When it comes to finding a new home, many people are so focused on their next property that they stop paying attention to their current one. This is a big mistake, especially if you’re relying on its sale in order to fund the purchase of your new home and potentially have a chain of people waiting.
Usually house sales happen quickly or for a good price – it’s often difficult to get both in one deal. However, just a few small steps and a little preparation can make it more likely that a viewer will make a serious offer within a few weeks. Read our tips from estate agents and professional surveyors to learn more.
Do your research
Understanding the local market is an essential part of finding a buyer that you’re happy with. Not only will you see the type of homes that are selling quickly, you’ll be able to recognise your target buyer and what a reasonable offer looks like. To do this, try:
- Monitoring the asking prices AND the actual sale prices in your local area.
- Talk to several local estate agents to get an idea about what they think your home might sell for. Don’t forget that their opinion is based on their own market experience, rather than fact. Plus, they will want to be attracting your business, so do take this estimate with a pinch of salt.
- If you want, you can talk to a qualified valuer to get an accurate, fact-based quote for your home.
- Arrange a property health check or survey to help you identify faults in your home that might be turning buyers off.
- Work out your own finances as early as possible so that your chain can move quickly once you get an offer. Know your budget and have a mortgage arranged in principle. Factor in move-in costs, renovation plans etc.
- Contact a few experienced conveyancers or solicitors to help you keep the sale process moving smoothly. Take recommendations from friends, relatives or colleagues and remember that the solicitor doesn’t necessarily have to be local.
Complete those odd-jobs
Little bits of DIY are quickly pushed to the bottom of the to-do list when you’re living somewhere – most of us simply learn to live with a wobbly step and aren’t bothered by the door that doesn’t shut properly. However, eagle-eyed buyers will be inspecting every inch of your home before they make an offer, and the more “snags” they find, the less valuable your property will seem. Unless you’re selling it as a “fixer-upper”, it’s time to get the tool kit out.
- Clean walls, touch-up chipped paint and tighten door handles. Repair or replace as many small details as you can before you take photos for your listing and start having viewings.
- Clear out all of your personal clutter. Overloaded bookcases and cupboards make your home look crowded and suggest a lack of storage space. Donate and recycle as much as you can and you’ll thank yourself when the time comes to move.
- Tidy up mess like papers, clothes, shoes and pet toys so that the features of your home can shine through. If you can, put excess furniture into storage.
- Will a little bit of time, money and effort make a big difference to any of your rooms? Updating the paint or cupboard fronts is a quick way to spruce up a kitchen or bathroom, while covering up worn furniture will give living rooms and dining rooms a lift. Here are some other ideas that might suit your property.
- Don’t forget the outside. Buyers will be looking for curb appeal and a useable back garden, so trim the hedges, mow the lawn, sweep pathways and give your front door the once over.
Stage your home for pictures
The photographs in your listing will be the first impression most buyers get, and will usually be what encourages them to arrange a viewing (or avoiding your home altogether).
- Make sure your home looks immaculate. Hire a professional cleaner if you have to, to make sure nothing looks grubby, untidy or unkempt.
- Let in as much natural light as you can. Open the curtains – or do away with them completely if you can. Illuminate dark corners with bright lamps and mirrors.
- Take everything off of surfaces and de-personalise spaces as much as possible – your buyers want to imagine their own possessions in each room, which can be tricky if they’re overwhelmed by family photos, unusual artwork or big-personality furniture.
- Add some cosy touches to ensure your house still feels cosy and welcoming. This might include setting the table, putting some books on your bedside and adding a couple of cushions to your sofa. Instagram staging can give you some ideas about how to do this.
Prepare for viewings
The final challenge is to make sure the spotlessness doesn’t slip while you have potential purchasers viewing your home. During this time, it’s recommended that you:
- Keep your home sparkling clean. Invest in a professional cleaner if it helps, and consider housing pets with friends or relatives for a short time.
- Be mindful of the foods you cook before a viewing; garlic, fish, bacon and curry can leave an unpleasant odour for several days. Instead, use subtle air fragrances or use the viewings as an excuse to brew fresh coffee each morning.
- Expect that buyers will want to check in-built storage options. If your home has plenty, it’s best to keep it especially organised during viewings.
It may seem simple, but so many sellers fail to put in this essential groundwork before putting their home on the market. Following these steps will help your home to stand out amongst the competition and secure a serious buyer as quickly as possible.