Tips for Selling Your Home

Easy Tips for maximising your selling potential

House prices are often difficult to determine, it’s always worth remembering that, in essence, the true value of your home is dictated by what other people are willing to pay for it. 

Although many of the factors that influence this - such as interest rates, the local housing market and the overall state of the economy - might be out of your hands, there are a number of relatively simple things you can do to boost the perceived value of your home. 

These tips might not send the value of your property soaring, but they will certainly help to ensure that you get the best price possible for your home and boost your chances of securing a speedy sale.

The importance of appearances on house prices

While it's only common sense to make sure that your house is clean and tidy when preparing for viewings by potential buyers, many people neglect the so-called "kerb appeal" of their property, First impressions are vitally important when it comes to showing your home in the best possible light, so a little time spent sprucing up the exterior can really pay dividends. 

If you have a lawn or garden, ensure that it is in tip-top shape before putting your home on the market. A freshly mown lawn and well-trimmed hedges will help to make a positive impact on prospective buyers, and a few flowers can add an appealing splash of colour to the outside of your home. Add a fresh coat of paint to your front door if needed, and ensure any fittings are polished and in good order. 

When it comes to the interior of your home, take a little time to think about the kind of people your home is likely to appeal to in terms of the general demographics of your area and the nearby amenities. 

For example, if you feel that young professionals are liable to be interested in your property, you could perhaps consider turning a second bedroom into a study to better suit their needs.

The impact of space on house prices

While you may have worked hard over the years to turn your house into a home, ensuring that it reflects your own personality and tastes, remember that those tastes are your own and will not necessarily be shared by a potential buyer. 

Before you put your house on the market, it is important that you de-clutter and de-personalise it as much as you can. Store away as many of your possessions as is practically possible - even remove as much furniture as you can, as this will make your rooms look bigger. 

Put your personal preferences aside and try to offer viewers a blank canvas

Ensuring that your property smells invitingly of freshly baked bread may be something of a cliché, but do make sure that your home is free of any odours that might put buyers off, particularly if you are a smoker or pet owner. Air your property fully before any viewing, and consider using fresh flowers or air fresheners to mask any lingering odours.

House prices can vary significantly even for very similar properties, so anything you can do to boost the perceived value of your home will be well worth the effort in the long run.

Preparing to Sell

People have different reasons for selling, from disposing of an investment property to simply moving home.

Once you have decided to sell up, think about what you want to include in the sale. Normally, fixtures and fittings such as fitted storage heaters are included in the price but other moveable things can be up for negotiation.

If you are getting rid of items you no longer need, do it before you start marketing your property as the less clutter you have the faster your house will sell. Many councils take large items away, sometimes for free.

Give your agent other useful documents and facts about your property, which they can mention to potential buyers, such as:

Gas and electrical certificate checks. Building regulations certificates. Council tax, utility, buildings and contents insurance bills - so potential buyers can estimate running costs. Service charges and ground rent bills (for flats).

In addition, you could ask your agent if it's worth going one better and giving potential buyers other information (which could also speed up the conveyancing process) such as:

Environmental Searches

These provide useful information such as the flood risk, radon levels or if there are local mines in the area A Home Condition Report - provides more information about the condition of your property, although your buyer will probably still need to get their own survey done.Getting the most out of viewings

Now you have signed a contract with an estate agent, you need to get your home ready for viewings and give your house the best chance of selling. First impressions count so put yourself in the buyers' shoes and think about how you can enhance your property's draw.

Consider its "kerb appeal" the first thing potential buyers will see before they even get past the front door. Here are some things to look out for:

Does the front of your house need smartening up? Could the front garden be tidier? Would the front door look better with a fresh lick of paint? Could the front windows do with a clean?

Look at the inside with a critical eye too

Keep it clean and tidy.De-clutter and use sensible storage. Potential buyers will want to visualise how they can fill the space Undertake any minor repairs that need doing so buyers will need to really try hard to find any negatives If you want to re-decorate, go for neutral tones, which will appeal to a wider audience Make your house comfortable, cool on hot sunny days and warm if it's winter Banish smoke or pet Open the windows, brew some fresh coffee and add finishing touches such as fresh flowers, to brighten the place up. Bring out the best features such as fireplaces and use mirrors to increase the sense of space.

Negotiating offers

Once you have received an offer, be prepared to negotiate. But remember, you don't have to sell to the highest bidder. A lower bidder might be better if they:

Are paying cash (so don't have to wait for mortgage approval) Already have a mortgage "agreed in principle" Don't have to sell a property first (they could be first-time buyers or investors) or are in a short chain Can fit in with your timescales better than other buyers

If you are buying from a developer, see if they will offer a part exchange to buy your property from you.

Gazumping & Gazundering

A term used to denote a situation where the seller has accepted an offer but subsequently accepts a higher offer from another purchaser. This is legal and ensuring the property is taken off the market is one way of reducing this risk. Gazumping happens most frequently in a seller's market. Gazundering is the term for when a buyer reduces their offer just before the contracts are exchanged in the hope of forcing the seller to accept less for the property. Again this is considered legal.

Once you have accepted an offer you will probably be asked to take it off the market. It's your decision, but if you do, tell your agent that if the sale has not progressed after two weeks you'll want it back on the market.

If it's not selling?

Ask your agent why they think it's not selling. What's the feedback from viewings? Can your estate agent 'freshen up' your property details on Rightmove with better photos and a more engaging description? Was the exterior photo clearly taken a long time ago in a different season? If so, ask the agent to take a new one Do you need to reduce the price? If a survey revealed a problem that led a buyer to renegotiate or pull out, consider getting repairs done.   Ensuring the sale goes smoothly

Conveyancing

The process of transferring the legal ownership of property or land from one person to another.

Conveyancing is very time consuming and complex, so you will need to employ either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to do it for you.

Here are our top tips on choosing and using a conveyancer…

Get at least three conveyancers' quotes. Ask friends, family andBelvoir for recommendations Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Tell them you will require regular updates of how the sale is progressing Try to negotiate a no sale - no fee deal, so if the deal falls through you don't pay anything Check and compare quotes carefully making sure they are like for like.

Once you have appointed a conveyancer, you will need to…

Give them some basic information to get started such as your mortgage roll number - so they can check you own the property and proof of your ID Complete a detailed questionnaire on the property, covering things like who owns the boundaries and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours. It is a legal requirement to answer truthfully Complete a form showing what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale Answer conveyancing queries as soon as you can. Use registered post or deliver documents by hand.Exchange of Contracts

In England and Wales, Exchange of Contracts is the last stage of the legal process after which a buyer cannot pull out (without losing their deposit).

Exchange of Contracts

When copies of signed contracts are exchanged between the buyer's conveyancer and the seller's conveyancer.

A date for completion is usually set for at least two weeks after the exchange date, giving you time to arrange removals. Your conveyancer will call your agent to tell them when the buyer's money has arrived so they can give the keys to the new owner.

Check the conveyancer's completion statement carefully - it should reflect the original quotation.

We hope everything goes smoothly but remember we are here to help and assist where we can.

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