When you are preparing your house for sale, you have worked hard to get the place looking pristine.
You have arranged all the ornaments to just the right angle and have the cushions plumped just so. Your house for sale is ready. But this is the time to relax the rules. Let your prospective buyers sit, walk (with shoes on if they whish – if this is not too extreme for you), and set their mug down where they like. If you are hovering in the background with a critical eyebrow-raise and a cloth to wipe up water rings from the coffee table, they may get the impression that you are not quite ready to hand over the keys to your precious home.
Of course, this means that you do have to run around cleaning up and plumping cushions again after each visitor leaves. When the next people arrive, they need to be made feel special and don’t need to be reminded by dirty cups in the sink that they are just one in a string of people (hopefully) coming to view the place.
Another hosting trick that can put you ahead of the game is to learn a little about prospective buyers before they arrive.
This can give you an idea of what to talk about and what might be especially appealing to them about your home or its location. If you learn that their mother tongue is different to yours, you should learn a few words in their language. This really helps a person to feel appreciated. The key ones are obviously “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye”. If you can manage “Would you like a drink?” that would be very special.
It can also be helpful to know a little bit about their cultural background. Some cultures love to talk and chat, others respect silence. Of course, individuals are individual, but you can be prepared so that you don’t seem disappointed or offended if your efforts at small talk are not reciprocated.
It is challenging to sell at this time of the year but these few simple tips can give you an advantage.
Be ready with the kettle on for tea and hot chocolate or, if you’re feeling really brave, even some mulled wine!
It’s getting cold outside and the children have settled back into a new school year;
perhaps not the optimum time for upping sticks and moving house. Property tends to move slowly as the weather worsens since people feel less inclined to go to viewings and it’s more difficult to see the potential of a beautiful south-facing garden through the dreariness. For many people also a move may involve new schools, a difficult task when the kids are already settled into their existing one. So how can you get an advantage with the people who do want to get unpacked into a new home before Christmas?
When it’s cold outside, you need to make sure your home is warm and cosy on the inside. Have the fire lighting and the heating on. Place a good mat by the front door to control the wet footprints and an umbrella stand to catch the drips. Make sure you have plenty of soft furnishings to make the rooms feel more warm and inviting. Get a big shaggy rug for the sitting room and an extra throw for the sofa. And as always…. ensure there is something baking in the oven!
When it’s dark outside, get it bright inside.
Let in as much light as possible by opening the blinds. Make sure the windows are clean and the low sunshine really shows up any dirt. Turn on all the lights and get some lamps to brighten up any dark corners. You don’t want people squinting to see inside the storage areas either – some strip lights under the kitchen cabinets and inside closets can really help. Mirrors are also helpful in making a place feel bright and airy. Whilst these things may cost a bit it really can make all the difference and the money spent may seem negligible when compared to the overall sale price of the house.
If you have a garden, it can be difficult to make it shine at this time of the year.
But there is no reason you cannot keep it clean and tidy. Sweep the leaves and clear away any deadwood. If there is snow in your part of the world, make sure the footpath is kept clear. You don’t have anything flowering in the garden this time of year (which you can by getting some winter bedding)? Buy a nice colourful pot with something flowering in it to have by the door to give potential buyers the idea that the garden can be beautiful too.
If you are showing people around the house yourself, it is vital to hone your hosting skills. You need to make people feel relaxed and comfortable, as if it is already their own home. Be ready with drinks and snacks and give them space and freedom to roam around at their own pace.
To be continued tomorrow…
It’s the first thing I look for when I come into a house or a hotel room – the simple hook.
I like to hang my jacket on a hook. Nobody wants to have piles of coats loaded on the banister or on the bed in the guest room or taking up valuable space on the sofa. And perhaps I’m lazy but I don’t want to have to take out a hangar to hang it up properly every time I come in.
Hooks are also bathroom essentials.
