Preparing your property for a storm

1426637_85746838As the first named storm of the year reaches us (that’s Storm Aileen for avid storm watchers!) and we start to think ‘wow, it’s dark early’, storms are becoming more likely and we may see more active weather upon us over the next month. So today, we look at how to prepare your property. 

-Before the storm arrives, secure any garden furniture that may be blown over or worse still blow into glazed windows and doors. Trampolines with safety netting can make quite a battering ram.

-Ensure gutters and downpipes are clear and gullies in paving or drives are not blocked. Water ingress is a common insurance claim after a storm and in most cases easily preventable.

-Make sure all shutters, windows and doors can be fastened properly. Garden gates should be closed and locked.

-If possible park vehicles in a garage.

-Check the roof of your house as best as possible. If you notice any damage, missing tiles, or anything that looks amiss have a roofer investigate.

-Remove large tree branches that are close to the property or could strike it during a storm.

-If you are concerned and think a chimney stack is in poor condition have it checked as a matter of urgency and do not use the accommodation directly below them.

-A couple of torches with spare batteries is always a good idea.

The average cost of storm damage is over £350 million each year in the UK, and by taking a few simple steps, you can reduce the risk of your property adding to this year’s figure. Taking into account that any storm or flood damage should be declared when instructing an estate agent to sell your property, performing the above checks will not only help keep you safe but secure the value of your house or flat.

Online Estate Agents – How do they Differ from Traditional Estate Agents?

The term ‘online agents’ is constantly used in the media and we’re asked daily about the difference between online estate agents and high street agents. So, in this blog we’re looking to explain the differences between the two.

Historically, selling your house was a process begun by contacting a local estate agent (now referred to as a traditional estate agent in some quarters) to ask them to value your property with a view to selling your house.

Both online agents and local agents will offer you a property valuation, list your property on property portals, including listing on Rightmove and listing on Zoopla, floorplans and photographs and access to potential buyers.

Equally, they will both offer a form of sales progression (helping you from instruction to completion), advice on local property prices, property particulars (details of your property) and accompanied viewings.

You’ll see there are a number of similarities above – the majority of services offered are the same but it’s how they’re offered that differs.

Traditional Estate Agents

  • Offer a full service from the first phone call through to handing over the keys to your property to your buyers.
  • Promote your property on property websites Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as in local newspapers, their shop window and to potential buyers they may have on their books
  • Manage viewings and negotiations with vendors
  • Provide you with a local property expert, who can help you move house and can advise on the local market
  • Provide information on the properties they have marketed in the area and the price achieved
  • Offer advice on any home improvements that could help to deliver a higher sale price, helping to reduce the overall cost of selling
  • Charge you a percentage commission or fixed fee on a pay on completion basis

Online Estate Agents (such as House Simple or Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo)

  • Provide their own local property experts, who may have a larger patch and no local office, but are available to contact by phone or email
  • Promote your property on property websites Rightmove and Zoopla and generally on their own website, but not in the local press
  • Allow you to manage your own property viewings, giving buyers access to your property 24/7 if that suits you
  • Allow you to receive offers 24/7 and negotiate with buyers outside of business hours
  • Charge you a fixed fee up-front, payable whether your property sells or not, but often at a far lower rate than a traditional agent. Some online agents also allow you to defer payments
  • Offer sales progression through to completion (often at an extra cost)
  • Offer assisted viewings (at an extra cost)

Both camps of estate agents can help you to sell and move house, offer sales progression, advice guides and top tips to sell your property. Both offer accompanied viewings and photography, a ‘for sale’ board and listings on property portals.

The distinction comes in the way you pay for these services – traditional estate agents will generally offer all of the above in one fixed fee or percentage commission of the final sale price. This is a pay on completion model and is generally no sale no fee, so there is no charge if your property falls through.

Online agents can offer all of the same services, including listing on Rightmove, but generally offer a stripped down service with viewings and certain other elements charged as extras. Perfect for you if you can manage your own viewings and are happy to deal with buyers and are happy to remain strongly involved throughout the process, but if you aren’t it may not suit you. Equally, if your property does not sell you need to comfortable with the idea that you may still have to pay a fee so you may think you are saving money but this may not be the case.

