Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

Red Flags to Avoid When Buying a Home

Thinking of buying a home! Congratulations. It's easily one of the single best investments you can make. Before you buy, though, you're likely to come across at least a few properties that just don't make the cut. How can you ensure you get a house that's amazing? These tips can help you avoid homes with problems!

Heavily Scented Properties: If you walk into a home and you only catch heavy fragrances like air freshener or candles, there's a pretty good chance the seller is aware of some odour in the home and is actively working to cover it. While some scents attract buyers, too much scent can repel them, and for good reason. Look for mildew, signs of pet accidents, or damage from cigarette smoke in homes that are heavily scented. 

Foundation Cracks: Most houses tend to have small cracks in the foundation. That's usually a pretty good indication that the house is settling some. Bigger gaps, though, mean there are real problems with the home. The same is true if you notice cracks above window frames or floors that are uneven. While most newer properties don't have these problems, it's not impossible, so check every property you visit. 

Ventilation Problems: The last thing you want in a new home is moisture problems, but it's not rare, especially in the UK. Watch for ventilation issues when you're shopping for a new home. Eventually, they can create mould or even irritate your breathing. How will you know in a simple walkthrough whether a home has moisture problems? You may notice condensation on the windows. You may also see bubbled paint around vents or doors. Both of these indicated the presence of moisture currently or at least in the past, and it's one mistake that can be expensive to fix. 

At Doorsteps, we've helped hundreds of people find their dream homes quickly and effectively. Let us help you find yours when you browse our properties and schedule a showing today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Buying For Your Life Tomorrow

The home you're shopping for probably reflects the life you have right now. You may want to rethink that. Wondering why? Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, and the reality is that you have to factor in your long-term plans if you're hoping to be a successful homeowner. 

Why Long-Term Plans Matter

According to many studies, the average homeowner lives in a home for just ten years. In a timeframe like that, many things could happen. You may find the love of your life. You might have children. You might change jobs and decide you'd rather not spend an hour on the train every morning and every night. Your parents could grow old, ill, and need care in your home. So much can happen in the course of ten years, and putting your home on the market before that time is up could be a disastrous financial move. 

How to Buy For The Long Term

So, what can you do if you don't want to make a move in the near future? Start by thinking about your goals. where would you like to be in five years? In seven years? Nail down the things you'd like to make happen in your life before you even begin shopping. Once you've done that and you begin shopping, come up with an exit plan for each house. Who will be the target audience for that property when you actually decide to sell? If it's on a busy street, it's likely not going to be families with small children, so is there another audience well suited to that property? Learning more about the neighbourhood demographics can help you make the decisions you need in this area. Finally, make an agreement with your partner. What's the plan if something happens to your relationship within those ten years? You may even want to visit with a solicitor to get this agreement in writing.

We can help you find a home you'll love now and well into the future. To learn more about our properties and what to look for in a home you love, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Breaking The Homebuyer's Hidden Gem Myth

There's a myth floating around among many homebuyers. Whether this is your first time shopping or you've purchased a home in the past and you're looking for an upgrade, you may already be familiar with this idea that tends to surface again and again: the hidden gem you can get for next to nothing that's absolutely perfect in every way. Unfortunately, it's this myth that may keep you in search mode on a continual basis.

Setting Realistic Expectations

The hidden gem myth holds that you, and you alone, are going to discover an ideal property other buyers haven't noticed. Unfortunately, if you're looking in markets that are popular, you can bet on one fact: the properties for sale in that area have been considered by other buyers. Setting realistic expectations is one way to overcome that myth. You likely already have a given price range. Define the features that homes within that price range typically have so you know what to expect when you look at each one. More than that, though, you want to keep in mind that every home (even if it's new) may have some issues that you don't love. It might be a paint colour in the living room you don't like or a garden area that's a bit small. Approach the process with an understanding that the house you eventually choose may mean dealing with a feature or two you don't like. Your best bet is to decide what you must have in a home and what may be an added perk. Remember to work with your partner on this list to ensure you both come up with choices that you're ready to buy when you see them.

