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The to-do’s professionals swear by before listing your home

We can certainly see the impact the Stamp Duty holiday extension is having on the property market, as we have been kept very busy this week.  Even so, selling your home isn’t as easy as placing a For Sale sign outside. At KMJ Property we focus on every element of the sale, so your experience is one that results in the best possible sales price whilst taking away the stress associated with moving home.  But to achieve that best possible price, you need to put in the work. One thing we are seeing quite often is homeowners who don’t truly understand how to prepare their home for sale.  Professional home stagers have a wealth of advice, but we have compiled the top five tips they swear by before listing your home.

Decluttering

You may have heard us speak about this before, but we can’t tell you how important it is.  What buyer wants to view a disorganised home?  Failing to do this simple task is something we see often; we know it can seem daunting, but by taking a room at a time you will soon have it in hand.  Make sure that you keep surfaces clear of clutter – that means your kitchen worktops, bathroom vanity units and windowsills. Just because you have a surface, doesn’t mean it needs to be filled with things.

Remember to clear out cupboards, garages and other storage areas. If a buyer sees that there isn’t enough room for your belongings, they may feel that storage will be lacking for them too.  Decluttering isn’t just about organising, it also opens up spaces and makes them feel more spacious, which is always a plus point for potential buyers.

Refreshing décor

Every buyer will want to put their own stamp on the home they buy, but that doesn’t mean they will want to fully redecorate the minute they get their keys.  It is natural for a home’s décor to become tired over time and it’s amazing the transformation a quick coat of paint can achieve.  Yes, neutral tones are generally preferred but that doesn’t mean that this is always true.  You may have used bold and elegant shades throughout your house that create a striking and stylish interior.  There is no doubt that this may grab the attention of buyers with similar tastes, but just bear in mind it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. 

That being said, if you have a more dated décor scheme or one which only its owner could love, then failing to make a few changes can turn buyers off.  Grabbing a buyer’s attention as quickly as possible is essential, so it’s important to do everything you can to stop them quickly moving onto the next property and leaving yours behind.

Don’t neglect the small stuff

You may have some little niggles in your home which you haven’t got round to addressing; it could be changing the light bulb in the entrance hall, or tightening that loose handle on the bathroom door.  You would be surprised the negative effect that neglecting to take care of the small stuff can have on a buyer’s impression of your property.  They may start to wonder what else is broken in your home – are there problems they can’t see? Don’t leave them with any doubt, get those jobs done so that buyers can see the care and attention you have given the property whilst living there.

Staging your home

Staging a home is an art. It doesn’t mean stripping a room bear and leaving a stark, clinical look, but you also don’t want it to look like life has just exploded in each room.  You want a careful balance of cleanliness and order, with those careful touches that make it feel like a home.  Remember to take away personal photos, as these remind a buyer that this is your property, when they should be thinking about how they might live there. Staging is all about those finishing touches, a vase of fresh flowers placed on the dining table; a small tray ready for a cream tea in the garden; a throw and a book carefully placed on the bedroom chair…

Home magazines are the perfect inspiration, or you could look at photographs from show homes – these professionals know how to create a lifestyle that buyers will want to buy into.

Now it’s time to list

Yes, all this work should be undertaken before you invite an estate agent in to value your home, why?  Because how your home is presented could affect your home’s valuation.  This is again where many sellers go wrong, but if you have this all done before your home is listed, your marketing photographs and videos will show your home at its best and grab the attention of all those eager and ready-to-move buyers.

If you are unsure how to prepare your home for sale, please contact a member of our team and we would be happy to give you our honest advice on what will have the biggest impact for your home.  Call our team today on 01892 515188.

 

Why now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells

There are rumblings in the press that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will extend the Stamp Duty holiday deadline until the end of June.  This is fantastic news for all those people who are in the process of completing and have been worried if it will happen in time.  The Stamp Duty holiday certainly fired up the property market last year across the UK, and we saw many people moving as a result.  Regardless of whether these rumblings become reality or not, we still believe that now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells

Are there buyers?

Even during a lockdown, the desire to move never fades, and that is proven when you take a look at February’s House Price Index from Rightmove.  The index shows that visits to the property website are up 45% on last year, with those eager house-hunters increasing the number of enquiries by 18%.  At KMJ Property we have really felt this buyer increase; it seems that the prospect of a restriction-free (ish) summer has got people looking to the future, and for many this includes a new home.

