Even if you’ve made it to the point where you’re thinking hard about moving home, and perhaps downsizing, knowing where to start can still be really daunting. In this guide, we offer some guidance on how to go about your move.

Preparing Your Home to Sell

Selling your home is a big decision, but the process doesn’t have to be unnecessarily stressful. With a little planning and preparation, you can be on your way in no time.

Having decided to sell your home and move on to the next stage of your life, it’s important to take some time to prepare it for sale. After all, you want to make sure you get the best price possible and make the process as smooth as possible for your buyers to help avoid delays.

A few things to keep in mind as you prepare to sell

  • Declutter: The first step is to get rid of any excess belongings, things you don’t need or use or want, and organise what’s left so that it looks neat and tidy. If necessary, move things you want to take with you but which are cluttering the place up into storage for a few weeks. Decluttering will help potential buyers visualise themselves living in your home.
  • Repair anything that needs repairing: Make sure all of your doors and windows open and close properly, fix any cracks in the walls, repaint any damaged areas, etc. It’s a small investment that will be repaid in bargaining power and interest in your property.
  • Clean thoroughly: This goes without saying, but a clean home is a welcoming one. Clean every nook and cranny, and make sure your windows are sparkling.

Determining your property’s market value

Your home is, in all likelihood, one of your most valuable assets. So, when the time comes to sell, it’s important to get an accurate estimate of its market value. This will then help you decide whether this is the point at which you’d like to downsize or move to a retirement community.

A number of factors always go into determining a property’s market value, including its location, size, age and condition. Estate agents and their valuers use a variety of methods to estimate the value, including comparing it to similar homes they and other agents have recently sold in the area.

You can also get a rough estimate of your home’s market value by looking at recent sales data on websites like Right Move and Zoopla. This data will give you an idea of what homes in your area are selling for and how much yours might be worth.

How to ‘stage’ your home for attract buyers

‘Staging’ is the name now used to describe the business of preparing a property to look its best for potential buyers.

It’s one of the most important steps in the selling your home quickly and for a good price, and it’s where you can make or break a sale.

Remember, you’re not trying to make your home look like a show house. You’re just trying to make it look its best so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living there.

Here are a few tips for staging your home:

  • Make sure everywhere is spotless: This is probably the most important step. Potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home. If the kitchen or bathroom still show signs of this week’s use, an otherwise interested buyer may be put off completely. If you have viewings, clean up.
  • Fix things: We touched on this earlier, but don’t leave loose handles, cracked window panes or dripping taps to give the idea that the place is falling apart. It will put people off, or at least encourage them to offer below your asking price.
  • Consider repainting: This may seem like a lot of work, and a costly undertaking, but it needn’t be. If your paintwork is old, or if the colours are out of the ordinary ask your estate agent to recommend a decorator who does fast, economical repaints to help sell properties. Most agents know one. A fresh coat of paint makes your home look newer and more welcoming, and the smell is always appealing, too.
  • Add some flowers or plants:  Fresh flowers and healthy plants always add a touch of freshness and life to a space that buyers warm to.

Finding the right Estate Agent

A good estate agent can be a valuable ally in moving home without too much stress. Finding such a person, however, can be challenging, but try to find, within a firm, an individual who covers your area and who has experience of working with people in your situation. Ask your neighbours and friends for recommendations, and ask on local neighbourhood internet forums.

The right estate agent will be able to give you a realistic idea of how much your home is worth and how long it’s likely to take to sell. If you are considering your next move being to buy in a retirement village similar to ours, they should also be familiar with the retirement villages in your area and be able to give you some advice on these.

Once you’ve found an agent you’re happy with, they’ll handle all the details of selling your home, from advertising it online and in the local papers to negotiating with buyers and arranging viewings.

Making sure the sale works for you

An estate agent who is used to working with retirees will understand the specific issues involved in making this kind of move, and should be able to help ensure not only that the price and terms agreed are favourable, but also that the timings are organised to take into account your wishes.

Your agent will advise on the right price for your home, taking into consideration things like the current market value of similar homes in your area, any repairs or renovations that need to be made.

Once you have an offer from a buyer, the agent will help you negotiate to a final sale price and any specific terms you are agreeing with the buyer. Your solicitor will take care of all of the formal conveyancing, and will also codify any specifics of the agreement that need legally binding agreement.

Moving to a Retirement Community 

If you’re considering moving to a retirement community, there are a lot of things to think about, and you should allow yourself plenty of time for this, starting some months before you approach an estate agent about selling your current home.

Communities of this kind have a lot to offer, including lower responsibilities, excellent security, plentiful social activities, and lots of leisure and hospitality facilities, all of which can make your life easier and more enjoyable. They’re definitely worth considering if you’re retired and looking for a new place to live.

If you are interested in buying a home in this kind of community, you’ll need to think about whether you wish to stay in the area you live in at present, or would like to move to another part of the country to be closer to family.

Do internet research on the retirement communities in the are you’d like to live in, and then make appointments to go and visit. All such villages have liaison managers who are there to show around people who are considering moving there, assist with questions and then help people who do decide to buy to manage their move smoothly.

Ask us if you’d like more help

So, whether you decide to downsize but continue living in a house or flat on the ‘open market’, or do decide to move to a retirement community, we hope this guide helps make the process a little less daunting.

Selling your home is a big step, but with the help of our tips, you should be able to make the move as smoothly as possible. And if you do have questions about moving to a retirement community, whether or not that is Santhem, do get in touch. We’ll do our best to help you.