Preparing your home to sell it faster

Preparing your home to sell it faster- and with a profit

Completing certain tasks, and preparing your property, before you list it on the housing market is beneficial, to gaining a better price from a prospective buyer, and ultimately a house sale. Establishing, what these tasks are, and why you are undertaking them, is a step in the right direction. Let’s start, on the major project of getting a home ready to sell. We will awaken ideas, and provide tips, to get your property in better shape. Creating interest from house buyers, without delving too much into your budget. Let’s ask the question why it’s important. We cannot stress enough, that preparation, has a vital part to play helping your property fetch a higher price, and perhaps produce a quicker sale.

Things to take into consideration when selling your property

Firstly, the outside of the house or flat, needs your attention. You must present your property to prospective buyers and create a good first impression of it. This is known in the professional circles as creating ‘kerb appeal’ The property, must appeal and leave the prospective buyer, wanting to view the inside and enter over the threshold and see more..

Make sure, the garden is free from rubbish, as this is off putting and makes the property look uncared for. Remove piles of dead leaves, trim back bushes. Aim for nice landscaping, with well maintained lawns, and no overgrown shrubs. The exterior of the house needs to be spotless, front doors and windows must shine and the driveway must be cleaned and well brushed. A coat of fresh paint, will work wonders to a tired front door.

Organisation of repairs, start with a list of to do’s. List all the repairs your house needs to have done, and the ones you have been putting on the back burner, to do at some stage. This should include small repairs, an example could be things as simple as, replacing a light bulb, to large scale major repairs, such as maintenance of the roof. Effectively, you need to consider your budget. Money spent on major repairs, and upgrades, will probably not be recouped in the house sale price. Try to attend to the smaller repairs, before deciding on bigger projects, all the time looking at financial implications. De clutter and organise your personal possessions. If you can’t part with them, put them in storage, or give them to a friend or relative meantime.

Professional estate agents, or home stager, will agree that, to show your house at its best, to potential buyers it is advisable to remove clutter, and excessive personal items to create an image of space. Less is more, so to speak, and is always a positive tactic to adopt, when selling a property. Nobody wants, a viewing that uncovers a property, where there is a lack of tidiness and order and gives the impression of being chaotic. Overflowing drawers, and messy rooms, are not a good start to progress into a house sale. Good storage systems, where everything is tidied away, will help potential buyers, visualise living in that space themselves.

If you have an abundance of furniture, and there is no space to move in the rooms, it might be a good idea, to think about renting a storage unit, to house unnecessary furniture, whilst the property is on the market. It will be worth paying the storage charge, as this will achieve more spacious areas, and show the rooms off to their full potential to would be buyers.

Who to hire?

Professionals, are more than happy, to help you prepare your home, ready to be marketed and showcased for a sale. However, professionals are costly, and you may need to work on your home yourself, depending on how much work your home needs. Consider the Professionals listed below:

An Estate Agent

He is first on your list to call and hire. The estate agent, will be able to give you an assessment of the property, and estimate an achievable selling price to ask for, on the housing market.

Cleaning Service

It is important, to have your property squeaky clean, and sparkling, for viewings. If you haven’t the time, because of family or work commitments, it is worthwhile to hire a company, that specialises in this, and they will complete it within a day.

Handy person

It is always a good idea, to know an odd job person to hire, who can attend to small jobs that need doing around the house, that have been put to the bottom of your list of things to do.


An electrician, can fix your broken doorbell, or porch light and attend to any interior lighting problems.


If you haven’t time, or not good with a paintbrush, the answer is to hire a painter. Spend the extra on getting chipped paintwork re-touched, doors re-painted, rooms refreshed , making your home more appealing, when it comes round to being viewed.


If you have spare money available in your budget, then appoint a professional home stager. They will help you to de clutter your house, and will apply their skills to arrange furniture and accessories your rooms. They will make recommendations to you and stylise rooms, to prepare your home for a profitable sale.

Gardener or Landscape designer

If you are not garden orientated it could be worth, investing in the services of a gardener or landscape designer. First impressions count, and the first port of call is the garden as discussed previously.

