Tips for selling your home: Fifty shades of clean

When you’re selling your house, it’s a good idea to make sure that everything is clean. But exactly how clean, asks home staging expert Anna Hart.

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Think about the homes of friends and family that you visit. Do you recognise any of these characters?

• Super-Clean-Queen: Makes you take your shoes off at the door, whips a coaster under your glass like a ninja and has a duster practically glued to her hand

• Lazy Student: Most things wait around six times longer than in other houses to be cleaned, if at all – think bed linen, floors and bathrooms.

• Busy-Busy Person: what you can see is clean, but you get the distinct feeling that what you can’t see definitely isn’t

• Pet Lover: they just don’t notice the hair everywhere, the stinky food bowls, the ghastly litter trays, the smells, the damage and the ‘presents’ on the lawn

• New Parent: all the baby’s paraphernalia is sterilised to within an inch of its life, but things above knee-level may be a bit suspect

Just like we all have different tastes in houses, in clothes and in music, we also have very different ideas as to what ‘clean’ really means. There really are at least 50 Shades of Clean.

Usually that’s ok (unless you’re making your guests ill of course) but when you’re selling your house you just don’t know which of the characters above will be viewing your house next. They might not be bothered by the dust on the mantelpiece, or they might be mortally offended by it – you just don’t know.

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So the only way to make sure that the state of your house doesn’t put any buyers off is to shoot for the top: you’ve got to be a Super-Clean-Queen – Or King.

It’s best to have a massive deep clean once you’ve finished your de-cluttering, and then make sure you keep on top of it with regular sessions throughout the marketing period.

Do get some help – from family, friends or hire a cleaner. Just make sure they all know the Queen herself is coming round.

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Five things that must be super-clean:

1. Kitchens – along with bathrooms, these are the most important rooms to clean and you should expect to spend at least twice the amount of time cleaning these rooms than any others. Stainless steel, chrome and taps must sparkle, surfaces must gleam, hobs & ovens must show no signs of the food they have prepared.

2. Bathrooms – up there with kitchens, all bathrooms must be squeaky-clean. Get rid of mould, mildew, limescale, hair, dust and soap scum. Bleach, scrub and polish until everything sparkles.

3. Front door – get rid of all dirt, grime, leaves and cobwebs, then polish up any brass or chrome door furniture. Beat the dust out of the doormats and sweep the paths.

4. Windows – it’s important to let maximum light into rooms and allow unobscured views, so sparkly, smear-free windows are a must. Clean marks off the frames too.

5. Floors – hard floors need to be buffed to a shine and carpets will always look (and smell) better if they’ve been professionally cleaned.

A super-clean house will give you the best chance of impressing buyers, so put some loud music on and get scrubbing.

This house in Sheffield lacks furniture, but just look at the shine on those floors and the reflections in the bathroom.

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03.01.13 Anna photoAnna Hart is an expert in staging homes for sale, working with house sellers to maximise their chances of selling as quickly and as profitably as possible. Anna’s e-book “How To Sell Your House For Top Price, Fast” brings her practical and proven house sale preparation strategy to sellers across Britain.

Special book offer available for Zoopla blog readers – click here.

March 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM 1 comment

Entire property portfolio for sale totalling 20 properties

Almost 100 rooms in a dozen streets outside of Manchester have been put up sale at the same time.

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An investor is selling the entire property portfolio ahead of his retirement from the bricks and mortar industry.

A total of 20 properties are available as part of the portolio, which is being offered for sale for £3,800,000.

10.03.14 BTL 1The estate agent handling the sale, Flax & Co, explains there is a total of 80 letting rooms.

However, this can be extended to 87 if smaller rooms are made use of and rented out to tenants.

The 12 roads where the properties are located are in the Fallowfield and Withington areas.

They include Albion Road, Carill Drive, Cawdor Road, Delacourt Road, Filey Road, Furness Road, Heyscroft Road, Landcross Road, Mabfield Road, Moseley Road, School Grove and Whitby Road.

Similar properties for sale: 

1. Twenty bedrooms in Winterbourne for £1m

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2. Twenty bedroom terrace in South Kensington for £7,950,000

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3. Twenty-seven bedrooms in Tiverton for £1.2m

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March 10, 2014 at 5:24 PM Leave a comment

Want to know what’s more stressful than having a child or changing jobs?

