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When selling your home, it’s vital that you entice buyers rather than actively frightening them away.

With this in mind, it pays to know the things that are most likely to deter prospective buyers. If you can ensure your home contains none of these major turn-offs, it stands to reason that your chances of selling for your asking price or above will be much higher.

Below, using our experience as estate agents operating in Hertfordshire, Borehamwood, North West London and the surrounding areas, we take a look at the turn-offs that are most likely to make buyers look elsewhere…  


Not only does damp on ceilings and walls look unsightly, it can also smell and cause long-term damage that can be costly to repair. It might also suggest to buyers that you don’t take the maintenance and upkeep of your property seriously enough – this, in turn, may make them question your credentials as a seller.

Rooms exposed to warm air, humidity and high levels of condensation – for example bathrooms, the kitchen and laundry/utility rooms – are usually the most at risk of experiencing damp.

Like so much else, prevention is better than cure when it comes to damp. Keep rooms well-ventilated, open windows in the bathroom and kitchen to prevent steam being too much of an issue and turn on extractor fans to ensure damp doesn’t become a major problem in your home.

Bad smells

Unpleasant odours are, unsurprisingly, another major turn-off for buyers. A recent survey by Go Compare found that bad smells were second only to damp when it comes to deterring prospective buyers from purchasing a property.

Bad smells are off-putting in a general sense, so it’s no surprise that a home with questionable odours would put buyers off. This could come from food, pets, cigarettes or damp.

Luckily, bad smells are something that rest entirely in your control. If, for whatever reason, your home has some unpleasant odours, there are steps you can take to eradicate them. You may want to open all windows and doors, spray air fresheners around or employ air diffusers at strategic points.

What’s more, simple steps like not smoking inside your house or avoiding food that might pong a big – such as strong cheese or a Full English breakfast – the night before a viewing will help matters.

If you have pets, it may be best to send them elsewhere while viewings take place to ensure the potential for bad smells is limited.

Slow broadband

In this day and age, fast internet access is a must-have for many buyers – even more so for those who work from home (which, trends suggest, is a growing number of us). If your home can offer speedy broadband, would-be buyers are likely to be pleased and this should improve your chances of getting your home sold.

Nowadays, it should certainly be a key part of your sales strategy. Unfortunately, if you live in a broadband blackspot or a place where internet speeds are frustratingly slow and buffering is common, this could be a major turn-off for buyers.

Of course, there isn’t much you can do if slow broadband is an issue, but for the areas we operate in at Owl Search that shouldn’t be a problem. London and its suburbs have some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country, with the need to be connected at its peak in one of the busiest, largest and most important cities in the world.

Dodgy DIY

As you’d expect, prospective buyers will be eagle-eyed when they come to view your home, on the lookout for any little flaw. If there are any half-finished, botched or half-hearted DIY jobs, there is a good chance these will stand out like a sore thumb.

Make sure, before you bring your home to market, that you rectify any rushed or haphazard DIY work, or start again from scratch completely. Wonky shelves, poor paintjobs and tatty skirting boards will only harm your chances of selling quickly and for a decent price.

Poor levels of cleanliness

A dirty home will have no appeal whatsoever to prospective buyers. If you want your home to sell, it needs to be clean, well-maintained, tidy and attractive. It needs to entice buyers rather than frightening them off.

It might sound obvious, but sometimes the cleanliness of a home is overlooked, with the mistaken assumption that buyers won’t be inspecting every nook and cranny, and some dust or dirt or scraps of food here and there can be got away with.

Quite the opposite. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to clean your home to the highest possible standards, it may be a wise move to call on the services of a cleaning company or professional to give your home a thorough once-over. While this will cost you a little bit in the short-term, it is likely to bring rewards in the long-term.

To find out more about how Owl Search can help to get your home sold in the various areas we operate in, please get in contact with us on 020 3432 3888.

We also offer free and instant online valuations for sellers who would like an estimate of their property’s current worth.

As a landlord, knowing the trends in the private rented sector and how to better attract long-term tenants are both important considerations.

Family tenants are often reliable and likely to cause you little hassle, with recent research by the National Landlords Association (NLA) suggesting that properties rented to families take up the least amount of property management time – up to eight hours a week – compared to other tenants.

Why should you target family tenants?

While some landlords may dread the idea of renting to parents with children (crayon scrawled on freshly painted walls, mess on the carpets, etc), there’s good reason to target families as tenants.

For the most part, tenants with children are often further along in their careers than younger, single tenants. Families are also more likely to stay put, as parents would rather keep their children rooted in one place, especially if they attend local schools.

