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It’s coming up to Valentine’s Day so I thought it would be heartless of me to not talk about love.
For some of you this time of year is about being treated to a slap up romantic meal with an accompaniment of chocolate and flowers.
For others it’ll be a time of sitting in the front room watching EastEnders with a TV dinner on your lap while your dog looks at you dismissively.
Whatever you are up to this February 14th at Cowling Estate Agents we can give you one piece of romantic advice. And that’s to try to emotionally divorce yourself from your property when you come to put in on the market.
Why be so cold hearted?
Well, a lot of people love their homes, probably the majority of people do. But when selling your home that passion can cause a problem if left to run free.
You see viewers do not have the same attachment to your property as you do, yours could be the fifth they’ve seen in two hours.
They may pick up something negative about your property that your love struck eyes have never noticed. Your choice of décor might not be to their taste but don’t take this to heart.
It’s very important you don’t get emotional at this point. Of course nobody likes themselves or their things being criticised but that’s where we come in as agents.
In essence we are property match-makers. We bring people together: one selling a property, the other buying. We’re in the middle to help iron out any issues before you marry, sorry I mean exchange contacts and complete the transaction.
Part of our job is also to accompany people on viewings and act as the filter for comments. So a viewer might have said your pale purple bathroom is the most horrific thing she’s ever seen in her life but we’ll make sure that won’t get back to you. See agents can be tactful and diplomatic.
I’ve witnessed on several occasions a person falling in love with a property at first sight and making an offer within minutes. I’ve also been present on viewings when a person has gone back FIVE times to look around before they made their offer. It just goes to show that you really can’t hurry love (sometimes).
One thing I’m very confident is that if you instruct Cowling Estate Agents to buy or let your property your fall head over heels with our level of service and care.
Thanks for reading.
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A friend of mine told me a story recently about a story they read which happened in the north of England.
Basically a couple had instructed an agent who valued their property for £30,000 more than the other agencies which were invited round.
After very little interest over six weeks the agent advised them to drop the price by £15,000 to create ‘more interest’.
Then when they agreed the agent said ‘we’ll advertise this change to let people know we’ve reduced the price. It’ll create a buzz’.
There was a tiny bit more interest but not much and a ‘silly’ offer came in for £40,000 less than the new asking price.
Fast forward a month later the agent advised another drop, this time slashing off a further £15,000. A bit more interest but again only silly offers which were way under the current (correct) market value for this property.
The couple moved agents when their agreement ended and the newly instructed agency priced the property correctly and had it under offer within a month.
Two alarm bells were going off when I heard this story. Firstly, it sounds obvious to me the original agent overvalued just to get the instruction and that’s why the property ‘stuck’ on the market.
Secondly the advertising of the ‘reduced price’ or ‘new price’ call it what you will, smacked of desperation and sent out a message that there was a problem with the property. (There wasn’t – it was the initial valuation which was problematic).
Sometimes a property genuinely valued does need a price reduction for whatever reason. But you don’t need to advertise the price cut because that doesn’t do the property’s owners any favours.
There are always new buyers coming to the market who wouldn’t know the property’s price history.
Our advice at Cowling Estate Agents is if you have to drop the price do so but don’t advertise it.
Thanks for reading,
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Imagine a world without baths – it’s easy if you try. (Wasn’t that a John Lennon lyric?)
A footballer being sent off for an early shower doesn’t have the same ring to it does it? (Have you seen the baths in the dressing rooms at Wembley Stadium? Seriously, you could actually swim in them.)
Having a soak in a hot shower doesn’t sound quite as appealing as relaxing in the tub.
However, we’re seeing more and more properties without baths. The most common reason for this is to create extra space.
If you have a big bathroom and a capable builder often, with a bit of creativity, you can turn the space into two rooms - a bathroom and box/study room - by installing a shower and removing the bath.
Having a bath is often seen as a luxury in our increasingly hectic lifestyles. Does having one or not affect a property’s value? Not really.
Some people will insist on having a bath especially if they have young children but a lot of our buyers don’t seem to have a strong preference.
For me, having a bath after a long, busy day is fantastic. Now where did I leave the bath salts?
Thanks for reading,
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The headline for this blog isn’t an announcement that we’ve moved into selling farms or rural properties.
And it isn’t a reference to the state of my office desk as we keep a tidy, organised and efficient ship at Cowling Estate Agents and, for the record, our desks are spotless.
No, ‘it was like a pig sty’ was a quote from a potential buyer when asked for feedback on a property he had recently viewed.
Although a little harsh his response was merited and raised a serious point.
I know it can be difficult to keep on top of the housework, especially if you have children and / or a busy lifestyle. But when your property is on the market it’s potentially the difference between selling your home or not.
No viewer wants to navigate their way through an obstacle course of old socks, empty cans, toys scattered on the floor and last week’s newspapers gathering dust.
Having your dirty saucepans, overflowing laundry basket and an unmade bed on show might make your property unique but it sure isn’t a unique selling point.
I’m not suggesting properties need to be surgically clean, but a quick tidy up every day could be the most valuable housework you ever do.
After all unless you live on a farm a pig sty is never a good look.
Thanks for reading.
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We had an interesting conversation in our office recently which highlighted just why we believe in getting property in good order before putting it on the market.
Let’s say you have a nice house in a good location, with decent sized rooms and a large garden. There are a few odd jobs which need doing such as replacing a few missing tiles in the shower room and repairing a broken lock on a back gate.
A few other areas also need attention – a few missing handles from a couple of kitchen cabinets, a back door which needed a good pull to get open and some pretty tatty carpet in a little box room.
If you are in a similar scenario our advice would be to get all these little odd jobs sorted before putting your house on the market. It would cost you around £300 to rectify all the niggly little issues we’ve mentioned above.
But many vendors want to leave things as they are because they believe ‘people like changing things when they move in anyway’.
While this is sometimes the case we have people come to us looking for properties to buy which can be moved into straight away without having to do anything.
This is often the situation with older buyers, families with very young children and people with tight budgets.
Also bear in mind the message it sends out if you don’t fix those little things. Potential buyers like to think a property has been well cared for over the years.
Leaving little things undone makes people wonder what else the owner has failed to do around the home. It raised negative thoughts and when buying something as expensive as a home even the smallest doubt can put people off.
By doing the little jobs and taking care of the small details you can be making your house more attractive to a larger part of the market and adding thousands to the value of your property for a relatively small outlay.
Thanks for reading,