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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

Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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

Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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

Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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


Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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

Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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?


Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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

Image of spiral notebook with pens and a cup of coffee

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


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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 

Selling Your Home – It’s Time To Say Goodbye


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If you are downsizing you have probably lived in your home for a while, you have created lots of memories – good and bad. You have become used to it and all it’s little quirks – the tap that drips, the cupboard door that doesn’t close properly so you have to wedge it shut with some card. They are little things and you are comfortable with them, your home is like the well worn pair of slippers you gratefully put on when you get in at night. Nothing wrong with that – until you come to sell. Why is that? The problem is that a prospective buyer will come in and notice those little things. They might be little but they can add up and the totality may put buyers off. So time to take off the rose tinted spectacles and put your nosey buyer’s hat on. Here are a few things to look out for.

Maintenance

Walk round your home, including the exterior, with a notebook and pen and really scrutinise your home as if you were a buyer. I recommend doing this with a trusted friend and give them permission to be brutally honest. Make a note of all the things you notice that need attention. Examples are scruffy paint work, dripping taps, broken handles, double glazing units that have “blown” and include all those things that you already had on your mental or physical “to do” list.

Dripping TAp

Space

If you have ever watched any of the property programmes you’ll probably have noticed how often the participants comment on the space, whether they include a sense of space on their wish list or they comment that the property feels small or feels spacious. Many people struggle to visualise whether it is when they are viewing or assessing a property from a floor plan. So consider the space in your property and ask yourself how you can maximise it. Is there any furniture that you can remove either permanently or temporarily. Are there things on the floor that can be put away. Even reducing the number of ornaments or changing window treatments can make a difference to how spacious a room feels.

Image of a light and airy lounge

Purpose

I referred above to the difficulty people can have visualising. This applies also to the concept of purpose. Does each room in your home have a clear purpose so that a buyer entering the room immediately knows what it is meant to be used for. This is one reason why empty properties can be difficult to sell. It may seem obvious and you might think that it doesn’t matter how a room is presented because a buyer will use a room for whatever they want to use it for. However, making it easy for buyers to see how they would live in your home is key. So if a room is a bedroom, for example, present it as a bedroom (and as a double bedroom if it is meant to be a double bedroom) not as an office or storage room. In an open plan space the equivalent is zoning i.e. creating clearly defined areas for different purposes.

Room laid out for different taks

In summary, when selling approach your property from the perspective of the buyer do all those little repair jobs, create a feeling of space and give each room a sense of purpose. Want some more tips? Download my 10 Top Tips For Selling Your Home.  For further information or an informal chat, call me on 07745 876182  or email me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover WirralCheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Choosing Your Selling Agent


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So you’re ready to downsize, you’ve decluttered and you’re ready to instruct the estate agent. Fantastic! But what if you haven’t moved for a long time. The way people buy and sell houses has changed considerably in recent years. Choosing the right agent is vitally important if you want to sell for the best price and quickly.

Different Types of Agent

Historically, estate agents all had premises on the High Street and buyers would visit all the local agents, collect brochures and then decide which ones to view. Nowadays, so much house hunting commences online that in addition to High Street Agents we now have agencies that operate purely online and some that are hybrid. Fees vary widely as does the involvement of the seller who may be responsible for arranging and conducting viewings. What are you comfortable with? In my experience most buyers prefer to view with the agent. They feel less inhibited about discussing changes they would make to the property. After all, most of us are polite and don’t like to criticise a person’s home in front of them and it can be very helpful to buyers to be able talk about options and how they might make a property work for them. Sellers often think that they know their home better than the agent and this may be true, your agent should be primed to answer the questions buyers are most likely to ask but you never know what information is important to a particular buyer. If you like to be present then let the agent introduce you, the agent shows the viewers round while you remain in one room and the agent can bring the viewers back for you to answer any questions.

Who’s Going to Buy Your Property? 

When selling it’s essential that you understand who is likely to buy your house because in order to generate interest and offers you need to get the right people through the door. You might be selling the family home which has four bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and a good sized garden. The people who are most likely to buy your property will be families. Visit local agents to see what type of properties they are selling – are they similar to yours. Look online at who is selling what because, as explained above, not all agents are on the High Street. You probably have a vague idea of what your property is worth so choosing your price bracket, search in your area for similar types of property. This may give a feel for which agents are selling your type of property.

