The evenings are finally getting lighter and spring in tantalisingly around the corner. At this time of year many of us will be thinking about selling our homes for the ultimate fresh start to the year. If you have a holiday home, then you are likely to be preparing it in time for the letting season.
At Hops and Camellias we know the importance of presenting your property in the best light, both externally and internally. So we put together some inspiration and tips on how best to prepare your home to optimise your chances of letting, or achieving a successful sale.
If you’re selling, then any new owners need to be able to envisage themselves living in your home. (Potential buyers often find that difficult, so you need to make it easier for them to see all the fantastic living space you are offering).
If you’re renting, then potential guests need to be able to imagine themselves staying in your home. After a busy rental season it’s likely that your home has had a lot of wear-and-tear, so there’s a fair bit of work to do if you want to restore its sparkle and encourage early or repeat bookings.
It’s likely that you have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, so de-cluttering your home is a big job. Breaking it down into bite size chunks is the best way to go, tackling one room, space, or even a zone within a room, (like your kitchen cabinets) at a time. Make a list and work systematically through it room by room, tackling bathrooms, bedrooms, cupboards, hallways, kitchens and living rooms.
Tip! Apply the six-month rule to decluttering: “If you haven’t used something in the last 6 months, then put it in a box and store it. You’ll be surprised how much this empties your spaces”, says Elaine. “I tend to pack away things that I don’t really love, haven’t used or that might need further tinkering.”
After six months take another look in the box and either recycle it, fix/mend it, trash it or donate it. This lapse in time really helps to focus the mind – if you didn’t miss it, you don’t need it.
…BUT DON’T DEPERSONALISE
Whilst you do want to tidy up and thin out your possessions to make your home feel larger, brighter and more airy, it’s also important not to make your home look like a generic hotel or showroom. You need to preserve some personality!
Potential buyers or holidaymakers are often buying into the Cornish lifestyle as much as the property, so do try to show them the attractive side of your West country lifestyle. “Apart form anything it gives an unimaginative buyer the opportunity to see what they might do with your place,” adds Elaine.
STEP INTO THEIR SHOES
It’s often the hardest thing, but you need to be able to cast a critical eye over your cherished home and belongings and look at it through the lens of a potential buyer or holiday maker. With less clutter around, you’ll suddenly gain more storage space, so it should be easier to see what needs mending, cleaning or painting.
This maintenance stage is vital if you rent your home as a holiday let, particularly if you want to maximise repeat bookings and charge a premium rental price. As a rule of thumb you should be looking to spend at least 10% of your income each year on maintaining your holiday cottage.
Tip! You have to speculate to accumulate: “Many sellers don’t want to spend money on their house just before they sell it, but it’s important to realise that potential buyers look at tired, dated homes and instantly start calculating what they can knock off the guide price,” explains Elaine. So any money you do spend will help to keep the selling price closer to the guide price.
FIX AND CLEAN
Once you have tided up and de-cluttered throughout, you need to make any minor repairs necessary.
Mend/fix holes in walls, water stains, peeling paint, and eliminate mould or damp smells first – these act as red flags for holiday guests! Then fix any cracked tiles, threadbare or stained carpets, broken doors or light fixtures. Most buyers want to move in without making any changes, so allow for this.
Tip! Clean everything until it sparkles! Get rid of lime scale, clean and repair tile grout. Take it as read that your home smells (especially if you have pets) you just no longer notice, so open the windows wide and clean each room from top to bottom. Tackle the ceilings, walls & skirting boards, floors and carpets, doors and windows and then start on all the furniture. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there.
With an organised, clutter-free and clean home, you can then really zone in on which rooms (if any) need re-decorating, and identify any problems with the property or room layouts that need addressing. Of course if you do get help from a professional like Hops and Camellias there will be a fee to pay, but any good interior designer will be able to look objectively at your problems and design bespoke solutions that will add value to your property.
Come back for Part two – for advice on how to freshen up your interior decor.