I don’t know how many hotels have the towels beautifully folded or rolled beside the sink. But what do you do with a towel after you’ve dried your hands on it? You can’t roll it back up and put it back where it was. You need a hook! I’ve resorted to hanging towels over the edge of the sink, over the shower rail, on the cupboard door. None of these are satisfactory solutions, however. And who has the time to hang a dressing gown properly inside the wardrobe and take space away from dresses and shirts that need this treatment? A hook is the only answer.
And hooks are not just for coats and towels. They are for keys and aprons, jewelry and mops, utensils and handbags, dog leads and oven gloves. So if you want to make your life a little more organized and your guests a little more comfortable, invest in a few hooks. I stay in a lot of Airbnb’s and I am sure the presence of hooks has been a major contributing factor to a good review for these properties! Anyway, whether you are a house maker or a host it’s a simple upgrade, which will be much appreciated. Go on – give a hook!
Does money really grows on trees? Of course trees are important but could they bring up the value of my property?
It is true that trees come with natural and financial benefits. A tree in front of my home with some well kept landscaping can definitely increase the value of my property. If placed in the right spot to provide shade on my house I can even save on my annual air-conditioning costs.
Did you know that looking at trees reduces stress?
That is also true for possible buyers. They might even imagine themselves hanging up a hammock or a swing for the kids on that tree…
Of course I have to choose the right tree for my property. The soil has to be right for my tree. Also, the proper distance to the house has to be decided, especially if I’m looking at a tree that grows very tall.
Why not plant a tree that is known for its valuable wood?
Like that, whenever I may decide to cut it, it gives me a little extra. If you are from Europe, the first tree that comes to your mind may be the good old fashion oak tree. But they might be a few other gems that could be considered.
I recently stumbled upon the wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis). Apparently it is one of the most valuable hardwoods in Europe. I was surprised as I never heard about it. After making some research I found out that it was named the most beautiful wood in the world at the Paris World Fair in 1900. The wood is as strong as from an oak but lighter in color and more expensive.
If I would have more space in front of my house I would definitely plant one of these.
Our new and improved website is going online tonight (15.05.2018)!
We are excited to announce the release of our new and improved property website.
Therefore, if you’re a regular visitor to our website, you will notice not only that it looks better, but new features will be there as well. Continue reading New Website Release: Ready to take off!
Most countries have a main property website or two that covers the whole country.
The US also has a couple of major sites which appear to cover the all states (www.realtor.com being the one I have used).
One thing that seems to be missing in Europe is a joined up property website.
One that summaries all properties for sale throughout the whole European area.
Continue reading The lack of a single European Property Website
Does it matter when do you put your house for sale? Actually yes.
Property sales vary along the year usually peaking during June, July and August.
The same way birds nest during spring time it seems we are more likely to think about finding a home as days get longer and daffodils start to bloom.
Quoting Leo Tolstoy – “Spring is the time of plans and projects”.
Continue reading The best time of the year to sell your house
Selling a house is not the sort of thing most of us is accustomed to do every day.
How can you know how much to ask for your house?
Is there a way to calculate the asking price?
Whether you’re selling, mortgaging or renewing your home insurance, knowing the value of your home will be the first thing on your to-do list. Continue reading How do I know how much my house is worth?
Every so often there appears to be a push toward the ‘sell your house yourself’ movement with companies appearing who will send you a ‘for sale’ sign and a ‘sell it yourself’ explanation pack.
When all this first starting gaining traction a few years I was inclined to think it was a good idea. Now though I have changed my mind.
Whilst we all may feel that Estate Agents do very little I have come to appreciate what they do, let me explain why.
Continue reading Why Estate Agents are here to stay
Recently a new section of the LUAS tram was opened in Ireland’s capital city Dublin. It was noted that the effect on house prices within the areas now linked by the tramway to the city centre was significant. This shows that transport is linked to house prices.
What was also significant was that the effect on house prices was in fact felt about 2-3 years rather than at the time of the opening of the line. The reason for this was that the line was planned and as such people became aware that the areas would soon have the new city centre link. Continue reading The effect of transport links on your house value