Are You Looking For A Fast And Stress-Free Sale Of Your Home In 2022?
If you are ready to move up the property ladder or downsize and you want the process to be as simple as possible then you’re in the right place. Selling can be extremely stressful and if the process takes a long time then it can be disastrous for both your mental and financial health!
What Are The 15 Steps To The Fastest Possible, Stress-Free House Sale?
The #1 Secret to a fast and stress free home sale is to know what you need to do in advance every step of the way. If you know what you need to do, before you need to do it, then you will be ahead of the game and your home sale will be a swift, peaceful and easy process.
Steps 1-6 cover the essential basics of prepping your home. Steps 7-9 reveal our tried and tested methods for successfully navigating the viewings process. It’s steps 10-15 though that really share the secret sauce – being ahead of the game on the post sales process is what will truly give you the fastest and most stress-free home selling experience after the offers are in. Read on to find out how.
Before The Photos
Before you have the all important marketing photos taken you should prepare your house. You don’t need to do this before an appraisal because a good Estate Agent will be able to see through any required works and they should also be there to advise and assist in performing these steps.
Step 1. Complete any Maintenance Works
If you have any maintenance works outstanding you should make sure they are completed. Buyers test everything and snoop into every corner so if there’s a problem they will find it and it will hold up the sale.
Step 2. The 3 Ds. Declutter, Depersonalise and Deep Clean
When selling your home the most important thing to remember is that it is going to be someone else’s home once it is sold and that they need to be able to imagine it that way. This can be a tough one, we are all attached to our homes and we love the way we live in them. It is best to be ruthless with yourself here.
De-clutter: Remove any non-essential items from view. Pack away toys, clothes, tools, books, magazines, school bags, sports equipment. Make maximum use of all your conventional storage in cupboards, on shelving etc but consider storing items neatly out of sight in the loft or garage – this is less convenient for when you need the items but it will make a huge difference to the speed of sale.
De-personalise: This is a bit like de-clutter but you are focussing on personal items, like family photos and/or decorative items. You won’t be able to completely de-personalise but it’s important to minimise what is on display as much as possible to allow the buyers to imagine their life in your home. Now is the time to consider your décor on walls and woodwork – light, neutral paint colours make spaces feel larger and they also allow people to more easily imagine their own tastes for décor overlaid. If you have any dramatic, darker walls these should be lightened up. If you have any risqué or potentially controversial artworks then these should be taken off display.
Deep Clean: A really thorough cleaning of all parts of the home is important. You want your house to look it’s absolute best and you’ll also reveal any elements that need a repair or a refresh. Don’t forget the windows inside and out – the view in and the view out of every room is important to the buyer.
Step 3. Refresh as Required
You should make sure that all paintwork and fixtures and fittings are all in good condition. You probably don’t need to do a complete refresh but it’s worth hitting the spots that really need it with a brush and roller – often it’s just certain walls and some woodwork that needs sorting. Think inside and outside here.
Step 4. Lighten Up
Light is hugely important. You need to make sure that all rooms look bright and light at any time of day. This is easily achieved by making sure that you have bright, higher wattage light bulbs in all ceiling lights and lamps.
Step 5. All the House is a Stage
Staging is the process of looking at every room in the house like your home is a show home and setting it up to sell. You can use what you have, assessing all your furniture and furnishings and rearranging room layouts to best show off the house. Often a layout that works for real life will not photograph optimally and small changes can make a huge difference to marketing images. You can also bring additional items in – simple furniture additions to complete a room can work wonders when staging. Adding a few cushions and throws can add an extra dimension to a room. Completeness and liveability are key here, it’s real life but elevated. Consider plants and fresh flowers – you may already have some and can place them strategically for photos etc. or you can bring some in for the job.
Step 6. Garden and Frontage
Buyers will often drive by a house before they schedule a viewing and the external photos are usually their first glimpse of your house online too. Make sure that the outside of the property is as clean and fresh feeling as the inside. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, clear and clean the driveway and any paths. Make sure that the outside lighting is all working and that patio areas and furniture are really clean and properly staged. Any plantings or hanging baskets should be neat and tidy – you can add fresh plantings with colour to lift the look of the outside.
Before The Viewings
Step 7. Loop Everyone In
When selling your home you should ensure that everyone in the household understands what is happening and why so that they can all support you in the process. This is a really important step that many people miss out and it can lead to conflict and angst that will cause major stress. Explain the viewing process that is coming up to all household members – let them know their part and help them understand why you will all be doing what you are doing to prepare for viewings, namely to ensure a fast sale.
Step 8. Know Where You’re Going
It is important to be as accommodating and available to provide access for viewings as possible. Some things are inflexible so let your agent know any firm, regular black-out times for viewings but try as hard as you can to make the house available as much as possible. A great way to take the stress out of vacating the property for a viewing is to have a few pre-planned places that you and the household can go to for some fun whilst a viewing is taking place. When planning these places remember to consider viewings happening at different times of day and on the weekend and the weather.
Step 9. Have an Easy “Fast Tidy” Pre-Planned
Selling your home is a process and you need to be able to live there whilst you do it. Be aware of “the creep of clutter” – you will need those extra items you stored away to live your day-to-day life but if you make sure that items only come out when essential and go back once they’re done with you’ll be in good shape. The reality of this is that life is tricky and messy so it is unreasonable and impossible to expect that you’ll be show home ready 24/7. Having a 15-30min “Fast Tidy” plan before viewings is a great way to offset the reality of life – you’ll quickly learn what items seem to always be out and which carpet or floor is high traffic and needs a quick once over before a viewing. You can also build in a welcoming smell to the Fast Tidy to appeal to the buyer’s senses – fresh baked cookies or bread are proven winners as are fresh cut flowers.