What can they buy?

As fantastic as this surge of buyers is, there is a problem: demand is outstripped by supply, there are just not enough houses on the market for them to buy.  This is not an issue limited to Tunbridge Wells; Rightmove figures also show that seller numbers are down by 21% from last year.  In a sellers’ market such as this, it means that any home on the market will receive lots of attention, especially if it is priced correctly and marketed properly.

Where is the supply?

One of the reasons suggested for the lack of available properties is that people have resisted the urge to place their home on the market due to the pressures of home schooling.  If you, like us, are trying to keep your sanity whilst googling ‘how to…’ to help your child with their schoolwork, you are not alone.  Whoever said moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, hasn’t experienced a lockdown with home schooling alongside home working – thank goodness it comes to an end on 8 March.

It is completely understandable that the idea of throwing a move into the mix has been one stress too many for lots of people.  When the little ones are back in school, we believe that the number of homes coming on to the market will start to increase and, as such, start to meet that demand from buyers.  But remember, the more houses there are for sale, the more competition there is to catch potential buyers’ attention.

What do they need?

Today’s buyers know exactly what they want. This last year has given everyone a different perspective on personal needs, and this might now include space to work from home.  Only this week, HSBC have announced that they are letting go of almost half of their global office footprint in favour of a “very different style of working post-Covid”.  They are not the only corporate name to be making this move, and it is believed that the post-Covid working environment will be very different to what it was just over 12 months ago.

This huge change in the global working culture means that now more than ever before, a space to work is essential, whether that’s from home or an office hub.  We have seen over the past year many home offices being built in gardens and in converted garages.  It is therefore worth thinking about presenting an ‘office space’ in your property when you decide to place your home on the market.

A fresh start

There is no doubt that the idea of a post-Covid fresh start is extremely alluring, the idea that when June arrives, you will be able to enjoy your freedom in a wonderful new home.  We know that many of you in Tunbridge Wells have invested in your properties over the last year – the queues at the DIY stores and the difficulty of finding certain shades of paint and materials was testament to this.  All your hard work and creativity may give you some good news when we come to value your property.

Why now?

Why wouldn’t you want to sell your home when there is an abundance of buyers and a lack of properties available?  We can start to do the work now so that when the schools are back and things are a little calmer, we can have your home marketed as quickly as possible.  If you’re thinking of moving, now is a great time to sell your home in Tunbridge Wells.

Give our team a call today on 01892 515188

Six clear signs that the asking price for your Tunbridge Wells home is too high

To say it has been a challenging twelve months would be an understatement, and there have been highs and lows when it comes to the property market in Tunbridge Wells.  Regardless of the market conditions, it is essential that when selling your home you always get the price right.  In fact, deciding to set the price of your property too high could have several rather unpleasant side effects, and could even be the reason why your house doesn’t sell.  So, before you fall into any traps, here are six clear signs that the asking price for your home is too high.

  1. Because you believe it’s worth it

A mistake many people make when selling their home is deciding on the asking price themselves.  You believe it is worth a certain figure, due to the amount you paid for it and the hard work you’ve undertaken adding upgrades, high-quality fixtures and fittings, and you may even have extended it.  It can be really tempting to ignore the recommendations made to you by estate agents because this is your home, and you know what it is worth.

Sadly, the property market doesn’t work like that – we wish it did.  There is often a ceiling price for what a house can realistically achieve in a particular area, and current market conditions mean the value of your home can fluctuate. At KMJ Property we want you to achieve the highest possible sales price, and our valuation figure is based on research, expertise, and knowing in the current market what buyers will be willing to pay.  We negotiate strongly, ensuring that we have done everything we can to get your house sold for the highest possible price.

  1. Swayed by the big bucks

At KMJ Property we believe in an honest and straightforward approach. We know our expertise and the experience of our clients, together with our local knowledge, is why we are considered one of the best estate agents in Tunbridge Wells. The valuation we give of your home is not inflated in any way to win your business. As difficult as it may be when deciding on an estate agent to sell your home, don’t be swayed by the big bucks, take all aspects of their service and their experience of selling local properties into account.

