7th January 2015
The winter months are a notoriously quiet time for the housing market as potential buyers are deterred from their property search by dark days and bad weather, however a few simple steps could improve your chances of a sale.
Simon Gerrard, president of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), gives his top tips:
1. Outside is where the biggest impact of the bad weather will be and this is obviously the first sight of your home a prospective buyer will have. Winter can make the front garden and paths look dull and dirty, so ensuring these are clean and clear of leaves will improve the attractiveness of the property. Additions such as welcoming garden lights to enhance the entrance to your home can appeal to buyers’ imaginations.
2. Check the gutters and drain covers are properly cleared of dead leaves and other debris as leaky gutters and down pipes cause damage and are unsightly.
3. A messy garden can signal the need for too much work and thus detract buyers. If possible, clear patio furniture away, if not ensure they are securely covered. Fix or secure any loose fence panels or gates. It is also advisable to cut back overhanging branches; this will help brighten the property.
4. Ensure your home is well lit. This means making sure all of your lights work, including the security lights. If a viewing takes place during the day, open all of the curtains and blinds to ensure as much natural light as possible can enter the home. Making sure the doorways, entrance, stairs or porch are clear of clutter can help create an inviting home.
5. It’s important to make your house feel warm and homely. If a buyer enters a property that is cold they’re unlikely to stay long. Smell is also important. You are going to get a bad reaction from buyers if there is an odd aroma or damp smell hanging around. So freshen up, let some fresh air circulate and the old cliché of fresh bread or roasting coffee really does work.
6. If you are going away for any period over the winter the heating should be left on at a low temperature (minimum of 15°c). If you are away for a long period and don’t want to keep the heating on 24/7 make sure it is on a timer. Longer spells at a lower temperature can be more economical than shorter blasts at higher temperatures. If you find a frozen pipe don’t ever try to defrost it with a direct flame like a blow torch, as this can cause even more damage. Instead use a gentle heat such as a hot water bottle or hair-dryer.
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