Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

Understanding an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

You may be familiar with the requirement that all UK houses must have an energy performance certificate (EPC). Any person considering selling their property must have one as part of the sales process. But perhaps you're confused about what they are, or where you can get one. The following is a brief guide with questions and answers to help you better understand an EPC.

Question: What is an energy performance certificate (EPC)?
Answer: An energy performance certificate (EPC) is a report that is gathered by an accredited person who measures the energy efficiency of your house. EPCs were first introduced in the UK in 2007 and were transposed into British law that same year.

Question: What does the EPC measure?
Answer: An EPC is a rating scheme that summarises your building's efficiency. As part of the process, an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor comes to your house and undertakes an EPC of your home. Using government approved software, he or she enters information about your property's radiators, domestic boilers, loft insulation, hot water tank, and so on. The software then calculates the efficiency of your home. You are given two scores: one that rates your current efficiency, and one that shows the efficiency mark you could have if you make suggested improvements.

Question: Who needs an EPC?
Answer: Simply put: everyone. As per the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register website, "an Energy Performance Certificate is required for properties when constructed, sold or let." If you're considering the sale of your own home, you'll need to find a Domestic Energy Assessor to create the report for you. You will be charged a fee for the report, which usually amounts to around £60 for a four-bedroom house.

Question: Where can you find a Domestic Energy Assessor?
Answer: The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register website enables you to find an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor near you. The website can be 
accessed here.

Getting an EPC is easy. If you'd like further assistance in getting an EPC to sell your home, 
contact Doorsteps today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

3 Reasons Your Home Won't Sale -- And How To Fix Them

Your house isn't selling. You seem to have done everything right: you wrote an awesome description, attached several snaps, even listed it on several property sites, but nothing seems to be working. What's the problem?

If this scenario sounds familiar, don't lose hope. The problem is usually corrected in a few simple steps. Here are three problems that may be preventing you from selling your house, and the solutions you can take to finally make that sell. 

Problem #1: You're Listing Your Property Without Assistance
While it's possible to post your property on multiple individual sites by yourself, a professional agent knows the best sites and can help guide you through the process. In addition, an agent can also help you pinpoint troublesome spots in your listing before it goes live.

The Solution: Though hiring an agent may sound expensive, there are affordable solutions. Doorsteps offers professional agents 24/7, with no commission fee, in our £99 package. 

Problem #2: Your Snaps Aren't The Best
Over 
90 percent of buyers first look at a listing's photos before they read the description. If you're not getting any interested buyers, it could be because your snaps are sub-par. 

The Solution: Try hiring a professional photographer who can take care of the photos for you. Doorsteps offers a professional photographer service as part of our £199 package.

Problem #3: Your Advert Is Not Easily Found on Property Sites
In order for interested property buyers to be able to buy your property, they must first be able to find its listing. There can be a lot of factors that influence where your listing is found on property sites, including:

  • The number of properties being sold on the listing site.
  • The property market for your particular postcode.
  • How long your listing has been on the property site.
The Solution: Sometimes, the only thing you can do to bring your advert more attention is to purchase the property site's premier service, which makes your listing featured and gives it priority ranking. Doorsteps offers you a featured listing on Rightmove and a premium listing on Zoopla in our £499 package.

Finding the solution to your house selling problem is easy if you know where to turn. 
Compare the various packages offered by Doorsteps to see if one might offer the solution you're looking for.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Here's How To Have a Successful Showing

You've taken an online advert listing your home. You've received some interest, and are expecting the potential buyers for a viewing in a few hours’ time. You've cleaned the house, taken the dog to your mum's, and notified the neighbours of the coming guests. But have you finished everything?

Here's a list of tasks to tick off your next showing to-do list.

BEFORE THE SHOWING

Create A Comfortable Atmosphere
The key to making a potential buyer fall in love with your property is to make sure everything is in order and the atmosphere is welcoming, comfortable and cosy. Create a mood that is relaxing and facilitate the guest's need to explore.
Be sure to:

  • Have The Right Temperature: Make sure the thermostat is set appropriately for the season. Make it cooler in hotter weather and warmer when it's cold.
  • Rid The House of Sight-Line Impairments: Choose a focal point in each room. Arrange furnishings and other items so that the eye is drawn to the central focus, and rid the place of those things that distract.
  • De-odourise, But Keep The Scent Neutral: Ensure that there are no foul odours in your house, but don't use sprays or other de-odourisers that may cause a bad experience for those with allergies.
Make It Bright
Light brings a certain cheerfulness to a room. Use natural light when possible. Pull the curtains open on bright days and let the sunlight shine through. Create a pleasant mood in the home by using light to draw attention to features you wish to highlight.

