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Residential News | Wed 22 Apr 2020
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Yorkshire’s largest independent estate agent is encouraging homeowners thinking about moving to prepare their property for sale now, and has revealed the most valuable DIY projects to spend time focussing on, in advance of lockdown restrictions being lifted.

Patrick McCutcheon, head of residential at Dacre, Son & Hartley, which has 20 offices in West and North Yorkshire, said: “We have adapted quickly to the lockdown, providing virtual valuations for those considering a sale later this year. We have also been able to share virtual tours of homes that were already on the market, and had been previously filmed, alongside website listings and updates, so that buyers keen to carry on with their property search can do so.

“In fact, since the lockdown began, we have seen a spike in the number of people looking at properties online via our website and the other ‘big four’ websites on which we promote out listings. This is very encouraging, and once it is safe for people to move around more freely, we are expecting things to pick up and are already receiving enquiries from those looking to book viewings as soon as possible. That’s why anyone considering a move later this year should prepare their home for sale now, so they are in prime position when the market starts moving again.”

Here's our ‘how to’ guide for making key home improvements that will help to attract buyers, assist with making a good first impression, and could also add value: 
1.    First impressions count – from arrival to the front door. 
First impressions really count! When a buyer pulls up to a property, if the gate is hanging off its hinges, or the lawn is overgrown, or the doorbell doesn’t work, it makes a potential buyer start to worry. If all these little problems are visible, what other bigger problems could be lurking that they can’t see? The front door is an obvious and easy place to start any home improvements. A quick lick of paint, the addition of an attractive door knocker or new letterbox can make a huge difference. Also, adding new batteries into the doorbell is a quick fix! 

2.    Time to get green fingered – tidy and improve the garden.
A presentable, tidy garden is essential when selling a home. Mowing the grass is a given, and trimmed hedges and weeded beds are also important. Weed the driveway, sweep the paths, grout any wobbly paving stones and treat or paint fences and gates. Adding a touch of colour with some colourful plants in pots can also make a favourable impression. 

3.    Bathrooms and kitchens – how to clean up and make a spotless impact. 
Understandably in the current economic climate, and with so many restrictions in place due to Covid-19, it’s impossible to suggest refitting a new bathroom or kitchen, in fact it’s not always a good idea to do this in normal circumstance, given the costs involved. However, there are small things that can be done to make each space more aesthetically pleasing.  In the bathroom, new shower heads and taps can be ordered online and are relatively easy to fit. In the kitchen consider replacing the door knobs as this can instantly refresh and revive the entire space. De-clutter the work surfaces and reorganise cupboards so everything is stored neatly away. 

4.    Decorating tastefully 
A tin of paint is a quick and cost-effective way of adding appeal to any home. Everyone has their own personal taste, but bright colours, old fashioned ‘feature walls’ and marked paintwork are an instant turn-off. Spend some time looking through Instagram and Pinterest for ideas. Creating a blank canvas with freshly painted walls, woodwork, radiators and ceilings is also appealing to buyers who don’t want to do any work to a property when they move in. Dark wooden bannisters and doors can easily be uplifted with some light paintwork and a coordinating lampshade or sidelights can easily be ordered online to match. 

5.    Declutter, tidy up and don those marigolds! 
Now is the time to declutter and neatly box up items not needed.  Don’t put off the dreaded spring clean, sparkling windows and dust-free homes will appeal. Black spots and mould can be bleached away and if carpets are stained, consider ordering a rug or runner online. Try to tidy away as many items as possible into drawers, wardrobes and storage boxes. Decluttering also maximises the space and makes it easier for a potential buyer to envisage how they would live there. 

6.    Prepare for the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Whilst not yet critical to buyers, many thinking about buying a house are taking an increasing interest in the EPC rating, which shows a property’s impact on the environment and likely running costs. The latter are likely to be especially important in the short to medium term. Making small changes like switching lightbulbs to LED fittings and topping up loft insulation can all have a positive effect on a home’s EPC rating.

Patrick added: “It’s also important to consider the sales process and decide on which conveyancer to use, so that the transaction can get off to a flying start once a deal is agreed. At Dacres, we have extensive knowledge on which firms are the most proactive and easiest to communicate with. Others offer an online solution which many buyers appreciate in today’s busy world. We can happily provide advice and guidance on this aspect of the sale too, after all it’s a critical part of the process.”  

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