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CHANGING ROOMS: RELAUNCH YOUR HOME WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

If you took a break from selling last year and you’re ready to try again, or if your home is still for sale and you’d like to refresh your marketing, this week’s blog is for you.

We’ve all said at some point that a change is as good as a rest, and whether it’s switching careers or changing a routine, doing things differently is the route to new results. And when it comes to selling your home, nothing could be more true.

Changing the appearance of your property doesn’t have to be costly or disruptive. There are many ways of creating a new look with surprisingly little effort, often by using furniture and accessories that you already own. And with updated photography to capture your restyled interior, you get a second chance to catch the eye of anyone who missed you the first time around, as well as this year’s new buyers.

If you’d like to talk about getting the look of your home just right, we’re always here to help. Give us a call on 01843 269188 or message us at mail@alexander-russell.co.uk. Meanwhile, let’s ring in 2022 with tips on a new-year makeover to get your move back on track.

THINK ABOUT FOCAL POINTS

Every room needs something for buyers to focus on to convey warmth, light or character.

Windows are an excellent example because people naturally gravitate towards them. They draw the eye to the outside, making a room feel larger and brighter (particularly when they’re clean).

Highlighting your windows could be a simple matter of opening your curtains wider with a longer pole, clearing a ledge of excess clutter, or arranging your furniture to extend the sightline.

In living rooms, televisions have become a natural focal point for everyone to gather around, but they’re not a selling point of your home.

Moving your TV may not be practical, but you can certainly diminish its presence. Try painting the wall behind in a rich colour like navy blue, deep leafy green or slate grey to help the screen blend into the background. Or add books, artwork and accessories to switch a viewer’s attention to your decor.

Fireplaces should always be accentuated. For traditional styles, it’s hard to go wrong with glamorous candlesticks, pokers, tongs, screens and a mirror over the mantlepiece. If you’ve got a modern fuel-burning stove, a pile of logs makes a splendid companion.

If you’ve got a room without a strong feature, try painting a single wall in a fashionable colour of the season or giving it a wallpaper moment.

MOVE THINGS AROUND

The easiest option to change the look of your home is to use what you’ve got, but in a different way.

Very often, a striking piece of furniture like a brightly-coloured couch, a large piece of art or even an upright piano can be the thing that sticks in the minds of buyers: it’s those splashes of individuality that create unforgettable photographic moments.

Finding a new place for standout pieces can transform the way your home looks online, giving you a second chance to catch the eye of anyone who missed you the first time around.

Change

Even in streets of similar 1930s and Victorian houses, not every room has the furniture in the same place. Moving a bed to another wall, changing the position of a couch or armchair, and relocating a sideboard or chest of drawers can all provide a valuable refresh.

Switch
Try swapping items between rooms to give them an entirely new setting: think artwork, mirrors, freestanding shelves, lamps and plants. Experiment and take snaps on your phone to see what looks good and where.

Remove

Too much furniture can block sightlines to windows, cover up floor space, and make your home look small. The trick is finding the sweet spot that allows your home to shine while remaining a comfortable place to live. Does your living room need two armchairs as well as a couch while you’re trying to sell? Do you need six chairs at the dining table, or are four enough right now?

Minor tweaks like this can make a major difference. Any excess items can go into storage (or a good friend’s garage) and be ready for collection when you move to your new home.

MAKE REPLACEMENTS NOW

Most people delay replacing furniture until after moving, often because they see everyone else doing the same thing. Despite being perfectly normal, it isn’t always the best option.

New furniture can help sell your home, so if any of your existing pieces are looking tired and destined for eBay when you move, look at what you can replace now.

Whether you’re upsizing to gain more bedrooms or downsizing for less to clean, the sizes of the individual rooms between your current and future home may be quite similar. As an example, and in any given neighbourhood, the size of reception rooms in classic Victorian terraces or 1930s semis can be very similar in those with three and four bedrooms.

Have you spotted a fabulous couch, comfy armchair, or even a chandelier for your next living room? Perhaps a bed with a gorgeous headboard has caught your eye, or a beautiful print or painting. If any of them will fit in your current home, why not add their glamour to your photos and viewings?

With some smart thinking around your furniture, you’ll thank yourself on moving day. Having replaced the pieces you planned to upgrade – and with a mercifully shorter to-do list – your new home will be ready for its public appearance as soon as you move in.

ADD LUXURY WITH TEXTILES

As well as how your home looks, how does it sound? Not only do fabrics tie a room together through colour, pattern and texture, they also remove chilly echoes by softening the acoustics.

Introducing new textiles to your rooms can instantly restyle your existing furniture to give your home a completely new look in the photographs.

Are you keeping that stunning velvet chesterfield? Chuck a throw across it in a contrasting colour, or load it with scatter cushions – regimented sizes and designs can look very formal, so don’t be afraid to mix it up with different shapes and fabrics for a friendlier feel.

