• 7 Tips to Sell Your Home in Winter

    If you’re ready to move, you might be wondering whether to put your home on the market now or wait until the spring. Well, although winter may traditionally be a quieter time for home-moving than spring and summer, the market is still very much open for business and selling your home in this colder season does have its benefits.

    As those who aren’t in a hurry to move tend to hunker down and focus on festivities, buying and selling activity usually dips a little over the winter period. That gives motivated sellers who push ahead with marketing two advantages:

    1. Although you may get fewer viewings overall through the winter, those who make the effort to look at potential new homes despite the inclement weather, are generally committed buyers who are serious about making offers.
    2. If there is a slight drop in the number of homes on the market, there’s less competition. That means you should get a higher proportion of buyers viewing your home and, with fewer houses for them to choose from, they should be quicker to make an offer if they like what they see!

    Remember, even if there’s a howling blizzard outside, the internet is always up and running. House-bound potential buyers will have plenty of time to browse through online listings, and estate agents’ doors and phone lines are still open.

    So, if you’re keen to secure a sale this winter, it’s time to revitalise your marketing for the season and prepare to show buyers that your home is a wonderful one to live in – whatever the weather’s doing outside!

    With that, here are our top 7 tips to help you sell your home this winter:

    1. Style for the season

    Work with the colder weather and shorter daylight hours by styling your home so that it reflects the season and creates a cosy atmosphere.

    Refreshing soft furnishings and accessories is a simple way to transform the look of a room, so replace light cushions and throws with heavier fabrics and deeper colours. Pillar candles in storm lanterns cast a lovely light and can make a great focal point on a coffee table, sideboard or kitchen countertop. Winter-scented candles – think cinnamon, spiced pumpkin and orange – can also help create a welcoming seasonal vibe.

    Low-maintenance green plants, such as peace lilies and Boston ferns will add life and are easy to look after, and potted orchids should give you long-lasting flowers and just a hint of spring around the corner.

    Finally, if you’re wondering whether you should put up Christmas decorations, we’d say yes – as long as they’re not overpowering. Festive décor can add a lovely, cheery feel to your home, but you don’t want to detract from the natural space. So, even if you usually dress every room from head to toe in Christmas trim, hold back a little this year!

    1. Maximise light

    Low natural light in winter can sometimes make interiors feel dull, so make sure you let as much daylight in as possible when you have viewings. Pull back the curtains, make sure blinds are fully rolled up and clear window sills of any large objects that might block light from getting into a room.

    Another thing to consider is how you could change the lighting to show off the size of each room – emphasising the height in particular can make a huge difference to how spacious rooms feel. Investing in some higher-wattage light bulbs is a simple way to brighten up your whole home, and have plenty of lamps throughout to add a warm and welcoming glow.

    1. Turn your garden into a winter wonderland

    With fewer daylight hours for potential buyers to appreciate the outside of your home, install some pretty garden lights to inject a touch of ‘winter wonderland’. There’s a huge range of all-weather options for exterior lighting – from strings of fairy lights for trees and summer houses, to stakes for lawns or borders and spotlights for pathways. And many of them are solar powered, so once they’re up, you don’t need to think about plugs or timers.

    If you have a terrace or other outdoor seating area, you could add solar-powered lanterns and why not consider investing in a heat lamp or fire pit that you can take with you to your next home?

    1. Refresh your photography

    The best way to keep your home looking fresh in adverts is to ensure the photography is always in line with the season. So, if your current photos were taken in the summer, speak to your agent about updating them.

    Have the interior shots taken once the styling has been refreshed for winter, but before you put up any Christmas decorations, as they would make the pictures a little too time specific. And for the exterior, make sure the photographer gets some shots at twilight, with plenty of lights on – inside and out, so your home glows and the garden twinkles!

    1. Stay on top of maintenance

    With higher levels of rain and wind – plus frost and possibly snow – you may have a few more jobs to do than usual to keep your home looking its best through the wintertime. But it’s worth doing a daily maintenance check because even if you don’t have a viewing booked, you never know when potential buyers might be passing by to check out your home from the outside.

    Three key things to stay on top of:

    • Keep paths free of leaves, snow and other debris
    • Make sure drains are clear so rainwater doesn’t pool or flood
    • When it’s icy, salt the driveway and paths

    Also, you may want to keep a close eye on how clean your windows look, as low light can be unforgiving and you want your home to sparkle!

    1. Get set for perfect winter viewings

    When it’s chilly outside, you want to welcome potential buyers into your home with warmth on all fronts. So turn the heating up a few degrees ahead of the viewing, light fires and candles for a cosy atmosphere, and make sure every room is well-lit.

