On this page you will find a selection of useful hints and tips to help maximise your chances of a successful and smooth sale. Just click on a topic to learn more. Don’t forget, we are also on hand to offer advice on successful selling in person. If you like the more personal approach then please call us on 01395 271800
Adding a Sense of Space
No matter how big your home, it's important to maximise the rooms to create a sense of space, especially if you are trying to sell your property.
Here are some tips to make any home feel more spacious:
Mirrors - They are great for making your home feel more spacious. In small areas large mirrors can be used to make the room look longer or wider. They are especially useful in hallways where they can be used to manipulate the perception of space by reflecting light and colour.
Choose the right furniture - Having too big a dining table in your dining room can make the area shrink. To maximize space, put up roman blinds rather than curtains, and plan your storage carefully so that clutter is out of sight. This is especially important in the bedroom, because the less clutter you see, the more relaxing the room will be.
Neutral colours - Match neutral colours on the walls with similar flooring in downstairs spaces to give the impression of space flowing from one room to another. Bright shades of carpet or distracting patterns are to be avoided.
If you follow all of these ideas then you are sure to achieve the maximum use of space in your home, and in turn attain the highest possible price for it.
Presenting Your Garden
Gardens are too often forgotten in the race to make the most of a property, but their condition can sometimes be the deciding factor on value. It's a common-held belief that the decision on whether or not to buy a property is made within the first few moments of viewing it.
The state of the front garden is therefore a prime consideration for anyone choosing to sell their home:
- Drive-by desirability is all important as first impressions really do count.
- Make sure your front garden is neat, tidy and easily maintained. Hanging baskets and flower troughs establish the cared-for look without creating too much work. Any lawn areas should be neatly trimmed, and trees cut back and controlled. A well-presented front door, with pots alongside it, goes a long way towards generating a sense of welcome.
- The back of the house is arguably even more important than the front, as this is where the most work is likely to lie. Today's busy lifestyle means the majority of people don't have much time to spend on gardening, so creating some low maintenance areas is invaluable. Decking, paving and woodchips can be used to differentiate areas of the garden and simplify them, often generating a very desirable 'outside room' space, which will be attractive to buyers.
- Smaller and larger gardens alike will also benefit from the definition of specific areas for herbs, flowers and vegetables.
- Those with larger gardens should try to create a sense of flow within the space, which draws the visitor in and avoids the garden area being perceived as an undefined 'patch' of land. This can be done using well positioned pathways, lawns, pots and flowerbeds.
- Any trees and hedges should be kept under control and fences maintained.
- If there is space, you could consider installing a summer house and a shed.
- Boost the value of your house, by improving your home in these relatively inexpensive ways. You may find this enjoyable; and further more it will make your house more attractive when the time comes to sell. It can also enhance the general streetscape and consequently the perception of the area as a desirable place to live. This will raise house prices all round, thereby keeping both you and the whole neighbourhood happy!
Maximise Your Kitchen
A welcoming kitchen is one of the biggest attractions for potential house buyers. Whether you have a comfortable family oriented meeting place or a stylish singletons galley, the kitchen is most often the heart of the home.
Regardless of your budget, there are a number of simple ways you can maximise its attraction to buyers and speed up the sale of your house:
- Replacing your entire kitchen to attract buyers is not always necessary. Often the cost of installing a new kitchen outweighs the value it will add to your asking price. Like all home decor, the kitchen will still be subject to personal taste, so if it does not appeal to your buyers they will refit it upon moving in anyway.
- If your kitchen is very dated, simple changes can make all the difference. Painting the cupboard doors, replacing handles or taps and re-grouting the tiles can all give a new lease of life.
- Clean and de-clutter! Viewers may even look in your cupboards so ensure shelves are cleaned and all contents are organised. Any pet bowls should go outside as potential buyers may not be animal lovers so could be put off by the sight of half eaten pet food.
- If necessary, box up items you don't use very often and put them in storage. If your cupboards and drawers are overflowing, buyers will assume there is little storage space, which can be off-putting. Keep work surfaces as clear as possible to enhance the appearance of cleanliness.
- Flowers or pot pourri on window sills create a welcoming atmosphere and add a fresh fragrance.
Using these simple but effective ideas will ensure your kitchen looks appealing and entices potential buyers into a prompt decision!
Getting a Quick Sale
If you are looking to sell your property quickly there are several things you can do to increase your chances.
First impressions count - Think about the way your house is presented both inside and out. A fresh coat of paint can make all the difference. Tidy the front of your house and clean your front door.
If you have a front garden make sure it is well maintained.
Have a good clear out - The inside of your house should be as free from clutter as possible; this will help in preparation for moving. The kitchen is always a key selling point so ensure it is clean and that all dishes are washed and put away. Do all the small jobs you haven't got around to, such as changing that light bulb and fixing that squeaky door. If a potential buyer is undecided about your property, it is these small things that could be the difference between a sale or them walking away.
Closing the Deal
Selling your property can be a complicated process, especially if it is your first time. There are a few things you should bear in mind.
