Monthly Archives: July 2011

A guide to property turn-offs

Came across this excellent post over on Tepilo (Sarah Beeny’s website) which covers lots of things you can do to ensure you present your property in the best possible way:

“As a Buying Agent I see lot’s of properties and I see lot’s of buyers reactions to them. One can’t over generalise as there is a big difference in something being sold as ‘beautifully presented’ and those properties which are directed towards that huge market of ‘do-ups’. However, for the average house in the street this is what my buyers turn their noses up at the most:

*Smells. There is nothing like walking into a house to be greeted by eau de cat litter, wet dog or teenage stench. I’ve smelt many a teenage bedroom from the bottom of the stairs and it doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Before viewings, windows open, animals out and invest in industrial quantities of Febreze. Spray liberally!

*Animals. Many people are scared of dogs and even cat’s and don’t like the idea of moving into a house that has had them. I had a very embarrassing experience of a client running screaming out of a house at the sight of a cat, never to return. It is best to make your home seem like an animal free zone.

*Teenagers. Leaving aside the normal state of their bedrooms, (the things I have seen), having a brooding teenager in bed playing Mortal Kombat does nothing to encourage relaxed viewings.

*Vendors. As a viewer, my heart sinks on first viewings if the Vendor is showing. All too often I am tailed as though I am going to pinch something, (I don’t look that dodgy, honest), or regaled with a blow by blow account of how they brought the chiminea back from Malaga. Give viewers space to view and to ‘get the feel’. They will ask questions if they want to.

*Road noise. Buyers really do have an issue with road noise, mitigate this as much as you can by having windows closed. It’s not cheating, it’s just sensible. I recently viewed a very expensive flat on Knightsbridge and for some reason they had all the windows over-looking the road open. Noise was all I could focus on. If you have the option of adding good double glazing it really will help.

*Cheap refurbishments It really may seem like a good idea to rip up the carpet and put down cheap laminate flooring. Or to replace an aged kitchen with a cheap new one but this often backfires. If a buyer doesn’t like the new kitchen or flooring they will feel they cannot justify replacing it because it is new but at the same time they don’t want to live with it. Replacing things like kitchens and bathrooms cheaply just for selling can cost you not only money but also a sale. Most buyers I have known (women, let’s be honest), are dying to put a new kitchen in to their own taste… let them.

*Cracks. The vast majority of cracks are surface cracks, just plaster deep, however they send buyers into a fear free fall. It doesn’t take much to fill them in before marketing, so do it. If they are deeper cracks, commission a surveyors or structural Engineers report before sale so that they can be addressed from the outset. That report can be shown to potential buyers allaying irrational fears or detailing what works need to be done or have been done. Just telling a buyer ‘they are nothing to worry about’ won’t wash with them or their Surveyor.

*Damp patches. Don’t laugh! Bathrooms leak and many a house I go into has the tell-tale sign on a downstairs ceiling. Paint over it! Dumb as it may seem, buyers worry terribly when they see them and saying ‘Johnny didn’t close the shower door properly’ will be met with cynical disbelief as they irrationally chew over all the horror stories they have heard of rising damp.

*Peeling outside paintwork. We’ve all heard about ‘kerb appeal’. A ‘yawn’ I know but when a buyer arrives at your house and the first thing they see is peeling paint on the windows it is a really bad start. They will enter with the premise that the property has not been maintained and will ‘cost them money’. Generally they will cost it up much higher than the cost in reality and then try to haggle that off the price. Having external paintwork brought up to scratch is generally a good investment for selling.

Oh, and as for brewing coffee, baking bread and popping plastic flowers on the TV for property styling purposes, just so you know….. buyers don’t buy it!

Now I have done the sensible stuff, permit me a little silliness with my favourite property turn-offs – from pained experience:

*Toilet seats up – just vile

*Knickers on radiators – especially large ones.

*Nude pictures of the owners – Yes! people do have them on display.

*Plastic butterflies on the outside of the house – No! it’s not cute.

*Overgrown gardens – trek through the undergrowth to find where the bodies are hidden?

*Sticky carpets – eugh.

*Damp underwear on bathroom floors.

and finally did I mention what I’ve found in the bedrooms? Probably best not, eh?!

With thanks to Tracy Kellett

Tracy is an ex-Estate Agent and runs leading Buying Agents BDI Home Finders. She is a very well respected figure in the property world, judging the Sunday Times Estate Agents awards and regularly commentating on the property market in the broadsheet press. You can follow Tracy on twitter here or visit her website:

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Cheap solicitors are expensive!

Once we agree a sale on a property, the hard work really begins.  As estate agents we liaise and chase solicitors, chains, buyers and sellers to make sure it all comes to a satisfactory conclusion. Unsurprisingly we get to know which solicitors are on the ball and which are quite frankly, useless. It seems to be that a fair percentage of buyers and sellers naturally get tempted to use the cheapest solicitor or conveyancer that they can find as they think they’ll be saving a few hundred quid. These are often miles away from the customer and work on the basis of pile it high sell it cheap.

Unfortunately this tends to backfire as you rarely speak to the same person twice, often get misquoted on their charges and end up paying more than you first thought…..and most importantly it can drag the sale out over many additional weeks. We’ve had people in tears in our office before due to such problems.

You’ll also find a good solicitor will not only answer your calls but return them too, not to mention be worth every penny when problems arise. SO next time you’re moving home, pay that bit extra and make sure you go for a good solicitor, you’ll be thankful for it.

Thanks to fellow forward thinking estate agent Mr Green Homes for the inspiration.

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