    Check the garden and other exterior lights are on, so people can clearly see where they’re going, and make sure there’s somewhere to hang up coats and leave umbrellas and boots. If you don’t have a porch or hallway, it’s worth popping a coat stand by the font door – and don’t forget a clean doormat.

    A nice touch is to offer viewers a warm drink and even a seasonal nibble – perhaps a mince pie or some gingerbread. The more welcome you can make people feel, the more positive they’re likely to be as they walk around your home, hopefully leaving them with a happy memory of the viewing and your home.

    1. Discuss the festive period with your agent

    Find out what your agent’s business hours will be over Christmas and New Year, and make sure you keep them posted on your own plans – any specific days when you’re going to be entertaining or hosting family and friends and when viewings wouldn’t be convenient.

    If you’re going to be very busy over Christmas, you could simply consider taking a short break from selling for a couple of weeks. The best thing to do is have a chat with your agent and come up with a strategy for the festive period, so you can relax and enjoy yourself, while making sure you don’t miss out on a potentially perfect buyer.

    If you’re keen to sell and are ready to start marketing your home this festive season, get in touch and we can discuss the best strategy for finding you a buyer this winter. And if you’re already on the market with another agent but haven’t had any offers yet, we may be able to help you secure a sale ahead of Christmas – so give us a call! Phone on 01706 356633 or email us on enquiries@reside.agency and we’ll get straight back to you.

  • Thinking of changing estate agents? Our smooth move guide

    A great agent will be focused on selling your home at the best price, in a timeframe that suits you. If everything goes well, they’ll put the right value on it, market it effectively, then negotiate and progress your sale so you can move on to your new home as planned – and they’ll make the whole process as pain-free as possible. That’s what we strive to achieve for every one of our clients, and it’s what every seller hopes their experience will be.

    But it’s not always plain sailing, and if your home’s been on the market for a while, with no sale in sight, you might be feeling disappointed and thinking of changing agents.

    There could be several reasons why things haven’t gone as you’d hoped. Your agent may have seemed like the perfect choice to sell your home in the beginning, but they haven’t quite lived up to expectations. Maybe the viewings you were promised never materialised and now the agent is putting you under pressure to drop the price. Or perhaps they were attentive and positive at the start, but now their phone calls and emails are getting less and less frequent, and you feel as though getting your home sold is no longer a priority for them.

    On the other hand, you may think your agent really has done their best, but for some reason things just haven’t worked out, and it’s probably time for a change.

    Whatever the situation, if you feel you’ve come to the end of the road with your current agent and you want to switch to a different one, what’s the best way to go about it?

    Here’s our handy guide to making the transition from old agent to new as smooth as possible:

    Be clear on exactly what’s not working for you

    It’s often helpful to make a list of what you’re not happy with and what’s been done to address things to date, so that you’re well prepared for a frank conversation with your estate agent. Doing this will also help you be clear on what you want a new agent to do differently.

    Check the terms of your current agreement

    The most common contract between an agent and their client is ‘sole agency’, meaning that only that estate agent has the right to sell your home and claim the sale commission. Check if you have a tie-in period, and what notice you need to give, so you can plan accordingly.

    Have a forthright discussion with your estate agent

    Before you jump straight into terminating your agreement with your agent, have a chat with them. They may have no idea you’re unhappy and disappointed with the way things have gone so far, especially if you haven’t voiced your concerns to them. A good agent will ask for a review meeting with you and suggest ways in which your saleability could be improved. They may offer to re-photograph your home, re-launch it on the portals or suggest a reduction in price.

    Whether you decide to give your estate agent another try or terminate your agreement and switch to another estate agent, you’ll feel more in control of your home sale by taking affirmative action now.

    Shortlist alternative estate agents

    If you’re ready to switch estate agents, ask your friends and family which agents they would recommend in the local area and why. Then check out these agents’ portfolios. Are they currently listing and selling homes like yours? Would you be the most expensive, or the cheapest, house in their portfolio? Check out their reviews on Google and Facebook and what their standards of photography and marketing are like.

    When you have one or two agents you think would be worth chatting to, call and arrange a meeting at your home.

    Ask the right questions

    Asking the right questions of a prospective new estate agent will furnish you with the right information so you can make an informed decision, and potentially improve your chance of selling and moving on.

    Use this list of questions as a checklist to start an open dialogue with the agent:

    • Why do you think our home hasn’t sold? Is it the price, the marketing, the presentation…?

    • Is there anything you think we need to do or change about the presentation and styling of our home to achieve the best price?

    • What will you do differently to our previous agent? This is a really important question, because you don’t want the same challenges you’ve already faced to reappear with a new agent.

    • How do you plan to market our home? This should give you an insight into how proactive they are in finding and matching potential buyers, how creative their marketing is and what gives them the edge over other agents.

