A guide to selling your home

If you have decided to sell your home then you’re about to take the first step on an exciting journey! And although there’s certainly a lot to think about, it’s a process that can be more rewarding than you might think – especially if you’re thoroughly prepared and do the groundwork first.

The key is getting your house completely ‘sale-ready’ as soon as possible, and our ‘How To’ guide will hopefully help make the whole process easier.

Here are a few important things to consider before you start:

Think about how you want to sell

Selling on your own is an option, although a private sale can be more time consuming (you have to deal with all the marketing, arranging viewings, setting the price etc). If you choose to sell with a traditional estate agent (or a solicitor in Scotland), get plenty of recommendations first. Ask colleagues, friends and family who they have used, and shop around to find the right one for you. You will have to pay a fee (either a flat fee or commission) and possibly some additional charges, but they will do the legwork and admin for you. Don’t underestimate the intricacies of the negotiation process with the buyer and the diplomacy involved – a good estate agent will do their utmost to hold the sale together and keep things moving smoothly. In addition, internet-based estate agencies are becoming increasingly established – so it’s worth considering all your options. They pitch themselves as being able to save sellers’ money with lower fees. It’s good to know that online estate agents have to adhere to the same regulations as high street agents, so your rights should be protected.

Think about how much you’re looking for

How much is your house worth? The first step on your journey is to establish the maximum value of your home and set a realistic asking price. You should have it valued by an estate agent who knows the local area. It’s a good idea to ask more than one to value your house – and these valuations should be carried out for free. You can also search for homes like yours in your area to get a feel for how much they are going for. There are also a number of basic online valuation tools that you can use to get an initial idea.

Think about when you want to sell

If you have an amazing property in a highly desirable area, then pretty much any time is good for selling it! But there are certain times of the year that are better than others for putting your home on the market, and so it’s worth thinking about your timings.  A lot of people are on holiday over the summer months, for example. And a lot of people don’t want to think about buying property over Christmas. It is generally agreed that more buyers are actively looking in the spring or autumn. But overall, it’s much more important to choose a time that works for you. If you rush your home onto the market without preparing it properly first, you might lose out.

Think about how you can add value

Making your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers is crucial. And it’s the one major aspect of property selling that you really can influence. Your location and, to some degree, your selling price are out of your hands. But you can make your home much more inviting, and do a lot more than a quick tidy up before viewings to help maximise your house’s value!

Below we take a closer look at what you can do.

Refreshing, repairing, renovating.

Outside

First impressions are everything. It’s amazing how many of us are put off before we even step inside a property. This is what industry experts call ‘kerb appeal’, and it’s essentially that all-important first glimpse people get of your house. Your interior photography can look amazing on an estate agent’s website, but will count for nothing if your potential buyers are instantly disappointed when they see the exterior.

You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune doing up the outside of your house, and there are plenty of smaller steps you can take:

  • Give your front door a fresh coat of paint. The same goes for your windows.
  • Polish up your door knocker, letterbox and house number. Or replace them if they are beyond help!
  • Tidy the garden. Neat lawns and hedges look much more inviting. All weeds should be banished! Consider pots and planters displaying flowers to brighten up your garden.
  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to your wooden fences and gates, and make any minor repairs that are required e.g. if the gate doesn’t shut properly or gutterings are cracked.
  • Give your paths and driveway a good hosing down. The same goes for patios and decking. And on viewing days make sure the pavement outside is clean and free of litter.

Inside

Ideally you want to make it easy for your buyers to see themselves living in your property, and making it their own. That doesn’t mean getting rid of or hiding every trace of you! But aim to create a light, airy neutral space as much as possible. That way they can visualise making this their home.

  • De-clutter. This is the big one! Messy rooms are hugely off putting. Time to get rid of all your clutter ­– either into storage or altogether!
  • Smell plays a big part in our impressions of homes. But don’t overdo it! Avoid particularly strong or sickly sweet room deodorisers. At the same time, the old fresh baking/fresh coffee trick isn’t really necessary. Fresh fruit and flowers will help, without seeming like you’re trying too hard – or covering up some unpleasant odour!
  • Try and get your home at an optimal temperature for viewings. If it’s either too hot or too cold, your buyers may well wonder if that’s an ongoing problem that they’ll need to address.
  • Freshen up as many rooms as you can with a neutral paint. Warm colours are the best. Whoever buys your home will undoubtedly change the décor and have different tastes to you, so ideally you want to create a ‘blank canvas’ for them.
  • If your bathroom needs a serious facelift, you might want to invest in a new suite. It is a larger expense to bear, but may add value to your home. Alternatively, small touches like new towels and bathmat, new shower curtain and even taps can help.
  • Time to tackle all those little DIY jobs you’ve been putting off! That dripping tap, those cracked tiles, that squeaky door… You don’t want anything distracting your potential buyers from the wonderfulness of your property!

Now all of this might seem like a very long list of chores to take on. And it is. But the more you do now, the more appealing your home will be to all those would-be buyers.

Yes, you might have some additional outgoings and time-consuming tasks to complete. But at the end of the day you’ll have a ‘sale ready’ house and it will all have been worth it!

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The material contained in this article is intended for information purposes only and not as advice.

You should obtain professional legal or other advice if you are unsure about the effect on you of any matter in this article.

Published: 26 January 2018