At several points over the last year I reckon you have turned to someone you live with and said in tones of wonderment or exasperation: is there nothing this pandemic hasn’t touched? From babies never going to soft play, to teenagers learning to cut their own hair and shortages of cement and building supplies, there is no doubt that the effects will rumble on long after most of us have been vaccinated.
One of the key changes was the apparent rush of city dwellers to sell up and move to the country and, in an effort to keep the housing market fluid, the Government has extended the Stamp Duty Holiday until the end of June after which date, and until the end of September, there is a staggered return to previous rates. This means that anyone who is thinking of moving is on a deadline to get everything completed in time.
And that starts with getting your house sale ready. So, for today’s Ad Break I have teamed up with TaskRabbit, an online service that connects people with local trusted and reliable Taskers (not actually rabbits) who can help with all sorts of jobs around the home from assembling furniture and minor repairs to cleaning and decluttering.
TaskRabbit has set up a Home Sellers’ Task Force after their research found that one in five people who have sold a property in the past have needed help to do so, whether that was how to make a good first impression or staging rooms to show them off to their best advantage.
I have joined this Task Force to offer six one-on-one video consultations – totally complementary – giving you personal advice on how you can boost the saleability of your home and what you should do to get your home in the best shape possible. You can apply HERE.
In the meantime, below are some other ideas which are not only useful for house sellers but for anyone who wants a little refresh of their homes after a year when everyone has been living there and there may have been, shall we say, a little more wear and tear than usual.
First up, storage is key and that doesn’t matter if you’re selling or staying. Nothing makes you feel more miserable than the sense that the house is too small and you can’t keep it tidy as there’s nowhere to put everything. In my last kitchen, I was once sent a very fancy juicer to try out for a newspaper feature I was writing and the cupboards were so full it had to live on the floor until I conceded defeat and took it to the charity shop.
So, Number 1 tip is declutter using the tried and tested three piles method: Chuck/ Recycle, Donate or Keep.
Once you have done that you can look at your house and see if there is anywhere you can add more storage. A set of narrow bookshelves around a door or over the bedhead. Perhaps an awkward alcove can be pressed into service or a narrow cupboard placed on a landing.
Next up look at your paintwork. A TaskRabbit survey found that 50 per cent of potential buyers are put off by cracked plaster and I get that – it’s scary as you don’t know if it’s a sign of something bigger and more expensive to put right. So repair any cracks and paint over them. And while you’re at it touch up scuffed paintwork on skirting boards and around doors. A house that looks well-cared for in the most obvious ways is more likely to persuade buyers that you are also caring for the less visible parts like drains and leaks (mould and water stains are the top turn-offs).
Regular readers will know I’m an advocate of painting your woodwork to match your walls not just because it makes the walls look taller and the ceilings higher but because any colour other than white will show the dirt less.
Another easy fix is to paint your radiators to match the walls as this will make them disappear which will, in turn, make the room look bigger which is key as 63 per cent of buyers are looking for bright and airy rooms. This doesn’t mean you can’t have dark décor but creating a uniform look without outlining the edges and radiators in white paint will make a space feel calmer and bigger.
Visitors, and buyers, will always remember the touch points so first up clean them and make sure they aren’t sticky or messy. If you’re not moving then replacing light switches and plug sockets with something nicer than white plastic is always a good investment and don’t forget, if you are organised you can take them with you when you move. I have also replaced the cable on my pendant lights with coloured fabric flex which makes more of a feature out of the most utilitarian fitting.
Finally, for an instant refresh trying shopping your home; moving pictures around, swapping rugs between rooms and changing cushions around. A seasonal changeover like this can make a room feel like it’s been redecorated before a tin of paint has even been opened.
For more help with getting your house sale-ready, and to win one of my personal styling sessions, simply visit the TaskRabbit website here. You can also use promo code HOMESELL15 for £15 off your booking.