  1. The price is not right

Another trap you can fall into if you’re swayed by the big bucks is the scorn of the savvy buyer.  Buyers today know their way around the property portals; they know what reports to review and how to look up Land Registry details, and they know an overpriced house when they see one.  No matter how stunning your home looks in the marketing materials, if a buyer’s research tells them it is overpriced they will simply stay away.  Do you want to take that gamble?

  1. Viewings are down

Your house is on the market, you have seen it on the property portals and you wait with anticipation for the virtual and physical views to start racking up.  The minutes pass, the hours tick by, and the days turn into weeks, and that initial excitement begins to turn into dread.  The viewings you have had have started to dry up, and you are wondering what you can do to turn things around.  You may wish to lower the asking price now, but sadly the damage has already been done.

  1. Less than expected

Lowering your asking price may attract buyers, but again you’ll be hit with the curse of savvy buyers.  They will know that the asking price has been lowered and, as such, will tend not to make a competitive offer.  Buyers will be expecting to negotiate to get a good deal, and if you are receiving offers that are significantly lower than expected, this is certainly a sign that your home is overpriced.

  1. You’ve been left on the shelf

Selling your home can take time, but the longer it sits on the market the less attractive it becomes.  The optimum time for selling your home is when it is first listed, therefore you need to have everything correct from the start.  If after six weeks things have become stale, it is very difficult to reinvigorate the same momentum. None of us at KMJ Property want your house gathering dust, which is why we never want to see it left on the shelf.

When placing your home on the market in Tunbridge Wells it is essential that you get the price correct from the start, so you don’t fall into any of these traps.  If you want your home sold and not just listed, then you need to use an estate agent who understands the importance of valuing your home correctly.

How to fall in love with a Tunbridge Wells home without seeing it in person

Love is in the air, with Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, but whilst a lovely evening out is not possible, many buyers are seeking to fall in love with a new home this lockdown. It seems strange that a year ago life was all going on as normal and then, all of a sudden, it stopped. We have been extremely lucky that, as an industry, we have been able to stay open, but we’ve made many changes along to way to ensure that we operate in a Covid-secure way.  This has meant that, as an agency we  only offer physical viewings to those that are in a position to proceed, and time within the property is restricted to a few minutes.

Every vendor and buyer is different; due to health conditions, some vendors are not allowing physical viewings.  We have a number of buyers from further afield who are seeking to move to Tunbridge Wells to start a new life somewhere new, whether that’s to be close to friends or family or just needing a fresh start.  With this in mind, as buyers, how do you fall in love with a home without seeing it in person?

Utilise all the tools

With restrictions in place, as an agency we’ve had to adapt in any way we can. As well as a wealth of high-quality photographs, we also enable our buyers to view homes via video.  At KMJ Property we offer video tours of our homes, giving you greater insight into how the property is laid out, room sizes and how one room flows into the next. 

We know these tools do not beat physically being inside a property, but they are the next best thing when you’re looking to find your next home.  We highly recommend you use all the tools an agent has to offer, because they will give you different perspectives on a property from different angles, meaning you may notice things you hadn’t seen before.  The more you know about a house, the easier it is to begin to see yourself living there.

Study the floorplan

Furniture and decoration can change the perception of how big a room actually is.  Large furniture can make a room feel smaller, as can too much decoration, so viewing a property via video or photographs still only provides a guide to the space a home truly offers.  This is where a floorplan comes into play. For some strange reason, not every estate agency provides a floorplan – why? They are essential for buyers and so are a must when we’re marketing a property for sale.

A floorplan gives you the facts. It ignores how beautifully decorated a home is and whether the king size bed overpowers the room, a floorplan is what it is – the actual size of each room and where it is located in the property.  This is your Holy Grail; from here, you can see how the home is laid out, if your ideas for renovation could be possible, and if that stunning dining table you just purchased will fit in the room. A video tour may emotionally grab your attention, but the facts from the floorplan will tell you the truth.

Check out the neighbourhood

We know you can’t travel but there are many ways you can check out the neighbourhood to see if it is what you’re looking for.  Google Maps will allow you to virtually walk down the road and explore what’s on offer close by. The images could be a couple of years old but it will help you get a sense of where things are located.

Good old-fashioned conversations allow you to dig deeper and ask questions about particular things that matter to you.  Join the local Facebook groups and NextDoor to find out what it is really like to live there and if there are things you can join in with when normality returns.  Where is the local shop or supermarket? What is parking like on your street? Can you walk to the park? What is the school really like? Where can you get the best takeaway?  There is no one better to answer your questions then the people who live there right now.  When you buy a house, you are becoming part of the Tunbridge Wells community.  By starting conversations online you will get a sense of who your neighbours are and perhaps even make some new friends before you move in.

