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How to Prepare Your Home for Selling

Real-Estate-SellingAs an estate agent, I often get questions from just about everyone—buyers and sellers alike. I get buyers asking me how to get a bargain price or a property, while other buyers ask me why the price of a certain property is such a bargain. I get sellers asking me how to get the best price for their property while I get those asking how they can sell and fast, without much regard to what price they could get.

I do plan to address all of these questions and more in my future blog posts, but I’ve decided that the first post on my blog will be about how to prepare your home for selling.

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Wanting to Sell Your Cottage? Here’s How to Make it More Appealing

When you are looking to sell your home, there are a few things that you can do to make it more appealing for people who are looking to buy. There are also ways for you to get an even higher value for your home, as well.

In fact, I’ve written about this at length before–see my posts on the blog (such as “How to Prepare Your Home for Selling”, “What Raises a Property’s Value”, and “How to Stage Your Home for Selling”). While this information is great in general, this won’t help you as much if you are trying to sell your UK cottages. That’s fine, no worries–I’m here to help.

So today I am going to discuss how to make your cottage more appealing for people who are looking to buy. It’s not too different from preparing and staging a home for sale–there are just a few extra things that you can do in order to make sure your value only goes up.

cottage viewEmphasise the View
One thing that is almost always an advantage in cottages is the view. Let’s admit–cottages often have great mountain views, or perhaps even views of water.

If you want to increase the value of your property and ensure that people will want to purchase it, then make sure that you emphasise the view.

Make it front and center in all of your advertisements. Arrange the furniture to face windows that look out onto the view. If you have a bit of a bigger budget, increase window sizes to not only improve and have more natural light coming in, but also to have a better, nicer view.

If you have an even bigger budget, then perhaps consider having a porch outisde, especially if your cottage looks out onto the water.

beautful cottageDeclutter, Neutralise and Simplify
As with any home, you must make sure that you declutter, neutralise and simplify. Nobody wants to see your material possessions and your ‘clutter’–when people come to open houses they want to be able to see a house and imagine themselves living there– how they would arrange everything, and so on.

So hide all of your clutter away. By neutralising I mean you must paint the walls a neutral colour and get rid of decor that may not appeal to everybody. Make sure that everything is neutral and plain–and simple. Don’t overcomplicate things. Your estate agent may be able to help and give you advice on this matter. Don’t hesitate to ask.

Stylish Modern House Design Railway Cottage Conversion


Work on a Theme
If you want a theme–rustic, nautical, whatever it might be, you may work it in–but don’t go overboard. Have the theme there, but still keep things decluttered, neutral and simplified.

This is a hard balance to achieve, so you may want to seek for some help from professionals. But don’t worry–it’s not impossible to do, so I’m sure yc ou’ll manage.

Knowing Who to Trust When Listing Your Property

When you want to sell your property, more often than not you will want to list it with an estate agent who is competent and trustworthy, and who you know will act in your behalf to secure you the best deal available so that you can get the best price for your property.

But it it can be quite difficult to find someone who will be trustworthy and honorable. At times, estate agents can have quite the bad reputation because of a few bad apples who have gone ahead and ruined it for the rest of the bunch. So how exactly do you know who to trust when it comes to hiring an agent to work in your behalf?

100+ Thoughts on Listing Property


Having the wrong estate agent working for you can result in much disaster. First and foremost you might end up losing out on money you might have made had you hired someone who was more capable of doing the job properly.

Secondly you might end up having trouble not only with the financial dealings of the sale, but the legal dealings of it too. So don’t go off hiring just anyone–make sure you hire someone who knows what they are doing.

If you don’t know where to begin looking for the right kind of estate agent, don’t worry. Here are a few tips for finding the right estate agent to work for you… hopefully you will be able to find one who will most definitely work to your benefit.

firm. officeFind an Established Firm
One thing that you should do from the very beginning is to find a reputable, established firm who has had a good track record in the business.

Make sure that they deal in the same kind of property that you are trying to sell (or purchase if you are on the other side of the coin and looking to buy) so that they will have better knowledge of the ins and outs of selling that specific type of property.

Find a Reputable Agent
The next step is to find a reputable agent who is licensed to do the work you need done. This way you know that they are aware of how to do their job well, and have also have a good past with working with people in the similar situation as you.

real-estate-agentFor example, finding someone like Neil Stone from Bargets which is an established firm that has been around for thirty years (see the above criteria!) is your best bet of getting the right kind of person to work on your behalf.

Works in the Same Area/Vicinity
The best estate agent to hire is one that works in the same area as where your property is located. That way they have better ideas of local prices and real estate trends.

Naturally this makes them better equipped to handle the sale of your property so that you will not be cheated.

What Raises a Property’s Value?

Real Estate ValueAs an estate agent, I get many questions about what factors affect the value of a property. Often because they want to be able to sell high, or because they are wondering why the price of a certain property is so incredibly astronomical.

Regardless of the reason why, there are many different reasons why a property is priced the way that it is. Sure there are some properties that are raised abnormally high or priced so incredibly low that you can’t help asking what the catch is, but most of the time guidelines are followed as to the pricing of a property.

So what kind of factors affect the value of a property? Actually, which ones RAISE the value of a property? Here are only some of the reasons why.

Quality of the Structure
Quality ArchitectureFirst and foremost one of the things that will dictate the price of the property is of course the quality of the structure. So if the quality of the structure is top notch—meaning it is well constructed using high quality materials and is safe from natural disasters—then you can expect the price to be quite high, or at least higher than what would normally be the price of similar buildings built in the area. Of course that only means that if the structure quality is low, you can also expect a lower selling price.

