How to sell your house quicker!
The do’s and don’ts of selling your house
Spring is a key time in the housing market as demand usually outstrips supply, helping prices to reach their optimum levels. So if you’re thinking of making a move, here’s our guide to selling your property as quickly and painlessly as possible
DO: Consider your target market
Think: Who might buy this property? Then tailor your space to appeal to the main type without alienating anyone else that could be interested. So if you feel it would be most suited to a professional couple, ensure there is somewhere that could be considered a ‘workstation’ within the house. If you think it’s more suited to a family you could create a play space or room.
DON’T: Forget the clutter
Put things you don’t use on a daily basis in storage. Make rooms feel much bigger by putting large pieces of furniture away too. Get rid of coats in the hallway, products in the bathroom, ornaments and photos in the living room and posters in kids’ bedrooms – this way, potential buyers will be able to imagine themselves living in your house…
DO: Freshen up
A fresh coat of paint, new grouting or new kitchen doors can really smarten up a tired-looking property. If you’d rather not re-decorate, make sure the house is spotless. If you can manage it, have the carpets, sofa covers, oven and windows cleaned. Make sure the kitchen and bathroom look hygienic – a new loo seat is a great investment, as are fresh white towels and a well-placed plant or two.
DON’T: Just go for the estate agent with the highest valuation
Try to get more than one agent round to value your property but don’t necessarily go for the one with the highest valuation – this is an old trick used to win instructions. Many agents will also often try to tie you into a 12-week exclusive contract – negotiate the minimum time possible so that if you are not happy with the service, you can change or go multi-agency. However, it’s cheaper to sell sole agency rather than multi, so if possible stay with one agent for the first four weeks, giving them the best chance and motivation to sell your property fast. Always try to negotiate on fees and ensure you have the final amount agreed in writing.
DO: Get the word out
Always say yes to having a board up and tell your neighbours, friends and even the local butcher – word of mouth is a powerful tool. You never know, there might be someone living just round the corner waiting for your house to come on the market.
DON’T: Give too much information
Most people these days have the agent do the viewings, but if you prefer to show your property yourself, have a plan of action. Decide what order you will show the rooms, and guide viewers around the property once, showing the best rooms first or last. Don’t overload them with detail, such as the depth of the bath or the trouble with next door’s kids. But do feel free to highlight the odd positive point, like a south-facing garden.
DONT: Necessarily go with the highest bidder
The person who offers the highest price is not always the best choice. Listen to your agent’s advice on buyers and push to find out as much about the buyers’ circumstances as possible. Cash buyers are best, but if they are raising a mortgage you can ask to see a mortgage ‘in principle’ letter from their lender. First-time buyers may need some handholding by the agent. If they have something to sell, then it should be under offer before you take your property off the market. Also, find out about any forward chains that could complicate agreeing completion dates further down the line.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, do all you can to facilitate the exchange of contracts. The longer it takes to reach this, the higher the chances of the deal falling through or of the buyer gazundering (i.e. dropping their price). Keep in weekly contact with your solicitor to find out where the conveyancing is at and agent to ensure the buyer is still highly motivated in relation to the sale.