Tips to attract house hunters as homebuying surge continues
While some experts expected the housing market to slow once the government’s stamp duty holiday expired at the end of September, housing indexes and estate agents are indicating that demand for homes that are meeting buyers’ biggest priorities remains high.
Research by Zen Internet has revealed five key ways to increase the sell-ability of a home in a post-pandemic world, based on new insights into what house buyers are looking for. For those selling, it could help homeowners achieve beyond the current 7.4% increase in average house prices and get the top end of their asking price.
Steve Warburton from zen.co.uk advises: “It is clear that the housing market is continuing to boom, with buyer demand rising to more than double pre-pandemic levels, according to Rightmove, and predictions that 2021 will see more houses sold than any time in the past 14 years1.
“Yet, despite demand and a shortage of houses on the market in some areas, our research has revealed that buyers are not willing to compromise on finding a house that meets big trends in certain ‘needs’.
“Based on this research, and bringing in advice from leading interior experts2, we have identified five essential ways to jump ahead of the competition and get a top asking price.”
Zen Internet’s Top 5 Home Hacks to help a house sell
1. Focus on showcasing your homeworking space to its full effect – even if this means putting some other furniture in storage for a while. Or create a home office in a spare room.
Home offices are here to stay and they are going to play a central role in our lives for the foreseeable. 27 per cent of home buyers we surveyed cited the need for a property more suited to long term home working as the reason to buy a new home, with a further nine per cent wanting a home office due to COVID.
When potential buyers come to view your home they want to clearly envisage themselves working in that space.
If you have an office at home already, style and accessorise it for viewings. Clear out the clutter, create a Zoom-worthy backdrop, dress the windows to get the lighting right and showcase how you have space for all of the office essentials – a printer, dual screens, etc. If your desk and office furniture was purchased specifically to suit that area you might want to consider including it in the price of the sale.
If you don’t currently have a dedicated office room or space for home working, consider mocking one up to show buyers the potential.
2. Prioritise a garden clear up to reveal as much outdoor living space and garden as possible
Gardens are higher on the priority list than ever before. Our research showed that home buyers are searching for more space and gardens, many moving away from urban areas because they no longer need to be near an office or commute route. Don’t rely on your buyer’s imagination to sell them your outdoor space – a weekend spent getting your hands dirty could make the difference between your house going for over the asking price.
Give everything an overhaul – mow your grass, trim bushes and trees back to reveal the space to its full extent, add colour by planting seasonal bedding plants, remove weeds, tidy away children’s toys and other clutter.
Gardens are as much an entertaining space as our kitchens and dining rooms so think about dressing your patio area with tables, chairs, lights and an outdoor heater to really show off its potential.
Don’t forget your front garden either – give your home greater curb appeal with a front lawn and garden spruce up. Poor curb appeal has been shown to knock up to five per cent off a house price3.
3.Emphasise how hi tech your home is as this is another high priority on a home buyer’s list!
Broadband connectivity has quickly become a crucial dealbreaker for home buyers. A massive 75 per cent of house hunters surveyed would NOT buy a home if they knew that the internet connectivity was poor4; and three quarters surveyed are more inclined to buy a house that’s full fibre enabled!
Do your homework in terms of what broadband speeds your home either gets or can get – and include this in the sales pitch when you are showing viewers around.
And get rid of unsightly wires, so that potential buyers can walk in and plug in. Further research by Zen has shown that homes full of ugly daisy chained extension cables to power tech are a no no. Even if you need to get in an electrician for a day to tidy up and add new sockets where they’re needed it is a good investment. No one wants a home that’s reliant on one plug socket per room when so much of day-to-day life needs power – investing in smart sockets in key areas of your home could significantly increase its appeal.
Showcase how tech is a streamlined part of your home – without wires and extension cables creating trip hazards! At the very least, if you have a lot of tech and devices plugged in then unplug any non-essentials and hide them during viewings!
4. Tap into your inner Lawrence-Llewelyn Bowen – as some simple low cost décor glow ups can transform a space from drab to dreamy.
A high impact revamp can be achieved with a new rug to instantly make a floor feel new and inviting; if your carpet is looking a bit tired and worn, give it a new lease of life with a rug (that can also be used to hide a multitude of sins). A new doormat is also a great idea for making an all important first impression.
Freshen up walls with on trend colours that are shown to have a positive mood enhancing effect. Dulux’s Bright Skies, for example. Just remember – if you are going to get the paint brush out then stick with a colour that is relatively neutral and not in any way polarising!
Bring in plants. Don’t underestimate the power greenery has to bring your home’s décor to life. Adding potted or hanging plants to a room quickly transforms the environment from stale to vibrant. And of course – you can then take these with you after you’ve achieved the sale!
5. Phone a friend! Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes and an honest second opinion.
Ask a friend to come and check out your space to identify anything that you have overlooked that might put a buyer off. For example – whilst a buyer will want to feel that a home is loved and lived in, they also need to picture themselves in the space.
You could therefore look to remove some family pictures and children’s artwork and replace them with neutral prints, hide away toys and clutter – young professionals might not picture children in their near future so make sure they aren’t put off by a playroom or excessive children’s toys.
Don’t forget – home buyers in 2021 are all about more space – so you might want to consider putting some of your furniture in storage to open up the space further and create a blank canvas for potential buyers.
Homebuyers are continuing to search for more space, gardens, fast internet and home working spaces – and those sellers that can meet these demands will undoubtedly make a home more attractive to buyers.
For more information and top tips for homeowners visit https://www.zen.co.uk/broadband/ultrafast-fibre-broadband