In fact, between 2006-07 and 2016-17, the number of households with dependent children in the private rented sector increased by about 966,000, according to findings from the English Housing Survey.

And it’s easy to see why. Renting a home is a practical and flexible option for thousands of families and, as such, landlords can benefit from this growing market by providing family tenants with family-friendly properties that are too good to refuse.

If you have the type of rental property that you believe would be perfect for this demographic, you will be eager to figure out the best ways to attract families to your property.

Here are some of the ways you can do this...

1. Family-friendly garden

Gardens and other outdoor spaces can offer a great, safe place for children to play. If you have a garden, it’s a wise idea to make sure that it is free from gravel, shingles and other hazards. You’ll also need to keep the space as neat and tidy as possible to increase its appeal.

To make sure the area is secure, ensure that all fences, gates and doors are in fine working order.

2. Location matters

For many families, it’s all about location, location, location. Most parents will want to be within the catchment area of a high-performing school – if you have good or outstanding schools nearby, be sure to let would-be tenants know - and amenities such as parks, leisure centres, playgrounds and shops. Having a rental home in a family-friendly area is a bonus for many landlords and a must-have for tenants.

What’s more, if you have a home in a family-friendly area, demand from tenants is likely to be high. This will increase the chances of your home being continually occupied, bringing in solid, stable rents and preventing void periods.

3. Safety and security

Your property could be in the perfect location with plenty of amenities, but that won’t matter much if it isn’t safe and secure. Parents have extra safety concerns when it comes to their children, so safety locks on toilets, ovens and windows make for an affordable yet effective addition to your home that will impress tenants. Consider security systems and double-check if railings and banisters are secure, as parents will check for these small details.

4. The right family space

Most families require a practical home containing two, three or four bedrooms with plenty of space, parking and storage.

While you may not be able to change the number of rooms in your property, you can consider turning a small study or spare room into another bedroom. You could also try converting unused space in a garage or basement into a play area or games room.

5. Flexibility

Families who feel at home tend to stay longer and look after the property well. Therefore, landlords might want to consider being very flexible when it comes to factors such as keeping pets and redecorating.

Leniency can enable families to be freer when it comes to furniture and decorating the home, especially when it comes to their children’s rooms.

Whatever you decide, make sure it’s outlined in the tenancy agreement to ensure boundaries are clear.

Family tenants are rising in numbers - with evidence to suggest that they now account for a larger part of the private rented sector than young professionals – so it’s certainly a demographic that you should consider targeting your home towards.

At Owl Search, we can help to get your home let in Hertfordshire, Borehamwood, North West London and the surrounding areas. Please get in contact with us on 020 3432 3888.

What’s more, we provide free online valuations to allow you to see what rental you could achieve for your property.

We are undergoing something of a heatwave in Britain at the moment, with the recent scorching weather bringing about comparisons to the long, hot summer of 1976.

If that wasn’t enough, England are performing above expectations at the World Cup in Russia, the world’s best tennis players are keeping the crowds entertained at Wimbledon, the music festival season is in full swing and the chance to enjoy an ice-cream is becoming an everyday thing rather than a rarity.

Summer is also, going against the grain of popular wisdom, a good time of the year in which to sell a home. While it’s true that everything slows down a bit with the kids off school and people flying off to exotic locations for a well-deserved break, there is still plenty of activity in July and August as people use the better weather as an excuse to get out and about viewing homes.

One room they will be focusing on in particular is the kitchen, which has been regularly voted as the most important of the home in recent years. It takes on even more importance in the summer months when meet-ups, informal drinks and BBQs are more frequent.

Below, we look at how your kitchen can play an important role when it comes to selling your home...

A (very) key feature

Britain has been swept up in a foodie boom for a number of years now, fuelled by the growth of farmers’ markets, street food pop-ups and gastronomic festivals. Our TV screens are filled with cookery shows – from MasterChef to The Great British Bake Off – and many people like to try and recreate the culinary delights in their own kitchen.

It’s not just a place to cook, bake and experiment, though. Kitchens (in particular open-plan ones) are very sociable places, with friends and families coming together to enjoy each other’s company. It’s a place to eat, drink and socialise, as well as a place for kids to do their homework in a slightly different setting.

It’s a versatile, adaptable and fun place to be, which is why so many buyers place such a key emphasis on it. They know they are likely to be spending a lot of time in it, so they want it to fit their needs perfectly.

With this level of scrutiny in mind, when selling your home, you’ll want your kitchen to look its very best – clean, welcoming, attractive and well-maintained. Achieve that and you can feel confident that buyers won’t be turning their nose up when they come to view your property.

In the summer, it’s vital that you flood your kitchen with as much natural light as possible, making sure it’s an airy, cool place to be.

