Covid-19 Advice and FAQ

While many of us may be feeling initially bored or frustrated during the current lockdown, it’s actually an ideal time to make some minor improvements to your home to help increase its saleability.

Spring and early summer are traditionally the busiest times for the housing market. This year, of course, things are rather different, to say the least.

Walk past estate agents’ doors (our own included) and you will see they’re all closed, with staff typically working from home.

However, activity hasn’t stopped completely. People are still thinking about moving to their dream home and browsing properties online.

CEO at Oakfield Neil Newstead says: “We can certainly help if you can supply photos, floor plans and even video tours. We have plenty of tips and guidance about this to maximise your property value. Realistically, selling your home during lockdown, without a physical viewing, will be challenging. But with strong social media activity and high property portal traffic, it’s an ideal time to generate interest in your property.”

Making the most of lockdown

These weeks could provide the perfect chance to get busy and improve your home. There’s likely to be a post-lockdown scramble in the market, so increasing saleability during lockdown will stand you in good stead for a quick sale once restrictions are eased.

Of course, we’re not advocating any home improvements which could result in a dash to A&E. Equally, non-essential trips to shops aren’t recommended, while ordering DIY supplies online as non-essential items probably isn’t ideal, either.

But you can make many minor improvements safely at home yourself. And some of the smallest, simplest changes could make the biggest difference when it comes to creating a great first impression among prospective purchasers.

So using lockdown to improve your home really is a smart move.

The best ways of using lockdown to improve your home

It may be a cliché, but first impressions really do count, so think about the overall look of your home from the moment someone drives up. Additionally, if your home has not yet been valued, it could help give you a higher valuation.

Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Declutter, declutter, declutter

Even if you’re not planning on moving, excessive clutter is never psychologically healthy. Clearly, a lot will depend on how long you’ve been in a place, whether you already have regular clear-outs or prefer to hang on to things. But, it’s an absolute no-no for property viewings, and will just make a place seem cramped and messy, and means your property won’t fulfil its potential.

Not only do prospective buyers need to visualise themselves in your property, which is harder to do in a cluttered place, but they may not share your personal tastes.

For anything you don’t need or love, think now about how you could recycle or donate it after lockdown.

  • Don’t forget the kitchen and bathroom

A ‘busy’ kitchen will suggest there’s not enough cupboard space, in an area of your home where storage is highly prized, so stash away appliances and any unnecessary kitchen gadgets such as juicers, blenders or coffee machines that are taking up room – and keep bathrooms clear too.

  • Hide kids’ toys

Of course, if you have little ones, their toys, games and other paraphernalia are part of family life, and you may even have stopped noticing them. But they can put buyers off, even those who have children themselves.

Dig out some storage boxes and find a suitable place to stow away toys before any viewings for when normality resumes.

  • Done and dusted

Given the current situation, it’s a good time to have a deep-clean anyway, for obvious reasons. But you’ll find clean windows and a grime-free residence make a massive difference when it comes to sales appeal.

Dust can make a room look darker, so the impact on overall appearance is significant.

Do a deep clean and banish dust, cobwebs and the like for good, before taking photos, and well ahead of any viewings, evicting any unwelcome spidery houseguests at the same time!

  • Clean your windows

Cleaning windows may seem an obvious task, but it’s surprising how many forget to do it. Dirty windows again darken the view, and make for a generally grubby appearance, so getting this right is important.

Windows are easy to clean yourself if they’re not too high up, so reach for a squeegee and bucket of hot soapy water. The warmer weather also means this is a great time of year for this job, too.

  • Don’t ignore covers, curtains and carpets

These may not be on your list of weekly cleaning tasks, but discoloured rugs and carpets, smelly upholstery or grubby curtains could combine to create a terrible impression to would-be buyers, and make your home look dirtier than it really is.

Wash covers and curtains, clean and scrub carpets and so on. It may not be the best time for having new carpets laid. But many common stains come out of carpets easily with soapy water, just don’t use bleach. (You can also use washing up liquid or water and a gentle laundry detergent.)

  • Be a grease buster

Clearly, worktops in your kitchen need to be clean and clutter-free. But consider all surfaces, including your cooker hood, extractor fan, cupboard handles and the like. Have every appliance that’s still on show, and every surface, shining like new. (This is good practice for combatting coronavirus anyway.)

  • Touching up scuffs with a lick of paint

Clearly, you’ll need to use any paint you already have to hand. But take a closer look at your property now you’re at home more. Clean, fresh walls make a huge difference, so touch up scuffs and grimy marks – or, if you’re able to, freshen up whole rooms will a full new coat of paint, depending on how much paint you have.

  • Spruce up your garden

We’re not long emerged from winter, so weed, tend to your plants and generally show your garden, patio and any other outside areas some love with a good old tidy-up. Use any seeds you happen to have to sort out any dead or dry grass patches.

Finally, it’s easily forgotten, but a thorough clean-up of outdoor seating and garden furniture helps create an overall welcoming impression.

  • Blooming marvellous – add some flowers

Flowers add the perfect finishing touch to photos of your home, and seriously brighten up a place and attract buyers. With spring finally blooming, you may well already have some in your garden. There are tricks you can do to increase focus on the blooms while blurring the background, especially now modern smartphone cameras often have multiple lenses. And when you finally do get viewings, having fresh flowers in vases will set off any room to blooming perfection!

  • Flat out – clearing communal areas

If you live in a flat rather than a house, look at communal areas. Do they need tidying or cleaning? Again, this is all about the impression created on arrival. At the moment, it makes sense to clean and disinfect surfaces like banisters or door handles, anyway, remembering to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

We can help you get the ball rolling

Where you can do jobs safely and without extra journeys, using lockdown to improve your home is a great idea.

At Oakfield, in common with most estate agents, we’re working from home to help keep everyone safe. So we’re here to answer questions or get the ball rolling if you’re serious about selling your home as soon as physically possible.

Neil Newstead adds: “We also have a great online valuation tool, if you’re unsure of your house value. Even better, our team can arrange a video chat with you, walk through your property with you and can give you a current house valuation, to help you achieve the best sale price.”

Give us a call today.