Selling

Sarah’s Ultimate Guide of how to sell your home to attract the best buyers

By February 21, 2020 No Comments

How to sell your home

The Ultimate Guide to selling your home in South Cheshire

 

Discover how to sell your home.  Everything you should ever need to know when selling your home is here at your finger tips.

This article is written to help quash any concerns you may have.

Contents

You will find the following headings in this article.

The best time to sell

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home

What to expect on your valuation meeting

Preparing your home to sell

Marketing your home to create a lasting impression

Preparing for viewings

Useful information to help sell

Accepting an Offer

From exchange to completion

Preparing for moving day

 

Selling a home can be painful and unpleasant.  It can be, all-consuming and take over your life especially when you are living in a viewing ready state.

I’m here to show you that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Prepare correctly at the beginning and your home should sell quickly.

 

When is the best time to sell your family home?

The answer can depend on what property you are selling whether you are buying something else staying locally or moving away.

The best time to sell your home has to be the best time for you.

People are looking to buy all year round it just depends when they see their perfect home. Which could be yours.

It is true.

The property market does fluctuate throughout the year. When it comes to the best time to sell, that can be different for different people.

You might need to prepare differently depending on the season ask if you are not sure.

When does your home look at its best?  That might be a good time to start.

Generally, there are more properties on the market at the beginning of the year so you might have more competition.

If you are buying another property, then it really doesn’t matter. You will have more choice of homes on the market to buy yourself.  It’s all relative.

Think about when you want to be moved by.  Do you need to stay in your property until a certain date?  Maybe when your children have finished exams or for the start of a new school year, or be settled before the birth of your child.  There are many reasons share these with your estate agent.

These factors will determine when you launch your property for sale.

Another consideration might be something else going on in your life? You will need the time to prepare for the sale properly and then for the move itself.

If you need a mortgage find out how much you can borrow and what difference it will make to your repayments.  I work with a local mortgage broker who offers a very personal service and can help you with this.  Just ask I would be more than happy to share his details. I’m a people please so if you need any help, support or just a second opinion then just reach out to me I will always help you.

 

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your home

Not all estate agents are the same.  It is like when you go food shopping.  Asda, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi they all sell food but the experience is different in each supermarket.  The same is for house selling.   Not every agent is right for every person.  It depends what is important to you.  You need to choose the agent that you think will do the best job for you and will provide the service you are looking for.  Your experience will be different with each agent so choose carefully.

Here are some questions for you might like to think about before you invite them out.

  • How much will it cost to sell your home?
  • What is included in the price? Do you get a floor plan?
  • How do they describe the properties they have on their books?
  • What is their strategy to get you sold?
  • Does it sound good value for money?
  • How long is the selling contract?
  • If you don’t feel your agent is performing for you what can you do?
  • Typically, agents’ contracts are between 12-16 weeks although some agents wont have a tie in. I think if the agent says they are so confident in selling your home then they should be willing to remove the minimum contract period.

Make sure you connect and get on well with your agent and feel confident in what they say they will do.  Check who will be doing the viewings?   How will they market your property?  All these things can have an impact on whether your relationship will work.

What to expect on your Valuation Meeting

Funnily enough it’s not really about putting a valuation on your home.  It’s more important to discuss how your home will be marketed and what you can do to make your home easier to sell.

Before the appointment make sure your home is clean and tidy.  This will have an impact on how quickly your home will sell.  If when we visit to look at your property it is mucky, and filled with clutter we can assume that’s how you will be presenting your home for sale.  That way it would impact how much money you will get for it and would affect the price you would market at.

It’s not about giving you the highest valuation it’s about getting you sold in a timely manner for the most money.  Ask the agent how they came to that valuation.   What information did they use and how long do they expect it will take to sell if you advertise at the price they are suggesting.  It isn’t the best tactic to advertise at a higher price then reduce.  This can be counterproductive.

If you are a joint owner, then ask the other owner to join you on the meeting.  You will probably both be looking for something different and it helps to discuss this together to make the best choice for you.

Prepare a list of questions to ask and compare the answers.  Here are a couple to help you start:

  • Where will my home be marketed?
  • Who will be my main contact at the company?
  • How often will I be contacted with updates?
  • What are your opening hours?
  • Do you accompany all viewings?
  • How do you monitor the progress of a sale?
  • What improvements do you recommend to help our home sell quickly?
  • What price do you realistically expect to achieve and why?

