Home preparation and staging for a faster property sale in the Gosport, Fareham and Portsmouth areas



Not making the most of the spare bedroom when you put your house on the market could be a costly mistake. Don’t assume that potential buyers are able to envisage the use for a small spare bedroom that you are currently using for storage etc. Convert that unloved space into an attractive guest room which gives an instant wow, despite the limited size.

The following simple fixes are based on tried and tested schemes developed for small bedrooms and assume there is space for at least a single bed.

Walls & ceiling; stick to shades of white or monochromatic schemes based on neutral colours, using very slight changes in tint or shade on skirting, architrave & window sills.

Use a very large simple style mirror placed on the wall adjoining the window wall, at the same bottom or top level of the window and same distance from the corner of the room, to reflect lots of natural light into the room. It can also give the illusion of another window. Paint the mirror frame the same colour as the wall.

On the opposite wall use a large painting or poster of a seascape or countryside vista with a distant horizon, creating depth and faraway dreaminess.

Floors; take back to bare boards if they run from the door opening rather than across. Prepare and paint off-white or a light tint of the colour used on the walls and ceiling. Alternatively use light wood effect flooring. Use a large (big enough to extend beyond the bed) pale flatweave rug which has similar colours to the walls, to make the bedroom feel cosy. Do not use smaller rugs which draw the eye in and make a space look cluttered. Avoid carpets, especially dark or patterned. You are trying to achieve a clean, fresh look. Increasingly problems with allergies mean that more and more people are not using any carpeting in their homes, so opting for less carpet will attract a wider potential market.

Windows; make the most of natural light, use cotton based sheers hung from a piece of polished copper pipe as close to the ceiling as you dare go and extending beyond the window frame, so that you are not obscuring any of the window. A small recessed blackout blind can be installed for sleeping if needed.

Furniture; use a minimalist bed structure with attractive pull out storage baskets/themed boxes underneath. Avoid solid all in one beds with large bulky headboards, which overwhelm a small bedroom. Use simple furniture which is practical, for example stools which tuck under shelving units. Shelving built floor to ceiling, gives a visual journey up. Consider changing opening doors to sliding ones to give more space. Shelving box units above door frames and built around beds can also work well, if designed properly.

If you have a bed against a wall, use cushions and throws in pale pastels to show that the bed can be used as a reading area.

Lighting; a mix of ambient lighting, for example LED’s in the shelving or in coving, a simple small pendant or even just a bare light bulb in the centre of the room makes a statement which can all be used on overcast viewing days.

And lastly make sure the estate agent describes the room as the ‘guest bedroom’, which means it’s okay if it is a little on the small side!
Happy selling. If you would like an individual assessment of your properties potential to sell quickly, give Prep My House Limited a ring on 01329 248747 or email info@prepmyhouse.co.uk www.prepmyhouse.co.uk
Open House days are promoted by some agents as a good way to market property and sell quickly. Providing this is managed carefully by the agent there are advantages; for example, your potential buyers feel less intimidated about looking around your property as an Open House Day (in reality normally only four hours, 10:00 am – 14:00) makes your property more of a commodity and less of a personal space.

As the vendor, you can prepare your property so it’s looking its very best, by concentrating on staging your property for that open day. If you really want to give potential buyers that ‘must have’ feeling, then get some advice about the current appeal levels of your property and how optimising space and light can make a huge difference. Concentrated staging greatly increases the level of appeal.

You get what you pay for, so use a proper estate agent! Let your agent get on with it – the last thing a potential buyer needs, is you directing them around ‘your’ space. A good reputable estate agent will know how to present your properties unique selling points. They will go to the trouble of chatting to open day viewers and finding out enough about them, to match those USP’s directly to the potential buyer’s needs. Your agent should agree that viewings on an Open House day should be booked in through them, this will avoid, to some extent people turning up who are time wasters and provide added security.

As the vendor. not being present avoids getting caught up in direct exchanges with pushy potential buyers about the asking price. If you are not used to negotiating face to face, you might be bullied into an unplanned compromise. It also means that you don’t have to put up with hearing all the reasons people don’t want the property.

