SHOWCASE YOUR HOME’S BEST FEATURES

To the get the most out of your property sale in today’s competitive housing market, it is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Post-referendum many investors and buyers have adopted a wait-and-see approach to the property market. With the pool of potential buyers in the market getting less, more than ever before, sellers need to focus on showcasing their home’s best features to gain a competitive edge and realise the property’s true sales potential.

To sell a home at the best possible price within the best possible time requires two crucial elements –  the right real estate professional and some effort on your part as the seller.

There is no need to completely change your existing home or embark on a costly renovation project, rather it is simply looking for ways to highlight your home’s key selling points. If done correctly, subtle changes can make a big difference. Well-chosen, contemporary updates can revamp your entire home, giving it a modern, revitalised look and feel, without being too costly. A fresh coat of paint and tidying up is already a great start to ensuring that the home is ready to hit the market.

Here are a few additional pointers to get your home in top form on show day:

Kitchen

Often considered as the heart of the home, the kitchen is possibly one of the most important areas. For many buyers, the kitchen can be the deciding factor as to whether or not they decide to purchase the home. An updated kitchen will increase the perceived value of the home and leave a lasting impression.

Refurbishing the worktops and cupboards can completely reinvent the space and give it a more contemporary look. Also, by updating large appliances you can breathe new life into the room. Adding an island is also a functional way to add to the room’s aesthetic appeal, while entirely changing the area’s dynamic with additional counter space.

Bathrooms

Another area in the home that draws buyers in or has them heading for the door. Not much needs to be done in a bathroom for it to feel completely different. Just by changing the taps to a more updated style or adding a mirror can freshen up the look and reinvent the space. Modern lighting can also change the feel of the room and breathe fresh life into an outdated area.

Storage and organisation

Although it depends on the availability of space and layout of the home, installing additional cupboards or storage units will be a practical way to create a selling feature. Buyers are often looking for homes with ample storage capacity, so an extra cupboard, expanding existing cupboards or a walk-in pantry can become a selling point. Built-in shelves or a wall unit in areas with a lot of open wall space can also be a unique and interesting feature.  These are relatively easy to install and will be a functional addition that could give the home added interest.

Flooring

Where the home has carpets, they should be in good repair and professionally cleaned. Cleaning the carpets will not only make them look good but will leave the whole house smelling great. If the carpets are in a bad state, depending on what’s underneath it might be worthwhile to have them lifted. Many older homes will have wooden flooring underneath the carpeting, which can be sanded and revarnished.  In the instance where the home does not already have wooden floors, synthetic alternatives are available that look similar but cost far less. The right kind of flooring will make a room appear larger, and it will completely revamp the area’s look and feel.

Outside areas and garden

Exterior features such as decks and patios can impress, however, they aren’t always in the budget and are not necessarily needed to make the garden look good. A garden that is neat and well-kept will make an outstanding impression with buyers.

Ensuring the property is in its best condition before it is listed will increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and achieving the highest possible selling price.

Don’t be caught unprepared

Being a homeowner is a long-term commitment that can span a lifetime. Although it is human nature to always hope for the best, it is inevitable that a home emergency will strike at some stage during our lifetime, so it is best to be as prepared as possible. While impossible to determine when it will happen, home repairs are a certainty every homeowner will need to consider and prepare for. Putting aside money each month in a contingency fund will provide you with a financial cushion and assist in avoiding going into debt when a crisis strikes.

Research from mortgage and loan brokers reveal that around 60% of adults in the UK have lived in the same house for more than 15 years, while one in ten have not moved for 31 years or more. It’s fair to say that a lot can happen over a decade or for that matter three decades.  Having a plan of action in place will help you to tackle whatever life throws at you and keep going. The goal is to have the means to address the changes or emergencies that occur, without it jeopardising the homeownership or placing you under severe financial pressure.

There are emergencies that happen to the house itself, such as roof repairs or rising damp, both of which can be a massive financial expense, and there are the financial emergencies that affect you as the homeowner, such as job loss. The question you need to ask yourself is if something like this happens, would I still be in a position to afford the home? For most, the answer would probably be no, which is why a contingency fund is imperative as a homeowner. While the idea of putting money aside can be a daunting task, the consequences of not having a financial cushion to fall back on will be far greater.

Essentially there are three basic steps that you need to take to start creating an emergency fund, which will provide a safety net and assist with any obstacles that come your way:

One – Determine the required amount

At a very minimum you should aim to save approximately one month’s salary, however, in an ideal situation, six months’ income in saving is preferable. A six-month financial cushion should see you through most crises. That said, saving up half a year’s worth of income will be no mean feat, it will take a fair amount of time and planning to achieve. Setting smaller goals along the way will ensure that you maintain focus and stay motivated.

Two – Choose a saving vehicle

When wanting to build up a significant amount of savings, especially rates at record lows, you need to ensure you put your money into the right type of savings account in the right order – whether that’s an Individual Savings Account (ISA), bank account or regular saver. Each offers different pros and cons, so it might require some research to find the right savings vehicle that will yield the greatest return while meeting the criteria. Often the method that offers the highest returns will require the account holder to lock their money away for a certain fixed period – this could be problematic if you require the money in an emergency.  The interest rate, as well as accessibility, will be key factors to consider.

Three – Automate the savings

Setting up a monthly automatic transfer will make the process far easier and will help you remain disciplined with savings. If a predetermined amount of money is transferred into a savings account automatically each month, it takes the decision-making process out of the equation and ensures that a contribution is made towards the contingency fund regularly with very little effort on your part.

Setting money aside each month is the best way to prepare for and deal with an emergency without being forced into debt. A contingency fund will help you be ready for the unexpected while building a solid foundation for their financial security and independence.