 

 

How to sell your home fast and get more viewings.  It’s all in the preparation.

The first impressions you create of your home are extremely important.  They determine what interest you will get from potential buyers.  The more buyers you can get through your door the greater chance you have of getting an offer.

Here are our recommendations to achieving a quick sale

  • Give your home a deep clean – A sparkling clean home gives the right impression. Clean carpets if needed and refresh grout in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • De-Clutter – Less is more when it comes to selling your home. Pack everything up you don’t need or will not be using for the next 6 months including clothes.  Remove large or un necessary pieces of furniture to make rooms look larger.
  • Repairs and Maintenance – If there are areas of your home that need attention then get them done. Replace all light bulbs that have blown. Replace lights with led bulbs this makes the room look brighter.  If you have previously had a leak, cover it over with some paint.  Get some stain blocker first before painting this ensures the stain gets covered. Fix broken roof tiles, repair any leaks and clear gutters if they are blocked. It all helps to convince your buyer your home is loved and well looked after.
  • Decorating – A fresh coat of paint can make a room look lighter and brighter. Cover over any dark colours unless it matches the style of your home.  Making your property neutral will help it to sell faster and for the most money.

Further reading

What is curb appeal and how can it help?

 

Marketing your home to create a lasting first impression

Once your home is ready to go on to the market, this is the time for your estate agent to work their magic.  Getting the photographs, writing the property description, preparing the brochure and using all the marketing tools available to get your home sold.

I cannot stress how important the marketing of your home is.  The more people you entice to view your property, the more your home will achieve in price and the faster it will sell. We all like to browse the shops and the same is with properties.  Buyers start with photographs and determine how the property will meet their needs.

93% of people start their property search online before even contacting an agent to view.

This is a fact.

Your photographs are what the world sees first they create the first impression of your home.  Get them right.  Remove any unwanted items from the pictures like shampoo bottles etc.  Get the lighting right and help your agent accomplish the best version of your home.

If you want to add some extra special touches and make those photos look incredible, here’s how:

  • Fresh flowers – display flowers in a contemporary vase, which matches the style of your home.
  • Layer some plumped cushions on your sofa’s, beds and don’t forget a beautiful throw.
  • Place a freshly filled cafetière with a couple of nice coffee cups on your dining table and maybe a newspaper casually rested next to it, or a bottle of wine with wine glasses. Depending on how you would use the space would depend how you would dress it.   This also goes for tables outside set them to show the lifestyle of buying your home.
  • Fluffy new towels in the bathroom create a fresh and inviting atmosphere and can brighten up a plain room. I would also bring these out for viewings.
  • Add mood lighting to each room to make it feel welcoming and cost. The right lamps in the right corners can work wonders.

If you are not sure what to do, then just ask your estate agent.  It’s what we do.  You are paying us to help you make your home look the best it can be. Your agent will supply you with a list of bespoke things you can do to attract more buyers.

Marketing your Property using every available resource is sensible.

The description of your home is so important. My suggestion is to paint a picture to help your buyers visualise their life if they bought your home.

I can’t see the point of listing the fact that each room has a double-glazed window, a radiator to keep you warm and a comprehensive list of sockets.

Help your agent by sharing your story what you love about your home, why you bought it and what improvements you have made.

Let your estate agent know where the sun rises and sets.  Have all this information ready for them.  You need to share as much information about your property as you can. Producing a compelling description is fun and should be shared with your buyers.

You get to agree it and make any changes to the description as you feel fit. It’s not about being too gushing but it should paint the picture of life in your home.

Where your property is advertised is important, so check where it will be listed.

Online marketing is moving so fast. don’t ignore social media as a platform to sell your home.  The likes of Facebook, Linked in, Instagram and YouTube can help you sell your home. Share the posts your agent puts up with your friends and family.  We have had 30,000 views on some of our properties so help us get it out there by sharing liking and commenting on the post.

Floor Plans are a must they show the layout, room sizes and flow of your home.

When it comes to viewings of your home you need to think about the best times to show your home. Your agent can then arrange your viewings around these times.

Things to consider, are if you live near to a school, or on a busy main road, children’s routines, light levels and garden aspects.

