It’s easy to think that all you need to do is hand over your property to an estate agent and let them do the work. But if you want your property to sell quickly, and for a decent price, check out our top tips for selling your home.
First Impressions - Kerb Appeal
They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, and when it comes to a property that’s definitely true. There are some easy ways to grab a prospective buyer’s attention and to make them feel yours may be the property for them.
– the easiest way to make a property look scruffy is to have overgrown plants, grass or weeds on the approach. Get everything cut back so that it looks neat and smart. Use weed killer on any paving and be vigilant about sweeping up fallen leaves. If there’s greenery outside your property, even if it’s not your responsibility, it can be in your best interests to make sure it looks neat.
– if there are hazards on the way to your front door, deal with them now. You obviously won’t want to pay extensively for huge projects, but whether it’s a wobbly front gate or a loose paving stone, it will give the buyer a negative impression.
– your front door is probably the thing most people will notice first. Make sure it’s clean, the paint isn’t peeling off and that the doorbell works. The door knocker falling off in a buyer’s hand is not ideal!
– get a window cleaning team to thoroughly wash the outside of your windows. It gives a sense that the property is well looked after.
Paint or brickwork
- the decision to give the outside of the house a fresh lick of paint really depends on you and the condition of your property. It may be that jet washing or simply freshening up will do the trick.
The Inside Guide
When strangers visit your home for the first time, what do you want them to notice? Is it your beautiful light fixtures, the spacious living room, the high ceilings or the great features in the kitchen?
Don’t let potential buyers be distracted by anything that doesn’t promote the features of your property. That includes your décor, your family and yourself!
Getting rid of unnecessary clutter is always the first step. It’ll make your property more spacious and appealing and will be a useful step for you ahead of your move. If there are items you can’t make use of at the moment, but plan to use in your new home, put them into storage. Seeing items piled up in a box room or cupboard really undersells the space.
Your potential buyers will be looking to see how they can put their mark on your property and make it their home. It’s hard to do that when faced with leopard print wallpaper, or bright green paint. It is inexpensive and not at all time consuming to repaint any intense rooms in neutral colours.
Again, it’s about not distracting the buyer with trivial things. You may say ‘well they can always repaint it’ but the last thing you want is a buyer leaving with the thought ‘that house was great, but did you see that wallpaper?’ The time is well invested, and neutral colours will make the rooms seem bigger and accentuate any natural light.
Don’t underestimate the importance of light in your property. This could be allowing for natural light (make sure those windows are clean!) or increasing the number of lamps you have in a room. You could simply increase the wattage of your bulbs. Try to remember you're presenting your property in the best light
possible - that means giving it a glow and letting viewers see it clearly!
It’s easy to think that the cleanliness of your home won’t have an effect on potential buyers, but it does. On a basic level, it doesn’t represent the potential of your property, but if there is dirt, or unpleasant smells, dust or evidence of pets, your buyers are going to think twice about what your property is worth.
How you present your home will tell your buyers a lot about you – if little effort has been made to tidy up, or even fix minimal issues, it suggests that you maybe haven’t done a lot of the upkeep that would make your property worth buying. No one wants to take the chance on a property to find it’s not been well looked after, and the issues aren’t just cosmetic.
Take the time and spend the money on making your house is as good as it can be.
Get a second opinion
It’s easy to develop a kind of blindspot when it comes to the issues with our own properties. The best thing you can do is ask a trusted friend or family member to visit, viewing the property as if they were a potential buyer. Get them to walk around your property with a pen and paper, making a checklist of any issues to fix. They’re more likely to notice the scratches on the door or the peeling wallpaper, because they don’t see it every day.
Estate agent: online, high street, or none at all?
When it comes to selling your property, you’ll need to decide who you want to take responsibility. High street estate agents are often more ‘hands on’ but they do take a percentage based commission. Online estate agents
often work for a set fee, but there can be concerns that there is not as much motivation to get your property sold, and you may have to do a lot of the work yourself.
Depending on what type of package you choose, you could pay a smaller fee, but would be responsible for showing potential buyers around, writing the property descriptions, taking photographs and lots of other things that can be time consuming. You may also want to try selling your home without an estate agent
Consider what you want from the process when you start, and whether time is a factor. Get a few different valuations from estate agents so you get a sense of what your property is worth.
Marketing and presenting
You probably know the good (and the bad!) about your property, but can you clearly describe it? Being aware of the Unique Selling Points of your home, and who the buyers might be, means you can promote it more effectively. If your property is great for families, highlight the garden, the nearby schools and playgrounds, and the local community. If an older couple are buying, they may want to know about the neighbourhood watch, local events and how safe the area is.
Talk about why you’ve loved living in your home, and offer up potential to new buyers – for example, if you considered a loft conversion, or an extension at the back, give them ideas. Let them see what’s possible.
Hosting an open house
Open houses are relatively new in the UK, and they have their pros and cons. On the upside you can increase your chance of finding a buyer by hosting multiple viewers in your home at once. This is not only more efficient, but it means you can continue living your life without worrying about the estate agent popping in on one of those mornings when you’d really rather have a lie in.
It’s also often a motivator to those viewing to make an offer, as they can see the competition and how appreciated the property is by others.
Your estate agent will be there to oversee an open house, but you might want to be present too.
If you do decide to host an open house, here are some tips:
- Ensure you provide all the necessary information, like EPC ratings and property details.
- Don’t distract visitors with refreshments.
- Store precious items away and keep an eye on visitors.
- Ask potential buyers questions and be helpful in talking about your property.
- Publicise the event widely, with support from an estate agent.
Listening to buyers (and the market)
It can be hard to know how to price your property, even when you do get a few different valuations. Many people think about how much they paid for the property and expect growth based on how long they’ve lived there – but growth in the property market isn’t always straightforward. You may be surprised that your property has not grown in value as much as you might have thought.
So what do you do? Think about what your property offers, and what you would need for the sale to go through. Allow some wiggle room either side and know what the lowest amount you’d be willing to take is.
Look at the market and be aware of what is going on – if there’s a lack of appropriate properties, you may end up having lots of viewings. However, if your property is overpriced, you’ll find you get lots of lower offers.
Perhaps, if you get no offers, you need to look at whether it is the market, or an issue with your property/presentation.
Ideally, you don’t want your property languishing on property portals for months with no interest, before you lower the price. It’s preferable to launch it at a fair price, be open to offers and be aware of competition you have from surrounding properties.
Take the time to listen to buyers – what are they looking for, what is your property lacking, where else are they looking? This will help you to gauge just what your home is worth, and what you can do to increase its appeal.
The upkeep of all the elements of selling your home can be taxing – you can feel like you need to live in a show home, with everything perfectly neat and tidy all the time. That’s exactly why following these tips and launching your property at its full potential, at a reasonable price, with a good sales team is essential. This will stop endless waiting and the disappointment of not being able to move on whilst you wait for your property to sell.