Shropshire Star

How to sell your house: In need of refurbishment?

In the next section of her complete guide to selling a house, Lea Beven of Limecastle looks at fixing up your property and whether it is worth spending time and money on a full refurbishment.


In the next section of her complete guide to selling a house, Lea Beven of Limecastle looks at fixing up your property and whether it is worth spending time and money on a full refurbishment.

Part four: Fixing and tidying up

If you have the smell of paint in your property, this can be a problem.

A buyer might wonder what you are covering up - people often paint over damp patches or mould to make it look better, but then a few days later the problem comes through again.

This kind of work should be done prior to viewings leaving plenty of time to get rid of the smell – if you don't have time then don't try to mask the smell with cheap air fresheners as, generally, people hate them.

Plug in some good quality vanilla scents around each doorway, so that as people walk into a room it smells nice and fresh.

For rooms close to the garden, the smell of freshly mown grass is very attractive in the summer - you can actually buy this smell in an air freshener (totally crazy!)

Most importantly, don't forget your boxes.

Yes, get some, and put everything personal and cluttering away, hiding them well out of the way (put them in the loft, garage or even in storage if you can afford it)

My tip: The more things you have around for people to look at or judge you on, the more you are distracting them from buying.

If a room is particularly full, maybe take out a few pieces of furniture to provide a clear path and an airy feel.

Part five: Refurbish or not?

Now this is one of my biggest problems with investors. Why would you spent 20k on a refurbishment and then have your property empty for 6 months?

Take a look at these figures -they are not exact and I have not fully broken them down, but they give an idea of a property that I refurbished not long ago.

Option 1 Option 2
Purchase 140kSpend 20k

Time 8 + Weeks

Revalue 200k

Profit 40k (excluding tax etc)

Purchase 140kSpend 2k

Time 2 days

Revalue 180k

Profit 38k (excluding tax etc)

So you can see, without being a rocket scientist, that the property refurbished using the first method takes a lot longer for only a little more reward.

For inexperienced investors, this process can go on much longer - in some cases up to a year.

It involves a lot of organising, stress, let-down and possibly taken a lot more out of you than you thought it would.

The funny thing is though, as soon as someone buys it, they are going to rip out most of what you did – and change it to their own taste.

Option 2 is my 'work smarter, not harder' method. This particular property that I worked on was full of junk and very dirty.

I went in with a skip, and a gang of new investors who wanted to have a play on a property with no risk to them.

We spent 2 days 'magnoliarising' (you tend to make up words in this business...) and emptied the property thoroughly.

We swept it, cleaned the sinks and bathroom, put a bath panel on and even emptied the loft - during the process one new investor put his foot through the ceiling.

We removed all the rubbish from the garden and one of those helping had the old car left on the drive for free.

In return for this I bought everyone pizza, we had some fun and they learned what not to do to a property!

My tip: Work smarter not harder. If you can turn a property around in 3 days, instead of 6 months, why wouldn't you if you were making a similar amount of money.

Even if the figures looked better on the refurbishment side – have you allowed for problems with building and repairs and market adjustments?

Tomorrow: Potential problems

See part one: How people search for a property

See part two: How to market your property and an objective look at your property?

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