Costing Breakdown

It is good advice to follow, not to spend too much money, preparing your home for sale. Granted, make small changes, and possibly upgrade, if this will boost the value of your property. Don’t dip too far into your savings. You may need extra money for unexpected emergencies, that may crop up.


A Handyman , may cost between £50.00 -£80.00 per hour and up to £50.00 to £100.00 per hour for an electrician. Prices vary greatly, shop around. Don’t use any unqualified persons especially an electrician.

Home staging consultants, may be expensive, and charges may vary from £150.00 – £500.00 Charges will depend, on how much you expect them to do and if, you require additional full-service staging and furniture rentals. If you decide upon a storage unit to rent, expect to pay at least £70.00 – £120.00 per month.


Painting services, generally cost about £4.00 – £6.00 per square foot, or the painter will give you their costing in the form of a quote.

When to sell

Most promising house sales happen, in summer. Start getting your property ready to view in late spring or early summer. Aim for summer, to put your house on the market to sell. Start working through your checklist of repairs and thing to do, sooner rather than later. It is probably better to start preparation in the way of landscaping the garden, the year before you want to sell. A splash of colour in the garden, will be inviting and create a good first impression, use seasonal plants.

In Conclusion – Basic steps to follow

  1. Choose an estate agent, that you have interviewed and who you are happy with.
  2. Look at your property, and decide what will enhance its exterior and interior, to appeal to prospective buyers.
  3. Decide how much work you intend to do yourself, and what you will pay the professionals to do.
  4. A Home Stager – If you can afford one, they will have an enormous input on what needs rectifying, changing,repairing, and discarding in your home, worthy of the money you will spend on their bill.
  5. Additional professionals

As every house is different, it may require varying professionals to restore, change and repair your property to show it to its best advantage. Achieving a sale, is the main goal. Additional professionals, can be brought in when required and necessary. Don’t forget to keep a careful eye on the budget. Good luck!

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How much will your house purchase cost?

Solicitor’s fees are more expensive for processing buying, than for selling property. They have more to do, so they say. Quotes from firms, should include stamp duty, when you buy a property. Deduct stamp duty, so all quotes are legitimate, and legal fees are accurate. Added extras, maybe concealed in the contract.

Below, is a check list that should be included in your quote:

* Land registry fees

* Vat

* Drainage searches

* Mining searches

* Land registry searches and office copies

* Professional indemnity cover

* Mortgage lenders legal fee

* Local authority searches

* Bank telegraphic transfer charges

Recommended lawyers, are listed and updated constantly, to make sure the latest information is available.

Criteria, looked for, in a conveyancing firm, are to uphold policies that govern all the costs upfront. A disclosure, within quotes given, and the operation of very strict policies concerning this. It is also, important to consider quotes from differing solicitors, who have been recommended, ultimately choosing a conveyancing solicitor to suit you.

Stamp Duty Tax – What it involves

You may already be aware, of what is involved concerning stamp duty tax, but we will look again at it.

If you buy a property in the UK over £126,000, you are liable by law, to pay the Inland Revenue, and this is known as stamp duty land tax.

It is payable on all:

* Houses

* Land

* Buildings

* Flats

Stamp duty rates momentarily are set at:

£125,001 – £250,000           1 percent

£250,001 – £500,000             3 percent

£500,001 – £1 million           4 percent

£1 million – £2 million         5 percent

Over 2 million                         7 percent

Depending on which part of the country, you are buying from, some properties less than £151,000 have a ‘disadvantaged area relief’ tax with a saving of perhaps up to £1,600.00 it is useful to use H.M. Revenues and Customs website to find out which part of the country qualifies for this reduction.

The cost of the Mortgage Broker

Fees for a mortgage broker vary greatly. Some, may charge only a set fee, while others charge a percentage of a mortgage, that they are concerned with and arrange. Whatever the scenario, it is standard to pay no more than 1 percent of the mortgage. Maybe, a little more if bad credit issues are involved. If a fee, is charged, it should be no more than 0.25 – 0.5 percent. If the broker, receives commission, from the lender, he must account for this. A professional and reputable broker, will take off the commission from the arrangement fee.