Different selling points for different demographics

There is no one type of kitchen that will be universally popular; different people will have different preferences and different tastes. Generally speaking, though, contemporary kitchens with smart worktops, tasteful tiling, American-style fridge-freezers and stylish but robust flooring will have the widest appeal.

Many people like certain features – such as an island or a breakfast bar with stools – while others will prefer a more rustic affair, perhaps with an AGA cooker or a larder-style space.

Younger people will typically prefer a more modern kitchen, while families and older people may prefer something more traditional. This is far from set in stone, though, and it’s never wise to tailor your sales pitch to one group of buyers in particular. Try and think as broadly as you can and ensure your home appeals to as wide a range of people as possible.

To this end, very quirky, eccentric or individual kitchens are unlikely to have a very wide appeal – in fact, they may actively put people off. Neutral, minimalist and ‘functional but elegant’ is probably the best way to go, enabling your kitchen to speak for itself rather than stretching too hard to impress.

Front and centre

Whether you decide to carry out the viewing yourself or get your estate agent to do it on your behalf, it might be a good idea to direct prospective buyers towards your kitchen first to ensure that space is their first impression of your home.

Equally, you may want to save the best till last, ensuring the kitchen is the thing that stays freshest in their memories. Of course, to make that feasible, your kitchen will need to look the business. If you have a standout or very appealing kitchen, don’t be afraid to put it front and centre of your sales strategy.

On a hot summer’s day, filling your home – and your kitchen – with fresh air is more important than ever. You don’t want those viewing your home to be gasping for breath, sweating all over or melting from the heat; you want them to be cool, comfortable and in a positive frame of mind. Open all windows and doors to bring in a nice flow of air, and utilise fans and air-conditioning (if your home has this) if it’s an especially scorching day.

While a kitchen on its own is unlikely to convince buyers to purchase a home – the rest of the property will need to look up to scratch as well – it could be the thing that convinces those wavering over whether to make an offer or not.

To find out more about how Owl Search can help to get your home sold in Hertfordshire, Borehamwood, North West London and the surrounding areas, please get in contact with us on 020 3432 3888.

We also offer free and instant online valuations for sellers who would like an estimate of their property’s current worth.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that much can be said for your property listing.

The way your property is marketed is key to getting viewings, and while there are many factors to consider to help achieve a successful property marketing campaign, professional photos are likely to be the first thing a house hunter will see and are therefore an integral part of it.

Why are good property photos important?

As we’re well into the digital age, the majority of prospective buyers begin their search online, meaning your property photos will be the first thing they come across. Because of this, your home will need to make a good first impression in order to stand out from the crowd.

Your agent will be aware of the importance of good photography and should point you in the right direction. After all, if your photos aren’t up to par, prospective buyers may look for another property that is more appealing.

What are the common property photography mistakes?

While it may sound simple, there are multiple reasons why photos can turn out badly. In fact, it can be fairly easy to spot the real photo blunders on any major property portal. These can include the wrong lighting, a cluttered or messy room, bad angles, irrelevant focus on items in the home, blurring, poor quality, reflections and minimal to no photo editing.

These can all be avoided, however. Taking effective property photos isn’t hard. With a little planning, time and technique, your property listing can flourish with attractive photography.

How to take professional property photos

Every problem has a solution. In order to attract more viewers – and hopefully a higher price – you will need to consider the following:

Use the right equipment: This doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank to buy the latest gadgets, but using the basics (decent camera, lens, tripod, etc.) can be a good start.

Set the scene: When it comes to property photography, everything is carefully planned and staged. This means removing clutter and personal items, straightening furniture, opening all blinds and switching off the lights.

It’s all about relevance: Prospective buyers want to see the best aspects of a home, not which wallpaper is used in the dining room. Every photo should tell a story, and so, it’s best to cut out anything irrelevant. This means showing off nice fixtures for the interior and getting a higher elevation of the front of the house for the exterior.

Photo editing: Once the photos are taken, post-production will play a vital role to make the photos shine even more. This could be anything from image enhancement and item removal, to virtual staging (if necessary).

How can you prepare your home for photos?

There’s no use taking good-quality photos if your home isn’t up to standard. As prospective buyers will see the front of your property first, it’s important to make sure your front door, lawn and driveway are in top condition. This means trimming hedges, cleaning the driveway, painting the front door, mowing the lawn and wiping down windows.

Inside, you will want to declutter and depersonalise your home, rearrange furniture where necessary, and give each room a good tidy. Doing so will allow prospective buyers to visualise themselves living in your home. Most importantly, you want to make sure that the key selling points of your home (kitchen, bathroom and garden) look their best.

