lifestyle changing move and need to maximise the budget then create great space, zone that space and think about the use of colour.  Are you stuck on the market and need some help? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com and book a no obligation Fact Finding session.   I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Get Ready For Summer

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Friday the 21st June is the Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year. If you have planned that life style move it means we are half way through the year and perhaps your property has been on the market for a while without selling. If you have children you probably want them to start their new school in September so time is getting tight. One of the tell tale signs of a property that has been on the market for a long time is photos that were taken at a different time of year – the classic example is the photo that features the Christmas tree or snow in Spring or Summer. Dressing your home in a way that is appropriate to the season and having fresh photos taken is an excellent way to generate more interest. Here are some easy ways to update the look of your property and some suggested pieces.

Window Treatments 

It is always important to ensure that you get as much natural light into your property as possible. In contrast to winter months you want a fresh airy feel rather than that cosy hunker down feel. For Summer, substitute heavy drapes for curtains in light fabrics and colours. Opt for simple treatments such as an eyelet or tab top style rather than swags and pelmets. This change will instantly make a room feel bright and airy. These Kaolin voile panels in Natural from John Lewis would fit the bill perfectly, although they are plain they have an attractive weave.

Voile curtains with eyelet Soft Furnishings

 Soft furnishings such as cushions, throws and bedding are a very simple and cost effective way to make seasonal changes to your décor. If you already have a property in mind choose pieces that you would like to have in your new home. If you are not yet sure of the style of your property or colour scheme then chose accessories that aren’t going to break the bank. My “go to” brands for budget accessories are Dunelm Mill, The Range and Matalan. When styling your home in summer look for lightweight fabrics in natural fibres such as cotton and linen. You want a summery colour palette and at the moment ochre, grey and blush pink are very popular. This Alisha duvet set, cotton dot throw and Balmoral thistle cushion are all from Dunelm.

Image of bedding white with yellow and grey floral design Balmoral Ochre Thistle Cotton Dot throw

I also recently found a fabulous selection in Marks & Spencer which I have my eye on for my next project. Check the condition of any houseplants and get rid of any that have died. Treat yourself to some new ones and a bunch of seasonal flowers is a final touch.

The Garden

When styling your home for summer don’t neglect your outside space especially your entrance, first impressions really do count. It’s time to refresh your hanging baskets and any planters. Any garden centre will have a selection of plants for tubs and hanging baskets. Petunias, geraniums and begonias are all very colourful and you can either go for a basket planted with all the same plants to create an impact or use a mixture of colour and foliage. It’s great fun creating your own but if you don’t have time or aren’t sure how to put one together you can buy them ready planted. Architectural shrubs such as box or bay trees are always stylish but replace them if they are looking past their best. Such shrubs are an investment but remember then can always move with you.

HAnging baskets

In summary, swap heavy curtains for lighter ones, add accessories in summery fabrics and colours and refresh the outside space. Once you’ve made these updates don’t forget to ask your estate agent to arrange for some new photos to be taken so that your property’s listing can be refreshed and generate some new interest to get you sold and on your way. Still not sure? Call me on 07745 876182 or email me at info@homestyle4u.com and I’ll do it all for you. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

Selling Your Home – The Importance Of Kitchen Sparkle

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The two things that I would always prioritise when selling a property are cleanliness and clutter. If a property feels dirty then viewers will feel uncomfortable and will want to leave no matter how much the property may suit them in other respects. You don’t want viewers leaving with a sense that they need to wash their hands. That may be an extreme example but when you’ve made that momentous decision to change your life and move somewhere else you want to sell quickly either because you’ve already seen the dream home or because you are going to move into rented so you are ready to pounce. The kitchen tends to be one of the most important rooms when people are house hunting and it’s a space where hygiene is important so you want to get it looking good and thereafter easy to keep clean for viewings.

Worktops

Image of a tidy kitchenHaving as little as possible on worktops has two advantages. First, the amount of workspace available tends to be a major consideration for buyers. People like to have plenty of space for preparation and to rest pots and pans, plates etc. Secondly, the less you have out the quicker and easier it is to keep worktops clean. So consider all the equipment and gadgets that you have out. How regularly do you use them, can they be put away? If there isn’t room to store them in cupboards and you use them frequently can you create space by taking out other items that you use infrequently, boxing them up and storing them in the loft of garage. Even better, can you do without them and dispose of them? I also advocate having as little as possible on window ledges as it can impede the light, perhaps just a pot of herbs.

