We have engaged ourselves in the time and energy consuming project: selling our flat. Who has been through this once? Raise up your hand 🙂 We just have started and already Carles, my man, is sighing with exhaustion: “Cannot we just sell it just the way it is? Like in Spain?”
In Spain they seem to make little fuss out of selling a property. Wherever we go, we always stop by the property agencies and study the announcements that hang in their windows. So it seems that in Spain they just walk into a flat, just as it is, take some photos (with the bad mobile camera) – often dark, full of messy details, clothes hanging to dry, dishes in the sink and all – and paste them into their announcement.
After Norwegian experience of buying/selling a flat, this attitude makes us laugh. Lousy photos, the process of selling can take up a year, series of of visitors over time coming to see the flat. Those visits quite unfussy too, the owners show the place just as it is, without fixing it or hiding the clutter. The method, almost opposite to the Norwegian way. So how do they do it in Norway?
Here it can take a month to sell a flat – from the date you sign contact with the agency to signing the selling papers. But you need to find a good broker first. So you take your time, talking to your friends (“Do you know a good one?”), inviting several of them to your place. They sell themselves, you listen and choose. They draw a timeline for you, and your heart starts racing. “Here comes the stylist, here the photographer, here we run the visits – and bang, we sell!” All in 3-4 weeks.
The stylist visits you for an hour to give your advice and ideas of how to present your place in the best way. Then you’ve got a week or two, and you start running around, buying interior stuff, plants and pots. Getting rid of clutter, boxes, books, tv-station and even some furniture. You start washing, scrubbing, fixing and painting.
You see, for selling a flat well here it must look like in those interior magazines. No kidding. If you are a fan of Scandinavian living (like me), you can follow a blog My Scandinavian home – or you can check out the site where the sales announcements are placed. For example, here you can see some flats on sale in Oslo now.
A flat must be clean and full of air. That means: getting rid of that bookcase (we did), no personal items like photos and similar, sorting out the shelves, garderobe (if it’s open). A flat must look appealing but not personal. It can have some pictures, but should be color-coordinated. I.e. the same color accents in all of the rooms, with the quiet white, gray, or light blue backdrop. It should look stylish and up-to-date, i.e. trendy. So… it must look like in the cool interior magazine!
Why do they do it here? Why don’t they do it in Spain? I am not sure about how the price is composed in Spain, but there it depends mostly on the market. While in Norway there is also market – but you can also sell it above the set price. Another authority (not agency) comes and sets the actual price “takst“, but if you are lucky you can sell your place well over the takst. And here you have a factor of luck: how many people come to the visit, and how many are willing to buy the flat.
Because what happens in Norway, after two visits, is a kind of an auction. The broker calls those who have put themselves on the list and asks if that want to bid. And if there are two or more willing, they can bid more. And in the end you can walk away with a bigger sum than the takst was. If the market is ready for it. And if there were enough people.
This doesn’t happen in Spain. There is no competition. There are private visits, and if you wish to pay the set price you can get the flat. If no, you walk away. And so it takes more time. But then there is less fuss. And the owners don’t run around hiding away all their stuff for the pictures. And they don’t fix the flat to look at its best for the visit, painting, fixing and scrubbing.
But we do. If we want to sell it well. If not, you can too just leave it. But… we want (who doesn’t?) :)) So we work. I work as a washing personnel, carrier of things to the basement, and the stylist. I have checked other flats on sale in Oslo to see what is modern now, browsed all the webpages of the interior and furniture stores and been on an inspiration tour to them on foot. I got my list, went shopping several times and, of course, took the bus to IKEA.
We were talking about the interior design market in Norway, and why there are not so many shops in the middle segment – and my friend noticed: “Norwegians don’t care much about wearing fashion and design, but they love to use money on the interior. That’s why they go to Bolia (an expensive design store)”.
That’s true, Norwegians don’t care so much about presenting their facades (Italians are a total opposite and are peacocks in comparison :)). But, like all Scandinavians, they put a lot of thought into their homes (where they, naturally, spend a lot of time). They renovate often, buy new furniture or vintage second hand items (because it is cool), invest into design items. While looking at the sales photos, I was noticing the brand products all the way. And I don’t think they bought them just for pictures. So if you want to make a nice sales impression, you don’t buy all your stuff at IKEA. Puff, such a labor! :))
Now tell me, what do you think of the different ways to sell a place? Which one appeals to your heart? What kind of flat would you like to visit on sale, Spanish or Norwegian style? Any experience selling? Share with me!
P.S. Because of all these creative endeavors I reduced my activity on the blog – I hope now you understand why :)) I will keep you updated of the (creative) process 🙂
After (still in progress)