Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

Organising the Kid Clutter Before You Sell

If you're like most parents, you probably think your kids have too much stuff. For many households, this is the case, and all of that kid stuff can really take over your home. While that's not usually a problem in day to day life, it can be a huge issue before you get ready to sell. What can you do about the kid clutter as you begin to prepare your home for a sale? Take a look.

·       Sort, Divide, Eliminate. One of the first things you should do is sort your children's toys. If you have a single play space, sort by size. Small toys should stick with small toys. If your kids' play spaces are in their bedrooms, sort the items by the child. Along with this, you'll want to think about eliminating a few toys. You're probably planning to do a bit of decluttering on your own. You should do the same with your children's toys too. When was the last time your son was actually small enough to fit in that cute cardboard teepee? When did she last played with the giant stuffed panda in the corner? If you can eliminate a few items, you may be able to organise the others.

·       Create Space. If your child doesn't currently have a spot for some kinds of items, it's time to create one. Maybe each child has a cubbie in the entryway for school bags. Perhaps you add some narrow shelves just behind his door for all of his toy vehicles. If each type of toy has a place, your child will be more likely to put it away when it's time to show your home.

·       Go For Hidden Storage. Even if you come up with a number of spots for your child to store his/her stuff, you may still have quite an overflow. In situations like that, you may want to try hidden storage spaces. Under bed organisers are a great option, as are furniture pieces that double for storage like ottomans and entertainment centers.

A well-organised house is one that looks more spacious, and working on your child's toys can certainly help give the illusion of more space in your home.

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

How to Hide Your Pets Before Showing Your Home

Everyone loves an adorable pet, right? That's not necessarily true when it comes to home buyers. In fact, very few of them want to walk into a home with the smell of wet dog, pet hair all over the furniture, or a litter box in the corner of a storage room. That can be tough for sellers, but homes without pets statistically sell more than homes with pets, so hiding Fluffy or Fido may be a must when you put your home on the market. Where do you even begin, though? These tips can help.

 

·       Pet Odours: This is perhaps one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers, and there are a few things you can do to hide them. Unfortunately, simply spraying some air freshener isn't going to change anything, and it might make things worse. Individuals with allergies may end up sneezing their way through your home because of the added scent. Instead, consider hiring a professional floor cleaning service to help you get your carpeting sparkling clean and fresh. Put the litter box in an unused location and keep it as clean as you possibly can. In spots where pet stains are noticeable, you may want to replace flooring.

 

·       Pet Gear: The toys, bed, and even dishes may need to go when you're showing your home. Pack up the pet toys and put them away when they're not in use. Wash the food and water bowls and store them after your pet is done each day. The cage or kennel he sleeps in each night should also be put away before you show your home.

 

·       Clean, Clean, Clean: You should remember that your home will take a bit of extra cleaning while it's on the market. Vacuum twice a day, and be sure to hit the sofa and other soft, upholstered furniture with a vacuum or lint brush at least once a day to remove the pet hair. Mop the area around your pet's food bowl every day. You should do the same in the space where you store the litter box.

 

·       Hide Your Pet: Before a showing is scheduled, you should do your best to remove your pet from the situation. Consider a pet daycare or a neighbour for the afternoon. The last thing you want is a stressed pet on your hands while prospective buyers are trying to look at your home.

If you're not sure you can hide your pet while your home is on the market, you may want to try relocating him or her temporarily. Maybe you have a friend or relative who would agree to foster your pet for a while. You could also consider boarding your friend at a pet spa or kennel while you're away. If you already know where you'll be moving, it may be easier to go ahead and make the move and get your pet settled while you try to market your old home as well. The key, though, is working toward a solution that's perfect for everyone involved. 

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

Four Spots You Might Miss During Your Deep Clean Before Showing Your Home

Many homeowners do a serious deep cleaning before they begin to market their homes, and with good reason. That deep clean can mean the difference between selling it for the price you want and having to settle for something else. It's easy to miss a spot here and there before you sell, though, and here are a few of the most common you might have overlooked.