Check when you are researching agents to use, that managing Open House days is included in the service – cheaper online agents will add a considerable amount for this service, as they do for viewings etc. Also check that your agent promotes and manages Open House etiquette with viewers, for example; not allowing viewers to touch your belongings, sit on furniture, open cupboards etc.

Make sure you have got a realistic valuation for your property, selling quickly through Open House day marketing might indicate that the property was undervalued and that if you had waited and marketed by accepting targeted viewings, you may have achieved a better offer. The other concern is that Open House viewings tend to encourage a bit of competitiveness between viewers and people may submit offers which they are not in a position realistically to follow up, for example because they have not yet applied for a mortgage, whereas the more traditional approach through a face to face estate agent, acts as a vetting process, identifying buyers who are in a good position to proceed.

If you are considering using the Open House method of marketing your home, talk to us at Prep My House about our one day staging service, to help you get your property looking its best.
Contact Prep My House Limited 01329 248747 for further advice info@prepmyhouse.co.uk
Getting rid of bad house smells
The impact of bad house smells can’t be underestimated. That initial whiff will give a negative first impression and psychologically reaffirm that the property belongs to someone- your scent; your territory.

Here are a few tips on what to do to get your property smelling fresh so that it invites positive thoughts from prospective buyers. Do not be tempted to use quick fix air fresheners or strong smelling candles to mask smells – there really is nothing worse than odour de smelly house mixed with sickly vanilla!

Pet smells – somehow disgusting if it’s not your pet! I recently rejected the perfect used car because of the damp doggy odour. Dogs will smell not because they are dirty, but because of doggy hormones and scent marking odours carried on their coats, so there is not much you can do to stop them smelling.
Keep pet beds out of the main living areas during viewing times. Regularly vacuum pet hairs that carry odours, steam clean carpets and launder pet bedding and towels etc. You don’t need to buy expensive products, neutralise odours with nothing more than baking soda; sprinkle smelly areas and leave for a couple of hours for the baking soda to absorb the smell and vacuum.

Smelly bedrooms – something you don’t notice until you have been away from the room. Air rooms every day if the weather permits, open the windows. Ventilation is the single most important part of controlling smells in a bedroom. If necessary, use an air purifier with a HEPA-type filter to help trap odours.
If you must have carpet in your bedrooms, vacuum regularly and steam clean every week while viewings are taking place. Bedroom carpets are very prone to trapping smells caused by body bacteria; walking barefoot, leaving clothes lying around and shedding skin when we undress all contribute to the problem.
Don’t make your bed until bed time; pull back the covers and allow the odour causing moisture you have produced through the night, to air properly. Change bed sheets regularly – certainly before a viewing.
Clear out wardrobes and give them a good clean. Launder clothes that have been hanging in the wardrobe for a while even if you haven’t worn them. Don’t leave dirty laundry in open baskets.
Spray or powder your footwear when you take them off. Bacteria from our bodies (which we all have!) left to cultivate in our footwear, creates a terrible smell if left untreated.

Cooking smells – if you have a viewing the next day, then avoid smelly suppers! Make sure extractor filters are replaced before you market property. Some smells are of course quite appealing to most; freshly baked bread & filter coffee. Try not to make it too obvious – oranges in a fruit basket radiate a pleasant smell.

Musty cupboards – there are lots of reasons cupboards get musty, the most obvious is lack of air circulating and the possible build-up of mould. Clear out the contents and wash/dry. Treat any mould and leave cupboards open to air, preferably with a window open too. A bowl of soda crystals left in the cupboard can do wonders over a few days.

General damp smells – if you live in an older property that doesn’t get aired often because, for example windows are shut during the day, you might find investing in a positive pressure ventilator will be a great purchase. Generally fitted in a loft, it works by supplying a constant flow of clean air through the property.