Don't Wait!

The worst thing you can do is wait until you come across that hidden gem. Inventory is quite low these days, and in many cases, multiple offers are becoming more common than ever. Passing on a home the first time you see it could mean you don't have another opportunity. To see any of the homes listed on our site, please contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Should I Rearrange My Furniture Before I List My Home?

If you've done any reading about how to sell your home faster, you've probably come across the idea of staging your home. This is the idea of making your home look more inviting with tasteful furnishings. It's a great idea, but what if you're not quite ready to move? What if you don't want to store your furniture away while a stage brings in different decor? It's still possible to stage your home, but you may need to do some rearranging.

Start With Clutter

The single best thing you can do initially is to eliminate cluttered spaces in your home. If a buyer can't move through your house comfortably, he or she might look elsewhere, so if you have too much furniture in a space, you may want to either store part of it elsewhere or move it to another room in your home. 

A Better Arrangement

Once the clutter is gone, there may be a better way to arrange your furniture. Begin by taking a close look at where the windows are in the room. Try not to block those, as the light they let in is a great selling point for buyers. After that, take a look at the feel of the space. Does it feel like a living room? If so, you should store or move any furniture that doesn't make sense in the space. A bulky wardrobe, for instance, may be ruining that space. The same is true for a home office. It should feel more like an office than a guest bedroom. Finally, play with various configurations to ensure the room has a cohesive, eye-catching appeal buyer will love. Keep the entryways as clear as possible, and shoot for at least a metre of walking space around the room. Keep your furniture away from the walls wherever possible. 

Need a bit of advice on how to make sure every room in your home looks appealing to potential buyers? Contact us today to learn more about how Doorsteps can get your home sold faster than you ever thought possible, even if you don't have a degree in furniture arranging!

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Does Your Home Pass The Sniff Test?

Selling your home? Take a whiff before you list. The smell of a home can actually change the way potential buyers see your property during a showing or an open house and understanding exactly how your home smells may be the key to getting it off the market fast.

What Can Make a Home Smell Bad?

Worried your home might smell terrible? There are lots of things that might cause odours in a home. Cooked food can leave behind lingering smells, as can your clothing or shoes. Cigarette smoke may also leave behind a scent. Pets and dust can do the same thing. How can you tell if you have a smelly home? You have two possible options. The first is to ask a friend. Have someone over who doesn't routinely visit your home, and take the smell test. If that doesn't work, you may want to take a break from your home. Spend a night elsewhere, then come back in. Does it smell fresh and clean or does it still smell like the bacon you cooked last week?

Toward a Solution

If you decide your home doesn't smell as good as it should, the first step is to remove the problem. Most odours can be addressed with a good cleaning. If you're not sure you want to tackle it yourself, hire a professional cleaning company to do that for you.

Once your home has been deep cleaned, add a simple fragrance. Which scents do buyers prefer? One study out of Washington State University in the United States found that most buyers prefer citrus, herbs like rosemary, vanilla, or pine. In fact, buyers preferred simple scents like these to distract blends by almost 30%. You can utilise scents like these with the help of wax or oil-based candles, reed diffusers, simmer pots, or even oil plug-ins that will help your home smell far better and begin to welcome buyers into your space.

If you're having trouble with your home's scent, contact us today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Pressure Washing Before a Sale

You may not have noticed, but a lot of dirt can accumulate on the patio in your back garden. It may also be in plain sight on your driveway or even your deck. If you've never pressure washed any of these surfaces, it may be time to do so before you put your home on the market. We've talked extensively about the outside appeal of a home, and if a potential buyer schedules a showing and notices the dirt and grime on these surfaces, their eventual bid could be a lot lower, but how do you safely pressure wash? This guide can help. 

