We all know that selling a home can be a trying time. It gets easier with practise, which might mean that investors who are working their way up the property ladder don’t suffer quite so much on moving day, but for the rest of us it can be emotionally and physically draining just to move house. On top of that, we have an enormously valuable transaction to oversee, whose success will have a huge impact on our financial future. For many of us, money is tight during a move, particularly while you’re paying two mortgages: how quickly the house sells and what the house eventually sells for will make a huge difference to your finances.
Less obvious to an outsider is the emotional impact of selling a house, particularly one which has been your family’s home for years, decades or even generations. Looking back through old photos, you will use the house as a backdrop which dates the pictures as surely as a child’s age or the car in the drive. If you’ve been struggling to sell for a while, feeling like your life is on hold and crossing you fingers before every viewing, it’s natural to feel a sense of rejection: that this house that you chose and that your family has loved is not ‘good enough’ for prospective buyers. It’s hardest the first time round, and far harder if the house has been in your family for a long time. But there are some tried-and-tested practical tips to make the process a little more bearable.
If you’ve had a house on the market at a fair price for too long, it might be time to take another look. Invite a friend or acquaintance who isn’t intimately familiar with the house to come and give you a verdict. Get ready to be told that your decorating style, however well it suited your family, however hard you worked and however much you spent, might be ‘too’ something: too bold, too bright, too definite, too period. When it doubt, go neutral: boring and bland as it may seem, flat painted walls in whites and creams look clean and invite buyers to imagine their own colour scheme. If you haven’t already, the best thing you can do to sell your house is to get rid of carpet, laminate or lino and choose an affordable real wood floor. In a modern home, light blond oak with a simple lacquer is refined and simple. In a period home, a darker stain and an antiqued texture might have a little more charm. Wood floors are valuable, durable, and more hygienic than carpet, and give a home an air of quality and refinement while remaining reasonably neutral. They also reflect light, making rooms look and feel bigger.
Three little words
Which brings us to the three little words you should already be using to sell your house. Once your brand new floors are installed and have settled in, give them polish and warm up the bedroom with a fluffy white rug, and then call your estate agent. Ask them to take all new photos in natural light, and to add something to the description: “Hardwood floors throughout”.