Cigarette smells – probably the biggest turn off these days. The smell gets right into furniture, clothes and carpets/curtains/soft furnishings. This will involve a commitment to not allowing people to smoke in the property. Start by airing the rooms or using an odour extractor if needed. Launder as much as you can, soft furnishings etc. on a cool wash with half a cup of white vinegar.
Leave bowls of vinegar out overnight in the worst affected areas. The smell of vinegar will not linger for long. You will be amazed though what a difference it makes.
Lastly get in the professions to clean carpets and furniture, if the smell lingers.

For more advice about getting your property ready to wow prospective buyers contact Prep My House Limited 01329 248747. info@prepmyhouse.co.uk www.prepmyhouse.co.uk

1.Have a good clear-out.

Work systematically through your home, one room at a time – if it’s been stored away & not used for more than a year then, do you really need it?
Organise stuff to go, for example;

For sale – you will be surprised what people will buy through sites like Gumtree or if you have time, get everything together for a car boot sale; children’s clothes & toys sell particularly well.
Friends & family – send out a general message asking if anyone needs/wants items. Don’t forget to be ruthless about furniture that clutters space and has no real purpose; occasional/side tables are often surplus to requirement and take up space.
Charity shop – anything that has not been sold can go to your favoured charity if it is clean & in reasonable condition.
Re- cycle centre – that old broken picture frame is someone else’s project!

Next - look critically at how much you have out on display; those little neglected bits that have always been there. They mean something to you but take up space & make a room look cluttered or too personalised. You want buyers to see the potential for them, not your favourite collections. Organise packing up into labelled boxes, ready to move to your new home. Large plastic boxes are cheap and will protect against the elements if you are going to use the loft, garage or shed to temporarily store.

2. Take care of repairs
What you have put up with & got used to seeing will stick out like a sore thumb – missing handles, broken light switches, chipped tiles, broken curtain rails, etc. just scream unloved! Get a handyman in to do a job lot, if you can’t do it yourself.

3. Deep clean and freshen up paintwork
Carpets & upholstery should be professionally cleaned. Freshen up paintwork if it hasn’t been done for a while. Hallways are very prone to looking tired and dingy! Consider changing carpets if they don’t clean well.

4. Optimise space & light
Look critically at window treatments, furniture layout, light sources. Do you have too much furniture? The answer is almost always yes. Think about storing that additional arm chair, book shelf, corner unit etc. Make sure each room is defined clearly – if it is a bedroom it should have a bed in it. If rooms don’t get much natural light change bulbs for much brighter ones and invest in additional lighting if needed. Does the room decor make the most of natural light? Is it going to appeal to the target market?

5. Think about the kerb appeal
When you approach your property, is there anything you could do to improve the way it looks; chop down those overgrown bushes, paint the front door, hide the bins, put up a hanging basket.

First impressions really do count! For professional advice contact Prep My House Limited 01329 248747 info@prepmyhouse.co.uk www.prepmyhouse.co.uk
I have been giving some thought to feedback given to me by estate agents I spoke to recently. My question was ‘what do you do when you have to value a property that needs sorting out to make it appealing’. There was a consensus that it can be an awkward and challenging conversation, in terms of being candid enough with the vendor to make them understand the consequences of not being able to take great marketing images.

A lot of agents also pointed out that vendors could be in complete denial about the market readiness of their property.

When deciding which estate agent to use, noticing which have old listings or ‘reduced on.’ is a negative factor.

So, what do you do - dingy nets, too much clutter and that nasty niff as soon as you walk in –
Well you could carry on as normal, pointing out all the best features, giving your prospective vendors a valuation and a ‘to do’ list which you hope won’t offend them, but you know it probably will. “There is so much they want me to do, she said I had to take up my lovely rugs – what a cheek!”
They may not get back to you, as in the recent case of a neighbour I was chatting to, who had taken a personal hit to her ego because she had been given a rather long ‘to do’ list, which I actually thought was helpful!

There is another approach which I found out some agents employ when the property needs a bit more than the attention of a ‘to do’ list. This approach I think works, because it’s about cold hard money.
In this candid approach, agents explain to the vendor that they have two valuations, they give the first valuation based on direct but unspoken observations, considering that without proper preparation, the property will not attract the right level of viewings.

