Selling your Croydon property in a difficult market? Get ahead of the crowd with these top tips
14th March 2012
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The UK property market shows little sign of significant improvement.  Although mortgage lending is on the increase, so are mortgage interest rates. Unless you are currently reaching the tail end of a property deal then it is almost certainly too late to take advantage of the reduced Stamp Duty rate which is due to end on the 23rd March.

Apart from hoping for further incentives in the upcoming budget, is it possible to significantly improve the chance of a quick sale at an acceptable price?

Kerb Appeal - a relatively new phrase but one of extreme significance in a highly competitive market.  Around 35% of potential buyers won't even book a viewing without having first scouted the area and a similar percentage will book a viewing then not cross the threshold if they don't like what they see.  Overflowing bins at the front of the property, grubby block paved driveways, rickety gates or peeling paint on the front door will be enough for buyers to swiftly move on to the next house. 

Keep your bins out of sight if possible.  If not, screen them or invest in adhesive 'bin wraps'.  An afternoon spent with a pressure washer and a bottle of Jeyes Fluid can transform a driveway.  Prefer to get the professionals in? The Quality Drainage Company offers a comprehensive driveway and patio cleaning service.  If the gate serves no useful purpose, remove it and paint the posts.  While lick of paint on the front door may improve its appearance in the short term, a new UPVC front door may well be worth the outlay.  

De-clutter - Now you may adore your collection of 350 novelty teapots adorning every shelf, cabinet and inch of spare space but you may be in the minority. Buyers need to be able to visualise their own belongings in a property.  They also do not want to be bashing their shins on the coffee table in the middle of the room, at the end of the sofa,  next to the reclining chair... 

Viewers may find it difficult to envisage that useful extension as an office when it's floor to ceiling full of toys. And be wary of hiding it all away in cupboards, as viewers are not averse to peering into every nook and cranny... the last thing they want is to be buried under an avalanche of teapots.  Your storage needs, large or small, can all be taken care of by Access Self Storage - East Croydon.

Define the rooms - A buyer viewing a four bedroom house in Croydon will expect to view four bedrooms – not three bedrooms and an office/gym/dumping ground.  If you use one of your bedrooms as a fully functioning office, it may not be possible to present it entirely as a bedroom, but try to at least soften the edges and put a sofa or chair bed in there.  Estate Agents will describe any bedroom that can accommodate a double bed as a double bedroom.  If a double bed fits but leaves no floor space, it may be better to use a single bed with bedside table. A child size bed in a box room shows more versatility than a cot in a nursery.

If you are describing a room as a dining room, then it must have a dining table.  It’s ok not to if you call it a sitting room or snug and present it as such, as long as you have a kitchen diner that does what it says on the tin, and can comfortably accommodate family dining facilities. 

That having been said, never assume you know your buyers.  If you describe the smallest bedroom as a nursery and they have no intention of bringing children into the world, then you have effectively rendered that room useless to them in their subconscious.  Point out versatility, the various uses you have put the extension to over the years, and the potential of any multi-purpose rooms.

Clean it - then clean it again! - Look at your house like you've never been in there before.  Just because that stain on the carpet has been there so long you think it’s part of the pattern, it will leap out at a buyer yelling 'new carpet needed!'  Kitchen and bathroom tiling can be rejuvenated with a grout pen and an afternoon’s work. Another hour or so on your knees PROPERLY cleaning the skirting boards (and the edge of the carpets while you're down there) will reap dividends.  Look up - you might not ever witness them at work but those spiders can weave their webs from corner to light fitting on a seemingly daily basis.  Need a bit of help?  Croydon domestic cleaners, Maid Time are here to make the effort on your behalf.

Outside space - A garden is an extra room – an outdoor living space.  No matter how bad our summers can be, everybody wants to visualise sitting in the sunshine at the end of a hard day with a glass of something cold.  Spruce up your garden furniture and position it in the brightest part of the garden.  Weed it, mow it, cut back hedges and you'll be surprised how much bigger the space appears.  Add some colour with bedding plants or pre-grown pots.  Trampolines and large garden toys can be a real turn off for buyers, even those with a family, as they can make the garden look cluttered and untidy.  If you can't position them unobtrusively, pack them away.  Nobody really wants to see your smalls so don't have washing on the line during viewings; in fact, if possible, don't have the line - you can always point out where it goes without running the risk of garrotting your viewers.  Man About the House and Garden is Croydon's one stop service for all your handyman and garden maintenance needs.

Finally, if you don't like the idea of strangers casting what may be a critical eye over your family home then let your Estate Agent do the viewings. They are the experts in the field, know the area and possibly the potential purchasers and after all, you're paying them!

Other services you may find useful in the house moving process are Atkins Hope Solicitors, who will deal with all your conveyancing needs swiftly and professionally.

Independent mortgage broker Richard Latteman at Lucra Ltd, local financial advisors Hyde and Rowe or Platinum Financial Review are waiting to assist with your mortgage arrangements.  And Century 21 are the Estate Agents in Croydon perfectly placed to market your property to its best advantage.

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