With interests rising, there are signs that people hoping to get a foot on the property ladder are reconsidering their options. When a house does come on the market, fewer people are attending viewings. So how as a seller can you make the most of this difficult market?
The first thing you need to do is ensure that you have the best possible online listing, says Mie-Lan Kok, who has been in the business for some 20 years. ‘You need to make sure the listing includes all the relevant information about the property and you need to have great photos, a video and a proper floor plan.’
Is all that really necessary, when homes are selling almost as fast as they are placed online? The biggest mistake you can make, says Mie-Lan, is to think that you can just put your house on the market and it will sell. ‘Yes, it will probably sell,’ she says ‘but not for the best possible price.’
Today’s busy people don’t have the time to visit loads of houses, so you need to make yours look as desirable as possible online. ‘People no longer think “oh that might be an interesting place”,’ she says. ‘They are much more selective about which properties they view. After all, if you have to schedule a viewing Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm, when you are supposed to be at work, you are going to be more picky.’
Making your home look great, says Mie-Lan, involves more than just cleaning and tidying up. ‘When you are selling your home, you have to make it easy for potential buyers to imagine themselves living in it, so I would always advise having it styled to make it seem appealing to the most possible people.’
That might mean removing those favourite, brightly coloured cushions or repainting that purple wall. And that, no matter how much it may hurt or seem unnecessary, it also means hiding the children’s drawings and the family photographs. ‘You can compare it with putting on makeup before you go to a party,’ she says. ‘You want your home to look as good as possible.’
This means if you have a balcony, clean it up and buy a few flowering plants in similar colours. Pull the bed covers straight. And if you live in an apartment block, make sure the stairs up your front door are clean and tidy too. Throw away the old newspapers and post. A filthy staircase gives a very bad first impression.
Make sure your home smells clean and fresh as well, but you don’t need to go as far as making sure the scent of freshly-baked apple pie wafts around. ‘In my entire career I have only once come across someone who had actually baked something to make the house seem homely,’ Mie-Lan says.
Viewers may also open built in cupboards and storage spaces, so you should tidy them up too ‘If your cupboard is a mess, people might think that you are a mess and that you don’t maintain your apartment properly, for example,’ Mie-Lan points out. ‘And after all, you will have to have a clear out when you move, so why not do it now?’
Another thing to watch out for is the time of day to open your house to viewings. ‘If you have a balcony on the west, for example, then it will look its best in the afternoon when the sun is out,’ she points out. ‘But do make sure the windows are clean.’
The bottom line, says Mie-Lan, is deciding if you actually want to move at all. Do you want to downsize, or move to a bigger home or a different part of the country. ‘You need to be very sure about why you are selling up,’ she says. ‘And of course, if you are staying in the Netherlands, you will need to find somewhere else to live as well.’
And that is the new dilemma facing people who are thinking about moving. So do you sell and then try to find a new place, or do you find a new place first and then sell – which may well require a bridging loan.
‘Most people I come across want to buy first, so what we do is prepare everything so their house can go on the market as soon as they sign for a new property,’ she says. ‘So take the photos, the video, the text… so as soon as we get the green light, we can press one button and the property will be listed. That means the scary time between buying and selling is kept as short as possible.’
If you are thinking of selling your home, contact Mie-Lan via firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +31 235 475 941
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