In January 2022, research from estate agents DNG forecast an average rise in regional housing markets of 12-13 per cent in 2022. While this is good news for people wishing to sell, homeowners are advised not to be complacent, as attention to detail can push their sale price to the upper range.
Jack Quinn, negotiator with Quinn Properties in Wexford, spent the first four years of his career with Jones Lang LaSalle in Dublin before returning to his family-run east coast property company just as Covid struck. For him, especially in lockdown, good photography is key to generating interest.
“Especially in Covid, but really any time, good photographs are your first step,” he says.
From his base in Wexford, he sells a lot of coastal properties, attracting out-of-county and overseas interest. Increasingly he sees the use of videos and drone footage as adding to the value, especially if the property is high-end or else situated in an area of natural beauty.
When instructed to sell a property, Quinn will visit the house again to advise on any alterations that might make the property more desirable.
“Declutter is the main thing, but we are there to help our clients, not add to their stress. We suggest that by doing certain things, we will not only attract more possible buyers, we should also shorten the sales cycle.”
Quinn suggests removing personal items such as photographs to keep the house looking neutral.
“We want the buyer to see themselves in the house.”
He also advises other tips such as removing any pets from pictures and viewing days. “Again, making the house as neutral as possible.”
“If the house looks like a turnkey proposition, then we have a better chance of securing a buyer more quickly.”
Penny Crawford Collins is a freelance interiors stylist and journalist working with some of the leading Irish glossy interior magazines and it is her job to make the houses look their best.
“While I am doing this with my colleague and photographer Philip Lauterbach for magazines, a lot of the same ideas hold true for someone selling their home,” says Crawford Collins.
While styling a room, typically she will take photographs and then look at them on an iPad.
“It’s just easier to see styling mistakes, such as hanging TV cables or messy under table clutter. While we do this to improve our magazine pictures, it would also be a good idea for a homeowner to take shots and look objectively at their rooms.”
Declutter is again the name of the game as well as making the house look fresh and clean.
“In bathrooms, replace everyday towels with clean fresh towels, and if you have regular plastic bottles for shampoos or cleaning on view, you might tidy them away and replace with glass bottles or interesting shapes. Fresh soap in the dish and why not add a plant?”
For the rest of the house, Crawford Collins suggests decluttering as much as possible. “In the living room if you have a lot of tired-looking rugs and cushions, it might be an idea to borrow/buy fresh throws and cushions to make the room fresher.”
Front and back
The exterior and first impression of the house is also very important.
“Tidy up the front, cut the grass if needed, sweep the paths etc. Remember to declutter the hallway too – often that is where extra coats and shoes are dumped.”
Above all, Crawford Collins says make the house as clean as possible. “Fresh tea towels in the kitchen, upgrade any old basins and pot scrubbers, and maybe add some designer cookware. Oh, and wash your windows.”
For househunter David Delaney and his husband, the better the house looked the less likely they were to look. Forced by spiralling rents, they decided to jump into property ownership, but their ages (early 40s) and their salaries (media and retail) meant a 24-year mortgage would only buy them a modest house in the midlands.
“We needed a doer-upper, so if we saw fresh flowers in a picture, we were gone.”
Finally, they found a townhouse in Portlaoise for their budget and two years later they are happy and still doing it up. But the valuation this year (for insurance purposes) shows a doubling of price in that time. Homeowners you have been warned.