 

Preparing for viewings

On the day of your viewing, make sure you have completed the following:

  • Clear away dishes in the kitchen
  • Sweep or hoover all floors throughout
  • Air the house by opening the windows. This is the best way to eliminate unwanted odours.
  • Don’t smoke or cook strong smelling foods before the viewing
  • Clear the gardens and alleyways
  • Leave pets with a neighbour or family member. Better still take them out for a walk while we conduct the viewing.
  • Switch on your heating during the colder months and light a fire if you have one
  • Turn your house lights on if it is a dark day. Make sure you allow energy efficient light bulbs time to warm up.
  • Light a scented candle but remember to blow it out before your viewer walks in.
  • If you have a driveway park your car somewhere else allowing your viewer to use your driveway, this will add to their experience.

Download our viewings checklist here

Getting feedback.

Feedback is so important to the future sale of your home. The negatives can be changed ready for the next viewing.  Don’t take it personal accept it and make the necessary changes if they are practical.

 

Useful information to help you sell

Part of the process of selling your home involves collecting together specific documents and information about your home.  We recommend that you collate and provide us with the following:

Energy Performance Certificate

This is a legal requirement for any property being marketed for sale.  If you bought your home within the last 10 years then you will already have one.  You can check if you have one at www.epcregister.com

If you have had significant work done to your home since the last EPC and improved the energy efficiency, then you might want to get a new one.  The improved energy rating will be good especially if you are hoping to sell to a property investor as a buy to let. They are inexpensive and last for 10 years.

Gas certificate

This shows that the supply and appliances are safe. Most people would ask if the boiler has been serviced recently. This certificate shows it is safe to use.

Electrical Certificate

This might be asked for depending on the type of buyer you are wanting to attract.

 

Money laundering Regulations require that Estate Agents are obliged to obtain evidence of your identity and residence.  You will need to provide original copies of one document from List A and one from List B.

List A – Evidence of Identity

  • Full valid passport
  • Full driving License
  • A valid identity card (HM Forces, police arrant card, prison officer, government/local authority issued card)
  • Birth/ Marriage certificate
  • Firearm or shot gun certificate

List B – Evidence of Residence

  • A utility bill less than three months old
  • Council tax bill less than 3 months old
  • Mortgage statement for the year just ended
  • A statement for either your current bank/building society account or credit card account
  • Inland Revenue tax notification, self-assessment statement or tax demand.

Leasehold Properties

If you live in a leasehold property, your estate agent is required to have a copy of your lease for their records.  For consumer protection they have to have viewed the lease and also provide a potential buyer with the opportunity to view the lease, before they submit an official offer.

When providing your agent with information about your home it’s important that you are aware of the Consumer Protection Legislation 2008.  This means that any material information that may change a potential buyer’s decision to not only buy your home but also whether to view it must be made apparent to them upfront.  This can include previous subsidence, risk of flooding, neighbourly disputes.

You even have to notify them if you suspect your home is haunted.

Accepting an offer

What happens when you start receiving offers?

When you receive an offer you should expect your estate agent to advise you and negotiate with the buyer to ensure you get the best deal.

Accepting an offer is about more than just going for the highest bidder, you should always take the following into consideration:

  • Is the buyer in a chain? That means do they need to sell their property to buy yours? The chain could be 10 long before it gets to yours. This might mean its high risk as it could collapse at any time.  Your agent will advise you of the situation
  • Is the buyer paying cash? If so this can simplify the process but your agent will advise you of this.
  • Does the buyer need a mortgage or have they already got a mortgage in principle agreed?
  • Can the buyer meet your timescales? For example if you need to move quickly or at a slower pace will that cause them a problem?

Sometimes the first offer is the best offer.  Before rejecting the offer outright, try and consider your next move, can you get your next property at a lower price to give you the chance to accept this offer?  If they can move quickly it can save you lots of money in mortgage payments, insurances, heating and hot water if you move sooner.  So consider these costs too.  Remember that no sale is risk free but the right estate agent will be able to increase the likelihood of the offer going right through to completion.

Your agent is responsible for qualifying the buyer, which involves verifying the position and finances and finding out about their chain situation and timescales.  You should expect them to do this quickly and accurately.  Once provided with the correct information, you will then be able to make an informed decision about the offer and look forward to a successful hassle free sale.

You’ve accepted an offer.