As with all industries, there are good and bad examples of both types of agent – websites such as Trust Pilot offer reviews of agents, so you can judge for yourself from other vendors’ views of the agent. Equally, you can ask an agent to tell you the price achieved on other local sales, the number of properties they deal with and what differentiates them from their competitors.

No-one can complain about the lack of choice in the market to help you sell your home and potentially reduce the cost of selling, but it’s important to make sure you choose an agent you believe best placed for selling your home for the highest price, whilst charging a fair fee for the service.

At, we can offer you a way to compare estate agents fees and services, whilst offering advice as to which type of agent may be best suited to your needs. List your property for free today, we’ll show you the market and give you a call to offer some advice as to what to do next – it’s free and simple, so compare estate agents now.



How to Choose an Estate Agent

Choice is often seen as a good thing but if you have ever sat and flicked through the Netflix catalogue or any catch-up TV service, with endless pages of shows to choose from, you can attest to the fact that sometimes it can be overwhelming.

Go back just a few years and the number of estate agents in the marketplace was far smaller than it is now – coupled with that, there are now a new breed of ‘online’ or ‘hybrid’ agents, offering cheaper pay-up front models and utilising the internet to reduce overheads. With this choice comes a need to compare and contrast agents to help find the right one for your circumstances.

A number of sites exist that provide data on time to sell a property, how much of the asking price an agent sells a property for and how many properties they have sold in your area. But, how do you read this data? Do you want an agent that sells a property quickly or one that takes a little longer – does longer mean that an agent is finding the right buyer to ensure the sale doesn’t fall through, or does it mean they are slow to find a buyer? Equally, does a speedy sale mean an agent has taken the first offer they can or they have a book of buyers ready and waiting? Does an agent securing 105% of an asking price undervalue their property or does it mean they are skilled negotiators?

Relying on data leads to interpretation and doesn’t really help you to know which agent is going to help you secure a smooth and well-managed sale.

So, what can you do to compare agents? We believe the following points are the vital elements to help you compare estate agents.

You can use fees to ensure the agent you choose is within your preferred budget – but don’t discount those with a higher than average fee, they may just be able to secure you a higher offer. We would never advise choosing an agent on fees alone.

Online Property Portals
The large majority of buyers start their search online, with Rightmove being the first destination for most, followed by Zoopla. To ensure your property reaches the widest audience, your property should be listed on at least one of these portals. Almost every agent will list on Rightmove, but some will not list on Zoopla, instead listing on a third smaller portal ‘OnTheMarket’. If an agent lists on OnTheMarket, and not Zoopla, you may receive less online traffic.

Most local agents will include viewings as standard, giving their sales staff the chance to use their sales training to get you a good price and to gain honest feedback and interest. Online agents generally ask you to show buyers around, which means you can run viewings 24/7 if it suits you – you can often pay extra for this service. Whilst running viewings yourself can be convenient for some, if you’re at work it can be handy to have someone from an agent to show people around to ensure a buyer can view when it suits them, removing obstacles to help improve the chance of a sale.

Local Knowledge
When an agent sells your property they aren’t just selling the area within your boundary – they are selling the area, the amenities and the lifestyle the location can offer. No data can show you the understanding your agent has of the area – the only way to understand an agent’s level of knowledge about your area is to talk to them. Ask them to show you how many similar properties they have dealt with in the surrounding area, the sort of questions buyers have asked and the objections that have been raised in similar properties. Make sure they demonstrate their knowledge of amenities, travel links and the general perception of the area as well.

Additional Services
As technology develops, estate agents, especially those in bigger cities, are able to offer new ways to make your property stand out from the crowd. Whilst a lot of these are useful (3D walkthroughs and video tours), weigh up the extra cost and see if other properties in your area have sold without them.

Lastly and most importantly…

The agent you choose will work with you from the moment you meet for a valuation to the point at which they hand over the keys to your new property. Chemistry is critical – you need to trust the agent dealing with your sale, you need to be able to have open and honest conversations about the sale and you need to feel comfortable that the advice they give you (which can sometimes be contrary to your opinion) is correct. If this means paying a little more or a little less than you had planned to work with the right agent, it should improve the process for you. 

Request a valuation visit from at least one local agent and one online agent – they will come to your property, give you their opinion of what they believe they can sell the property for and give you an opportunity to discuss all of the above and help you make an informed choice. Use to bring up a list of agents in your area, see their fees and what they can offer you and get in touch to start the process. If you need any advice, just send us an email.