The Patio and Driveway

Before you get started, make sure you move any garden furniture, plants, or other decorative items off the surface of your patio and driveway. If you have any spills like oil or grease, you'll want to use something to soak it up like cat litter. Once the stain has been removed, be sure to sweep it up. Add detergent to the right chamber on your pressure washer, then begin spraying. You'll want to point the stream of water downward toward the patio or driveway, then use broad, sweeping motions with the wand across the surface. If you have a water broom attachment, this is the place to use it. In areas where you see serious dirt and grime buildup, you may have to make several passes in that area. Be sure to direct the nozzle into the cracks and crevices to help clean them. 

The Deck

Mishandling a pressure washer on your patio or driveway means the job takes longer. Mishandling it on your deck, though, could actually damage it and hurt you in the process. The first step is to remove any furniture, children's toys, or even loose debris from the deck area. Add detergent to your pressure washer, then apply the detergent water mixture to your entire deck with long strokes that overlap each other. Stop pressure washing once you've covered the entire area, and use a scrub brush to work across space. Make sure you don't let it dry on your deck, though. Then, using a wide spray nozzle, begin spraying the deck with pure water, moving with the grain of the wood. Don't get any closer than about half a metre. Once the deck dries, you may want to add a protective stain to keep it clean while potential buyers look at your home!

For more tips on how to sell your home faster, contact Doorsteps today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

The Best Tips For Selling Your Home Online As Quickly As Possible

How to Sell Your Home Online 

The best way to sell your home online is to make certain it is seen by as many people as possible. This requires a lot of planning, good decisions and the right strategy. A real estate agent provides the best exposure. You will have to spend some money but it is important to look for a company offering the cheapest estate agent fees. The agent should have a high rating with the search engines, their site should be easy to navigate including searches by area or price and the listings should be high quality. 

The pictures are critical because prospective buyers rely on the descriptions and photographs they see online. The descriptions should be clear and concise to showcase the best characteristics of your home. Any updates must be fast or there is a good possibility the consumer will search somewhere else. There are sales tools available to make the process more effective such as marketing materials, yard signs, sales support and lock boxes. 

The listing for your home must catch the eye of potential buyers. It is critical your listing remains current. Real estate agents have the experience and skills necessary to ensure the photographs, description and lures will attract attention. Advertising your home on social media is an excellent way to ensure your home is seen by a much wider audience. Some neighbourhoods offer residents a specific site for social media. This type of posting often results in referrals. 

There must be a listing for your home including as much detail as possible. Many potential buyers are looking for specific features. If they do not see them listed, you may lose a sale. The housing market is extremely competitive. Your home must stand out from the others. Anything that separates your home from the others and makes it unique is important. This includes a new kitchen remodel, new appliances, an outdoor storage shed, excessive closet space, new windows, etc. 

It is important to remember your home must be easily accessible to as many consumers as possible to make a sale. The better your listing, the faster your home will sell. Securing the cheapest estate agent fees is a nice bonus.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

The Top 3 Things Buyers Will Hate About Your Home

We have a secret: as much as buyers want to find the perfect home, most of them dread doing so. This hatred accounts for the rise of online listings - most people would rather start the dreaded process in the comfort of their own homes. What can you do to make the physical buying process a bit more comfortable and get people excited about buying your home? Check out what buyers hate, then make sure you manage to avoid 

1. Clutter! From too much furniture to closets that are so piled full of junk you can't see what once was, potential buyers hate clutter and attacking it is your best bet. Remember, a great deal of furniture can make the rooms look much smaller than they actually are. Clear out the bigger pieces of furniture, make sure you have just a select few pieces that compliment the room without cluttering it up. Think about your closets, too. You need to realise that potential buyers are definitely going to snoop, so be prepared. Clean out your closets as much as you can. Buyers want space, and by cleaning the closets out halfway you’re not only decluttering, but you’re also making space look bigger, which is always a bonus.