You will now need to instruct a solicitor or licensed conveyancer to handle the transaction of your behalf.  Here’s what to do:

  • Your estate agent will recommend solicitors or conveyancers that they have a good relationship with and who they know will process your sale to completion in a timely manner. Remember any delays may mean you lose a sale
  • Get quotes from any solicitor you are considering, but don’t be tempted to use the cheapest as this may not be the best option.
  • You need a solicitor or conveyancer that works efficiently within realistic timescales, get this reassurance from them before instructing them.

Once you have instructed your solicitor they will ask you to do the following:

  • Provide original copies of your ID (the same ones you gave to your estate agent)
  • Complete a detailed questionnaire on your property, covering items such as ownership of boundaries, age of central heating and double glazing, planning permissions or building regulations certificates for work you have carried out.
  • Fill in fixture and fittings form confirming what you intend to leave or take and any items you wish to sell. There is no law that specifies what should be left in your home and what should be removed. Legally you are not obliged to leave any fixtures or fittings in the house, but you must clarify what will be taken as it could relate to the value of the property.  Fixtures can add up to thousands of pounds in value and will make a big difference to the worth of a property.  If you do not provide an inventory up front, it is generally assumed that fixtures will be left and fittings will be removed.

Below is a list of items that fall into each category

Fixtures

  • Light fitments
  • Boilers and radiators
  • Built-in wardrobes
  • Bathroom suites
  • Kitchen units

Fittings

  • Paintings and mirrors
  • Carpets
  • Curtains and curtain rails
  • Free standing ovens, fridges, dishwashers and washing machines
  • Beds, sofas, other free standing items
  • Lamp shades
  • Television aerials and satellite dishes

From sale agreed to exchanging contracts

Exchange of Contracts

Exchange of contracts is the point when signed copies of the contracts are exchanged between the buyers conveyancer and the sellers conveyancer.  At exchange of contracts neither the buyer nor the seller can pull out of the sale without financial penalty.

A date for completion is usually two weeks at least from the date of exchange to give both parties time to move.  However, you can arrange to exchange and complete on the same day or have a longer time between exchange and completion depending on circumstances.

Completion

On the day of completion, your solicitor or conveyancer will call your estate agent to tell them when the buyer’s money has arrived so that the keys can be released to the new owner.  When you receive your conveyancing solicitors’ final statement, check it carefully to make sure it is correct and in line with your original agreement.  Your estate agents’ fees will be paid by your conveyancing solicitor from the proceeds of your sale and should be detailed in your solicitors’ final statement.

Your solicitor may ask for an interim payment towards their fees especially if you are buying a property, they will want you to provide payment for the cost of searches on that property.  Always ask up front if they can offer you a no sale no fee agreement.

Quick tip- as you will need to provide a variety of paperwork to your solicitor once the sale is agreed, save yourself time and stress by digging out everything you can relating to your home, as soon as you put your property on the market.  If you need help to decide what information is important give your agent a call and they can help you.

 

Preparing for Moving day

Once your home is sold it is time to pack up and get moving.  This process can be stressful but here are some tips to make it go more smoothly.

Our top tips for moving out.

Use a professional moving firm if you can afford it.  It will be much better for you in the long term.  They are used to moving big heavy items, you are insured in case of any damage.  Ask your friends and family what companies they have used in the past.

Take meter readings.  Use your phone and take a photo of each meter so you have a record for your utility providers in case there is a dispute in figures.

Ensure your post is redirected or contact the companies direct and get your address changed.  Make sure your bank statements and investments are online that way they won’t slip through the net.

Arrange for your internet to be changed over.

The night before moving day ensure that all electrical items are fully charged so it’s one less thing to think about. If you have kids download a couple of films or some of their favourite programs so they can watch them in their new bedroom to keep them occupied.

Leave a note of anything important for the new owners.  This can include things like alarm codes, manuals for appliances being left behind, where the utility and water meters are located, and the position of any stop taps.

My top 4 tips for a stress free move.

Tip 1

Avoid moving on a Friday especially on bank holidays and the end of the month.

Tip 2

Label everything well so you know what is in each box and which room the box needs to go.

Tip 3

Keep essential items together.  Kettle, milk, tea bags, coffee, soap, hand towel, washing up liquid, tea towel, toilet roll and phone chargers,

Tip 4

If you have children prepare a box to keep them occupied.  Buy a small toy that they have never seen or use a toy you have put aside to keep them busy.  Maybe include some snacks and a drink in the box as well.