PART ONE: INSIDE INFORMATION
Could 2020, despite everything, be the best ever summer for selling your home? June 21st, the official start of summer, is just a few weeks away and, with international holidays currently off the cards and social distancing likely to remain in force for some months to come, there are less of the distractions that usually affect the summer season.
With nowhere to go and so much time spent at home, people are taking a good look at where they live and scrutinising their surroundings. And despite virtual viewings being the introduction to a home for potential buyers, enquiry levels are up across the nation with visits to the portals hitting record numbers. Rightmove just recorded six million views in one day (the highest ever outside of the regular Christmas surge), so it’s clear that people are focussing their efforts on the things they can do, one of which is moving home.
Our selling in summer blog this year comes in two parts: today is all about getting your house in order and having the inside of your home ready for marketing in the sunny season; then for the next installment we’ll take it outside to concentrate on kerb appeal, gardens and plants.
So let’s explore how you can make the most of the property market’s strangest – and possibly most active – summer ever.
LET THE SUNSHINE IN
During the summer months and longer days, almost every viewing of your property will happen before sunset, which means that buyers will be looking closely at how naturally light your home is (compared to winter when it’s all about drawing the curtains and cranking up the cosy).
Sunshine on dirty windows looks horrendous, so your panes need to be cleaned and kept clean. If you’ve got a window cleaner, ask them to come every week until you’ve accepted an offer. If you’re doing it yourself, then vinegar, newspaper and elbow grease really do work, but, for a faster job that's ecologically sound, you could try one of the new eco cleaners such as Ko. Spray on, leave for thirty seconds, then wipe clean with their special cloths. No rinsing and no fuss; just clean and smear-free glass.
Once you’ve done that, make sure you don’t spoil all your good work by obscuring too much of the windows with your curtains or blinds. If you’ve got big, heavy curtains, tie them back to expose as much of the glass as possible. Blinds can look lovely with sun’s rays filtering through the – dusted! – slats, so make sure they’re angled for optimal effect. Or simply open them fully for viewings to leave nothing to chance.
Finally, when someone’s first look at your home is via Skype or Whatsapp, you may find the sunshine outside sends even the most light-filled room into silhouette on a computer or smartphone. It may sound obvious, but make sure the bulbs work for the main lighting in each room to head off any difficulties a camera might have.
This season the colour trend is for grounded and calm, with a classic touch. Over at Dulux, their colour of 2020 is Tranquil Dawn, a pale green-grey – almost neutral – with its own pairing palette of greys, hessians, and delicious ice cream pastels. These act as a contemporary background for either big colour pops or scandi-naturals, giving a sense of breezy longevity.
At Farrow and Ball, dark mysterious blues and stunning luxury neutrals are still in play, but they've added a Colours of Nature range, devised with the Natural History Museum, to add some vibrant rainforest greens and tropical plant oranges.
Having one wall in a strong colour is a fast and easy route to giving a shot of pizzazz to a room, especially if it frames a contrasting sofa, a beautiful piece of furniture, or some well-mounted artwork.
These are simple tricks to update any interior with an inviting and contemporary feel.
CUPBOARDS AND CLUTTER
Let’s explode a couple of myths about decluttering, as the term can often strike fear into the hearts of a home. What it doesn’t mean is emptying the contents of shelves and surfaces, then piling it all into your cupboards. Neither does it mean emptying your cupboards and stuffing everything into boxes in the loft. All that does is make work for later on.
But decluttering is also not about getting rid of everything you own and living a monkish life of extreme minimalism while you wait to find a buyer. It’s simply about keeping hold of the things you love and giving them space to shine and be enjoyed. Marie Kondo summed it up perfectly with her “spark joy” mantra.
When a potential buyer looks inside your kitchen units, or a built in wardrobe, or an understairs cupboard, what they need to see is a functioning storage space that’s coping well in its environment; not one that’s bursting at the seams.
So given that there’s always a ton of throwing away that happens during the packing, why not do that bit now so it’s out of the way early on and helps you in the sale of your home? Keep the things that give you joy, then sell, donate or bin the ones that don’t.
IN WITH THE NEW
If you’ve been holding off replacing any tired or worn out furniture or accessories until you move, ask yourself whether you could replace anything now to give your home a presentational lift.
At a basic level that could be towels and linens: if they’re past their best and heading for the heap, why not treat yourself early? New bedding, plump towels and plush bathrobes look really great, while stringy and faded fabrics look sad. So if they’re going to be seen by viewers, you may as well have ones that work in your favour.
When it comes to furniture, there’s more to consider. If you’ve been eyeing up a new couch, bed or table that has zero chance of fitting in where you are, then clearly you need to hold off. But if the thing you want would look great in your current home, then why not put it to extra use by helping you snare a buyer?
As well as improving your rooms for photographs, virtual viewings and later in-person visits, you’ll also get to enjoy your new furniture sooner and for longer. Plus you’ll have removed one or more eBay chores or trips to the tip from a to-do list that is guaranteed to grow as moving home approaches.
Little things in every room can build into a huge overall difference in how your home presents itself, so here are some quick wins for each area of your home.
Shoes and coats are always a challenge, but you don’t want to convey chaos the minute someone is through the door. If you don't have a cloaks cupboard, thin out the bulk by removing winter jackets and then get shoes off the floor and onto a rack. How’s it looking now? Would a few more hooks help?
Now that your windows are clean, your curtains tied back and your clutter gone, it may be a matter of adding a final something. A bowl of summer-fresh oranges on the coffee table gives an instant lift, while a cushion or two can work wonders on a bare couch.
If the table has been doubling as your office, return it to its original function for viewings. Get the paperwork and laptop into a drawer, and replace them with a candlestick or a vase of fresh flowers.
For essential-but-ugly items like sponges, dishcloths and washing up liquid, hang them on a rack inside the cupboard under the sink. You’ll still be able to get to them quickly, but they won’t be taking centre stage.
Make the beds, obviously. If the wardrobe is straining, take winter clothes out and get them into vacuum sealed bags. Their reduced form can then go under the bed or somewhere else out of sight. A laundry basket for every occupied bedroom saves clothes ending up on the floor.
Lotions, creams, foams and gels are a fact of life but an eyesore in bulk, so put them into a cabinet or a stylish storage box. Get cleaning products completely out of sight in a cupboard somewhere else. Towels should be on hooks, or folded neatly on rails or shelves.
A room never looks its best when it feels spare. So if you have a space you’re not using, find a way to give it purpose. Could you add a desk to make a study, or your yoga mat or weights for an exercise room? Even spare bedrooms can feel forgotten, but a bedside lamp, a small rug on the floor, or a picture on a wall can quickly change things up.
Once the inside of your home is looking like a dream, it's time to work on your kerb appeal and any outside space. Whether it’s a window box, a balcony or a sprawling lawn, there’s plenty coming up in part two of the Selling in Summer blog to help you make the most of whatever you’ve got. So we’ll see you back here in two weeks!
Meanwhile, if you’d like to chat about getting your home ready to sell this summer, we’re here to help. Simply pick up the phone on 01923 223377, or drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll be talking in no time.