Part One – selling your home
I’ve heard that one of the most stressful things that you can do as an adult is to move house. Now, I’m certainly not a seasoned professional having only done this three times, but I have to say that after our experience last summer I would tend to agree. I found and pushed the edge of my patience and energy like an oversized elastic band on more that one occasion, as we set about putting our beautiful 1835 end of terrace home on the market and finding a property more suited to life with a busy (and, honesty, chaotic) young family.
In theory it seemed fine: put the house on the market, accept an offer, find a new home, have an offer accepted, move. What I hadn’t banked on was the fine print of the process, of which there is lots. Take putting the house on the market for example. Finding a local estate agent was a fairly painless process, especially as one discounted himself almost immediately by clearly having no local knowledge (“Are there any local amenities?” “Like shops, a train station, parks and so on?” “Yes” “Sure, look out of the window…”). Our chosen agent took a lot of the hard work out of the marketing side of things and proved to be very flexible to my particular preferences (such as a lack of desire to have a board pinned to our house). That didn’t mean that there was nothing for me to do though. Sorting the house for photographs was reminiscent of a two hour session at the gym, lugging furniture, equipment and toys from one place to another to get those all important shots for the particulars.
Then came the of editing said particulars. The estate agent did a great job but, being me, I had to go through them with a fine tooth comb, highlighting certain aspects and changing the language into the late hours of a Friday night, with him patiently on the other end of the email waiting for me to finish so he could load them online and start his weekend! This was before the bookings came in and we had viewings to scrub the house to within an inch of its life for, stacking our leased garage to the roof with extraneous items (also known as plastic toys and ‘stuff’ which was once useful but we now couldn’t quite remember its purpose). My hard work paid off and our family home sold immediately, but that was just the start of our dubious house-moving adventure.
Putting the memory of all this stress to one side for a moment, I did survive to tell the tale, and I do look back on some of it with a certain amount of humour. I also learnt a great deal and, although I’m not likely to revisit this process any time soon, I thought I would share some of the most helpful elements of my learning here, should any of you find yourself undertaking this process.
So, my valuable lessons learnt from the great (very approximately 1 in 500,000) house move of 2016.
Selling your home:
- Plan everything in the early stages of the process. Plans can be changed, but if you have something to hand when the stress hits you will at least have a starting point.
- Make time to read your sales particulars. Joking about my personality aside, these are the details of your home that will be out there for all to see. They have the power to attract or deter potential buyers. The expensive oven, ceiling speakers, wired in smoke detectors and burglar alarm may be over looked initially but need to be included, the cheap bathroom suite does not, or can at least be skimmed over.
- Book all viewings in on the same day. Our house went on the market with a date set aside 10 days later. This gave me time to make arrangements to get the children and dog out of the house with enough time to clean it top to bottom. It also gave plenty of time to make sure that little jobs around the house were done.
- Do think about what will make your home friendly and welcoming, an extra pot plant here or there can do wonders.
- Some people advise baking bread before viewings or making a fresh pot of coffee. I’ll be honest here, I was far too busy cleaning and planting an entire new border just minutes before the first viewing to manage this, but I did consider my cleaning products carefully and chose ecological ones with hints of lemon and lavender which made the house smell pleasantly fresh (and hopefully covered any sweat drenched muddy undertones from my panic gardening session!).
- When the estate agent calls you to present an offer, do consider it carefully, even if it is an asking price offer. Make sure that any other interested parties are given time to make offers, but don’t hang around, and do ensure that your estate agent is keeping any potential buyers warm. We asked that the estate agents gave the other interested parties until the end of the day before we made our decision to accept an offer. We didn’t want to mess around or to lose out!
- When you have accepted an offer, take a deep breath, find a solicitor to start the legal process of selling your home, and have an evening off from it all! I really appreciated sitting in my deep cleaned home looking out at my newly planted border and sipping a cup of celebratory tea!
Now, bear with me. I know that this may already seem like a long list, especially as it is in addition to the weight lifting, fat burning house photo shoot session, and there is a part two to this, but it is worth it, I promise.
I planted our rose bush when we moved in ten years earlier, and hope that the new owners are looking after it!
I added a wisteria to our garden a few years before we moved, to soften an imposing brick wall.
Packing the essentials first!
Want to read more? Part two is here.