The legal fee for your Mortgage Lender

There is no standard fee scale, for a solicitor selected by your lender,be aware of this. It is in your own interests, to sort out a solicitor, from your lender’s panel of legal firms, that have been approved by them. Your lender, will choose to instruct their own solicitor, to process the legal side of your mortgage. This cost, will be picked up by you. Do your homework, research, and find a solicitor who you trust, and can work with. Don’t accept the run of the mill solicitor, who your estate agent may have an arrangement with.

Valuation fee from the Mortgage Lender

A surveyor, will take a trip round, to value the property, a service which you will have to pay for. The lender, must make sure the property, you are going to buy , is worth the asking price, and a good bargain. It is beneficial, to ask your mortgage broker, or lender for the cost in total. You can use the free quote service supplied by Rightmove to give an idea of impending charges.

Arrangement fees imposed by a Mortgage Lender

The lender, will make a charge for sorting out your mortgage. A lender, may charge, but on the other hand, may not. If it is a fixed rate or capped mortgage, that is being arranged, they will mostly charge. Their fee, could be between £300 .00 – £460.00, but your mortgage broker, or lender will advise. There has been a trend recently, for lenders, to bump up the arrangement fee to perhaps reduce repayment rates. An experienced broker’s knowledge can pay dividends.Watch out for mortgages with a cheap rate, which look great, and a good deal, but it may have a higher arrangement fee. You may be better off, taking a deal , that may have a more expensive repayment rate. Also the broker, may want to charge you an arrangement fee, even if your purchase falls through, check it out! because, no doubt they will charge.

MIG – Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee

This is another charge, to take into consideration, when budgeting your monies. I touches on first time buyers, that can’t afford to put down an extensive deposit. It is known, as a fee for a high lending option.

The MIG for short, is an insurance policy, that covers your lender’s losses, if the loan isn’t paid. This policy, however, doesn’t have any impact on you, it has no coverage for you. A payout, will be made by the insurance company, to your lender. But the insurance company, will reclaim, any loss from you. You could easily pay between £500.00 – £1,000.00 if you are borrowing at a high loan value ratio. So, again, check this scenario out with your adoptive mortgage broker.

The Survey

Looking back, to re-iterate. Listed below, are three main types of survey. It is your choice, after considering your options, which one to use and cost implications.

* Home buyers Report – £350 – £1,0000 + vat

* Full structural survey £500 – £1500 + vat

* Valuation report £250 – £350 + vat

Mortgage lenders, sometimes think that a valuation report is quite basic and not enough information is given for a purchaser. So, an extended survey, maybe offered in the form of a home buyer’s report. This report, is more extensive, and will highlight damp, structural and visible defects. Include, a costing for what is needed in the way of repairs or replacement. Provided, in this report, are insurance valuations. It may even tell buyers, enough about the property, for price negotiations to come about. The surveyor, however,will not:

* Test any services

* Take a detailed look at the roof

* Lift carpets.

If the property, is more than 60 years old, perhaps it would be in your best interests, to get a full structural survey. Older properties are high risk. if you make a written offer on a property, make sure, it is subject to survey and contract. Make it clear, that you may need to re-negotiate your offer, if the survey is not satisfactory.

Building and contents insurance

Depending on whether, you are buying freehold or leasehold, there are differences in insurances. Freehold property, is automatically insured when you exchange contracts. A leasehold property, is different because, it is the landlord’s responsibility, and he will make sure the property is insured, but you need to contribute via a service charge. Don’t cancel your policy on the property you are selling, until the sale is finalised. Your lender, need confirmation, that you have building insurance, and may suggest that you use them, but resist. They are after commission.

Contingency fund

It is important to budget, and have a fund , in case anything goes wrong, or unexpected costs. Experts, have recommended to have an excess of 2 – 3 percent of the purchase price available. Unexpected costs, that may crop up are:

* Drainage and electrical engineering reports

* More than one survey

* More than on mortgage arrangement fee

Extra money can come in handy if problems arise.