When it comes to selling your home, every little detail is important to achieving the best sale price possible.

However, we at Owl search can cover this. To found out more about how we can help to get your home sold in Hertfordshire, Borehamwood, North West London and the surrounding areas, please get in contact with us on 020 3432 3888.


What’s more, we offer a free online valuation for sellers who would like an estimate of their property’s current worth. 

Summer is nearly upon us. And, if the recent weather is anything to go by, it could well be a scorcher. The season of holidays, strawberries, Pimms, the World Cup and Wimbledon is also a great one in which to sell a home.

You can use the longer days and better weather – which encourages more house-hunters to get out and about viewing homes – to your advantage, making your home look its absolute best and drastically increasing the number of eyes on your property at the same time.

With this in mind, we outline some top tips to get your home sold this summer...

Make use of green space

Whether you have a sprawling front or back garden, a small lawn, or a modest patch of land outside your home, summer is the season to make use of whatever green space you have available.  

For many buyers, particularly families with young children, the garden will be a major selling point. Show it off as much as you can and point out to potential purchasers how it can be used as a place to socialise, a place to hold informal summer BBQs and a safe space for the kids to burn off all that excess energy.

If you have a particular feature in your garden that is extra special – for example a spectacular water feature, a stylishly converted shed or an elegant seating area – accentuate this as much as possible.

Whether you are targeting families, young professionals or green-fingered retirees, your garden – more than anything else – needs to look the part. Immaculate lawns, well-pruned shrubs, colourful flowers/plants and a clean, attractive patio will all help to enhance your garden space. Best of all, this is cheap, quick and easy to achieve.

Be adaptable

If you are selling your home, flexibility will be key when it comes to viewings. This isn’t always easy to achieve in the summer months – when trips away and days out with the kids are far more likely – but if you are selling it may be wise to forgo the holiday abroad for later in the year to make sure you are around to accommodate viewings.

Of course, your agent will often carry out viewings on your behalf – so those days out won’t need to be cancelled – but if you would prefer to be there in person or carry out the viewings yourself it’s a good move to be as flexible with timings as possible. As long as the requests from buyers aren’t outrageous, a flexible and adaptable approach will be much appreciated.

Take a fresh approach

If a viewing is being held on a particularly warm day, make sure you open all windows and doors in your property to fill your home with fresh air. Air fresheners, fans and a blast of air conditioning can also help to ensure stuffiness isn’t an issue.

A cool breeze greeting would-be buyers as they view your home is likely to make the whole experience much more pleasant than if they are melting from the excessive heat.

Bring the outdoors in

Everyone is much happier in the summer, right? So if you can bring that summery vibe indoors, with light and airy décor, seasonal pot plants and summer-style décor (think cool colours, light soft furnishings and ocean or beach themes), it stands to reason that would-be buyers will be in a more positive mindset as they make their way around your home.

A buyer in a happy mood may also be one who is likely to make a decision there and then about whether the home is right for them.

Remember to try and flood your home with as much natural light as possible, but keep certain rooms – such as the bedrooms and bathroom - cool by keeping curtains and blinds closed. The kitchen and living areas, on the other hand, will benefit from sun shining directly on them.

Minimalise your living area

To achieve a light, airy feel, a minimalist approach is best. Neutral décor and a less-is-more mantra will also allow would-be buyers to better visualise the home as their own. Ditch the knick-knacks and the items that are too personal and try and make your living space feel as big as possible.

You can also make use of summer colours by adding a splash here and there via rugs, cushions, other soft furnishings and curtains. Sky blues, greens, yellows (the trendiest colour of the moment) and light shades of orange, pink and red can all help to bring a touch of summer and calmness to your living space without being overbearing. By contrast, rich, heavy, wintery colours will stand out like a sore thumb in the summer months and should be minimised or eradicated.   

Tidy up the front of your home

The frontage of your property is the first thing viewers will see. As such, it needs to look in tip-top condition to avoid deterring would-be buyers before they’ve even entered your home.

To get things started on the right foot, ensure that all gutters and drains are clear from debris and, if you have a front garden, cut the lawn, trim any hedges back and ensure all shrubbery and plants have been well-maintained. If you have a driveway, make sure it looks presentable, while any porch or entrance areas should be free from clutter like bikes, shoes and trainers.

Carry out the above steps and your chances of selling this summer should be high. At Owl Search, we can help to sell your home in Hertfordshire, Borehamwood, North West London and the surrounding areas. Please get in contact with us on 020 3432 3888.


What’s more, we offer free online valuations for sellers who would like an estimate of their property’s current worth. 

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