They then give the second valuation based on their visualisation of how the property could look, explaining that this is based on the property being optimised for sale. At this point they say no more, until the prospective vendor asks what they mean.
Once invited, they explain how crucial it is to be able to take good images. I love this approach, mainly because I’m hoping it will get www.prepmyhouse.co.uk more work! I also think it represents excellent customer service.

So, what objections are typically put forward against using professional preparation and staging by vendors?
  • They want the property on the market straight away; this doesn’t make sense at all – if the property is prepared properly, which typically only takes a week, it will sell more quickly than if it wasn’t prepared.
  • They don’t want to spend money on preparing; again, this doesn’t make sense. Property values make preparation and staging worth it – not to mention the reduced time the property will be on the market.
A typical three-bedroom property valued at £340,000 could lose £10,000 or 3% of its potential value if not presented well, as well as spending longer on the market.
The cost of (serious) preparation and staging, averages out at £500 per room; de-cluttering, deep cleaning, decorating, minor repairs, replacing window dressings, light and space optimisation etc. To coin a phrase - it’s a no brainer!

You can instruct Prep My House on behalf of your vendor, then a deposit is collected and the balance paid when the property is sold. Conditions apply.
Contact us for more information
Happy Selling in 2017 !
Visit www.prepmyhouse.co.uk
Email info@prepmyhouse.co.uk

Phone Lucy or Lisa 01329 248747
Written by Lucille Coates BaEd(Hons), PGCET
It’s a strange thing that when we are thinking about putting our homes on the market, we expect to sell our property faster than other people and get the full market value or even more because of for example, an extra room that has been added. On the flip side when we are looking for our new home we expect the vendor to negotiate and reduce the price.

So, which mindset should we really be in?

Well if you are going to ‘sell’ anything you must know your market and make your product (home) appealing to that market.

Ask yourself these questions before you start to think about the way your property could appeal to a larger market.
  • The value of similar properties – even with your extra internal features, vendors will compare your property (notice we are no longer referring to it as a ‘home’) with other properties in the area with the same frontage, footprint etc.
  • The demographics in your immediate area – so for example you may be, recently retired, moving as part of a retirement plan. Your neighbours have children at home, there are schools nearby and good transport links for working people. Does your property appeal to this market or does it reflect your preferences for a home? So, put away the collection of fine porcelain and turn that fish pond into a safer feature.

In addition to acknowledging the market being targeted, we do need to think about personal taste. Let me ask you a question?
When you visit friends, do you always love what they have done with their décor? But they love it and are proud to show it off, so why don’t you like it?

So, let’s look at what reflects individual taste.
  • Feature wall paper; wall coverings with small refined patterns are not the problem, it’s the statement ‘Marmite’ paper – not everyone will love large pink Flamingos.
  • Non-neutral colour schemes; your child loves pink, their bedroom is decorated in different shades of pink. You love monochrome; your interior is mainly black, white and shades of grey/silver – it looks very stylish, but not very warm or homely and doesn’t always photograph well. Striking the right balance can be difficult and you might need some guidance in terms of getting the right neutral colours for the room style and the type/direction of natural light it gets. If you stick with your non-neutral schemes, you are only going to appeal to those with the same tastes.
  • Collections & ‘stuff’; regardless of how creatively you have displayed that interesting collection – it says a lot about YOU. Strong statements about the character of the owner can subconsciously alienate prospective buyers. ‘these people are not like me – this is not the home for me’ (notice we are using the term ‘home’- they are looking for a potential home for them. The same applies to large displays of family photos. Don’t go too far as to make your property look sterile, a couple of discreet photos are fine.
Top tip - start packing when you decide to put your property on the market; pack away the media/music collections, collections, ornaments unless they set off a space, spare bedding, clothes that you don’t wear often. In fact, anything cluttering up your rooms and making them less inviting.

So, think about it, are you selling ‘your’ home or a property?
For advice and help staging your property, contact Prep My House Ltd on 01329 248747 or info@prepmyhouse.co.uk

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