Listen to your gut

We all have that sixth sense, that little something that niggles when something just doesn’t seem quite right.  Our eagerness and excitement can make us banish this feeling, as our hearts want a different outcome.  But remember, this is a huge investment you are about to make so, hard as it may be, you need to listen to your gut. You will know when you’ve found your dream home, it may just have been waiting a little longer to come your way.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Tunbridge Wells our team can’t wait to help. Remember to register with us so we know exactly what you’re looking for; should we find it, we can make sure that you’re one of the first to know.

Register by calling 01892 515188.

How to have a stress-free lockdown move in Tunbridge Wells

Moving home? Can I still do that with the current Covid lockdown restrictions?  The wonderful news is that yes, you can still move but there are precautions you need to take to ensure you can move as safely as possible. If you have moved home before you will know what a wonderful experience it is – but oh yes, it’s stressful. Some say that it’s more stressful than having a baby!  As such, moving home in Tunbridge Wells during a lockdown is not predicted to be a picnic, but thankfully we have a bit of experience in this area. Follow our guide and you can still have a stress-free lockdown move.

Call in the experts

As you will no doubt be expecting, when moving home during a pandemic means you need to take some extra precautions so you can keep everyone safe.  The government states that you should only ask someone outside your support or household bubble to help you move home if absolutely necessary.  This doesn’t mean you have to struggle to get the entire contents of your house moved to your new home as, thankfully, removal companies have been informed they are allowed to stay open, which means they can help you with your move – the relief!!  You don’t need us to tell you that you should be social-distancing from the removal team at all times and that you need to keep those face masks on.  Should you develop symptoms of the coronavirus and thus need to self-isolate, inform your estate agents, solicitor and removal company as soon as possible so you can hopefully secure a later date to move.

Who to choose?

When choosing a removal company, it’s a good thing to start with recommendations. Check their reviews and make sure that you’re happy with the experience they provide.  To ensure they can give you an accurate quote for their services, home removal companies can still visit your home. 

We would highly recommend that you ask what their procedures are to ensure that their team are Covid-secure, and how they will protect you before and on moving day to keep you and your family safe.  Any company in today’s climate should have a clear Covid-19 policy. 

Also check their availability, as removal companies can get booked up well in advance. Make sure when you’re getting close to completion that you reserve them for your proposed date and confirm once that date has been set. It is always best to speak to your solicitor, especially before you hand over any pennies, so you don’t lose out financially.

How to minimise any risk

No doubt you will be extremely stressed on moving day, not only because of ‘moving’ but also trying to minimise any risk of your family contracting the virus.  There are things you can do in advance so that when the removal team arrive you know that at least one thing will be managed safely, and on moving day that will be one of the biggest gifts you will receive.

You should have received a copy of your chosen removal company’s Covid policy, which will outline certain things that need to done by both you and the removal team.  Make sure you thoroughly understand your responsibilities so there is no confusion on the day.

We know you will want to give your home a thorough clean so that your house is beautiful and safe ready for the new owners.  But before your removal team arrive, make sure you go over any surfaces that they may come into contact with, with disinfectant.  You could also have some hand sanitiser available for anyone to use as and when they feel the need.

We know the weather isn’t wonderful, as sadly the sun doesn’t always know that it’s required to be out when you move home.  That being said, as the scientists have informed us, good ventilation is needed when indoors, which is why you should open windows throughout your home to keep that air flowing, so you may need a warm jacket handy come moving day.  To help speed up your move and reduce contact, make sure all the internal doors of your home are open, so the removal team can move through your home with ease.

As well as hand sanitiser, you need to be prepared in case the removal team or yourselves need to wash their hands.  Sharing a towel is not something you should expect them to do, so get hold of a pack of disposable hand towels they can use instead.  Every little thing you do to keep your move Covid-secure will go towards protecting everyone involved from catching this terrible virus.

Virtual moves

As estate agents, we can provide our services virtually, so should you require a valuation or wish to view a property, this can all be done without entering a person’s home.  To find out more about how we can help you move home virtually, give our KMJ Property team on 01892 515188.

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