Styling For Your Property

Your home needs to appeal to the type of person who is most likely to buy it. Coming back to the example of the family home, your home needs to be presented to attract families. Demonstrate that the house has the requisite number of bedrooms by putting beds and some bedroom furniture in them. If you have been using one or more bedrooms for other purposes such as a hobby room or study turn them back in to a bedroom. This is because a lot of people struggle to visualise so you need to show them that there are the specified number of usable bedrooms. If you have got rid of the beds, buy a second hand one or borrow one. One trick is to create a “bed” of the correct dimensions using boxes which you can then dress with bedding – just warn your agent so that no one sits on it!

Ebook

Need more on presenting your home for sale? Download my free guide 10 Top Tips for Selling Your Home. Call now on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Will My Things Fit in the New House?

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So you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons, put your business hat on and made the decision to downsize. As referred to in my previous blog, one of the perceived disadvantages of downsizing is the fact that downsizing, by its very nature, involves moving to a smaller property but it also represents an opportunity. It is an established fact that having too much around us can make us stressed and anxious. Now it might not feel that you have too much in your current home, but it is possible that you have things that you no longer use and have forgotten about. On a very practical note the more contents you have to move the more you have to pack and the higher the removal costs are likely to be especially if you are putting things in storage. When I was moving recently, I was forced to go through boxes in my garage that I had not unpacked from a previous move and was not only astounded by the amount of things I got rid of but also by how satisfying it felt. Now I’m going to use the dreaded “D” word – Declutter. Here are some tips to get started.

Manageable Chunks

Image of a clock faceSo when should you declutter? Undoubtedly, the best time is BEFORE you go on the market not when you packing for the removals. Not only will it enhance the appeal of your home but there will be less to pack. The prospect of decluttering can be overwhelming and it can be particularly hard to get started. It very much helps to tackle the task in manageable chunks. You can approach this from the angle of setting a certain amount of time for each session or focus on a specific area such as a drawer, a cupboard or a room. Marie Kondo advocates tackling the whole of a particular class of item, for example, clothes, books, paperwork. What you want to avoid is simply moving items from one place to another so tidy up first. Do not underestimate what you can achieve in a session, not doing as much as you planned makes you feel demotivated and feeling tired can impact on your decision about what to do with items.

Categorise  

Decide what possible options there are. I like the following

  • Keep
  • Donate to a charity
  • Sell either for money or on a free recycling website
  • Bin

I prefer not to have a “undecided” pile. If you aren’t sure then by all means put an item on one side but for no longer than 24 hours. If it helps have someone to assist, it can be beneficial to bounce your thoughts off but not if it will cause arguments and at the end of the day it’s your decision. Donating to charity or selling on a website are a fantastic opportunity for recycling and doing your bit for the environment, plus the recipient will have the chance to derive pleasure from the item.

sorting clothes

Storage

storageSometimes people incentivise the process of decluttering by buying some attractive storage – a unit or storage boxes. While investing in attractive storage which you can take with you to your new home is a good idea, wait until you have decluttered as it is only then that you will know how much storage and of what type you will need. Plus, if what you are considering is in the nature of furniture, unless you know it will suit your next property you are probably best waiting.

 

 

 

 

I would love to help you declutter ready for your next adventure. Call now on 07745 86182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com to book a session. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

 

Interior Design – Edward Bulmer at Oka Knutsford

Presentation (2)

I think most of us are aware that the colours we use in our homes has a major impact about how we feel and therefore the importance of colour when decorating our homes. Yesterday I had a great time attending a talk entitled Masterclass in How to Choose Colour with the top interior designer and architectural historian Edward Bulmer who has created a range of natural paints. The event was held at the stunning Knutsford store of renowned interiors brand Oka where we were welcomed with tea or coffee and delicious Florentines.

Image of a table set with coffee cups and biscuits
Sorano China breakfast cups and saucers and Pruga napkins

The talk began with an explanation of the history of paint, its formulation and how various colours represented a certain status owing the cost of creating them which was fascinating and continued with an explanation of choosing colour by reference to the various paint colours in the range. Here are a few things I learned and wanted to share.

The starting point of a paint is pigment. Originally these came from the natural sources – the earth, minerals or plants and then chemicals. As some pigments were expensive to create they became associated with status, for examples, cardinals wear red. Pigments are combined with a binder and a dilutant. Binders were originally plant oils or resin and subsequently crude oil.

Choosing Colour

Image of a circular colour wheel

 

You may already be familiar with the colour wheel, if not it’s it is a very useful tool and I would recommend obtaining a copy. The version shown is the Prismatic Colour Wheel, from Moses Harris’ ‘The natural system of colours’, London [c.1785]. Mr Bulmer explained that you use the colour wheel to guide the selection of colours in combination. Opposite colours on the wheel can be used in a balanced relation to each other. The colour wheel is a guide but colour is a personal preference underpinned by the right tonality. Colours are divided into the primary colours – red, blue and yellow and secondary colours formed by combinations of primary colours – green, orange and purple.

