Make the Most of It! Get Yourself and your House Ready for Sale during Lockdown

We are seeing signs that the Government are planning to start relaxing the lock down to enable the country to get back to work. With potential buyers soon able to view properties again this is the perfect time to prepare you house in readiness to come to the market. Estate Agents are looking like they will be one of the first businesses allowed to open and with pent up demand from the beginning of the year still unsatisfied, getting your property on the market quickly is going to be the key.

Below are a few pointers that will help you and your estate agent be market ready

Ask your estate agent for a virtual valuation. We have carried out a number of these over the past few weeks. You can arrange for your agent to “walk round” your house with you using your mobile phone on Facetime, Zoom or Whatsapp. Nothing is better than the agent actually physically seeing the house, but this it will give them enough information to offer you a good idea on pricing. Here at Chartsedge we were able to advise clients, whilst we were virtually walking round the house, of small things they could do, such as de cluttering, minor redecoration, repairs etc. This enables you to prepare and be ready for photographs and viewings. If you want a few opinions you could do a VDO of the house and grounds and make these available for a number of agents to see. Please give us a call if you would like us to talk you through this.

Phone solicitors for quotes. They are still working and are carrying out exchanges and completions but are much quieter than normal so they have more time to talk you through the process. Claire Reynolds from Bartons Solicitors in Totnes comments:

“If you are planning to move house, preparation is key. The best advice right now is to get ahead of the game and place yourself in the best position possible for when the housing market bounces back to normal. Get those standard form questionnaires now and complete them, so as your lawyers we can review and check all paperwork is in order and ready once you have struck a deal. For example copies of those building regulation documents, planning permissions and warranties. If there is an issue, for example, a neighbour dispute or boundary problem we can offer bespoke guidance and assist with resolution prior to agreeing a sale. The majority of these checks and preparation requires minimal time and can save a lot of bother later. In our experience the main enemy of a deal going through can be the loss of momentum especially when things are not ready or questions that a buyer’s solicitor will almost certainly raise are not anticipated and resolved. This can leave time for people to worry and change their mind risking the transactions to go abortive. Spending this time front loading the transaction can save weeks on a Conveyance and in the long term save cost, time and stress for all involved. We are here to offer expert guidance whether you are buying or selling or remortgaging or reorganising the way the property is held and how we can help you in both the local and national property markets.”

Check your mortgage.  Check if your mortgage does not have an early redemption penalty, you don’t want to be half way through the process and find you have to pay £1,000’s to get out of the mortgage early. If you are need to obtain a mortgage talk to your broker now, again they have more time on their hands and the mortgage companies are now getting back to business. A good article on this to read by the BBC.

Simple Things to do. Many of our potential clients have been spending a lot of time in their gardens and are telling us they have never looked so good. Don’t waste this opportunity, take some great photos of the garden on a sunny day with your phone in HDR (High Definition) mode so that you can use these when marketing your home. There is nothing more frustrating for an agent to take on a property and then have to wait weeks for a sunny day to take the exterior photos.

Tidy the house ready for photos, VDO’s and viewings. If you are going to declutter then now is the time to do it, many of the storage companies are still open so you can store larger items there for the time being. Don’t forget the garage and shed, we often have to explain to buyers that they really are spacious when we can’t even see the back walls as they are so full of stuff.

When you want to actually move house. This seems like an obvious point but agreeing a sale is only the start, the process takes much longer that you probably think. Before the lockdown some of our sales were taking 3 months to get to an exchange from agreeing a price. It should be very quick to get your house on the market but waiting for good weather for photos and choosing an estate agent may take some time so it is always best to plan ahead. Choose a month that you would want to physically move, to give you an idea, on average it takes approx. 24 weeks from putting it in the market to completion according to the stats in the excellent article from The Advisory property website.

Break the Chain. Another thing to consider is whether you are willing to move out of your house to go into rented or stay with family for a short time. This helps “break the chain” and buyers look favourably on this situation as it can give certainty. This also has the added advantage of putting you in a great position when looking for your next purchase as you will be a better buyer than the majority of people and it may be possible to negotiate a good price on your next home thus saving you money.

Video Tours/Virtual Viewings. Ask you agent if they take video tours of their houses as many of potential buyers are getting used to having this ability to virtually view homes in the comfort of their own home during lockdown. Although we all want the travel restrictions to be lifted not everyone is going to be allowed to move round freely from the same date so this is a useful tool to present your property to as many people as possible. We are offering free videos of selected properties at the moment. Moontide property VDO

Making the decision to sell.  Should I put it on the market or wait to see what happens to the market? This is the most difficult one. The market has obviously been affected by the current situation but the beginning of the year saw a record amount of people searching Rightmove for properties and these people are still looking. After talking to our buyers that are living in towns and cities throughout the UK they realise they need to move.  Having had this time stuck in their homes, having little opportunity to get out into open spaces and countryside they are really focused about moving this year. Not only that but many people have discovered working from home has been a revelation, with many companies looking to make this more of a common practice. Many of our buyers are looking to move house so they can get enough space for a home office so if you have a large garden shed with electricity maybe describe it as a potential home office. At the start of the year estate agents saw the busiest market since 2016 with pre-lockdown sales agreed in the year to 23rd March were 11% up on the same period last year (Rightmove). With a continued lack of property on the market, there is a general feeling amongst agents in Devon and Cornwall that there will be increased demand from people wanting to move to the countryside and coast. We feel the coming months are a great time to market your property.

The team at Chartsedge wish you all the best, Stay Safe, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Please contact the team at Chartsedge and have a no obligation chat to discuss how to market your home and talk through your options.

01803 505115





Miles Kevin MRICS, Director