    • How often will you communicate with us, and will it be by call, email or text? For instance, will they phone you with feedback after each viewing? In our experience, when clients aren’t happy with their agent, it’s often because of a lack of communication – and that can be a challenge regardless of whether you’ve been on the market for a week or several months – so get a commitment from them on staying in touch and keeping you informed.

    • What kind of agency agreement do you offer and what is the minimum term? If you weren’t happy being tied into your previous agent’s services for several months, you may be able to negotiate more flexible terms this time.

    During the valuation meeting, notice whether the agent is also asking you questions. You want an agent to be interested in understanding your situation, as well as your motivation for moving home, so they can tailor their approach to give you the selling experience you deserve!

    Seal the deal

    Choosing an estate agent is like dating – do you like them enough to want to see them again?? When it works best, the relationship between you the client and your estate agent is a partnership – one that will last at least for months, and sometimes, years. You need to feel that your agent has your back and will be your biggest supporter when times get tough down the line, especially in challenging negotiations with a buyer.

    Whilst our advice is not to jump straight into a relationship with a new estate agent straight away, if you really feel you’ve exhausted the will, patience and skill of your current agent, then moving to a new agent could be just what you and your home needs.

    We’d love to have a confidential chat with you about your options, and we’ll tell you frankly and openly why we think your home has not yet sold and what we think the answer might be. We rarely suggest a price reduction and prefer to use our marketing and styling skills as a first approach, but let us tell you more about those in person!

    You can reach us on 01706 356633 or at enquiries@reside.agency – we’re really looking forward to hearing from you.

  • 8 simple steps to buying your first home.

    Our simple steps to buying your first home, hopefully helping you to demystify the process and help you feel more in control.

    Being a first time buyer can be daunting, feeling like you don’t know the processes involved mixed with a mass of emotions and excitement at getting on the first rung of the property ladder.

    If this sounds like you now or soon to be then we have put together this short piece to outline the steps and the basics you need to do.

    Follow this advice and buying your first home will be as stress free as can be and we will have you looking forward to your new home.

    Estate agents

    When buying your first home you can’t choose your agency, you’re stuck with whichever agency the vendor has chosen. However there are things you can do to help the buying process. Get to know the area’s estate agencies. Call in, say ‘Hi’ and give them a run down of what your ideal home would be, you never know to whom they have just spoken.

    Estate agencies get lots of enquiries from prospective vendors checking out if they’re the right agency to sell with. They maybe trying to sell the the exact house of your dreams, a fact no one would know if you hadn’t gone in to chat.

    It also means that they can point you at suitable properties already on their books. A good agent can also talk with you about your dream home and tailor your expectations. You may have your heart set on a 6 bed detached property with pool in Bamford for £30,000, the agent has the best knowledge to help you avoid disappointment.

    Equally they may point you at an area you hadn’t considered because the properties are on budget and there are many of the type you require.

    And don’t feel, because you are new at this, that you are wasting their time, this is what they do and they know that if they make a good impression on you and maybe when you come to trade up your house you will look to them to sell it.

    Mortgage

    In the current climate very few first time buyers are cash buyers so you’re probably going to need a mortgage. You will need to get your mortgage offer, at least in principle [usually up to a maximum the lender will offer], before you start looking and certainly before putting in an offer on a property. You can put an offer on a property without having a mortgage in place but having a mortgage offer always smooths the process and if you end up in a ‘bidding war’ with another buyer, having a mortgage in place may swing it in your favour.

    You will also need to provide documentation and information about your financial situation, including outgoings, spending habits and dependants. For a full list of what you need to get your mortgage with the minimum fuss click here.

    We can help you with a mortgage here at Reside, so always worth calling in for a chat for advice as well as registering your interest in looking for a property.

    Time to make an offer

    So now that you have found that your special place its time to make an offer. You don’t have to offer the asking price so it’s time to do a little research if you can. What have similar properties gone for? How is the market at present? has the house been on the market for a while? Using this information you can judge whether you are going to offer the asking price to ensure you get it or put a cheeky offer in at first?

    Once you put the offer to the agent they are legally required to put the offer to the vendor in writing. However in practice, before they do this they will often call the vendor to get a speedier response. Hopefully the vendor will accept your cheeky offer and take the property off the market.

    Of course the friendly, professional team at Reside will help guide you through the process, we are here to make it easy for people to buy and sell houses.

    Your offer is accepted!!

    Yay! You can relax now, from here on in it is mainly procedural and an awful lot of paperwork. For the best reasons acquiring a house is a very legal process. You are dealing with large amounts of money – for both parties – it is probably the largest single purchase anyone of us will make, so care is necessary.