With an Ever Tech Savvy Client Base and Disruptive Online Competition – Should High Street Agents go Digital?

Guest Post by Richard Ayre, Business Development Manager at The SEO Works (

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I worked within the property industry for around 10 years before getting into digital marketing and I left just as the big online agents started to gain traction in the marketplace.

I’ve found the subsequent market disruption and how agents have dealt with the challenge fascinating. Anecdotes from friends and colleagues still working within the industry paint a broad picture of the challenges agents are facing in today’s aggressive market. As such, there’s been an amazing increase in high street service levels and creative thinking within the industry over the past few years as agents alter their approach to compete with the new, online business models. Not only that, but the general feeling with the people I’ve spoken to is this is only the tip of the iceberg.

I remember at the time the first online agents appeared, the general consensus amongst property professionals was that the online agency model was unsustainable, a fad, a proverbial flash in the pan. “There’s no way you can sell houses for £800 and still make money!” As a result, there was an initial attitude from many agents of ‘ignore it and it will go away’ which ended up catching several companies off guard.

The effect of this new, cheaper online competition was then compounded as some high street agents slashed fees to order to appear appealing in comparison to online companies and, in doing so, they inadvertently dislodged the pebble which led to the landslide of local price wars with their other high street competitors.

Fast forward a couple of years and the property market landscape has changed fundamentally from the what it was.

93% of people research goods and services online before buying
Google Statistic

Purplebricks, Hatched and emoov (to name but a few) are now well established and appear to be going from strength to strength and the market appears to still be in a state of flux. Regardless of house prices being high and average property sale times generally being weeks and not months, high street agency stock levels are sparse, competition between buyers is fierce and this has led to high street fees being the lowest they’ve ever been in some areas as agencies duke it out for every instruction.

With the increase of both online and high street competition, the meteoric rise of online research conducted by time poor potential clients before they even pick up the phone to agents has taken off.

People are increasingly going digital in their search for good agents

The search figures show that estate agent’s potential customers are increasingly shortlisting agencies from their armchairs, using not only the agent’s websites but increasingly, comparison sites as well.

Alex Thorpe, Managing Director of NetAnAgent says, “Since establishing our estate agency comparison service five years ago, we’ve seen a huge and exponential growth in our users as sellers search for the easiest way to find the best agents in their area. We now have thousands of monthly users and that grows every quarter. Time poor home sellers increasingly don’t have time to contact multiple agents after seeing a board in the street, so they’re using digital platforms like to select the best agent for them with minimal effort.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are now searching for property related information and services every month though Google

Online comparison sites are just a part of the growing digital property sector landscape, however. Google search volumes paint a clear picture of the growing online activity from potential sellers and buyers as well as potential landlords and tenants. Here are a few search terms which people are searching for through Google along with the monthly unique search volume:

Search Term Unique Search Volumes Per Month (UK)
Estate agents 110,000
Home value 720
Value my house 8,100
Sell my house 2,400
Estate agents near me 6,600
Property rentals 2,400
How to rent a house 480
Best estate agents 2,400
Value my house 720
Lettings agents 12,100

What this small selection of search terms means is that there are approximately 146,000 unique monthly searches through Google every month which directly relate to people likely to be either wanting more information on a property related service or wanting to directly engage with property professionals.

That number again:

146,000. Unique searches. Every month. Also, that’s only a handful of search terms as there are clearly hundreds, if not thousands, more search terms.

So, the questions that need to be asked:

1) How can agents pivot their marketing to reach this new and rapidly emerging online market?

2) Do high street agents now need to consider re-structuring their way of attracting customers and digitalising their marketing in order to compete with their behemoth online competitors?

3) Are conventional and ‘tried and tested’ marketing approaches by themselves enough to succeed in an increasingly digital marketplace?

4) Is having a basic website enough anymore if 93% (Google statistic) of consumers are now researching companies digitally before engaging with them?