Location of the Property
Outdoor Fitness EquipmentAnother factor that of course will affect the price of the property is where it is located. If it is near schools and hospitals, more than likely the price of the properties will be astronomical. On top of that, if the area is higher end, or has a great view, or is lakeside, hillside, or beachfront…you can expect it to be pricey too.

A view also comes at a great premium. Other amenities and attractions like local facilities such as outside fitness equipment in parks nearby can also contribute to the raising of the price of the property.

Furnishings, if Any
Beautiful InteriorOften times, an unfurnished property will sell lower than one that is fully furnished. But most of the time, the price difference is so low that it is negligible—in the grand scheme of things. It all depends on how expensive the furnishings are. And if the furnishing is older, the probability is that the furnishings will hardly count in the price at all.

The finishing of the property can also affect the price. If the floors are marble and the kitchen counters are granite, then you can expect price to be higher. If the lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures are imported then of course the price would be higher too.

Home Improvements That Increase Property Value

These are truly only some of the factors that can affect the price of a property. There are so many more reasons that can drive the price of a property higher or lower, and truly I cannot list them all in just one article. If you would like some help then consult with your estate agent—I’m sure they can explain to you why a property is priced as it is.

How to Stage Your Home for Selling

One of the things that truly helped me as a real estate agent is my background in interior design. Knowing what looks good and knowing what people want is typically the best way to make the home you are selling more attractive to a buyer. You cannot just have a plain empty room when a potential buyer shows up – you need to make it look real and put together.

What is staging?
Home StagingSome of you may be wondering why staging is. Well, staging is simply the act of preparing a residence for selling. Usually, people have the place cleaned and then redecorated with temporary furniture. Sometimes, the furniture is sold along with the home, but staging is often done for newly renovated homes that have been prepared by flippers.

To be honest, the majority of buyers actually have a hard time imagining where everything goes when they go buying a house. It is therefore a good idea to help them by actually furnishing the area and showing them what the room would look like if it is full of furniture and décor.

Use high quality furniture
Kitchen FurnitureNo matter how small a space, it can always be made to look more expensive than it really is by adding high quality furniture. By high quality, I mean solid wood. A house that is furnished with some solid wood furniture looks absolutely spectacular because solid wood is considered the epitome of luxury.

I have purchased solid wood furniture pieces specifically for staging, just so that I can make the house look good during open house tours. Property styling is always made easy if you use hard wood furniture, especially if there are wooden elements within the home.

Just make sure that the wooden furniture that you use suits the home. You may need to specify that the furniture does not come for sale with the house. I usually do not offer the furniture, but if the buyer asks, I typically just ask them to add a little extra to cover the costs.

Focus on details
Shiny Door KnobsWhen it comes to staging a home, the details are more important than anything else. You will have to make sure that each and every spot in the house is clean and free of blemishes. Polish any metal pieces – doorknobs, fixtures, and candelabras, making sure that they are shining. You want to catch your buyers attention!

Next, you need to decorate the place a little – Add accent pillows and little personal touches such as a small, tasteful figurine or an attractive vase. My favourite personal touch is fresh flowers. I often add some fresh seasonal flowers that make the place look very put together. I often offer the bouquet to the one who buys the house as a gesture of appreciation.

Home Staging Tips

Staging a home is easy. All you have to do is to imagine how a house will look after someone has moved in. Just make sure that you keep it simple so that you do not overwhelm the rooms themselves – the buyer still needs to see the full extent of the room.

Tips for Finding Pet Friendly Real Estate

Family with Pet DogAs a real estate agent, I have a lot of families and house buyers ask me to help them find pet friendly real estate. I know that for many people, especially those who want to live in apartments or condo unit, finding housing that allows pets such as cats and dogs can be a hassle.

While keeping a small fish aquarium is often acceptable considering that fish never really go anywhere, pets such as cats and dogs are often banned from apartment buildings. Exotic pets are also banned for fear that their escape could cause a bit of trouble – no one wants to hear that a snake or a tarantula is loose in their building after all.

If you are a dog or cat lover who wants to find affordable housing, here are my tips for finding pet friendly real estate, and making sure that your pet will not be an inconvenience to anyone else in the building.

Ask Around
Real Estate InquiryAlways ask around and look for real estate that allows you to bring in pets. You can check online or on house listings. You can also visit open house showings and ask real estate agents such as myself if pets would be allowed.

You should also never assume that a listing allows pets unless it is mentioned specifically in the ad. Always ask and confirm in person.

Train your pet to be quiet
Dog TrainingOne of the primary reasons why dogs and cats are often not allowed in apartment buildings is because of the racket they make, especially in the evening. Since buildings are enclosed spaces, sounds tend to echo and bother other people.

Choose a pet that is quiet, such as a fish or a hamster, but if you must get a dog or a cat, train them to keep the barking and the meowing to a minimum.

Seal pet food items properly
People will also often complain about the smell of pet food. Many dog food varieties, especially the canned type, has a strong, pungent odour that other people in your apartment building may find disagreeable.

Sealing and Storing Pet Food

If you wish, you could visit suppliers of different types of dog food and choose something that is suitable. Typically, fresh, grain free dog food is less pungent than cheap kinds of dog food. Keep unused dog food in a tightly sealed container to prevent smells from escaping, and always dispose of left over dog food.

Prove that you are a responsible pet owner
Dog's LoveAlways clean up after your pets and as much as possible, train your pets not to destroy furniture around the house. Many real estate owners dislike pets because they may ruin the carpet or furniture, which will be expensive to replace once the tenant moves out.

Bring your dog to a training camp and present the land lord with a certificate that your pet has completed training. It gives you more credibility and will convince the land lord or estate agent that you are a responsible pet owner.