DURING THE SHOWING

Keep It Personable
Buyers do not make purchases from places, they make purchases from people. Be personable with your guests. Greet them upon their entry. Offer to show them around the property but allow them to venture around on their own if they so choose. Be wholesomely hospitable and attentive to their needs.

Be Prepared
Some buyers may have a lot of questions about the property. Answer everything they ask truthfully to the best of your ability. Ask them about any concerns they may have, and provide them with achievable, satisfactory solutions when you are able. 

By following these simple steps, you can have a successful showing. If you'd like help with scheduling showings, Doorsteps would be glad to assist. 
Contact us to get started today.


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Blog entry by Doorsteps

3 UK Property Facts You Should Know

Deciding to sell your property is a big decision. As with any large decision we make in life, we need to approach it with the facts. Here are three interesting facts about the UK's property market that you might want to know before selling your home. 

1. £242,000 Is The Average UK House Price
According to a report released by the 
Office for National Statistics in April of this year, the average UK house price was £242,000, with that number expected to continue to climb. The uptick comes after a period of economic downturn during 2008 and 2009.

What this means for home sellers: An uptick in prices means your property value has probably gone up as well. You may very well stand to gain a higher profit on your home today than you could have in the past.

2. First-Time UK Buyers May Not Have To Pay The Stamp Duty
In November 2017, the stamp duty on first-time buyers was cut on properties up to £300,000. Announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond, the move was expected to save 80% of first-time buyers nearly £5,000. So far, nearly 70,000 first-time buyers have benefited, many paying no stamp duty at all, a 
YourMoney.com report said.

What this means for home sellers: A cut of the stamp duty has significant benefit to the home seller. Not only does it mean that your property has the potential to now reach more interested ladies and gents, it also means that those first-time buyers will be more likely to buy your home for the savings they'll incur. 

3. Virginia Water Is The UK's Highest Value Town
According to Zoopla, Virginia Water offers some of the highest value on the property market in all of the UK. Other towns getting ticks on the top five boxes: Cobham, Keston, Beaconsfield and Chalfont St. Giles. 

What this means for home sellers: If you live in one of these towns, you stand to gain the most pound for pound on your property listing. 

There's a whole lot more to know about the UK housing market. Fortunately, our team of dedicated agents are here to help. If you're interested in selling your home, get a 
free instant evaluation or contact one of our professional agents today.


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Blog entry by Doorsteps

3 Steps To Writing A Property Description That Sells

One of the toughest aspects of making an online property listing is writing the property description. Choosing the right words, and knowing which words to avoid, can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some strategies that will help cut some of the stress. Try following these three steps to write a property description that sells.

1. Help Us See With Words
The point of an online property description is to tell us about the features in your home. But you'll want to do more than just tell -- you'll also want to show. Use descriptions to indicate why we should care. Online property market database Zillow says
these words can often help you sell your property for an above-asking price:

  • spotless
  • upgraded
  • landscaped
  • impeccable
  • stainless


There are words that you'll want to avoid using as well. Property firm Market Leader says you should 
not be using these words:

  • clean
  • quiet
  • vacant
  • value
  • motivated

2. Keep Your Description Around 250 Words
That may not seem like a lot of words to tout the features of your home, but it actually provides you with more than enough space to have your say. Remember, you are writing for an online audience, where attention spans wane quickly. To keep a potential buyer's interest, try to highlight these things in your online advert:

  • The number of rooms, the size of the house, etc.
  • The neighbourhood and local attractions, including primary and secondary schools and universities
  • Any unique selling points, including rare features or other inimitable details

3. Don't Forget The Headline!
An advert's well-written headline will quickly capture the attention of a potential buyer.
It should:

  • Be short and to the point
  • Stand out from all the other headlines
  • Make a good first impression

Still stuck at writing the perfect property description? The team at Doorsteps can help. 
Contact us to enquire about how we can assist. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home's Kerb Appeal Before Selling

The first thing a potential customer may see in your home is what's outside. Known as "kerb appeal," the way your street-facing exterior looks can play a major role in how quickly your home sells. Fortunately, upgrading your kerb appeal is not as expensive and as daunting a task as you might think. Here are four simple steps you can take to add more kerb appeal to your home before listing. 