 

·        Under Your Appliances: Cleaning under the refrigerator, the stove, and the washer/dryer can be really frustrating, but it will help give your home a higher level of clean. The good news is that outside of dust, you shouldn't have too much to clean under those spaces. You can even buy an attachment for your Hoover or use an old pair of nylons attached to broom to clean those spaces.

 

·       Behind the Toilet: Many toilets don't attach directly to the wall, and that leaves a small space for dust and debris to collect. You'll want to be sure to hit this spot when you do your cleaning. A microfibre cloth attached to something like a metre stick will usually do the job for you without a lot of hassle.

 

·       The Baseboards: You likely pay pretty close attention to your floors, but the chances are good that you hadn't really considered giving the baseboards a good wipe-down. If your baseboards are wood, you'll want a cleaner specifically for wood. If, on the other hand, you have painted baseboards, a soapy cloth should do the job. Just don't get those baseboards too wet, or you could have another problem on your hands.

 

·       The Window Tracks: Cleaned the outside of the windows? Cleaned the inside of the windows? You're still not done. Instead, you need to take things one step further and clean the window tracks - the spaces where the window slides up and down. Begin by opening the window as wide as you can, then grab your Hoover with a narrow nozzle attachment. Hoover as much as you can out of the window, then sprinkle in some baking soda. Spray a solution of water and vinegar in those spaces, then let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the tracks with an old toothbrush, and dry it with a disposable towel.

It's easy to miss a spot or two when you're cleaning, but the more you can find those easy-to-miss spaces, the more likely you are to have a solid clean before you begin showing your home. 

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

How Young is Too Young to Buy a House?

While many young people throughout the UK choose to rent a flat rather than purchase a home, there's much to be said about the perks of owning a home, no matter how old you may be. After all, you never have to worry about rent increases, what you can and cannot do to the property, and being forced to move because the landlord decided to get new tenants. Over time, it's far cheaper to buy a home, and even if you think you're too young, you may want to consider this big step in life.

 

One in Five

 

A recent study found just one in five twenty-five-year-olds own a property in the UK. Nearly half of all twenty-five-year-olds, though, owned one just two decades ago. Why the switch? Many believe the high cost of homeownership may not be worth it anymore. Moreover, the price of homes has soared throughout the UK over those two decades, and that leads many to believe they simply cannot afford it. Nothing, though, could be further from the truth.

 

Careful Saving

Many young people who have decided to make that big leap forward cite budgeting and saving as the answer. It may take two or three years to lay the deposit in, but some homes can be bought for as little as five percent down, especially with Help to Buy and other schemes. The key is that no matter what you make, sit down and see how much you can afford to save. Only then can you begin to make a commitment to finding a home that fits your needs.

 

The average UK homebuyer is 30 years old, but that doesn't mean that someone who is 21 or 22 is too young to make the decision to become a homeowner. If you're ready to shop for a home that meets your needs, we'll be here to help. 

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

How to De-Personalise Your Home Before a Sale

Home buyers are looking for an amazing deal. They want to purchase a space they can easily envision as their own. For sellers, this translates to the need to depersonalise. As much as you hear that phrase thrown around, though, you may not really know what it means or how to make it happen. This quick guide can help.

 

Step 1: Think Walls. Your walls are likely the first place you want to look when you go to depersonalise your home. From the family pictures to the artwork you love, you'll want to take as much stuff down as possible. Potential buyers don't want to see your kids in your home, they want to see their kids inside that home. They want to know that the home can work for them and eliminating the artwork and family photos can help make that happen.

 

Step 2: Go for Neutral Colours. If you intend to paint, and in many cases, you probably should make certain you're going with neutral paint colours. Just because you like that deep shade of maroon on the dining room wall doesn't mean a potential buyer might, so sticking with tans, shades of white and even light yellow in some cases might be your best bet.

