Whatever your reason for selling your home - whether there’s a new baby on the way and you need more space (congratulations!) or you’re looking to downsize and save some cash - there is a range of tips and tricks to try out to make that sale with ease.
No one wants to see that ‘for sale’ sign on their front lawn for too long, so give these five tips a go and get packing those boxes up in no time.
When it comes to selling your house, you want to feel confident that the right people are managing your sale. That’s why it’s so important to find an estate agent that works for you. Here are some of the most important things to consider and ask when looking for an estate agent:
There will always be a fee for the estate agent’s service but how this is calculated depends on who you choose. Traditional bricks and mortar estate agents typically charge a percentage of the sale price, plus admin fees.
According to Which?, in 2017 the average estate agent fee was 1.2% of the final sale price, with the average price for a semi-detached property in England currently standing at £225,674 this means the estate agent will receive £2,256.74.
However, many people are recognising that online estate agents are a much cheaper alternative, House Network charge a set fee with no hidden charges. Our house sale packages start from £795, for example.
What other people say about an estate agent is important. So always take the time to ask friends or family if they would recommend anyone or take a look at sites such as Trustpilot to gauge how happy customers are with the service they received.
Some estate agents have been known to pressure their customers into using their recommended conveyancers or mortgage broker services. Check if this is part of the selling package they are offering or if you must use them before going ahead. It’s very likely you can always say no.
Estate agents will use a property listing service to feature your home and get it in front of the right eyeballs. Check that this is part of the service you are paying for or whether you’ll need to pay more.
Most estate agents offer this service as standard, where they will also take measurements to feature on your property listing. However, it’s always a good idea to double check.
Online estate agents are growing in popularity - with market share growing by over 60% in 2017 - giving you total control over the sale of your home. Many people have been wary in recent years, thinking they’ll need to do all the hard work but you are assigned a dedicated local agent who values your property and manages your sale.
Whoever you choose, ask the right questions first, ensure you can afford the fees and that they are reasonable and check the terms of the package you have chosen to take on very carefully before going ahead.
It’s so important your house is correctly valued before you list it for sale. Zoopla offers a free valuation service on its site. Use the Zoopla estimate tool, input your postcode and you’ll see a listing for your home with the current value and how much it sold for in recent years - if it was listed online.
You can update aspects of the property - such as if you’ve done any renovation work or if it has important features such as central heating and UPVC windows which will give a more accurate valuation. It’s a good starting point before contacting an estate agent.
If your property stays on the market for 60 days or more, there’s a high chance it is not priced correctly.
Estate agents will usually offer a free service and a member of their team will visit your property and base their valuation on its features and the current house price trends in the area.
The price you choose to go with can make or break how fast your home sells, a property that is overpriced will take longer to sell but you definitely don’t want to undervalue your home.
It’s a good idea to get a number of valuations done, this means you can see what the average asking price is and perhaps go with this. Contact two or three agents and ask them to provide a full market valuation and try to be realistic with your reaction when these are presented.
The highest price is not always the best one to go with, instead go slightly lower and let your buyers haggle if it is still above the average.
The Land Registry offers a useful tool for understanding how much your house could be worth. Simply input your house number and postcode and then you will need to purchase a title register. This tells you the current value if the property was purchased after April 2000.
The importance of cleaning and preparing your property for viewers cannot be stressed enough. Take the time to carry out a deep clean of your home - even in places you know buyers won’t be looking. Not only does this ensure your property is ready from top to bottom - and behind the cupboards - it also saves you a job on moving out day!
Some basic DIY tasks should also be carried out, to ensure any broken or damaged features in your home don’t put buyers off. Repair the hinge on that door, fix that broken fence panel, replace the handle on a cupboard door in the kitchen and swap out the blown light bulb in the downstairs cupboard for a new one.
Small changes make all the difference and buyers won’t build a to-do list as they walk around that could deter them from putting down an offer.
If you’re a fan of bright colour, it may also be a good idea to tone this down for potential buyers. They will want to see a blank slate that they can picture themselves in, so while you may love your sunshine yellow hallway, someone else may see it as a big DIY job they’ll need to carry out. A coat of white paint is a great option for your property before you list it, providing a neutral base potential buyers can reflect themselves in.
Some people also recommend removing any photographs or artwork that is personal to you but this isn’t necessary. The home should be tidy and clean but still look relatively lived in - people want to see that you’ve enjoyed your time within those four walls and that there are no real negative reasons for your move.
Finding a good conveyancing solicitor is key to selling your home. You will pay a fee for their services and it’s worth noting that cheaper isn’t always better.
Look for a conveyancing solicitor you feel you can speak to regularly, many people prefer a local firm that they can visit in person but online services are rising in popularity. For those who don’t mind a hands-on approach, they allow you to upload pictures of important documents and access an account 24/7 to keep on top of the vast amount of paperwork that comes with buying and selling a property.
You can find a solicitor using the Law Society website, where you can search for one in your location to speak to about their services and fees. It’s also a good idea to chat to friends and family and base your decision on their experiences.
Look for a conveyancing solicitor that offers a ‘no sale, no fee guarantee’. This means if your property sale falls through you won’t need to pay the full bill.
Typically, the fees for conveyancing solicitors can cost anything from £500 to £1,500. This is paid when you have completed the sale and all documentation is finalised.
It’s worth noting that on top of this you’ll need to also pay for title deeds, transfer of ownership, money-laundering checks, searches and transfer fees for the mortgage. However, these amounts are usually included in the firm’s initial quote and the overall price.
The conveyancing solicitor for the person buying your property will request a great deal of information from yourself about your ownership of the property, as well as evidence of any renovations you’ve had done and energy ratings. Here is a quick list of the documentation you need to seek out:
There are a number of forms you’ll also need to fill out to complete the sale of the property. This includes a TA6 form, which details everything from who is responsible for the fences to whether there is parking.
There is also a Fittings and Contents form (TA10) that you’ll need to fill in to confirm what comes with the property - everything from the garage to plants and trees should be listed on this to ensure what you are leaving behind, and selling as part of the property, is as clear as possible.
Having all the right documentation to hand ensures the selling process goes smoothly and there are no real delays that could make a buyer have second thoughts about their purchase.
You don’t need to pay out for a huge extension to add value to your property - these tips can help give your home a boost before you put it up for sale:
Installing double glazing - Wooden frames and single panes are best reserved for listed properties. Modern buyers usually want insulated, double glazed buildings, so if your property doesn’t have this, or perhaps one or two windows were left out, ensure it is installed before you sell.
Upgrade the kitchen - According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), a new kitchen could improve the value of your property by 4%. But you don’t necessarily have to pay out for a whole new kitchen. Upgrading in-built appliances and cupboard fronts is a much cheaper solution than ripping it all out and starting again.
Add insulation - Energy efficient homes are important now and buyers are looking to save money on their energy bills. Add insulation in your loft to trap the heat upstairs or look into improving the insulation around doors and windows before you have your home valued and ensure the estate agent is aware of the work you’ve carried out.
Keep the garden in good order - Even if your back garden is just a lawn, keep this trimmed and neat to improve the appearance of your property and the work needed for potential buyers. It’s surprising how much difference this can make.
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