A new rug can add instant pop to a floor and even help with zoning, but consider the size of the room. Busy designs are better suited to larger areas; for smaller spaces, go for a simpler design with an interesting texture.

New, crisp bedding is a quick win. White linens go with everything – just ask the world’s best hotels – and can be paired with a sumptuous bedspread in your favourite colour for luxurious layering.

Rolled fluffy towels and hanging robes look wonderful in bathrooms – if you’ve been thinking of replacing yours, do it now to evoke a spa-like sanctuary.

ACCESSORISE WITH STYLE

It’s extraordinary how much you can transform the look and feel of a room with a few simple additions. Whatever your style, there’s stacks of inspiration out there, either online, on the high street or in magazines.

These accessories are particularly effective in photos and on viewings:

  • Floating shelves work anywhere, and they look brilliant with purposefully arranged books, small plants and picture frames.

  • Mirrors add depth, light and glamour to any space, even outdoors. We’d even recommend a mirror in every room.

  • Art helps to break up bare walls, from canvas prints and original paintings to a picture wall of elegantly framed personal photos.

  • Lighting sets the mood, particularly for winter viewings. As well as ceiling pendants, think about table and floor lamps, and remember to use bulbs that have a soft, warm glow.
  • Posh soaps and dispensers add luxury touches to bathrooms, along with teak bath shelves and amber glass medicine bottles. Hide any non-designer products in a cabinet.

Look in each of your rooms for opportunities to add final finishing touches. Small gestures go a long way in creating a thoughtful and welcoming atmosphere.

Final words

Restyling your home can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience that gives a new lease of life to items you already own, steps up your moving preparations, and finds you the perfect buyer. And with the January sales in full swing, there’s plenty of bargains and retail therapy to be had.

We’ve helped many sellers in Birchington, Westgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate or nearby to get their property looking just right, and we’d love to help you too. Call us on 01843 269188 or drop us a line at mail@alexander-russell.co.uk for some expert presentation tips to get your move underway.

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LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME IRRESISTIBLE TO BUYERS

Are you planning to move next year?

If you are, you’ll probably be thinking about getting ready for viewings and how to help buyers fall in love with your home.

Getting the highest possible price in the shortest period of time is mostly a matter of setting the scene, and the festive break provides the perfect moment to step back for a fresh look at where you live.

Buyers get several introductions to your home. Some will see your online advert; others might call from your for-sale sign. Later on, there are those first few moments when they step inside and how your rooms look and feel on viewings. So contrary to popular belief, you DO get more than one chance to make a great impression.

With that in mind, our blog this week shows you how to make every opportunity count. We follow each step a buyer takes in getting to know your home, so you can hit the market in style for a successful move in 2022.

GIVE THE LOOK OF LOVE

Most buyers see a parade of homes, and when they view one that feels truly valued by its owner, they pick up on that vibe. So before you order that For Sale sign, let’s get everything styled, sparkling and spruced to perfection!

Style

Mess is distracting and strangely compelling. It hogs all the attention and makes rooms look small, which could leave your home looking like poor value among the competition.

These simple evening tasks will keep you ready for viewings every day and keep your morning routine clear:

  • deal with the washing up
  • put toys away
  • file letters & leaflets
  • drop laundry into a basket
  • take out the rubbish & recycling. 

Bonus tip: buyers will recognise and remember your home easier when your rooms look the same in person as they do online. If you’re planning on moving or removing furniture, do it before your photos are taken.

Sparkle

Rooms that smell and look clean suggest proud owners, which gives potential buyers more confidence in making an offer. How does your home score on:

  • shiny windows;
  • regular vacuuming;
  • surfaces dusted;
  • clean worktops, hobs and sinks;
  • gleaming taps and accessories?

Looking good? Or room for improvement?

Spruce

We’ve all got odd jobs that never get done, but you’ll dazzle your viewers when everything looks sharp.

Take a really good look at your fittings and decoration, then note anything scruffy, unfinished, broken or wobbly. Don’t forget to include any outside space like a garden or balcony.

A good estate agent will make helpful recommendations over what to prioritise, so remember to show them your list when you invite them round.

OPTIMISE YOUR ONLINE ADVERT

Nine times out of ten, a potential buyer’s first impression of your home will be online, and probably on their phone. So your photos are hugely important – how can you catch someone’s eye, and stop them scrolling by?

Getting your photos right is a team effort between you and your agent, so let them know if you have a favourite angle of a particular room.

Whether it’s the street view or your wonderful living space, you should always lead with the biggest and best shot: keep the arty close-ups for later in the image gallery.

Use our ten-point photography checklist to ensure your online advert truly stands out from the crowd.