Cleaning     

Having reduced the number of items on your worktops it’s time for a serious cleaning session. My approach is to take everything off the worktops and put it elsewhere such as the dining room table. I then clean the oven including all the racks and trays, the inside of the oven doors (if you can remove the internal glass to clean then do so) and hob. Don’t neglect the extractor hood this can easily be overlooked, wash and/ or change the filter. If cleaning the oven isn’t something you enjoy doing then employ a professional oven cleaning company. I wipe down all the cupboard doors with hot soapy water and check the edges of the doors. similarly wipe down splashbacks and tiles. If the grout between tiles behind the cooker has become discoloured use a specialist grout cleaner. Clean the sink and taps, not forgetting underneath the dish drainer. Clean those worktops. Finally I mop the floor and leave it to dry. Again you may prefer to employ a professional cleaner to come in to do that first deep clean and thereafter say once a week while your home is on the market.

Image of a hand in a rubber gove cleaning a kitchen

Daily Tips

Image of tea towels hanging on pegs Do keep all washing up out of sight and don’t leave it in the sink. If you have a dishwasher get into the habit of putting things straight in there when they have been used. If you don’t have a dishwasher wash up immediately after each meal, dry and put away. The paraphernalia of the kitchen such as brushes, washing up liquid and dishcloths can look unsightly so have a basin or caddy under the sink that these items can easily be thrown into. Wipe down worksurfaces and the hob after every use. Being organised like this means you won’t have to panic if you get an unexpected call from your agent requesting to do a viewing. Keep a clean tea towel handy to put out when you are going out. Always be prepared!

 

 

In summary, declutter your work surfaces, give your kitchen a thorough clean and keep on top of it. Need a kitchen session? Call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

Selling Your Home – Be Garden Ready For A Quick Sale


images

I am a big fan of the series Escape to the Country. You get to see some lovely parts of the country and see a variety of properties which is of course fascinating. However, I also enjoy hearing the participants’ stories – why they want to move and why they have chosen their destination. There are mixture of reasons for moving and of course the underlying theme is people wanting to move from busy towns and cities to a more rural location. Often it is young people with families who feel that a more rural environment will be better for their children, they may even have enjoyed that kind of childhood themselves and want to give their children the same experiences. Or it might be an older person who, freed from the ties of employment, wants a more relaxing lifestyle. Whatever the reason, the participants are moving for a change of lifestyle. Sometimes, those taking part in the show find their dream home but it emerges they lose out because they haven’t sold. So if you are moving for a change of life and need a quick sale what can you do that will increase the appeal of your property? One area to focus on is the garden.

Maintenance

Image of a fence half paintedConsider if there are any maintenance tasks that have been neglected. It’s easy to overlook a hedge that hasn’t been pruned, a fence that has rotted or not been painted for several years, or patio that needs cleaning. Fence panels are simple to replace and using a spray is a quick and easy way to paint if you don’t want to use a brush. Use a power washer to spruce up a patio the difference can be amazing. These can be hired if you don’t have one or can’t borrow one. If hedges have got a bit too high they may be affecting the amount of light that is enjoyed by your garden, something that could impact on how buyers feel about the outside space. If necessary engage a professional to do this.

 

Tidy Up

The outside space is often hugely important when buyers are choosing a property so this is certainly an area that is worth expending time and effort on. If you have a young family it’s highly likely that you will have children’s toys in the garden such as a swing, slide or perhaps even a trampoline. It may be an inconvenience but it is worth putting these things away, or at least some of them, in order to enable buyers to appreciate the space especially if your potential buyer may not have children. Do the weeding, cut the grass (and don’t forget to edge the lawn), get rid of pots where the plants have died and if you do have a large number of planters and pots scattered about consider grouping them together. Once you have carried out the initial tidy it should be easier to keep on top of things for when you have viewings.

Image of a flower bed with weeds and fork and gardening gloves

Sociable Space

Image of a bistro garden set on patio with wine glasses and bottle of wineAnother important ingredient to an attractive garden is a social area. This will obviously depend on the amount of outside space you have whether it is a little balcony or courtyard or a large garden with patio or deck. A simple bistro table and chairs for a small space or in a larger space a sofa, chairs and coffee table or even a dining set. The aim is have somewhere where buyers can imagine themselves and their friends enjoying a glass of wine or cup of coffee.

 

 

 

If you’d like some help call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West. For more inspiration why not follow me on Twitter @JudithHomestyle