1. Add Window Boxes
Window boxes filled with in-season flowers add a bright and cheerful element to your home. Choose one that compliments the look of your house, and be sure to maintain and upkeep the flowers throughout the entire sales process.

2. Take Care of Your Lawn
One of the first things a potential customer sees is your lawn. Having a neat and well-kept lawn makes a big difference. If your lawn has some less-than-desirable patches, try laying grass seed a few months before you list your home. Keep the yard trimmed and weeds in sidewalks or walkways plucked to appeal to potential buyer's eyes.

3. Hang a Birdhouse
Bright birdhouses tend to attract small wildlife, and small wildlife often makes a property more desirable to a buyer. Hanging a birdhouse is extremely simple, and the added benefit of attracting bird-loving buyers makes the act all the more worth the effort. Plus, birdhouses require little maintenance; no need to remember to refill them like a bird feeder would require.

4. Paint Your Front Door
A mute, monotonous door can seem uninviting. Adding a pop of colour to your home's exterior doorway can be welcoming to buyers. But seller beware: going too bright can have the opposite effect. Choose a colour that's not too bold. Make sure it's welcoming and relevant to the overall look of your house.

Increasing your kerb appeal can be cheap and easy. Once you've completed these simple tasks, you're 
ready to sell.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

How Pro Photos Can Help You Quickly Sell Your Home

You've decided to list your home online. You have a well-composed house description added to your listing, and you've uploaded a few quick snaps of the home's interior and exterior that you shot on your smartphone. You're sure your beautiful home is going to sell quickly, and you're excited to know that someone will soon be enjoying the same house you once called home.

Fast forward to a few months later. The house is still listed, the views on your online listing still climbing, but you've managed to get very few leads in prospective buyers. Why has this been unsuccessful?

This all-too-familiar scenario may seem disheartening. It seems the seller did everything right. But in all actuality, this homeowner's problem may be a fairly simple one that affects numerous sellers world-over each day: the photos. 

Why Professional Photos Are Important

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, most buyers spend nearly 80 percent of their time viewing the photos in online real estate listings. That means they only spend 20 percent of the time reading the carefully-crafted listing description. If the photos are not top-notch, a potential buyer is likely to continue on to another listing, while the seller is left with one less potential sell. Here are some other statistics to consider:

  • Listings with high-quality professional photos can bring in an average of £669 to £83,136 more on the market value price.
  • Sellers who use professional photographs as part of their listing sell their home 32 percent faster than those who do not.
  • Professional photos account for 118 percent more online views than those taken by amateur photographers.

The Most Important Photos You Need

Though hiring a professional photographer can be one of the most important decisions you make when listing your home, you also need to understand what photos you need to accompany your listing. As a general rule, be sure your professional photographer gives you the following photographs:

  • A kerbside photograph of the house exterior
  • At least one photo of each interior room, staged if possible
  • A photograph of unique house features, like an extra-big en-suite, that may be a point of interest for a potential buyer


If you're in the U.K. and looking for a professional photographer to photograph your house for an online listing, our team at Doorsteps is here to help. To get started, 
contact us today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

3 Things Most UK Home Buyers Are Looking For

When most people think of the things homeowners desire, they often think of expensive add-ons or enhanced features: stainless-steel appliances, marble countertops, etc. While these perks are nice and will surely aid you in selling your property, most UK home buyers are looking for something much more simple -- and less expensive -- to honour. In fact, you may already have many of the things a potential buyer seeks in your home. Here's a look at three of the most sought-after aspects of modern home buying. 

1. A Home That Requires Low Maintenance
The demands of modern life put constraints on many homeowners time. That's why many buyers are looking for a property that requires low initial maintenance. The more you can do before listing your home, the more likely it is to be purchased quickly. Invest in making the seemingly small needed repairs, paint the walls and watch as interest picks up on your listing.