2. Dark Spaces! This one may seem silly but think about this for a moment: do you have any light bulbs in your home that need to be changed out? Is one room extremely bright and another dim? Getting the right lighting in each room can vastly improve the way the room looks, so take a walk and figure out which bulbs need changing! While you're at it, you may want to clean the windows to help let the light in.

3. Odours! The worst thing for a buyer is to walk into a potential home and smell cigarette smoke, wet dog, or trash. Give your home a smell test. If grease is hanging in the air or it just doesn't smell like it could, consider airing it out, giving your carpets a deep clean, and working with the smell. 

Hoping to spot other problem areas? Find a close friend or family member that you trust and ask them to do a walkthrough of your home. Have them to point out things they like about your home, and things they don’t. What is appealing and what isn’t? Keep a running list and try not to get upset: they’re only trying to help you! By seeing things through someone else’s eyes it’s often much easier to be able to set up the home in an appealing way for potential buyers.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Do Outdoor Living Spaces Sell Homes?

When was the last time you did any real thinking about your garden? If you're hoping to sell your home in the near future, spending some time with your garden may actually be key. One study found improving your outdoor living space could increase your ROI by up to 100%. Worth it? Absolutely, but how do you make that happen? These tips can help. 

Work with What You Have: As much as possible, use the space you currently have to your advantage. While adding decking or paving might look amazing, if you already have some under-utilised features, make those count. It will save you money in the long run without the added work. 

Create Colour: One of the best things you can do in your back garden is to move from one colour to several. If you look outside and see only the brown of the fence and the green of the grass, it's time to spice things up a bit. Whitewash the fence, plant some bright flowers, and add a seating area with bright cushions to attract the eye and make the entire area look exciting.

Add Space: Many people are stuck with small back gardens, and while that may be there reason for your move in the first place, you don't have to remain stuck. Instead, you can do a few things to increase the space you have. Try creating multiple levels - a seating level, raised beds, and something at the ground level as well. Sometimes the only way to go is up!

Consider One or Two Big Investments: While you should absolutely use what you have, if you really want that big ROI, think about one or two big investments. A paved seating area is always good, as is an outdoor kitchen. Just don't get too carried away, or you might not get the return you want.

To learn more about how we can show off that back garden to more potential buyers, contact us today!

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Decluttering and Depersonalising

Just the idea of selling your home can be a little stressful, and a bit exciting at the same time. You’re going on a new adventure, getting a new home, but first you have to pass on your current home to the next loving homeowners. Sometimes sellers are so attached to their homes that they make it harder on themselves to get a good sale. Did you know, however, that by depersonalizing, and decluttering your home you’re much more likely to get a fast sale?

Let’s talk about decluttering. A little clutter in a household is completely normal. We come home from work, drop our purse off on the table, throw our jacket on the back of the chair, plunk the mail down on the counter, and the like. When your home is up for sale you never know when someone may be popping by to take a look at it (with the realtor, of course), so it’s important to stay as decluttered as you can. 

First, start by doing a thorough decluttering of your home. Get rid of everything that doesn’t need to be visible on the counters and shelves. Then make it easy on yourself and get some baskets. A basket on the counter is the perfect place to put mail and your purse. A basket in the bathroom can catch the clutter there, and a basket on the stairs is a great place to put all the things that need to go upstairs. Potential homebuyers don’t mind baskets, but random clutter scattered around is definitely not something they want to see.

You should also depersonalise your home. What does that mean? Firstly it means that the majority of photos on your wall and fridge need to be put into storage. Potential buyers don’t want to see your photos of Aunt May or Uncle George. They want to envision their own family photos on the walls. There are, however, exceptions. If you have a nice photo of your wedding, that’s perfectly acceptable to leave on the wall as it gives the homeowners a slight glimpse into who you are. It’s also fine to leave a cute picture of two of any young children you have on the wall, because who doesn’t love photos of cute kids? Just remember to only leave it at one or two photos and to put everything else in storage.

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