 

 

 

As mentioned above the key determinant is the tonality which comes from the use of the earth pigments which help the colour settle down. Reds can vary from dusky pinks which are a current fashion and interiors trend. According to Mr Bulmer one of the most popular in the range at present is Jonquil a yellow pink that I think would make a great neutral


Image of a fireplace and chimney breast painted in a dusky pink

At the other end of the spectrum dark reds can be used in small rooms, or where the is no natural light, to add drama. If using reds use those on the brown spectrum rather than a “pillar box” red which lacks tonality. Blues can range from the blue grey of Cerullian through to greeny blues such as Aquatic. With yellow Mr Bulmer advised that we should consider what we are putting with it and that paler shades combine with more colours. Ochre pairs well with grey.

Currently, it has become popular to make a feature of our entrance halls, after all it is the first space in our home that people enter so it is perhaps not surprising that we want to show it off. I was therefore interested to hear Mr Bulmer’s view that such spaces should not be challenging. The hall is a transitional space that we pass through on to the other rooms in the house and he made the distinction between these areas that we pass through and the dwelling rooms.

Finally, a few words on the paint range. We are all conscious of the environment and the damage that plastics are doing. The paints are all plastic free including microplastics. Increasingly, people are suffering reactions to chemicals including those used in the manufacture of modern paint and the range is chemical free and made from ingredients of plant or mineral origin. I am certainly keen to try them out..


Image of a table with a display of tester pots.

I had a very enjoyable time and hope you have enjoyed this blog, a slight diversion from my usual format. Cal me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.

Selling Your Home – Ready To Downsize?

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So you’ve decided that it’s time to downsize – maybe you’ve come to the realisation yourself, an event may have occurred that has made you consider that it would be a good idea or perhaps the family have been dropping hints. Whatever your reason, it’s a huge decision and not one to be taken lightly and you may not even be sure that it’s the right one. Take your time and maybe view a few properties to get a feel. If you are downsizing it’s likely that you haven’t moved for a while so here are a few things to consider.

Pros and Cons

If you aren’t quite sure, or even if you just want clarification that yes it is the right thing to do, draw up lists of reasons for and against. Positives could be things such as

  • Reducing outgoings – running costs should be lower on a smaller property and moving is an opportunity to have a home that is more energy efficient
  • Less maintenance – this could mean either of the property itself and/ or the garden
  • Less housework – even if rooms aren’t being used they will still need to be kept clean. Less housework frees up time for other activities
  • A more practical layout – it could be that you want single storey living

The disadvantages are likely to include

  • Having to get rid of furniture and possessions
  • Fewer rooms for guests
  • Smaller rooms

Image of a blackboard divided into two columns headed Pros and Cons with a hand holdng a piece of chalk

 

 

Letting Go

When we have lived in a home more many years it is bound to contain many memories, good and bad. It was your home with a loved one who has passed away, it was where you brought up a family. Any move is going to be difficult but you will always have those memories and you can take those memories with you in the form of a favourite armchair, photos and ornaments. I have recently been reading Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy and one element I took from it was expressing gratitude to the items that you discard (there will be more on the topic of decluttering in my next blog). I think this is a tool that helps generally when downsizing. It’s natural to feel sad but it is also a tremendous opportunity to recall all the good times and once you feel that gratitude then you are ready for your next adventure! I will explore the topic of emotional attachment in a later blog as it is so important.

 

 

Estate Agent For Sale sign with Sold slip

 

Professional Help 

When you have lived in your home for a period of time you get used to it. You live in it in a way that feels comfortable to you and that suits your lifestyle. However, this can mean that you overlook what a stranger would see, such as scuffed paintwork, an unfinished DIY project or a spare bedroom that is where you keep the ironing board set up. It’s fair to say that some of these things are very insignificant and buyers can see past them. Unfortunately, consciously or unconsciously, these minor points can add up to an overall impression that is unfavourable. An outsider can come in and identify these little niggles so that they can be addressed. Let me take the strain. I can either give you the tools to do what’s needed yourself or do it for you.

