So...just 6 months to go. Before jumping into the checklist, make sure you’ve had a look at our 3-month and 12-month checklist.
Property sales are complex, and we don’t sugarcoat the bricks. Use this checklist to simplify this confusing process and ensure your next move is smooth, orderly, and stress-free.
In the 6 months leading up to launching your home on the market, these are the key things to make sure you get done. Keep reading for more detail on how to do each of them and key things to watch out for.
It’s simple. The more you sell your home for, the more you can put towards your next one. You’re going to be in your home for months, not years, so we don’t want to over-invest in it but there are some things we can do to add value to your house on a budget.
First impressions count for a lot and some small changes can help you achieve a better sale price. Walk around your home and try to imagine you’re seeing it for the first time. Make a note of all those scuffs and imperfections to fix before listing.
Repaint the front door — Nothing makes a good first impression like a freshly painted front door, so get some quality exterior paint for extra kerb appeal.
Update your floors — Giving the floors a fresh varnish or replacing any heavily stained carpets with a low-cost alternative can be a good investment.
A bathroom makeover — You don’t have to rip out a whole bathroom suite in order to make it sparkle. Replace that grisly shower curtain with a glass screen, consider getting a new toilet seat and replace any mouldy silicone.
Gardening — If you’re handy with the trowel and shovel, you can try a bit of DIY landscaping to improve your garden’s appearance. At a minimum, keep it mowed.
Plaster cracks and signs of damp - Most of the time, these are nothing to worry about but they’ll put off buyers instantly. So long as the underlying issue is fixed, some simple decorating can make a big difference.
Red walls - a special shout-out to the red-wall club. We love a red wall, but unfortunately, most buyers don’t. Consider a coat (or 3) of a more neutral colour.
An investment of under £5,000, if spent well, can result in an extra £10,000+ sale price.
The busiest months for the property market are March, April, May and September. Launching your home one of these months gives you the best shot at finding a buyer quickly. While conventional wisdom dictates that properties should go on the market when the weather is good, it doesn’t always work out like that. Estate agents do a lot of business in the run-up to Christmas, with minds focused on finalising deals before the big New Year freeze. You’re likely to receive less interest in the summer holidays, but family buyers are back on the market by September.
Ultimately, the right time to move means the right time for you and your loved ones. It’s easy to get distracted by external factors like politics and the economy, but you shouldn’t let the trials and tribulations of the wider world stop you from putting down roots in your new home.
You’re a year or so away from potentially moving out of the area, so now is the time to make sure you enjoy it! Make a list of those things you haven’t quite gotten around to, restaurants you’ve been meaning to visit. You’ll have a year to tick them off your list - so enjoy!
Now is the perfect time to Prepare for finding your next home. If you don't know where you will be moving to, spend your weekends exploring new areas to build your shortlist. Walk the streets and make note of your favourite areas in advance of your home search, so you act quickly when the perfect home comes on the market.
Have a look online at the homes that are for sale at the moment. Are they the type of property you are looking for at the price you can afford? If not, it might be that you’re looking for a type of home that rarely becomes available, which will slow your move down. Or maybe the prices are just higher than you thought and your expectations need adjusting. Either way, it's good to understand if what you are looking for is realistic, so you can assess your search requirements before you’re on the market.
It is also worth getting a realistic understanding of the house prices so you can plan what you can afford. List prices can be deceiving, with homes in some markets selling way above the listing price and in others significantly below the list price. To get an accurate understanding of property values in the area, use tools like Rightmove House Values. It’s free and shows the actual sale price of homes that recently sold, based on Land Registry records. There is a 3-month delay with Land Registry data so you won't necessarily find the price of every home you have seen for sale recently.
Read our next guide: The 3-month home-selling checklist
Our friendly, local experts would love to talk to you about your home move