The dream of getting a foot on the property ladder – one of life’s most momentous occasions – is actually one of life’s most stressful events, according to research from Which? Mortgage Advisers.


The process of buying a house topped the stress list at 91 per cent above other major milestones, including having a child at 81 per cent, changing jobs at 87 per cent and retiring from work at 43 per cent.

In spite of Government initiatives such as Help to Buy helping first-time buyers onto the property ladder, many are unprepared for how long the house-buying process will take. Moving day at 87 per cent and finding the right house at 80 per cent were identified as two of the most demanding moments, closely followed by securing the right mortgage, with three-quarters of people saying it is stressful.

07.03.14 InfographicConsumer trust in the mortgage industry is low with just a quarter at 25 per cent of people with mortgages saying they trust the industry to act in their best interests. Over-complicated language and terminology is also a problem for consumers, with over half saying they found all the language and terminology used in the process of arranging a mortgage confusing.

Seven in 10 people with a mortgage want to see the process of arranging a mortgage simplified, which is how a dedicated mortgage adviser can help.

Mike Lawton, managing director of Which? Mortgage Advisers, said: “Buying a house should be a happy occasion, but many people say it’s more stressful than having a child or changing jobs.”

March 8, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

What mortgage should I choose – 5 year fix or 2 year tracker?

With interest rates rises looming, it is tempting to believe that the only sensible course of action is to fix your mortgage – and preferably for as long as possible. But this may not be the right option, mortgage experts warn.

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A five year fix is attractive in terms of guarding against future interest rate rises, but their recent increase in cost means they are beginning to look expensive, according to some experts.

And with some analysts predicting that the Bank of England will not increase interest rates until later than expected, are variable rates now coming back into the frame?

Ray Boulger, of mortgage brokers John Charcol, exclusively told Zoopla that if the cost of five year fixes rises much further, a two year tracker or other variable rate would be preferable.

But the deals would require no early redemption fees in order to look competitive or a droplock option so that fixing is an option during the term of the initial deal.

“This would offer the best of both worlds in that the borrower starts off with a very cheap rate, but buys time to decide if and when to switch to a fix,” he said.

He recommends a two year tracker at Bank Rate, plus 1.29 per cent, from Santander. The mortgage is available to those looking to borrow up to 60 per cent of the value of a property.  

It follows the first anniversary this week of the Bank of England keeping the Bank Rate at 0.5 per cent.

March 7, 2014 at 3:19 PM Leave a comment

Top 10 Homes For Car Fans

Give your car the home it deserves…

1. Perfect for space saving in London – a double garage for your multiple sports cars.
5 bed in London, £11M – Hamptons


2. How would you like to live in the previous home of a car legend…Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson grew up here!
4 bed in Doncaster, £595K – Jackson-Stops & Staff


3. This unique home comes with a spectacular two-storey 13, 000 sq ft contemporary vintage car museum – what more could you want?
7 bed in West Yorkshire , £4.5M – Beadnall & Copley


4. The sheer size of this church conversion allows ample space for showcasing car and motorbike collections.
4 bed in Uxbridge, POA – Chewton Rose


5. This central London home includes a garage large enough for not one but four limousines. However, it is also the most expensive property on the market in the UK.
21 bed in London, £90M – Messila Residential


6. Lewis Hamilton lived in this 4 bed in Stevenage from ’97-’01, it was last bought for £540,000…maybe you could offer the owner a Tempt Me price?

lewis hamilton

7. A garage your car deserves…and no walking in the rain to get to the house.
4 bed in London, £19.8M – Charles McDowell


8. Something more appropriate for the countryside…we love this open-bay double car port in Tunbridge Wells.
5 bed in Kent, £2.75M – Knight Frank


9. Every car fan deserves a driveway with a view and this truly grand house also offers an underground garage to keep your beloved safe.
12 bed in Aberdeenshire, £2M – Savills


10. A true luxury for your car…it’s very own home in the highly sought after area of Kensington.
Garage in Kensington, £300,000 – Foxtons


Send us a link via Twitter to your #propertyoftheweek on Zoopla and our favourites will feature on the blog every Friday.

March 7, 2014 at 11:42 AM 1 comment

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