Call today on 07745 876182 or e mail info@homestyle4u.com to book a fact finding session to learn more about how I can help. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West

Selling Your Home – You Never Get a Second Chance to Make A First Impression

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When you are looking for your next home you will probably look at loads of images – in estate agents’ windows, in property brochures, online, in magazines or perhaps even on Instagram. You might even have created a mood board of your dream house or maybe it was a picture of a property that prompted you to think of moving in the first place. But have you ever thought about the importance of photography when selling your home? So much of the home searching process these days is undertaken digitally that it means your photos are vital. Images lead to interest which lead to viewings which leads to offers and the more offers you get the higher the selling price. Here are just a few thoughts to get you started.

 

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The Lead Images

When you search for properties on a portal such as Rightmove, you enter your search criteria and a list of properties comes up. Normally, in that list you will get two images (unless the property has what is termed a premium listing in case you see three images). You tend to scroll down and if you like a property you click through to see more images and read more information about the property. If those lead images aren’t appealing then buyers may not bother to click through and potentially you have lost an opportunity. You will often hear the phrase “kerb appeal” and it is so important. The lead image tends to be the front of the property and the living room or kitchen. Therefore the front of your property and it’s surroundings need to be attractive so that buyers are lead to click through to see more. Kerb appeal includes factors such as exterior maintenance, rubbish/ clutter and aspects that are attractive such as a nice porch, smart door and door furniture, flower beds or hanging baskets etc

The Remaining Images

Having created great kerb appeal so that buyers are attracted by the lead image and have clicked through, the remaining images need to continue the good impression and encourage them to book a viewing. It is important to convey a sense of the space that each room has and the purpose of the room. If a room is cluttered then buyers will assume it is too small.  If the buyers are unable to work out what the room is used for then this may similarly put them off. Bear in mind also that buyers may not pay much attention to the description in the property particulars or the room dimensions. You want to create an impression that will enable buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. I would also caution about having too many photos on your listing, people get bored and sometimes you just can’t see the point of a particular image. Having said that if your home has any stunning features such as a feature fireplace that make your home stand out then it is worth including those. It is worth considering what made you choose the property when you bought it because that may be a clue about buyers will be drawn to.

Professional

I am a firm believer in using a professional photographer and I would always check with the estate agents who give you your valuations if they use a professional i.e. external photographer. You never want photos to be misleading because when buyers view they will be disappointed and react negatively. However, a professional photographer who is experienced in property photography will have the quality of equipment and necessary skills to show your home at its best.

If you are moving up the property ladder and this is the first property you have sold then I hope this information has been helpful. If you would like to chat then call me on 07745 876182 or email me at info@homestyle4u.com. I cover Wirral, Cheshire and the North West. Why not follow me on Twitter @JudithHomestyle

Selling Your Home – Not Enough Time?

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We all lead busy lives. As a former solicitor I know all about the long hours and weekend working – the sense that you barely have the time (or the inclination) to do other than flop in front of the television with a glass of wine when you get in, it’s a rush to get the laundry and the shopping done. It can feel like you are on a hamster wheel. If you are looking to upsize your home I guess there are additional calls on your time such as children. So when you decide to sell it’s probably as much as you can do to actually find an estate agent and get the property on the market yet you still need to maximise your sale proceeds which means presenting your home to its best advantage . That’s where enlisting the services of a property stylist helps.

Hamster Wheel

Objectivity

As the homeowner you are familiar with your home, perhaps over familiar. You are comfortable with it. Obviously, if you are upsizing you realise that you want something bigger but you might not be aware of precisely why your current property feels small or you overlook little things such as a dripping tap. Perhaps you have never even paused to think about it. As an outsider, I am able to come in with a fresh pair of eyes and see the home from the perspective of a potential buyer. I offer advice on what you can do to make your property appeal to buyers.

Knowing What Works

If asked, you probably have some ideas on what buyers will think about your property when they view and what changes are worth (or not worth making) but would they be right? For example, home owners tend to assume that there is no point decorating because whoever buys their home will want to put their own stamp on the house. Whilst most buyers will want to decorate according to their taste, that doesn’t mean that they are not concerned with the current décor.  I trained with the House Doctor® which was formed by Ann Maurice, TV’s House Doctor® from channel five and am now an Associate member. This, coupled with experience of buying and selling property and time spent in estate agency means that I understand what buyers are looking for and what puts them off. I know how to create the impression that buyers are looking for.

Getting It Done

Too much going on? If you haven’t got the time or inclination to think about the presentation of your home let me handle it. I offer a variety of services from a verbal consultation that gives you the knowledge to implement appropriate changes to a full hands on staging where I do everything for you. There is an option that will suit everyone and it includes a simple fact finding session if you just want to learn more.

To find more tips and advice why not visit and like my Facebook PageFuture blogs will address a range of topics to help get you on the move.

Contact me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at info@homestyle4u.com.  I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.