 

Step 3: Stage Spaces. Is it a guest room? Is it an office? Are you using the space differently than someone else might? Staging spaces in your home so they showcase the original purpose is one great way to depersonalise. Just because you use the back bedroom for crafts doesn't mean everyone else would, and setting it up like the guest room or a child's bedroom may help others envision something very different for that place.

 

Need a few more helpful hints before you sell your home? Contact Doorsteps today to sell your home faster than you ever thought possible. 

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

HVAC Systems and Your House Sale

Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is one of the most critical features in your house; buyers expect that it be in good working order. So is your HVAC a major selling point - or a major sticking point?

 

Most HVAC systems last about 10 to 15 years. If yours is edging towards the end of its useful life, the big question is: is it worth replacing it with a new system? Generally, yes. But keep in mind that you won’t see a 100% return; that is, when you sell, it won’t “pay you back” in full. Most experts expect that you would recoup about 30-50% of the initial cost.

 

However, because HVAC is so important, it is a solid investment - and it can make or break a sale. This is especially relevant if you plan on selling over the winter months. A cold, drafty house or a heating system that grudgingly clanks to life will repel potential buyers.

 

If your system still has a few years left, make sure to schedule an inspection and maintenance visit from your HVAC service company. You’ll find out its condition and determine what steps you need to take to keep it running smoothly.

 

When you do replace an HVAC system, make important updates (e.g. adding a smart thermostat) or ensure it receives regular maintenance, potential buyers will likely not even realise it. HVAC is a feature that should be there - but work so well that you don’t need to think about it. It is worth it for you to point out how effective and efficient the system is. This will provide house hunters with the extra reassurance that this house could be a cosy home.

 

Is your HVAC in top shape? Now’s the time to make sure.

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

Get Your Fireplace In Tip-Top Shape

If you have a fireplace in your house, you have an asset worth flaunting. Nothing says “warmth,” “cosiness,” and “home,” more profoundly than a cheerful fire (and if you can stage a gorgeous mantle...even better!). But that also means you have to get it in top condition to show to prospective buyers.

A few tips for you:


1.    Scrub-a-dub. Remove the andirons (the set of brackets on which logs are laid) and the grate, and take them outside to avoid making a mess of your house. Use a brush to remove soot. Rinse them with water and add a bit of metal polish for some shine.

2.    Remove ashes. Use a fireplace shovel to remove ashes.

3.    More scrubbing. Use a nylon brush to scour the fireplace walls. It’s a good idea to put newspapers down along the bottom to capture the soot. Ashes make a big, cloudy mess; using a vacuum can help you contain the dust and make cleaning manageable.

 

Now this will do the trick if you use your fireplace for the atmosphere on Christmas Eve or a romantic date. But if you use it regularly and for warmth, you want to do a deeper clean. After you’ve completed steps 1-3 above, continue with these:

 

1.    Make a powerful cleaning solution. You’ll need 6 tablespoons of Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP (available on Amazon and in retail home/hardware stores), 1 cup of bleach, and one gallon of warm water.  Mix in a plastic bucket.

2.    Yet more scrubbing! You’ll get a great upper body strength workout so don’t worry about going to the gym. Protect your hands with rubber gloves and use your nylon brush to scrub the walls and floor of your fireplace.

3.    Rinse, replace, relax. Rinse the fireplace with clean water and dry with a towel. After you replace the andirons and grate, reward yourself for a job well done.

 

Your fireplace can be a great selling point - so make sure it looks its best. Need more tips? Ask the Doorsteps team.

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

5 Resources to Use When Selling Your House

When you are selling your house, you need all the help you can get! Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent resources out there to guide you through the process, provide you with essential information and help you plant a “Sold” sign in your yard.

 

Zoopla. Want to know what’s going on in the UK housing market? Zoopla has you covered; this helpful resource provides data including sold house prices, current value estimates, area trends and much more. Most house buyers visit Zoopla to research properties; we’ll make sure yours is on their radar!

