How To Sell Your Home

If you want to achieve the maximum price when selling your home, then take heed from our selling advice and tips. By following a few simple rules, you can maximise your sale by making your property appeal to a broader potential client base. Most buyers want to be able to move straight into their new home without having to spend too much money once they are in. If your house appears unloved and is going to need a major over hall to bring it up to scratch, you are seriously limiting your customer base.

1. Target Your Market

Who are you aiming your house sale at? If you live near a good school, then maybe you would need to target your house at a young family with children. Turn your home office/junk room into a bedroom. Make it appeal to a family that require an extra bedroom. Do you live near good transport links and your house may appeal to a professional couple? Then perhaps they would like to see room for a home office and space for entertaining.

2. Time Your Sale

Traditionally houses sell better a certain times of the year. These are in the Spring (Feb/March) and Autumn (Sept/Oct) when demand peaks due to sales being more than supply, giving you the maximum return. The downside is that you may have to pay more for your new property so weigh up what’s best for you, whether you are downsizing, upsizing or moving in to rented accommodation.

3. De-Clutter and De-Personalise

Your house needs to be a show home for potential buyers to see themselves living in what could be their new home. Therefore you need to remove personal ornaments, photos, storage boxes, kitchen gadgets…..anything that clutters your house. Make it look as spacious as possible, add mirrors where pictures hang to reflect light and give a bigger appearance. Just have essentials on show, remove all the coats and shoes from the hallway as this is the first room your potential buyers will see, first impressions really do count. Put away kitchen gadgets such as food mixers to make the worktops and kitchen appear bigger. Hide the bin, jars, sauce bottles, dirty towels etc. Pretty little ornaments that hold memories for you are just junk to someone else.

4. Decorate Tired Rooms

If you have rooms that are dated and unfashionable, or just tired, give it a new coat of paint in neutral colours. Painting over scratched window frames or doors, scuffed skirting and yellowing paint can make a huge difference to the overall look. If grouting is black or dirty around tiles then replace it, you don’t need to retile the whole bathroom or kitchen. Make sure the front door is clean and tidy, replace handles if necessary. Make sure all light bulbs work and electrical sockets aren’t cracked or overloaded (it can appear there aren’t enough sockets if extension leads are plugged in).

5. Clean and Tidy

If you don’t have the time, budget or are unable to decorate, then you must consider a thorough deep clean. Your house must be spotless to give the appearance that you look after and maintain the property, even if it is a little tired or dated. Clean the carpets, sofas, toilet, fresh ironed sheets on the beds, clean curtains, remove cobwebs from corners, clean windows, fresh towels in bathrooms. If you have built in cupboards/wardrobes, make sure they aren’t stuffed to the brim as buyers will open doors. They need to be seen as a useful usable storage space.

6. Outside

The first thing your buyer will see is the approach to your property and is the first impression that can plant a seed in a buyers mind. Make sure the grass is cut, hedges and bushes trimmed, drive weeded, windows are clean and painted if necessary. Remove tacky ornaments such as garden gnomes, concrete statues and straighten crooked slabs, block paving etc. Replace broken fence panels and hide dustbins and recycling bins/bags.

7. Contact An Agent

The same rules above apply before you should even consider instructing an estate agent to value your property. The agent will take into consideration the value of your house on first impressions, as they will also need to take into consideration their ability to achieve your asking price.
Always get at least 3 agents to value your property. The highest valuation isn’t always the best so don’t get pressured into signing on the spot, remember they want you to sign up. Try not to get tied into a long term exclusive contract. Most properties sell within 6-8 weeks, so agree a time limit so you can change agent or go multi agent. It’s cheaper to use one agent so give them a fair chance to sell your house. Don’t be surprised if you are charged agents costs if you decide to transfer agents. The more you pay, generally the better the service. Make sure you negotiate a fee and know what your paying for. The agent should be pro-active in trying to sell your house, advertising in property papers and online. Don’t just advertise in the local area, people often look further afield. You need to get on with your agent so choose someone you can relate to.

Contact an Agent

Be prepared, instruct a solicitor to do your conveyancing early on and prepare draft contracts and apply for ‘title deeds’. Ask your solicitor for a breakdown of costs and fees. Gather all your paperwork such as building certificates and guarantees in a folder. Include instructions, manuals and relevant paperwork for cookers, built in fridges, freezers, washers, dryers, alarm systems, central heating boilers, gas fire service certificates, etc.

8. Valuation

There are many factors to take into account when valuating a property. Estate agents don’t charge for valuations so get at least 3. You can usually get a reasonable idea of the value of your property by doing a little homework yourself. Check out local properties for sale or recently sold and compare them to yours. Mortgage lenders use the same system as www.mouseprice.com  to obtain valuations. You can register for a small fee to obtain the same valuation.
Alternatively you can use the Governments own website at the ‘Land Registry‘.

Simply input the price you paid and the date you purchased to obtain a current valuation based on historic fluctuations in the property market. The valuation doesn’t take into account any structural alterations.

9. Advertise

You must have a sale board up. Tell everyone you know, friends, neighbours etc. and let them know what a wonderful place it is to live. You never know who may be looking for a house just like yours to come up for sale.
If you live on a main road, what better advert to get attention than a ‘For Sale’ board in the front garden. Potentially thousands of people will see your sale board. People will often drive around an area looking for properties for sale before approaching agents.

10. Viewings

There are some simple but obvious things you can do that all help when you get your first viewings.
Get rid of pets, especially dogs. You may not notice the smell but everyone else does. Drop them off with friends or family or put them in kennels.
Make sure the house is aired to get rid of odours, don’t eat curries or garlic the night before. Don’t smoke before a viewing. Make sure it’s warm and a comfortable temperature. Open doors to let light onto dark landings, stairs or corridors. If parking is limited, try and leave your car up the road or on a neighbours drive so the viewer doesn’t have difficulty parking.
You may be more comfortable having the agent showing buyers around, after all, your paying the agent to sell your house. The agent will get better feedback from the buyer than you will. It is often better that you are not around when viewings are taking place.  If you do the viewing yourself, point out the positives, never any problems. If buyers spot an issue they will ask, don’t point it out to them. Show the best room first or last. Show the buyer round first and then invite them to take a second tour on their own and give them some personal space.
11. Receiving An Offer
Don’t necessarily assume the highest offer is the best offer. Your agent will advise you who is in the best position to buy such as chains, cash buyers, if the buyer has yet to sell their own property. Don’t take your property off the market until you have assurance the buyer is in a position to proceed. Ensure the buyer is in a position to move quickly and has funds in place or a mortgage agreed.
12. Completion
The longer it takes to complete, the more likely the deal is to fall apart. Keep pressing your solicitor for updates on progress to make sure things are moving along. The quicker you get things moving, the less time the buyer has to look around at other properties and change their mind. Don’t stall the sale by going off on holiday for 2 weeks when paperwork needs to be signed, the buyer may loose interest.
If all goes according to plan, everyone’s happy, the agent, the buyer, the mortgage company, the solicitor, but most importantly of all, you.