  1. Open curtains fully to expose the windows
  2. Adjust sets of blinds to sit at the same level
  3. Keep worktops, tables and desks free of excess clutter, but keep a few well-chosen accessories – empty can look cold
  4. Plump couches and arrange cushions
  5. Laundry in baskets; clothes in wardrobes; towels and robes on hooks
  6. Clear away any unglamorous kitchen or bathroom products
  7. Make beds with pillows stacked, and bedding turned down
  8. Show as much floor as possible: get books and magazines on shelves; put toys in crates; remove any rugs that shrink rooms
  9. Hide phone chargers and trailing cables
  10. Vacuum and dust before your photos are taken, and regularly afterwards

Taking care of these little details makes a massive difference in turning an average photo into an arresting one.

FINESSE YOUR KERB APPEAL

Despite accommodation and location being the biggest drivers for a move, the outside appearance, or kerb-appeal, of your home has a substantial impact on buyers.

Remember that someone could be:

  • calling us after seeing a For Sale sign
  • driving by to check if the location and exterior live up to the photos
  • arriving for a viewing
  • taking one last look after they’ve viewed.

It’s really important to make the most of these moments. However someone experiences the outside of your home, one thing’s for sure: they’ll linger. And that means scrutiny.

External repairs can feel like a lot of work and expense to buyers, but most are pretty simple and worth attending to before putting your home up for sale. Check for flaking paintwork on timber or render and slipped roof tiles or slates, jet-wash any moss from the front path and remove anything that shouldn’t be in the front garden.

For a cheerful welcome, a freshly painted front door is one of the quickest improvements you can make, but don’t forget to polish your knocker!

As a finishing touch, seasonal flowers billowing from pots, baskets, or boxes create a real sense of arrival.

MAKE YOUR VIEWERS WELCOME

As soon as they cross the threshold, your viewers get their first in-person experience of the inside of your home. 

Hallways can be tricky with coats and shoes in often narrow spaces, so keep things practical, simple and welcoming.

  • Thin out jackets and coats to what you need this season, then leave a couple of spare hooks for viewers
  • Eliminate piles of shoes by putting them in boxes or lining them up in a rack
  • If you store your bike in the hall, hang it on the wall or find another spot for viewings
  • Mirrors can reflect light and add depth, while pictures provide joy and warmth
  • Avoid bare bulbs, and choose a lampshade or fitting that complements your décor
  • Have a doormat to keep your floors clean and your viewers guilt-free

If your front door opens straight into your living space, keep the area inside the door clear to avoid people walking straight into obstacles and feeling your home is too small.

TAKE IN THE AIR

Smell is the sense most associated with memory, and the aroma of your home will go a long way to creating an impression and being remembered.

Among smells to avoid are:

  • shoes
  • cigarettes
  • curry
  • fish
  • pets.

More important than anything is that the air feels fresh. You can encourage natural airflow by keeping all the interior doors open during the day, while a window locked slightly ajar will ensure a trickle of fresh air.

Although baking fresh bread and roasting coffee beans are wonderfully aromatic, you may find them a bit much to add to your morning routine. Far less work and effortlessly effective, a single vase of freshly cut flowers (from the florist, not the petrol station!) will fill your home with their seasonal fragrance.

If flowers aren’t your thing, you’ll find plenty of naturally scented alternatives at retailers from John Lewis to Jo Malone, including reed diffusers and candles to provide a soothing and scented background.

Final words

People form multiple first impressions when viewing your home. When each one works in harmony with the next, it takes a browser one step closer to becoming a buyer. 

If you’re looking to sell your property in Birchington, Westgate, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate or nearby, we’d love to help you get everything right. Give us a call on 01843 269188 or drop us a line at mail@alexander-russell.co.uk for a chat about your plans.

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HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: ENJOYING THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON WHERE YOU LIVE

What are your plans this Christmas?

For some, it’s the chance to head off for a blast of winter sun, but the festive season is also a wonderful time to be at home because there’s so much going on. Local businesses and venues pull out all the stops in creating magical events and experiences, filling our neighbourhoods with Christmas cheer and the air with tempting aromas.

Even staying indoors is unlike any other time, with gatherings of friends and family eating their way towards the new year and looking forward to what it may bring. And with some extra time on your hands, the holidays are the perfect opportunity to try something new – from discovering a hidden talent, to exploring more of your neighbourhood, to making plans for the future.

So whether you’re hosting or visiting, staying in or going out, this week’s blog is full of ideas to enjoy the spirit of the season, right here.

IGNITE YOUR CREATIVITY

Making things nurtures the soul in all of us, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment from enjoying your efforts. Whether it’s food, drink or something for the home, there’s a whole world to explore with online tutorials for anything you can imagine.

Cocktails

Summer hogs most of the headlines for cocktails, but winter concoctions pack just as much punch. Think seasonal variations on classic hot toddies, the artisanal mixology of hot bourbon cider, or the full-on festive frenzy of the Mistletoe Martini Cranberry Christmas Cocktail.