It’s important to stress that I’m not raising the question fo who is better out of high street agents or online agents (that’s a whole different conversation/debate) but rather I’m asking the question of where does the property industry feel their customers will find them both now and in the future and, as importantly, how do modern estate agents future proof their marketing strategy?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great way of getting in front of your search market, as are Google Adwords, display marketing, dynamic re-marketing, (all forms of Pay Per Click or ‘PPC’) social media and other independent comparison platforms such as

All of these techniques will ultimately end up knocking at the door of your website though so getting your site fit for purpose should be your business’ first port of call. A professional, modern, easy to navigate website with great imagery and useful content is the foundation from which your entire digital marketing strategy should be built from. You could have a million visits a month to your site but if people don’t like what they see, most of that traffic is going to bounce away to one of your competitors. Just take a look at leading online estate agency sites to get an example of what a modern site should look like.

What does the rise of PropTech mean for traditional estate agents?

2017 has already been an astonishing year for PropTech, with an abundance of fundraising announcements. Never should agents be more aware of the potential impact of this digital takeover. But that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom.

Back in February, we heard that online mortgage broker, Trussle, closed a funding round of £4.5 million. Trussle compare and track thousands of mortgage products from over 90 lenders to find the most suitable one for its customers,

Nowadays, when looking for a new house and mortgage, it is to be expected that customers will shop around for the best deal; such is the benefit of the internet.  As board member, Radbound Vlaar, puts it:

“…it’s important that the traditional players realise…the ways in which people think about and interact with their mortgage is changing.”

In March, online letting agent, OpenRent, raised £4.4 million in funding. OpenRent Co-Founder, Adam Hyslop, explained his theory behind their growing success:

“Our success to date has been based on the twofold approach of saving landlords and tenants thousands of pounds in fees, while also delivering a significantly better service enabled by technology.”

A couple of weeks later, we heard that Goodlord, a platform to streamline the transactions and admin normally associated with renting a home, raised £7.2 million in Series A funding.

Some would say that Goodlord are more a FinTech company than PropTech but, as I have spoken about before, the two are so closely knit that without FinTech, there would be no PropTech. I think an improved understanding of this fact would greatly enable traditional agents to appreciate the importance of, and thus take advantage of, PropTech’s power.

Finally, late last month, Nested announced that they had raised £8m. Not only does Nested provide its users with the property valuation, inspection, marketing and sales services that you would expect from any property agent, but they also make the bold promise to sell your property for 95 to 98 percent market value within 90 days. If they fail to do so, they will buy it off you themselves.

How can traditional agents compete with such an offer?

I am a true believer that the future of property is built upon a strong relationship between tradition and tech; not one or the other. Agents should be looking to take advantage of their skills and experience in order to offer a customer service that online companies simply can’t offer. Yes, online gives you speed, scale and ease, but with such large amounts of money involved, many customers still want their interests to be looked after by an agent with a proven track record and whom they can speak to face-to-face.

I don’t think agents should be looking at the success of these PropTech companies and furrowing their brows; it may well be shot across the bow, but it is by no means an indication of their profession’s decline.

One great advantage of PropTech is the automation and standardisation of time-consuming admin tasks. There is nothing stopping traditional agents from either developing systems of their own, or partnering with a PropTech innovator to improve their efficiency and pass the subsequent monetary savings to their customers.

If traditional agents can make their service even more customer-centric, as PropTech so often offers, and combine it with their unreplicable skill and experience, I see a future where we no longer talk about Tradition vs Tech, we just talk about Property.

A guest post by James Dearsley
Founder of the Digital Marketing Bureau and a PropTech communicator. To sign up to James’ Sunday PropTech Review, click here.


Six Tips for the Best Chance of a Spring House Sale

We’ve now had the first ‘hottest day of the year’ headlines which means we have made it through to Spring. For the property market, Spring is an optimum time to sell your property, with trends showing the largest numbers of buyers active in April, May and June.

How can you get ahead of the market and ensure you hit or exceed asking price on your property? We’ve collated the best tips in the industry to give you that extra push.

1) Select the best agent for your needs

Estate Agent Signs

Selling your house can be a stressful process and whilst there’s no evidence to suggest it’s one of the most traumatic times in your life, it’s not always that enjoyable. The whole process can be drastically improved by making sure you choose the right agent to get the ball rolling for you. An agent will stay with you from going to market through to completing, and often you’ll lean on them to help move things along in your chain.

Select three agents with fees you’re prepared to pay, get valuations and choose the agent you feel is the best fit for you. Cheapest isn’t always best and traditional agents have a huge amount of experience and local knowledge. Equally, online agents own a growing percentage of the market and offer a lower price, but still well-featured service.

