A friend of mine asked me for some advice recently, which I thought pertinent to pass onto anyone who is, or may soon be, in the same position as my friend!
Unfortunately for my friend her elderly grandmother passed away recently, and it was sad, but her grandmother left the two bedroom ex-council flat she had lived in, to her granddaughter in her will. As we are becoming a nation obsessed with owning our own homes, inheriting properties from relatives, is becoming rather common place, whether that be singularly or collectively as siblings! There may well be tax implications on inherited or gifted property, but as I’m no financial expert, I will focus on the property itself. I strongly recommend proper financial advice is sought from experts in that field, about any implications for you, arising from your windfall!
My advice is, think very carefully about what to do with a windfall property, it could become a great unexpected source of regular income, as a rental property, of great financial benefit over the longer term, or a wonderful cash bonus if sold!
If your choice is to sell, here are a few simple rules to follow, if you want to maximise your windfall. The best time to sell (usually) is spring or early summer, firstly, the property needs to be cleared, anything of particular sentimental value removed from the property, everything else in the property should be cleared and sold. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this yourself, simply engage a house clearance specialist, retaining any new or recently purchased appliances. If the carpets are old and dingy, or multi coloured and cheap, (unappealing) take them up and dispose of them, including the underlay and the smooth edge. The same rule applies to any curtains / blinds / light shades etc, so the whole house is an empty shell.
I would suggest hiring a decorating contractor, to repaint the whole house, the trick is to paint all the walls and ceiling one colour, preferably with two coats of matt white emulsion. To rub down, undercoat, and topcoat in egg shell (which doesn’t show the blemishes in the woodwork) for a classy finish to all the painted woodwork. Thoroughly clean the kitchen and bathroom to a professional standard, and also ensure all the windows are professionally cleaned both inside and outside! If it is a house, have the outside painted, if it’s a flat, make a great job of the front door, (polish up, or replace the door furniture, which is the first thing to greet potential buyers). If you have gardens, have the lawns freshly cut, all flower beds weeded, and paved areas made tidy and washed, replace any slipped or missing tiles, or slates, ensure gutters and rainwater pipes are clean, not leaking and functional, and have any rubbish removed.
Now this may all seem a lot of aggro to simply sell a property, but it could improve the sale price by up to 20%, or even more in some cases. That would mean in Kensington / Chelsea where the house price average is £1,586,426.00 a 20% improvement in the price would equate to a mere, £317,284.00, “a sum not to be sniffed at”! The average property price across London is £514,000.00 which could possibly equate to an extra £102,800.00. Nationally the average house price is £250,000.00 which could equate to an extra £50,000.00, not bad potential payback, for that extra aggro!