The Value of House Clearances When Selling a Property at Auction

We recently published a guide on how to prepare a property for sale at auction. We explained that auction buyers will expect a property to be reasonably presentable before it’s listed, as they would with an estate agency listing.

Yet achieving this isn’t always easy, especially if you’re marketing a recently acquired property. Perhaps you’ve inherited a house and don’t know where to start in terms of processing a deceased relative’s belongings. Maybe you’ve taken possession of a rental flat, only to find the tenants left behind vast quantities of rubbish.

In these circumstances – and others besides – house clearances could be an invaluable step along the road to marketing and achieving a quick house sale.

Great Valued Property in Greater Manchester Being Sold Through Property Solvers Auctions

It’s important to recognise the advantages of undertaking house clearances when selling a property at auction

Clear and Present Danger

House buyers aren’t always blessed with imagination, and they might struggle to identify alternative uses for a room filled with old furniture, boxes and black sacks. If they can’t envisage future uses, they’ll be deterred from bidding, reducing the all-important demand that helps to drive auction bids above guide prices. That’s more of a concern now the UK residential property auction market is slowing.

There are two ways to accomplish house clearances – the DIY route and the professional alternative. We consider both below.

The Professional Route

One option is to hand the keys to a company specialising in house clearances, and give them free rein to strip out the interior. It’s important to clarify boundaries at the outset, though – do you want carpets removing? Should core furnishings be left, to keep the property dressed? Are outbuildings included?

Costs vary widely, especially since some firms charge by weight and others by volume, while a few quote fixed fees. Charges may spiral if additional items are charged separately, if recycling costs are recoupable, or if there are access issues (a third-floor flat with no lift; a terraced house with double yellow lines outside). Get multiple quotes and insist on a detailed cost breakdown each time.

Charities like the British Heart Foundation conduct house clearances, as well as going through outbuildings if instructed to. They will sell, recycle or dispose of anything they find, which makes this a good option if the property is otherwise tidy.

Sold items can be offset against the cost of their visit, which will be lower than professional house clearances specialists – but less comprehensive, too. They will often leave without notifying you or seeking your approval regarding what’s been done, whereas professional firms will be more communicative and eager to please.

The DIY Route

This is a better option if you want granular control over house clearances, but again, costs may spiral. Skips are expensive to hire, while local councils often levy charges for kerbside collections or bulk drop-offs at recycling centres.

Then there’s the time aspect to consider – if you’re keen for a quick sale, you may not have the hours needed to sift through other people’s belongings. This process could be emotionally draining if you’ve lost a loved one, or downright unpleasant if you’re discarding the detritus of strangers.

Yet the DIY route is often the most practical. It gives you direct control over what’s salvaged, what’s sold and what’s simply thrown away. If you’re physically fit and don’t mind donning puncture-proof rubber gloves, house clearances can be surprisingly satisfying.

Leaving core furnishings in situ helps to give buyers helpful context during viewings, and you could always reuse retained objects elsewhere after the auction is over – or sell them to raise money…