Use a free agent comparison site, such as, to get the ball rolling.

2) Stop living in your house (mentally, not physically)

Show home interior

It’s tried and tested advice, but every time you turn on a property show across any TV network, you’ll see people being advised to make subtle changes to a house to neutralise it and, more often than not, ignoring the advice. ‘I don’t like the colour’, ‘they’ll want to see my train set’ and ‘who doesn’t like Fifi’s dog toys strewn across ‘her’ bedroom?’.

Let’s put it bluntly – unless you’re an interior design genius, buyers aren’t interested in your taste. When a house is bought, it’s bought for what it could eventually be, not what it is now. Your property needs to be spotlessly clean, well looked after and, above all else, a canvas for the dreams and aspirations of the buyer.

3) No parking!

Rows of cars parked on a british road

On viewing day, park your car well away from your property. If you have an open house, talk to your neighbours and see if they would be willing to move any vehicles parked by the roadside for a day to create a stunning first impression.

Ease of access and parking is of critical importance – you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked. When looking for a personal property, this blog author has arrived at a property in the past to find a motorboat parked on a shared drive, making it a bit of an obstacle course to park at the property! Stunning work done on the house itself, but this exterior detail killed the deal.

4) Clean all of your windows (both inside and out) and polish your mirrors

Light glass built house

Whilst there’s only a 12% chance the sun will be out across the next three months, it will likely be low, and pouring through your windows into your spotlessly clean house.

It’s incredibly easy to forget your windows and mirrors during your home preparation, but it’s incredibly easy to spot and, to a buyer, it shows a general lack of care despite the cleanliness of the house.

If the windows are never cleaned, chances are a lot of DIY tasks are still sitting on a list.

5) Getting the temperature right

Woman with Thermostat

Yes, it’s Britain – yes it’s Spring. This means one thing, you can’t predict the weather. It might be 20 degrees for a day, and then dip down to eight degrees, with squally showers. Either way, your buyers want to walk into a temperate paradise – don’t think that, just because the first day of spring has come, it’s time to remove the thermostat from the wall to protect your heating bills.

Keep the house at a steady temperature on viewing days, even if you wouldn’t normally have the heating on. Buyers make snap decisions, a cold house on a warm day is lovely in Summer, but in Spring your buyers will have a niggling doubt that they’d be sitting in duffle coats across the Winter.

6) Choose the right buyer

Man in between pros and cons
You’ve followed steps 1-5 (we hope) and received offers on your property. Congratulations! Keep this tip in mind before you do anything else though – much like choosing the right agent, choosing a buyer shouldn’t be a decision based purely on money. Whilst it’s incredibly tempting to pick the buyer who offers the most, there’s more than just money to consider.

  • Can your buyer move within the time frame you need?

  • Is the buyer chain free (in an ideal world) or part of a simple, short chain?

  • If mortgaged, does the buyer have a Decision in Principle? How quickly will they have full approval following an accepted offer?

  • If a cash buyer, is the money in place or does the purchase rely on other assets being sold?

You’ve put in a huge amount of work to get to this point in the process, and with a few months of legal process now to take place, make sure the buyer you choose stands the best chance of seeing the process through and making your home their home. If you have any issues at all during the process, speak to your agent, who, as part of their fee, is there to advise you – alternatively, visit for impartial advice throughout.

Gazumping: What Is It and How Can You Avoid It?

A guest post by Compare My Move

Buying a house is certainly not an easy process, from having to compare estate agents and deal with mortgage companies, to searching for reliable removal companies. However, dealing with the disappointment of losing out and being gazumped after you’ve put an offer down can add additional stress to the process.

The word ‘Gazumping’ is used a lot, but what does it actually mean and, more importantly, how you can minimise the risk of it happening to you?

Gazumping described the following chain of events: you have made an offer on a property and it has been verbally accepted, the seller then receives a higher offer and accepts it,allowing the other buyer to acquire the property and leave you without one. It can feel incredibly unfair and happens more often when house prices are increasing, but in general it can occur on the property market at any time.


Some sellers even use a tactic to get as high an offer from you as possible by telling you they have received a last minute high offer (whether it is true or not).

