Listing your property
When the time comes to put your property on the market, you’ll want to consider whether you want to use an online or high street estate agent.
The packages and fees are quite different for each, and you’ll have to consider how much work you are available to do yourself in selling the property.
For the most part, traditional high street agents take a percentage of the sale price
as a fee (an average of 1% plus VAT, but do ask the agent and negotiate if you aren’t happy) whereas online agents will put the property on a portal, and arrange viewings, but you would have to be there to let potential buyers into your home and show them around.
Some people don’t feel safe doing this, or comfortable verbally selling their property to viewers. Online agents usually have a standard fee that is much smaller, but that’s because you do more of the work.
High street agents might also have wider access to potential buyers, as they may be helping existing clients who are looking to buy.
The decision is up to you, and down to the time you have and your budget. Always be sure to discuss estate agent fees, when they need to be paid and what happens if you take your property off the market without selling it.
How to price your property correctly
It’s important to always remember that a property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
You’ll get a variety of input when it comes to valuing your property, and you need to consider the motivations of each person giving you an opinion.
For example, you’ll know how much you paid for your property, and how long ago that was. Most people assume that their property will have increased in value just because time has passed. However, that isn’t always the case, and not always at the rate you might expect.
To get a clearer view, look at similar houses in your street, with similar features, and look up their historic data on a property portal – this will show how much they bought their property for, and what it was sold for in different years. You may find a similar house on your road was sold last year at a certain price, and so you can take that into consideration.
Remember that an estate agent wants your business – if they tell you that the property can be sold for a lot more, you might be more likely to go with them. That doesn’t mean that they can deliver on that price. By putting your property up at a higher amount, it will sit on the site for longer, not get as many views, and then you’ll be forced to reduce it.
Instead of wasting time, price it appropriately from the beginning, know what the minimum you’d be willing to accept is, and go from there.
Bear in mind as well that if your buyer is getting a mortgage, they will have a valuation on your property too. If the mortgage valuation shows your property as being worth much less than the buyers have agreed to purchase it for, they won’t get the loan for it. So whilst it’s tempting to get as much as you can for your property, being sure that it’s realistic will save you time and money down the line.
Selling with a mortgage
Selling with a mortgage on your property should not be an issue, as you are essentially having that mortgage paid off by the sale of the property, and then using whatever is left to buy a new home. Knowing how much you’ve already paid off your mortgage is helpful, as by adding that to what you’ll receive from the buyers, you will know how much you have to work with when looking for a new property.
If you are selling the property for less than you expected, and you haven’t paid off much of your mortgage, you may not be left with much for a deposit on a new home. Be sure to do your research first, and figure out how much you need to make.
If you are taking your time in going to market, you could also start trying to overpay your mortgage as much as possible, to help take the strain off.
Preparing for viewings
Ideally, a property that goes up at the right time, has attractive photographs, a good description and clear advantages should get a good amount of interest, especially if it’s priced well.
This is probably better for you – to have a flurry of viewings over a few weeks, rather than a few people at awkward times over months.
When preparing for viewings, it goes without saying that the property should be as clean and tidy as possible (another reason to try and get all the viewings in one or two weekends). Things like a sink full of washing up, a bin that needs emptying or strong food smells can really put buyers off.
It’s also worth thinking about whether or not you want to be in your home when viewers arrive. If you’re using an online estate agent, it may be necessary, but if you don’t have to be there, it may be worth arranging them for when you’re not home. Most viewers feel more comfortable in examining and voicing their opinions without the seller there. They may have questions about making changes, or be eager to knock down walls or extend, which can sometimes upset sellers, who see it as a criticism.
Whilst it’s easy to think that you’re the person who knows your home best, it can be better to let an estate agent or intermediary be a neutral figure. If the sale goes ahead, there will be time for you to answer any questions or offer information. You could also type up or send over any relevant information to the estate agent ahead of time.