Before You Receive Offers
Many agents focus exclusively on getting a house sold – of course that is a very necessary step in a fast and stress-free house sale but it can often lead to a situation whereby the home seller also focuses exclusively on getting the house sold and then once that offer is in they find themselves unprepared for the next steps. The effect is a bit like scaling a mountain only to then fall down the other side, smashing painfully into every boulder and rock on the way down. Understanding the requirements and processes post-sale is key to a fast and stress-free sale. There is also a great deal of preparation you can do in advance so that you are not caught out by any conveyancing and buyer requests. Bear in mind that offers can come in fast once viewings start so it’s never too early to jump on these steps.
Step 10. Engage with Solicitors Early
Far too many people don’t even speak to their solicitor until they have accepted an offer on their house. This delay can add weeks or months to a sales process because they only find out at that point what they need to do. There are a couple of documents that everyone needs to complete for the conveyancing so if you ask for these in advance you can have them filled out and ready to go. They are:
- TA6 Property Information Form – This is a tick box question form on which you will need to include information on boundaries, rights of way, utility providers etc.
- TA10 Fixtures and Fittings – This is a tick box question form which goes through room by room to say what is included in the sale and what is not.
If your property is leasehold you will need to provide your solicitors with a Management pack. This is created on request by your management company – there is a cost involved, usually several hundred pounds, so do factor that cost into your expenses. It is a good idea to request the Management Pack early to avoid delaying the conveyancing.
Your buyer will want to have their solicitors perform “Searches” like the Local Authority Searches that check on things like Planning Applications relevant to the property, conservation area status, tree preservation orders, any enforcement actions, nearby road schemes. Your Solicitor can also advise you on any potential extra searches that your buyer’s Solicitor might recommend to them due to its location or condition – knowing these in advance prepares you for the potential costs (buyers can often make
offers that require a seller to cover the costs of necessary extraordinary searches) and also ensures that you know the timeframes of those searches rather than being surprised if they come up. You will also be in a position to ask your agent to recommend the searches to buyers rather than having the delay of them finding out they need them from their own Solicitors – foreknowledge reduces stress and speeds the process.
Step 11. Gather Your Documents
Very often during conveyancing the Buyer’s Solicitors will raise inquiries about the property that will require documents. If you have collated these in advance it will reduce stress when asked and speed the process up no end:
- Gas – When was the boiler last serviced? Make sure you have a copy of the certificate.
- Electrics – Have any alterations been made over recent years to the electrical installations and of so please provide a certificate.
- Building regulations – If any structural changes have happened to the property such as garage/loft conversions, extensions etc. then you will need to show planning approval along with building authority sign off.
- Windows – If windows have been replaced you may need to provide a copy of the certificate of these being installed.
- Warranties – If any warranties are in place such as newbuild warranties or for an appliance or fixtures installations etc. then copies of these will need to be supplied.
Step 12. Keys to the Kingdom
Make sure that you have keys for all doors, windows and any outbuildings. Ideally these should be labelled and include all sets. You don’t want to be scrambling for these at the last minute.
Being Ready To Move
Selling a home means finding a new one. This seems obvious but juggling the two demands can often lead to stress and can sometimes really draw out the process of selling. Knowing what you want and going after it doesn’t mean shutting the door on other options. In an ideal world you will secure your next home in parallel with selling your existing home and you can take some simple steps to take the stress out of timing that move. It doesn’t always work out that smoothly but if you research all your options in advance and can assess their costs and benefits then you have the power to leverage your flexibility in all possible situations
Step 13. Talk to a Mortgage Advisor
Talking to a mortgage advisor as early as possible will allow you to confidently search for a new home knowing your budget. You can also get agreements in principle to support any offers you might make which will make you a strong buyer and able to move faster. You will also get a head start on all the required paperwork.
Step 14. Source Your Movers
It’s never too early to source a moving company. Always use an accredited member of BAR The British Association of Removers. Their services are assured to be of an excellent standard and BAR backs them up. You should make sure you have at least two options of movers so that you can be sure to get them booked at the time you need when it arrives. The best thing about sourcing early/in advance is that you can get an accurate estimate of the cost of packing up your house and moving.
Step 15. Know Your Options
Make sure that you research storage solutions – knowing the potential costs of storing some or all of your furnishings etc will allow you to factor in the range of possibilities of temporary accommodation. If you want to ensure the swift sale of your existing home but haven’t found your next permanent home then to keep up with the speed of sale but you will want to consider your options.
You will be able to consider short term lets (often fully furnished and serviced) that usually offer 1-3 month terms or even AirBnB for a few weeks if you are simply bridging a gap between your sale and purchase. Private Rented which would usually be a minimum of 6 months and would need to be furnished is a better solution for continuing your home search and can help you get to know a new area before leaping into home ownership there.
Moving twice isn’t the best option for everyone but it is essential to consider the possibility in advance and gauge whether it would create stress for you or serve you well in reducing it. Having no chain whilst buying can put you in an excellent negotiating position and being flexibly willing to sell before finding your next home to own can also prevent sales from falling through which can potentially create much more stress than temporary accommodation.
Knowing your costs allows you to factor that into what offers you are willing to accept. The real secret is to think about it in advance and check all the costs so that you can calmly make a decision that suits you best.
One Last Step
There’s one step before all these steps that will assure you a fast and stress-free sale. Give us a call. Stuart loves nothing more than helping local homeowners sell their houses fast and with the minimum of stress.
If you’d like support in the process every step of the way from listing to closing from an experienced and caring team then we would love to hear from you.
📲 Call Stuart on: 01223 352225
Or drop in and visit us:
📍 1 Dover Street,
🕘 Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 18:00
Saturday: By appointment only