Spring is the season to get our homes and gardens ready for sale and who can blame us? With the arrival of milder weather, extended days, lighter evenings, and daffodils preparing to pop up in full bloom, it’s a prime time to flaunt our homes in all their glory!
This season traditionally marks a vibrant period, inspiring many to consider moving home. Now, we begin to embrace that splendid time when British weather becomes somewhat tolerable, and you can step outside without the risk of frostbite, thoughts turn to tackling lingering DIY projects.
In this article, I delve into what’s happening in Cardiff’s housing market and share my top tips for getting your home ready to stand out in the bustling spring market.
A Fresh Start for 2024
The Bank of England chose to maintain interest rates at 5.25%, signalling stability and providing a boost of confidence for both buyers and sellers, allowing them to plan with greater confidence.
The housing market displayed surprising resilience throughout 2023, defying all predictions. In October, the average property price stood at £287,782 in the UK, experiencing only a marginal 1.2% year-on-year decline and surpassing the low point recorded in March by £7,000 (UK HPI).
In recent weeks, the media has been abuzz with news of a price war between major lenders as they seemingly race to offer the most competitive products, making homeownership more affordable.
What about Cardiff?
Cardiff is a city that weathered the confusing storm of mixed narratives in 2023, influenced by rate increases and media speculation about house prices. Despite this, Cardiff stands tall.
The quest for more space and better ‘bang for the buck’ remains high on buyers’ wish lists. Thanks to the work-from-home revolution, daily commuters are expanding their horizons, and let’s face it, with the best rugby team in the world, stunning scenery, nearby beaches, a vibrant city centre and express train links to Paddington, Cardiff is worthy of any buyer’s consideration.
In the first two weeks of the year, Cardiff saw a whopping 273 properties hit the market for sale (237 houses and 36 apartments) which further backs up the feeling of positivity in the market this year.
The current average home price in Cardiff is £364,000, marking a 26.48% increase compared to the national average. Additionally, the average time it takes to secure a buyer for a marketed property in Cardiff is approximately 30 days, and although it can vary depending on various factors, the conveyancing process in the UK typically takes between 8 to 12 weeks. So, if you have holiday plans or are basing your move around school applications, it is worth bearing these time frames in mind.
Thinking of Selling Your Home This Spring?
Here are my top tips to spruce up your home, attract prospective buyers and maximise the value of your home:
Things like personal items, toys and family photos often obscure a home’s true potential. It is beneficial to minimize excess and restore your home to a pristine state. Going through these items during the packing process for a move is a perfect time to proactively declutter and identify new homes for items no longer necessary. By doing so, prospective buyers can better envision placing their own items in the property without distraction.
- Curb Appeal:
A fresh lick of paint on the front door is an easy way to add instant curb appeal. First impressions count, and therefore your home’s frontage needs to be as memorable as possible for all the right reasons. Some buyers make up their minds about a home within minutes, and this is because the exterior tells you a lot about the overall maintenance and appeal of a property. Simple steps like moving recycling bins out of sight and placing a new welcome mat at the door can make all the difference.
- Make an Entrance:
Remove coats, bags and shoes that may be hanging up in your hallway. You want buyers to feel a sense of space as they take their first steps through the door. Leave doors to rooms open, opening blinds and curtains in each room. This will make the space seem bigger. If you have a console table, be sure to pop some fresh flowers in a vase too, perhaps some vibrant daffodils to add a pop of colour.
- Deep Clean:
A deep clean can greatly enhance the overall appearance and fragrance of your home. This creates a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers, enabling them to envision themselves living there without the immediate concern of having to invest in new carpets or perform extensive property cleaning. The smell is a great way to set the tone and awaken the senses as buyers step into your home. Plug in a diffuser in the hallway and one upstairs to keep an appealing allure as buyers make their way through the property.
- Reach for the Toolbox:
Tackle minor repairs and maintenance issues such as leaky faucets, squeaky doors and chipped paint. A well-maintained home signals to buyers that it has been cared for and lets them know they won’t have to factor in costly repairs.
- Neutral Tones:
Consider repainting bold or personalised walls with neutral tones, allowing buyers to envision their own style and taste. According to Forbes, the new on-trend for 2024 is bright red paint, but perhaps leave that to the new buyers to try and test and instead just add a few pops of colour with soft furnishings, such as pillows and throws.
- Organise and Stage:
Professional Staging has become more and more popular, and I am a firm advocate for it. It’s a great way to showcase your property and highlight its functionality and flow and will make it stand out against the competition. According to Forbes, statistically staged homes sell for 17% more and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less.
- Energy Efficiency Upgrades: Consider making small energy-efficient upgrades, such as LED bulbs or a smart thermostat, which can be attractive to eco-conscious buyers and will boost your EPC rating which will be displayed on the brochures on an online advert.
- Get Up to Speed:
On the top of buyers’ priority lists is space for home working, so be sure to set up a space that shows how this could be possible. Be sure to check your broadband speed to pass on to your agent. w
This will be useful advice that buyers will appreciate knowing and can make a big difference to their decision-making.
- Highlight Outdoor Spaces:
Showcase your outdoor areas by cleaning up patios and gardens, and if you have pets be sure to keep an eye out for nasty surprises. Create an inviting atmosphere with tasteful outdoor furniture and décor, making sure that any outdoor lighting is working. Lighter evenings mean that buyers will book in viewings on their way home from work.
- Online Presentation:
Invest in an agent that will showcase your home, maximising its presentation online. Professional photos and videos allow a buyer to envisage the lifestyle of your property and what the local area offers. For most of us, our home is our most expensive asset, so investing in the best marketing is imperative and will secure you the best price in the long run.
- Pricing is Key:
Research similar properties for sale in your local area. It’s crucial to establish an estimate of your home’s value before seeking valuations from agents. This ensures they provide accurate advice, preventing them from suggesting unrealistic prices solely to outshine competitors. By prioritising these suggestions, you can elevate your home’s market appeal and boost the chances of a successful sale this spring.
By focusing on these tips, you can enhance your home’s marketability and increase the likelihood of a successful sale this spring.
Now that we have explored ways you can make your home more attractive to future buyers, let’s explore savvy ways that you can save time and stress when the moving day comes.
- Upon deciding to sell, engage a solicitor promptly
This proactive step not only saves time but can also expedite the overall conveyancing process by as much as three or four weeks, once a deal is reached. Opting for a local solicitor, facilitating hand delivery of documents and in-person communication, proves invaluable – never compromise on securing a proficient conveyancer! Thankfully there are plenty of great ones to choose from in Cardiff.
- Dig out that paperwork
Create a file containing essential documents for the sale, such as utility bills, warranties, planning applications, boiler service records, meter readings and council tax bills. Potential buyers often inquire about these details when assessing the home’s ongoing expenses, so having them readily available is consistently beneficial.
- Pack your bags!
Prepare a bag for each household member containing essentials for the initial night in your new home. Items like toothbrushes, pyjamas and medication are best kept within easy reach. This ensures you won’t need to sift through numerous packed boxes on the first night. Don’t forget to place tea bags and chocolate digestives at the top for quick access!
- Label, label, label
Sealed boxes are much safer to transport, so make sure they’re labelled and organised. It might take a bit of extra time and care to sort your belongings into categories, but you’ll get your time back in spades when it comes to unpacking.
- Make the switch
Find out who the suppliers are of your new home, make contact ahead of the move and schedule things in, like broadband installation, and switch over of utilities for when you move – this will be one less thing to think about while busy unpacking.