Consider any offer carefully - Before accepting any offer, take into account your potential buyers situation. If they are homeowners, it is important to ask if they have actually sold their property or whether it is on the market. Inquire if they have a mortgage in principal agreed and find out if they are part of a chain. Establish when they would want to complete. If the offer is lower than you were hoping for but they can exchange quickly consider the benefits of a quick sale. Ask your agent to negotiate on your behalf as they will be experienced at this, and may be able to get the buyer to increase the offer.
Exchange details of the solicitors acting on your behalf - Once you have accepted an offer and a price has been agreed you will need to swap details of the solicitors acting on your behalf in order for the conveyancing process to begin. Conveyance is the legal term used for the practice of property ownership transfers. Your solicitor will charge you for this, usually around 0.5% of the house sale. It is advisable to get a few quotes in order to obtain a competitive price. You should also check how much you will be charged should the sale fall through. At this stage you should also take your property off the market, you may be asked to enter into a Lock-out agreement which will prevent you from showing your house to any other interested parties.
Always ask to see a copy of the survey - The buyer is likely to instruct a survey, if this highlights any problems the buyer may wish to offer a lower price or pull out of the deal all together. Before you enter into renegotiating the price, ask to see a copy of the survey.
Read the small print - When it comes to exchanging contracts, ensure you have read the contract thoroughly and understand what fixtures and fittings the buyer is expecting you to leave. Also note the completion day and be sure you are happy with the timescale.
Inviting so many strangers into your home could place you in a vulnerable position. You must ensure your personal safety whilst selling your home.
Accompanied viewings – We always accompany viewings and as experienced professionals this considerably reduces the risks associated with allowing people you do not know into your home. However, on the rare occasion that you might be holding a viewing or if you insist on being present without ourselves during viewings (which we advise against) we advise the following:
1. Check you have the right name and contact details of each viewer, and ask the viewer to confirm all the details to you upon their arrival. If you are going to be alone in the house, it is probably a good idea to ask a friend or a neighbour to accompany you whilst you show your home.
2. Be friendly. However, don't be lured into giving away too much personal information. Be cautious of conversations that inform people of your movements, for example holiday plans and work schedules, anything that informs the viewer of when the property is likely to be empty.
For Sale boards - Using a sale board is a great way of marketing your property. However from time to time this does encourage people driving past to knock on the door and ask to view. If this happens refer them to us directly to arrange a time that suits you and that you are comfortable with.
How to Price Accurately
Once you make a decision to put a property on the market, how do you know how to price it accurately? We have these five tips for sellers:
Remember housing markets are local - While national reports on house price trends can provide a useful indication of the state of the wider property market, it's essential to realise that housing markets are local. Even within local areas there can be a number of micro markets. Make sure you do your research into how house prices have been affected in your region, town - even street. Take a look on websites to see how other properties in the area are priced. Also check to find out how much similar homes on your street sold for; a number of websites provide this information.
Be aware of trends and price accordingly - It's not enough simply to understand how houses are priced in your area at the moment - it's also important to know the direction that they are travelling. This can also help you to price cleverly. For example, if prices are dropping by one per cent every month and you want to sell within three months - drop your price by three per cent at the outset. This will give you a more competitive price and increase the chances of getting a good offer. Additionally there are areas and types of property where prices are still increasing.
Ask the professionals - Often the easiest way of getting the most up-to-date information you need is to consult a respected, local professional. Agents who are members of the NAEA, which means they are experienced and qualified, can be found at www.naea.co.uk. A professional agent can be invaluable in the selling process.
Put yourself in the buyer's position - You need to be realistic when you price your property - the memories that make the house so valuable to you aren't shared by the buyer. More likely, they are thinking about what they will change about the house! There is no point putting a value on sentimentality. Again take advice from an NAEA member.
Know what you're prepared to accept - There are two figures to be aware of when you are selling your property - the amount that you would like to receive and the figure that you are prepared to accept. Knowing both of these at the outset will help you to price your home and also make negotiations with buyers more straightforward.
Selling in Winter
While the number of properties available remains reasonably stable, the winter months can provide an opportune moment for buyers to focus their property search. For those willing to brave the chill, the winter market can also bring a greater sense of commitment from both sides to complete the sale, as people tend to make life changing decisions in the New Year.
First impressions count - the outside of your house is the first thing that potential buyers will see, and in the winter front gardens and paths can look particularly drab. Make sure your front garden is up to scratch by painting any weather-beaten walls and replacing any frost-bitten plants.
Run an open house - buyers can often be put off house hunting curing the coldest months, as the prospect of walking the streets looking at properties is not appealing. However, sellers can make this work to their advantage by running well-advertised open-house days during the winter. This will help attract committed and focused buyers, who will be grateful for your offer of a warm drink and a slice of home-made cake.
Keep it warm -it's simple but important - make sure that your home is well-heated while viewings are taking place. Plus, allow time for the house to warm up. If you know you're going to be rushing home from work to oversee a viewing, it's a good idea to set the heating timer so it comes on an hour before the buyer arrives. Buyers will also be interested in how well the heating system works, so if you have a particularly cold room it could be worth ensuring it is better insulated during the winter chill.
Check your lights - another simple tip is to ensure your home is lit well. Buyers will be even more attuned to the mood of the house in winter, and without much sunshine to brighten things up it's important that you make sure all your bulbs are working to show off your home at its best. Safety conscious buyers may also be impressed by outside lights and security lights, so invest in those if you are able.