In many cases, potential buyers have already paid the surveying bills and legal fees which can run into the thousands, and these buyers face the prospect of missing out on a property and potentially losing money.

To help you avoid this, we’ve partnered with to outline ways of minimising the risk of Gazumping and help you secure your dream home.

Act Quickly

Generally, acting as quickly and efficiently as possible will increase your chances of securing your dream home.

When your offer is first accepted, you probably won’t have everything you need in place yet. Try and arrange a survey to take place as soon as possible so that there’s less time for the seller to receive a higher offer and change their mind.

Get a ‘Mortgage in Principle’ before you put in an offer

This is a conditional offer made by a mortgage lender, stating they will ‘in principle’ give you a loan up to a specified amount if certain conditions are met. It’s best to organise this before you even start looking at properties, meaning the process is then quicker when you make an offer on a property.

Instruct a Conveyancing Solicitor

Once again, planning ahead will make the house buying process easier, so finding a conveyancing solicitor you want to work with is going to be a priority. We would suggest choosing a conveyancing solicitor at the same time you look to put in your first offer on a property. You can then instruct them as soon as your offer is accepted, reducing unnecessary downtime that could allow a rival buyer time to accumulate additional funding.

What Else Can You Do?

If you have everything in order, have hired your solicitor and conveyancer, made an offer and met all of the conditions of sale, all that is left for you to do is ask for the property to be taken off the market. If your seller can see you are serious about your offer and that you are ready to proceed, there is no reason that they shouldn’t agree.

If a property is removed from the market and you have displayed that you are both organised and serious, a seller has far less incentive to engage additional buyers. Keep in mind that until you exchange contracts, a seller can back out of the deal without penalty

However, there is still a way you can further secure your offer.

The Lockout Agreement 

A lockout agreement is a formal way of buying time for you to get everything in order without having to worry about the seller accepting other offers. This agreement can also be referred to as a preliminary or exclusivity agreement.

With agreements like these, both the buyer and seller usually agree to pay a deposit (generally 2% of the property price). If either side backs out with no valid reason (as set out by the agreement), the deposit then goes to the other party.

The written agreement will also include a list of aspects that will allow for an alteration of the deal, such as any problems with the survey. The lockout agreement usually lasts for a limited period, generally 10 days from the receipt of the contract.

Of course, a lockout agreement will cost you in legal fees and whilst it helps secure your offer it still does not guarantee the purchase. There is no way to 100% guarantee your property purchase, until the point of completion, but if you plan ahead and act efficiently you can reduce the risk of your offer being gazumped.

About the Author:


Compare My Move aims to provide an accessible and efficient comparison service for home and office movers looking for quality removal companies in the UK.

Find out more by visiting the Compare My Move website.


Keeping Your Home Secure Over the Festive Period (and Beyond!)

Guest blog by Sainsbury’s Bank

With the longer and darker nights, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your home is kept secure. Sainsbury’s Bank has created a visual guide to home security, full of tips for the inside and outside of your house to help deter intruders.

And remember, if you’ve just moved it’s always a good idea to change the locks!

Sainsbury’s Bank Visual Guide to Home Security

Staging Your Property for a Christmas Sale

Christmas is fast approaching and whilst it is unlikely to catch you unawares, given some shops have been in festive mode since late September, if you’re just about to put your property on the market there are a few pitfalls you need to avoid…

We’ve previously covered the benefits of selling in the Winter, from hardy, genuine buyers, to reduced competition from other sellers waiting for the new year to come to market.

To capitalise on this market opportunity, Estate Agents go to great lengths to present your property as well sized, through clever use of wide angle lenses. For eleven months of the year, keeping the house tidy pre-viewing is the biggest challenge to ensuring a buyer’s expectations are met. December brings its own unique addition to the staging process – Christmas Decorations.

Christmas Trees

Oversized Christmas Tree

If you’re expecting to have property viewings over the festive period, try not to buy the tree that only just fits into the space you have allocated for it. Whilst squeezing a magnificent spruce into the corner of your living room can bring joy to your family, it can make a room look quite cramped – finr for festivities, but if you have viewings it can create an unwanted impression for prospective buyers.

Anything in your property that only just fits, even if you specifically bought it to be oversized, could make the room look smaller. A buyer isn’t going to measure the tree and immediately know that it’s ten inches taller than the tree they would usually buy – instead, you could run the risk of the living room seeming cramped.