Costs, overlooked by Home Movers

A question to ask about selling your property is : Could your property sell at a higher price on the market, if you spent money, making it more buyer friendly? Improve, by refurbishing your property, which is costly. Bridging loans, may help you afford to use professionals to do work, or provide money for work to be done by yourself. Lastly, but very importantly, is the subject of life insurance. You must ask questions, about life insurance policies. Your mortgage lender, will try to sell you insurance, but don’t be swayed, do your research and find out the best available deal, applicable for you. You may need insurance to cover, mortgage payments, in case of being made redundant, or suffer a serious illness.

There are lots of policies available. It is necessary, to research and decide, which is best for you. Make sure, your mortgage is covered, at least for the amount of money you are borrowing on your mortgage. Relax, we have highlighted most concerns you may have about moving home.

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A house sale or a lease option?

A Lease Option

A lease option, is a well-known terminology, used by estate agents and in the property world. It signifies, not only a lease tenancy, but a lease with perhaps an added extra to allow a purchase. The question asked for income tax purposes, in these lease-option transactions, is to find out, if the tenant is leasing the property, legitimately, or an instalment sale has taken place, before the tenant has decided to execute a purchase option.

In economic reality, there are lots of surrounding factors, to take into consideration, before answering this question. There isn’t just one single factor to determine, whether a lease option could be classed in economic reality as a sale. A noted tax authority, echoed these thoughts, in the Guardian, in stating factors that needed to be considered were the terms of the lease, economic circumstances, and the intention of the concerned parties. If signs lead to a conclusion that exercising the option, was there at the beginning it could be clear to think the transaction was a sale, and should be accepted as such.

Tax implications

A lease option, may be thought of as a sale, but beware there are tax implications.

* To transfer, the ownership of the property, may cause the timing of the transfer to be changed. With a lease that is registered as a true option ownership will be transferred, when the option is processed. If the transaction, is considered as a sale, then full ownership is transferred, when the agreement is executed by the parties.

* The option payment, and rent payment during the period of the lease, are changed by their nature.

Lease and purchase transactions, are treat differently, by the taxman. It is important to understand how the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) relate to, and register that a lease transaction maybe regarded as a sale.

A Sale or a lease option?

the tax question, basically is concerned, with whether or not the IRS will assume, and need verification, that a previous sale happened, prior to the tenant exercising the option to purchasing the property. Generally, indications, may highlight a high probability that the lease option agreement, went through as a sale, not just as a lease option. The tenant, may acquire equity in the property, while leasing, this will increase the possibility of a purchase. One way to protect their investment.

The terms of the lease

Rent payments, can be received, and are only deductible, when a tenant has no equity interest. Factors that may substantiate the fact, that a tenant is developing an equity interest in the property could be:

* The rental sum, and payments, and the option price for the market price of the property.

* The rent payment, that is much more than the market rental value of the property.

Rents that are inflated, and a below-market option price, together tend to point to an equity interest in the property. To illustrate this, and to have a clearer idea of what we mean, imagine James leases a building from John, for approximately two years, for an annual rent of £120,000. At the same time, James pays John £20,000 for an option, to buy the property. At the end of the two years, for £240,000 the lease option agreement at the time is executed, and the fair market value of the property, is £500,000 and the rental is £50,000. James gains £70,000 of equity per year over the lease period of two years. £120,000 rent payment, £50,000 fair market rent. Plus, in addition, payments made by James, which equal the property value £20,000 option payment and £120,000 rent.

Circumstances, at the time, the agreement is taken out, can confirm that the lease option, can be as a sale, and the £20,000 option payment, could be the deposit payment.

The example outlined above, would be thought of as a sale, for tax purposes. The rental amounts, are such, that the tenant is financially compelled to take up the option. The evidence, showing the raised rents, and the low option price, added together to the fair market value of the property. The option price, may be thought of a s a bargain price, but could be categorized as a sale. A large portion of the fair market value of the property, is represented by the option price. The rent payments, aren’t applicable to the purchase price, if this is acceptable, the lease option, won’t be thought of as a sale.

For more information on lease options and whether they work speak to one of our advisor’s today.

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