2. A Simple Home Interior
Most homeowners enjoy decorating the interior of their houses how they see fit. The more you can aid them in this process, the more likely they are to buy. Choose calm, neutral tones in wall paint. Refrain from installing your house with flashy fixtures; instead, install ones that are more subtle. The more generic you make the interior of your home, the more creative freedom you give the new buyer.

3. Space for Growing
When we say space to grow, we're not necessarily meaning the size of your house. Instead, think actual growth -- plants, vegetable, etc. Does your house currently have a window box garden or space for a small garden fixture in the backyard? This is a strong selling point for most modern home buyers. Even small spaces with a little growing space can make a potential buyer more apt to put in an offer.

Creating an inviting living space with features buyers are looking for doesn't necessarily require you to spend thousands of pounds to make it more desirable. If you're looking to 
sell your home, be sure to tout these perks when listing.


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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Tips on Staging Your Sitting Room

Most real estate experts agree that staging your home is one of the best ways to make a quick sale. Though the concept is fairly new -- most people hadn't even heard of home staging just 20 years ago -- it is highly effective. Though it's not always possible to stage every room in the house, homeowners should try staging the most frequently used rooms for the best effect. The following is a guide to staging one of the most-used rooms in anyone's home -- the living room. 

Benefits of Staging
Staging is effective for many reasons. By staging your living room, you are able to:

  • Give the home a more homely feel. Staging is very effective in making a home feel, well, like home. Whereas opened, unfurnished homes seem cold and uninviting, staged homes appear more cosy and welcoming.
  • Put the buyer in the homeowner's shoes. Staging gives buyers the ability to envision how the lived-in home might look once they buy it. When a seller is able to put potential buyers in the homeowner mentality, they're more likely to make a sell.
  • Show what the room might look like when it's lived in. Many buyers have a hard time envisioning what a room might look like when furnished. By staging the room with furnishings and other appropriate accessories, the seller enables the prospective buyer to see what it might look like when it's lived in.

Simple Sitting Room Staging Methods
Though there are many methods of staging, with some requiring the assistance of professional interior designers, there are staging techniques that require nothing more than elbow grease, ingenuity and the swapping of items you may already own.
Some simple staging ideas include:

  • Painting walls that are chipped or damaged.
  • Move existing sofas and other furnishings to create a conversation area.
  • Draw the curtains open to allow the room to be filled with attractive light.
  • Group knick-knacks in uneven sets of three or five.
  • Declutter and minimise the room's furnishings so that only the most imperative and welcoming items remain.

Staging your living room can have a dramatic effect on making a house sell. Follow these simple tips to make your living room a dramatic selling point for potential house buyers.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

4 Ways To Know If You're Ready to Sell Your House

Deciding to sell your house can be emotional. Merely thinking about selling causes some people to feel stressed. But there are times when you're certain you should list. Here are four such instances that might indicate that now is the time to sell.

1. Your Neighbours Just Made a Profit On Their Home
Timing is everything in real estate. While location, location, location is the mantra, market, market, market is the message. If your neighbours have just sold their house above market value, you may want to jump on the opportunity. The chances of you selling your home for an above-market price is very likely in this situation.

2. You've Got a New Addition to Your Family
Adding a little one into your life is another reason you may want to sell your home. Although the amount of extra space needed to live comfortably with the new member may seem the obvious reason to sell, it's not the only one. Moving to a better school district, moving to a place with more outdoor activities, or moving to an area with more children may all be factors you consider when deciding to sell your home. 

3. The House Is So Big, It's Overwhelming
When most people consider selling their house, they usually make the decision when they find that they don't have enough room. But sometimes having too much space can also be a problem. When your house seems too big for whatever reason -- when the kids grow and move out, for instance, or when you lose a spouse or life partner -- it may be a good time to put your home on the market.

4. The Emotional Attachment to the House Has Waned
Many people feel an emotional draw to their first home. But as with any relationship, as time goes on, the attachment may begin to wane. Feeling like the house you currently inhabit doesn't draw the same emotional sentiment as it did before can be a great indicator that it's time to sell.

Once you determine it's time to sell your house, it's time to start planning. To learn more about how Doorsteps can assist you in getting the most pounds for your home, 
visit our FAQs or contact us today.

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