Whether you liberally cover your property with tinsel or prefer a more subtle dressing of your house, decorations have the potential to brighten a room, but if you go too far before a viewing they can also make a room appear cramped and busy.

Too many decorations hanging from the ceiling can create the illusion of a lower ceiling whilst going overboard with novelty trinkets on tables and mantelpieces can draw the eye away from the full room.

Decorations - Blog NAA

The number of decorations in a property directly impacts visible space – but it’s not just the quantity that can cause issues – the wrong style of decoration for your property can create a confusing first impression for a potential buyer. If you live in a country cottage, it might be sensible to opt for more traditional decorations. If you live in a stylish apartment, a minimalist contemporary feel is a sensible route to follow for worry free viewings.

Decorate the home you have – buyers will have set ideas of what a property will look and feel like inside. Don’t let your decorations burst that bubble. 

Putting up Christmas decorations is a tradition in a lot of British properties – when they go up and where they go is often set in stone. If you’re going to market in December, keep in mind that your traditions are unique to you. Property owners are often advised to detach themselves from their property when it goes to market – it becomes a space for somebody else to picture themselves living in. Get the decorations wrong in December and you run the risk of muddying that picture.

Opt for subtle, in keeping with the property and a sensible size and amount of decorations and you can avoid damaging the viewing process over the festive period.

Think selling your home in Winter is a bad idea? Think again.

Despite uncertainty around Brexit following the vote and in the leadup to the triggering of Article 50, house prices have continued to grow according to the Office of National Statistics, up 8.4% across the UK. Demand continues to remain strong given a low number of properties on the market.

Even though it’s getting darker and colder and the festive season is approaching, it would be foolish to write off the autumn and winter months as times to sell your property. And we’ll tell you why…

Winter Brings The Hardiest Buyers and Sellers

The summer months can, sometimes, attract viewers interested in looking at your house but with no interest in actually buying it. When winter comes, only the hardiest buyers remain. Picture a dark, cold and wet weekend – if you didn’t have a genuine interest in viewing properties, would you arrange a viewing? It’s unlikely.

couple in winter with umbrella

Equally, there is a lot less competition from other sellers in the winter months – Christmas looms large from October onwards and the thought of selling a property in the run-up to the big event dissuades a lot of sellers, creating quite a swell of properties hitting the market in the new year.

The more remote you are, the colder it will appear – but you can get around this

If you live in the centre of a city, the weather isn’t a huge issue in the UK at any time of year, excluding freak occurrences. Viewing a house in December, whilst being cold, is a quick trip from the street to the car. You’re still largely shielded from the elements.

If you live in a remote area, the winter months can make it even more remote and just a little bit wilder. With the wind whipping up a storm and no shelter from the rain, that piece of tranquility on a sunny day can become a picture of isolation. Now, you can’t get around the location but, you can offer a warm environment to any viewers.

A roaring fire, hot drink and welcoming smile can show that despite the weather, the house itself is always a great place to be.

hot drink and gloves

Offer a warm welcome

We’ve seen the multiple statuses on Facebook stating that heating shouldn’t be turned on unless it’s a) Christmas Day or b) icicles are forming around the house. Whilst it’s sensible to dress up around the house before putting the heating on, a viewer doesn’t know if the house is naturally cold because of a poor heating system or if you just have a real issue with spending money on heating.

A heating system that isn’t working, or isn’t capable of heating a property, is something that will put off potential buyers on a cold day. The house can be immaculate, but a new heating system is a costly affair – for the avoidance of doubt, if you have viewings keep the heating on at a sensible temperature. You can turn it off once your potential buyers have left!  

Give the garden a bit of TLC

Kerb appeal is often touted as one of the most important aspects of selling a property, but this usually focuses on selling in the summer. Everything looks better in the summer and people’s moods are generally more jovial than in the darker months. A well-kept garden speaks volumes at all times though – if you look after your garden, it’s likely that you pay attention to the detail and maintenance of your property.

child standing in leaves

If you don’t rake the leaves and give the lawn its final cut in the Autumn, you run the risk of a garden spoiling your property’s look for the whole winter. Nobody likes spending too long outside on a blustery day to clear leaves that will appear again the next day, but a small amount of time spent on the details can deliver when it comes to selling your property.