    It’s not just having an offer accepted then heading off to IKEA, you have to deal with deeds and the mortgage and lots of other stuff. Here is the point where we recommend you use another professional and instruct a solicitor. They can represent you throughout the process, deal with legalities and often help you avoid any pitfalls.

    Legal stuff

    Get a solicitor. When buying your first home there will be a pile of legal paperwork and the best advice is to leave it to the legal professionals. You still need to check contracts and the like before you sign. However, you should be safe in the knowledge that from a legal standpoint your solicitor has done everything to protect you and your interests.

    Your solicitor is going to check for claims on the house, other building plans etc that may effect your quality of life or future value of your property.

    Get a survey

    There are three types of survey and you will be required as a condition of your mortgage to get one of them. Which you choose is usually down to your choice and the type and age of the property you are buying.

    The three types are: Condition report, Homebuyer report and Building/Structural survey. They go up in cost and detail of the report. Often people buying a new or nearly new home opt for the Condition report and those buying an older or less standard home invest in the Building/Structural survey.

    One thing the second and third reports do is possibly give you some leverage on price with the vendor. If they pull up work that will need doing you can use that as a bargaining point to get the value of the house reduced to cover the future costs. However the main reason is to highlight any problems or failings with the property either current or will cause a problem in the near future.

    Exchange contracts

    Your surveyor and solicitor will tell you when they have completed what they need to this point and that you are okay to go ahead and sign and exchange contract. You will be asked for a deposit at this point, often 10-20% of the agreed price.

    This means that both parties are locked into the sale at this point. If either party now backs out you could lose your deposit and you will still have to pay the professional services fees owed to your solicitor and surveyor.

    Completion

    And it’s all over! You have completed, you have the keys, you have the deeds, the property is yours, you’ve successfully navigate buying your first home! However, there will still be more fees to pay; solicitors, conveyancing, stamp duty [a British Government tax on property] will all need paying and are usually arranged by your solicitor.

    You will also need to have paid the remaining balance of the property – the difference between your deposit and the final agreed price – which again should be organised between your legal people and the mortgage lender.

    Move in!

    Now the fun starts!

     

    If you’re looking for buying your first home please call in for a chat and a coffee or click here to see the new properties we have listed.

  • Top 5 quick fixes to make your house more saleable

    Before you start selling your house on the market there are many, often simple, changes and fixes you can make to increase the saleablity of your property. Often these are things with which you may have lived for years, always just about to get around to, and they can increase the chance of selling your house.

    The following are five quick fixes that you could complete in a couple of days, with minimum expense for the most part. Not only will these give your house more kerb appeal they may add value as well.

    Let’s start outside as these are the things that prospective buyers will see first when they turn up to view.

    Garden
    Often gardens get overlooked when you are coming to sell your house, especially if you are selling during autumn or winter. Even a quick run over with a lawn mower, getting the hedge trimmer and the strimmer out can pay dividends. First impressions count.

    Windows
    Whilst we outside dirty windows can be really off-putting, not only do they suggest the house has been neglected but they also make the interior darker, Light bright rooms are a big turn on for buyers, more critical during the darker months. If the windows are too much for you find a local window cleaner – we can help you there as we have a bank of reliable, trustworthy tradespeople.

    Carpets
    People look down when they walk or when they enter somewhere unknown, this means they look straight down at your floor. If your carpet is stained or worn – maybe you have pets or teenage boys [they’re much the same when it comes to making a mess] – then your first port of call is a local carpet cleaners. If they can’t help you then replacing the carpet will help create a great impression.

    Wall coverings
    Again nothing is more off putting yet easy to fix than peeling wallpaper and cracked or dirty wall tiles. No one is suggesting you should redecorate from top to bottom but repairing peeling paper or damaged tiles can increase the appeal of your property. If you do repaper choose something fairly simple and not too trendy. Consider repainting instead of papering and paint in neutral colours.

    If your tiles are looking a bit past their best it’s often down to the grouting. It’s a fairly simple task to re-grout and can really lift old tiles. If you need to replace some then it maybe time to get a professional in but it will pay dividends when selling your house.

    Kitchen
    In our modern busy lives the kitchen is often the hub of the household. It’s where we meet, eat and often socialise, so it is definitely the one room that needs to be immaculate. This doesn’t mean you have to replace the units and work surfaces. It is the chance to declutter, tidy and do a little staging [we can help you with that] to make the best impression. If the units are looking a little tired they can often be spruced up by new handles of a lick of paint, easy jobs to really lift your house.
    As we said they’re not particularly big jobs nor are they too expensive but they will make your house more presentable and lift the chances of quick and profitable sale.

    If you are looking to sell or rent your property, give us a call or click here for a free and professional appraisal and valuation of your house.

    Give your house the Reside Effect.