You may have been thinking about selling your house for a while – but been deterred by negative media reports and Chinese whispers.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Even in a dismal market, there are people who are itching to buy a property just like yours and there are things you can do to maximise your chances of selling your property.
Here are our top 10 tips…
1. Take home price indices with a pinch of salt when establishing an asking price
We are constantly bombarded with conflicting reports of house prices rising or falling, and it can be hard to know which one to believe.
However, these contradictions exist because they rely on different data. For example, certain companies house price indices base average property values on mortgage valuations, while the Land Registry records what the home actually changed hands for – though by the time the figures come through they can be a few months out of date. The Rightmove house price index uses asking prices which can be very different to the actual value of a property – which, of course, is what it actually sells for.
And these are all averages anyway – even with this regional data, the price your home fetches can depend on the area, the actual pocket of that area, the street and, in some cases, even which end or side of the street the house is on.
Don’t be too swayed by media reports when it comes to establishing an asking price for your home and rely more on the valuation you receive from your agent.
2. Increase your property’s ‘kerb appeal’
A potential buyer could be put off even before they have set foot inside your front door if they are given a bad first impression. You want them to walk up the drive or path already feeling impressed and excited to see more.
So do what it takes to create that lasting first impression. Make sure the exterior of your home is up to scratch and if your front door or fence is looking tired, brighten it up with a lick of paint. Put up hanging baskets to add colour and if you have a garden plant some bedding flowers. Move bins out of view and clear away anything unsightly.
3. Freshen up and de-clutter
Making your home attractive to a buyer needn’t mean an expensive refurb. Chances are it won’t be to the buyer’s taste anyway and will be replaced as soon as they move in but you should freshen up rooms with a neutral lick of paint in warm tones.
Make sure your rooms are clutter-free and as light and airy as possible. A mirror hung in the hall can give the illusion of space and a few vases of flowers or some plants can freshen up the house.
A kitchen is a big selling point, so make sure all the worktops are clear and that it smells fresh and clean. If you do have pets, ask a relative or friend to look after them while viewings are taking place. While you love your pets, chances are your buyer won’t – or worse still, they may be allergic.
4. Bear in mind that the little things count
Don’t forget the detail either. Chances are the buyer will be nit-picking as they will be looking at a number of properties and weighing everything up. So get around now to those little maintenance jobs such as a long overdue light bulb change.
5. Make each room individual
Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in the house so it’s essential that each room is shown off to it highlight its purpose. If your dining room is full of work papers or exercise equipment for example, return it to its original purpose. It is also important to de-personalise, for example by taking down posters in the kids bedrooms – so the buyer can see the potential for the house and where they would put their own personal items.
6. Stay out of the way
When potential buyers come to view your property, let them wander around freely with the agent. You want them to feel comfortable and as though they can spend time looking at each room freely. Be ready also to answer any questions after the viewing.
7. Make the most of your outdoor space
Gardens or any type of outdoor space can be another great selling point – but an overgrown jungle could see your buyer running mile. Not only will the space look smaller and neglected, if paying out for a gardener isn’t in your viewer’s plan or budget, it could completely put them off the property.
8. Choose the best buyer
Once the offers are on the table, your next big job is to choose the most reliable buyer.
Safer buyers include those who have already sold their home and are in rented accommodation, chain-free first time buyers, and cash buyers who do not need a mortgage. Bear this in mind but depending on how many offers you get, this choice might not be a luxury you have.
Obviously there will be other factors you need to take into consideration such as how quickly you need to sell and whether you have found somewhere to move in to yourself.