Food

Christmas desserts not only get your taste buds going long before you take a bite; they’re also fun to make: a perfect activity for kids, or an introduction to the oven for the cooking novice. The BBC Food website is packed with classics like gingerbread men and mince pies, or try diving into YouTube for more adventurous creations like Santa hat cheesecake bites, salty toffee fudge banana swirls, and brownie Christmas trees.

Things 

If you’ve never tried making something for your home, you’re in for a treat. Beyond Christmas creations like wreaths for the front door and striking table decorations, you might be surprised how easy and fun it is to make genuinely stylish home accessories. Hand-made candles, art and storage hacks can look as good as anything from a shop, and they come with built-in pride every time you look at them.

KEEP EVERYONE ENTERTAINED

If you’ve got guests this Christmas, try these tips for being the perfect host.

Music

Has it ever been easier to discover new music, replay old songs and share your favourite artists? To ensure that everyone gets to hear something they love, invite anyone coming to stay to make their own iTunes or Spotify playlist. Or if you’re worried about clashing tastes, play it safe with ready-made Christmas playlists from the platforms.

Telly

Collapsing into an armchair after too much food is almost as traditional as turkey and cranberry sauce, and there’s nothing like Christmas telly to aid digestion.

Beyond the likes of Strictly, Bake Off and Doctor Who, the choice of what to watch – and the potential for argument – is bigger than ever. To help you keep the peace, streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime allow multiple users on a single account, while their lists of Christmas watching have something for everyone: perfect if your home is split between Disney and Die Hard!

Games

Did you know there are at least 1,000 different card games alone? What better time to discover and master a new favourite? Or for something more 21st century, and to involve your friends and family from around the world, why not hold an online pub quiz with Kahoot? Even if you can’t all be in the same place, you can still share good times.

DISCOVER YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

We’re all such creatures of habit, so how about mixing things up for a bit of local adventure?

Go for a stroll

Aside from heading to the shops, station, school or gym, how much of your neighbourhood do you really know? With everyone’s Christmas lights on, now is a charming time for a casual wander to see what else the area holds. Perhaps you’ll discover a deli or bakery you never knew existed, a pub you’ve been meaning to try, or even the place you want to live next.

Hold a scavenger hunt

While kids love searching for pine cones and leaves, how about a tongue-in-cheek lifestyle challenge for adults? Who can be the first to find a Volvo estate, a Farrow & Ball-painted front door, and a bay window with plantation blinds? Create a Whatsapp group for sending in your photos as you race to be the winner.

Walk on the wild side

Nature looks good at any time of year, but there’s something particularly special about a stroll in the crisp winter air when you’re wrapped up in woollies. Forests, parks, rivers, lakes… head to your favourite spot or visit a place you’ve never been, and keep a pot of mulled wine ready for your return!

FIND LOCAL MAGIC

Immerse yourself in the season as local cultural calendars fill up with Christmas events.

See the lights

Away from local illuminations and shop displays on the high street, many historic homes and public gardens have light trails and installations at this time of year. They make an enchanted evening outdoors for adults and children alike, with the chance to explore venues in a completely different way.

Go to a carol concert

It doesn’t get much more Christmassy than a choir singing carols. Whether you love to join in with gusto or gently hum along, you’ll find carol concerts in all sorts of places, from the traditional setting and acoustic of churches, to town halls, music venues or simply on some steps.

Enjoy the entertainment

The festive break brings an explosion of seasonal distractions every year. Head to the theatre for thigh-slapping pantomimes and atmospheric fairy tales, or enjoy outdoor attractions like pop-up ice rinks and Christmas markets for an inescapably magical time.

MAKE CHANGES AT HOME

This list wouldn’t be complete without some property-themed tips, and the holidays are the perfect time to use your home in different ways, or give it a different look.

Deck the garden

Gardens are often forgotten at this time of year, but they’re ideal for magical winter gatherings. With light strings overhead, an outdoor heater and a rich supply of blankets, all that’s left is to invite your friends and ply them with hot Christmas treats for a memorable night under the stars.

Make a den

If you’ve got children, how could you turn your home into an adventure full of fun? From a floor full of cushions for rolling about, to sheets over the dining table to make a cosy hideaway, kids love to feel they’ve discovered a secret new place. And when they’ve gone to bed, you can revive your inner child.

Get a new look

Whether you’re gearing up to sell or updating your décor for an on-trend start to the new year, you’ve got some extra days this Christmas. With no less than three bank holidays between December 27th and January 3rd, there’s plenty of time for shopping and doing to be fresh and ready for 2022.

Final words

Wherever you’re spending the festive season, we’d like to wish you a very merry Christmas that’s filled with joy and laughter.

As the song goes: it’s the most wonderful time of the year.