Make sure your property has an attractive frontage with a tidy garden, clean exterior walls and a smart front door. This will give potential viewers the best possible image of the property when they see the 'For Sale' board or the photograph on the brochure.
A fresh lick of paint can make a world of difference for the internal aspects of a property and can also be relatively inexpensive. Neutral colours are usually best. Spring-cleaning the interior of the property by tidying and removing clutter from each room can create a fresh atmosphere for viewings and show off the space that exists. Ensuring door handles, dripping taps and scuffed paint are fixed can be vitally important in the sale of your home even though they may seem like small jobs.
Although home improvements such as loft conversions and conservatories add value to property, weigh up how much money you will actually make before going ahead with a major home improvement in the run up to selling your property.^ Back to Top
When putting your property on the market a "for sale" board is essential, even if you live in the middle of nowhere. Nothing sells homes like word of mouth!
Preparing a file for the estate agent and potential buyers can be a good idea. This should include any guarantees for damp proofing or timber preservation, planning permission and building control certificates for the property or extensions which exist and any recent surveys or service guarantees.^ Back to Top
It is a good idea to give viewers plenty of room to park. Internally you should make the property feel warm and inviting for viewers with fresh flowers and good lighting.
Ensure pets are kept under control and children are well behaved when viewings are taking place. It is also a good idea to remove posters off children's bedroom walls when viewings are going to be taking place.^ Back to Top
Always let your estate agent do the negotiating. Estate agents are used to handling offers on a day-to-day basis and can keep their cool under pressure. They are also not emotionally involved so will not get offended by low offers or criticisms of the property. They will also make sure that all negotiations are put in writing so that there will be no room for confusion later.
If you receive an offer on your property don't be afraid to take a day to consider it. It's an important decision and one, which shouldn't be made in the spare of the moment. Before you can accept an offer you need to find out how much 'baggage' your buyer has, i.e. do they have a property to sell? What are their time scales? Has a mortgage been offered? Is there a chain situation? Have offers been put on other properties? Until all these questions have been answered adequately you should still be open to other offers. Bear in mind that you may waste a substantial amount of money in legal fees if you accept an offer from the wrong buyer and the sale falls through.
Just as the buyer has to put forward a strong case for his position, likewise you, as the seller, can emphasise your strengths. It could be the fact that you can move out immediately or at very short notice or the fact that you are not stuck in a chain because your new place is ready for you to move into, or you have numerous offers from other purchasers. It is amazing how many buyers who make low offers come back with higher ones some time later. The old expression 'Be nice to people on the way up, because you never know if you will meet them again on the way down,' is certainly true when it comes to selling your home. So be considerate and polite to everyone who makes an offer and leave the door open for them to come back with a higher offer when they are good and ready.
Don't take your home off the market for a buyer who has a property to sell. The buyer may not be able to sell their property and you may miss other potential purchasers.^ Back to Top
People often make the mistake of choosing an estate agent because they quote the highest selling price. Ask how many similar properties they have actually sold in your area in that price range and how long they think it will take to sell at that price. When choosing your agent also consider the following:
An estate agent is a professional whose job it is to find a buyer for your home and help you sell it at the best possible price. Here are some of the advantages to using one:
If the property didn't sell within 12 weeks it may be that the asking price is too high. So, ask to see other properties in the same price bracket as yours and ask the agent how many properties they have sold in that price range since you last had an update. Look at similar properties to yours that have been advertised in the local paper - how do they compare pricewise? If your property is at the higher end of the market you should expect interest to be a little lower due to less people being able to afford the property like first time buyers for example. Also buyers such as investors will not be as interested.
Sometimes it helps if you prepare new particulars. If your property is not very appealing from the outside then it may be an idea just to show interior shots. A lot of people can be put off by certain descriptive features of a property such as a 'through room' or 'bathroom with toilet' (i.e. no separate toilet) so try rewriting the details to emphasise the good points. At the same time avoid gross exaggerations like using the word spacious to describe a poky second bedroom. The Property Misdescriptions Act makes it a criminal offence for an estate agent (but not the seller) to include misleading information in the property particulars.
If these prove unsuccessful it may be a good idea to advertise the property. This could be done in local or specialised property papers. Your agent may well do weekly or monthly advertisements in these, where your property could be featured. Time to change agents?^ Back to Top
Once an offer has been agreed on your property, it is important to ensure that all the details are confirmed in writing straight away.
Notifying your existing solicitor early can be a good idea to help speed up the process later on.
Try to meet up with the buyer again once all the negotiations are over. If the buyer and seller have good feelings towards each other then the sale will be more likely to succeed.^ Back to Top