 

Rightmove. This site enables people to search properties, access property maps, explore prices and more. The vast majority (97 percent) of house buyers use this site and/or Zoopla. Doorsteps will make sure your listing reaches interested eyes.

 

HomeOwners Alliance. Whether you are buying or selling a house, HomeOwners Alliance has unbiased information, tips, and support aplenty. From finances to legal terms to selling guides, you can get a full house-selling education from HOA.

 

Gov.uk. Get the scoop on selling your house at Gov.uk. You’ll learn about the process, the legalities and much more. Wondering about EPCs? Conveyancing? Completion? Answer your questions here.

 

Doorsteps. We are the resource that helps you put all this information, data and Intel together into one cohesive picture. You will have a dedicated estate agent, access to 24/7 assistance, help with every aspect of the selling process, including EPCs, solicitors and conveyancers, listings on the most important sites and a very favorable price to boot.

 

When it comes to selling your house, you need to put every possible resource to work for you. Our team is ready to help you put the process in motion! 

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

Do’s and Don’ts of Viewings - When You Are the Prospective Buyer

When selling your house means you are also in the market to buy a house, you find yourself on both sides of the equation. It can be a tricky place to be! You may be hosting your own showings while making appointments to visit other homes. So don’t forget how to be a good home buyer as you’re also a home seller. Here are some tips for a successful viewing - when you’re the prospective buyer.

 

Be on time. You appreciate it when house hunters arrive to a viewing on time. Do the same for properties in which you are interested. Give advance notice and stick to the time allotted. If there is an open house, you have a bit more leeway, but again, make sure you are courteous with the seller’s time.

 

Be serious. “Tire kickers” are the worst! If you’re not serious about a house, don’t waste the seller’s and agent’s time. Or yours.

 

Think twice about the kids. Use your judgment here. Some experts recommend leaving the children at home or with a sitter. But if yours are of an age that they can look around and give valuable input, why not? They have things to say! Why not listen? A good host will welcome children. (Just make sure they’re not going to destroy glassware or run around willy-nilly.)

 

Ask questions and be polite. If you’re wondering about some warping in the hardwood floor or whether the roof will make it another ten years, ask. Just do so objectively and without judgment. Don’t trash-talk the property in front of an owner. You wouldn’t like it, would you?

 

If you like the house, make a good impression. Thank the owners and detail what you did enjoy the property. This will make you stand out in their minds, and a friendly demeanor can come in handy during negotiations.

 

Sometimes you’re on both sides of the house selling equation. Make sure you handle each with poise. Need help? We’re here with suggestions!

Read More
Blog entry by Doorsteps

Top Selling Tip: Clearly Define Each Room

When you’re selling a house, you are selling much more than a roof, foundation and walls. You are selling a promise. You are selling opportunity. You are selling potential. When potential buyers view your photographs or walk into your home, they should be transported; they should be able to envision themselves in your home. One way to help them do this is to make sure that every room has a clearly defined purpose.

 

Highlight Each Room’s Purpose

 

You may use your dining room as a makeshift office (folders and paperwork make a nice centerpiece, right!), your living room as a playroom or that spare bedroom as a halfway house for laundry. And that’s fine! When it’s your house, you should use the space in a way that makes most sense to you. Selling, however, is an entirely different story.

 

Remember, you’re selling possibility. Buyers need to see the purpose; it is best to try to use each room how the builder originally intended. The great room is the great room. The bedrooms are the bedrooms.

 

Don’t Forget to De-Clutter!

 

At the same time, it is important to de-personalise and de-clutter. Again, you are highlighting the potential of each room to live up to the buyer’s expectations and dreams. If they then want to turn the living room into a home gym, wonderful! They do not feel bound by pre-existing conditions.

 

On a similar note: if you have a space that has no predetermined purpose, set one. That odd-spaced corner can become a cosy reading nook, the finished basement can become a game room or workshop, the deck outside can become an entertaining hub.

 

You sell the dream. We’ll help you sell the house. Contact Doorsteps’ experienced estate agents today.

Read More