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The Art Of Home Staging…

There are many reasons why homeowners are eager to secure a fast sale; whether it’s relocating for work, looking for more space or trying to get a child into a new catchment area to name a few. Here we look at some of the top tips to help people maximise their opportunities and speed up the selling process.

To maximise all possible viewings, its important a home is presented at its best and so that it shows off its potential. One way of doing this is through ‘home staging’, a concept created by interior designers, which makes the interior of a home look more appealing to potential buyers.

There are a few tips to home staging, starting with looking at your home through the eyes of an outsider. Distancing yourself from the home can be difficult, especially if the home is full of ‘loved’ items such as family photos, ornaments and collectables. All personal clutter needs to be packed away to allow the potential buyers to visualise themselves living in the property.

Don’t go too far as equally empty homes don’t always sell. Up to 85% of people are unable to visualise how a room will look and feel if it is not furnished. Also, an empty room can feel cold and soulless, so aim to place the very basics of furniture when selling an empty house.

Sometimes it is important to remember less is more. Too much furniture or very large items can make a room look smaller and too many pictures can make a room feel very enclosed. However, with the right presentation interiors can highlight the positive aspects of a room.

Lighting is important when selling a home. Always try to increase the amount of light in any room, so take down heavy curtains and blinds and if you need a little bit of privacy, drape voile over the curtain pole for an effortless look.

Home hunters can often miss the potential of larger homes due to vast amount of space available. A useful tip is to always give a room a purpose to make each part of the house appealing to viewers. For example, a family home may benefit from a playroom whilst professionals may require a home office.

If you know the home has potential, point it out. If your neighbour has renovated their loft, ask if you can show any interested home hunters to give them an idea of space. Or if the property has any planning permission, be prepared with any documentation.

There are many tricks and tips to home staging, however if you’re really struggling there are professionals available. However don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and speak to any of our agents, we’re always happy to offer advice on selling a home in order to make your house move as quick and effortless as possible.

A beginner’s guide to Buy To Let

‘Buy to Let’ may seem an attractive option as the current low interest rates seems to offer little return on any money kept locked away for a rainy day. So if you’re thinking of investing in property and then renting it out, our brief overview below will get you asking all the right questions before you decide to take the plunge.

Research your market

Research is an extremely important tool in the decision making process. You will need some hard facts to base your actions upon as the more you know, the better the decisions are likely to be. It’s key to research location, what you can afford for the budget and who is your likely target market.  With the right information you’re more likely to make the right decision.

Think about your target tenant

What kind of tenants are you after?  Your preference could be anywhere from a family, a group of students or young professionals? Once you have an idea of your preferred tenant you need to consider the location and what type of property the particular group may be looking to rent.  For example, you may find your venture unsuccessful if you decide to target families with a one-bedroom apartment or harder to attract students in quite neighbourhoods miles from the university.

Now that you know the tenant you’re searching for, you have two ways in which to find them either yourself or through the use of a letting agent like us!  When we find tenants for customers we do a number of checks to ensure they are who they claim to be and that they’re trustworthy and able to pay the rent you’re looking to charge for the property.

The basic pieces of information you should get from a prospective tenant include a reference from their employer and their previous landlord, proof of identity, proof of current address and proof of credit rating.  This can be rather daunting if you are new to the role of landlord but it’s what we do on a daily basis to make sure you end up with the right tenant.

Do the maths

You may have a strong idea of the property and tenant you are in search of but what can you afford?

Most people considering buy to let are looking for a monetary return, whether in the form of rental returns or the value of a home increasing.  As a minimum the rent you charge should more than cover your monthly mortgage repayments, but also consider what is the boiler breaks or if there’s a period when the home’s empty. Make sure your figures are water tight before parting with any cash.

Also, it’s important not to forget that as a landlord, you may be faced with various different taxes, which could include stamp duty, land tax (when you buy the property), income tax (on the income the property generates), inheritance tax (if you still own the property when you die) and capital gains tax (if/when you sell the property) to name just a few. Don’t let these additional costs catch you off guard.

Consider how hands on you want to be

Finally, once you have a property and the tenants have moved in, you need to think about who’s responsible for looking after in the property?  This can include repairs to the property’s structure and exterior, heating and water systems, safety of gas appliances (these need to be checked annually), ensuring electrics are safe and that furniture meets fire safety regulations. Once again your local Wright Marshall agent is on hand to help you through this process.

If after all that you’re still keen to invest in a Buy To Let property call in for a chat and we’ll clarify any remaining unanswered questions.

Putting your trust in the right Estate Agent

The key to buying or selling a home often comes down to finding the right agent to help you through the process.  After all they’re tasked with representing and presenting your property to the market, so it’s critical to find a team you can trust to undertake this all important task.

Finding the right estate agent can be the difference between enjoying a quick, hassle-free sale and suffering a frustrating, drawn-out nightmare.  So with this in mind we though it would be helpful to outline what you should consider when choosing your estate agent.

The starting point has to be to undertake a bit of research.  What agents have you seen operating locally, how established are those businesses and do they sell homes that are similar to yours?

When you have narrowed it down to a couple of preferred options it’s worth looking for any recommendations?  Have friends sold their homes recently, how did they find the agents and are there any testimonials that you can see on their website or in marketing materials?  Remember that it’s often harder to earn a good reputation, so those with positive ones are worth following up.

Don’t be tempted to solely select an agent on the fees they charge.  The fee is generally determined by the location of your home, market conditions and the number of competitor agents operating in the area.  It can also be an indication of how the agent plans to market your property with some online agents simply sticking it on their website, while others produce brochures, place adverts in newspapers and spend time to present your home in the best possible light.

It’s also worth considering what price is the agent proposing to sell your home at.  Don’t be tempted to simply go with the highest price as this can just be an agent’s desire to win business, instead check whether the agent has a track record of achieving the sales.  The best agent may not have given you the highest valuation, but the right one.  An agent with a track record of achieving full asking prices and selling quickly may well be worth a higher fee.

Don’t forget to also check for appropriate accreditations such as membership to organisations such as the Property Ombudsman, as this will help protect you should any issues occur during the sale process.  Also take a bit of time to speak with the agent who comes to value your home or pop in and meet the team in your local branch.  Do you want them to represent you, your property and importantly are they the kind of people you can work with and relate to?

The final point is also perhaps also the most obvious.  Go with your gut and choose an agent you can trust.  With the right estate agency team behind you, you can rest assured that your property is being actively and effectively marketed by people that you know and most importantly, can trust.