So you’ve decided that the time’s right and you’re ready to sell up and move on to pastures new, but where do you start? Read on for tips on selling and what you need to know for a successful sale that gives you everything you want.
However, do be realistic and remember that if you price your home too high, or fail to make it look saleable, you could be onto a loser, as well as a very frustrating few months.
Before you consider selling, have a good look around the house with as cynical an eye as you can muster. Think about how you behave when you go to view a property, you poke and prod every corner, right? So will your prospective buyer, so ensure that you get rid of any clutter, carry out all repairs and redecorate before it comes to putting it on the market.
Pay attention to the outside and all of the little things and be ruthless, you want the house to look homely, fresh, spacious and clean.
Choosing an Agent
What you find with one agent you may not with another, as estate agents are after all businesses with different objectives when it comes to how they market their properties. Have a look in the local papers and see who has the most ‘sold’ boards in your area, this should indicate the most active agents.
Agents generally charge a percentage of the sale price, but some charge a flat fee and some will request a sole agency which includes a contractual clause that you can’t place the property with another agent, at least for a certain period of time.
This means that you can get a couple of quotes and effectively haggle. Now we all know that us Brits don’t like to do this, but it’s also sometimes necessary. Don’t be tempted to bite off the hand of the agent offering the lowest fees or the heist valuation though, do consider the service they provide.
It’s a good idea to choose an agent that’s a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and you may find that an independent agent is much more flexible in what they can offer, compared to a national chain.
Getting a valuation
Don’t be tempted to attempt to manipulate agents by giving them previous valuations that may be higher. This isn’t in your interests and you want the agent to price the property genuinely, not with an eye on what you want.
Keep other valuations to yourself and ask the agent why he thinks that it will fetch the price that he’s valuing it at. Remember, the agent wants a quick sale just as much as you do, but he also makes a commission so it’s in everyone’s interest to be realistic about pricing. I find asking the agent what he has sold in your street/building recently and how many buyers he has registered for this type of property is always a good indication.
If You’re Unhappy with the Service
If, having settled on an agent and a few weeks down the line you don’t feel like you’re getting very much for your money, or the service isn’t great, then do discuss your concerns with the agent.
If your worries continue, then most agency contracts include a get out clause that just requires a bit of notice before you take it to another. However, your initial research should have been thorough enough for this to have been avoided.
Choosing a Solicitor
This is something that an independent agent will give you the best advice on, as they don’t tend to be affiliated with any banks. If you’re using a national agent, you may be better placed asking around for recommendations.
Once you’ve found a solicitor (or two) ask them to set out all of the charges in writing and see how they fare against others. Take your time, it can cost a fortune if you later decide that you want to change your solicitor and it’s not necessary with a bit of homework. Try to ensure that they are approachable and have your interests at heart, as well as their fee.
Some people, albeit not many, opt to sell their homes strictly through their own efforts, cutting out the agent and dealing with solicitors and so on without any professional help.
This really isn’t recommended and a lot of the time the help that your estate agent will give you will be very important to the entire process. Legal pitfalls abound, especially if you try to sell without a solicitor and you could find yourself in all kinds of hot water.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t market the property yourself via social media and the local paper, although it’s rarely necessary in reality.
Selling a property is a stressful yet exciting time, so ensure that you do it right, get all of the help you can from professionals and try to enjoy the process.
Article by Matthew Fine, Managing Director of Hunters Marylebone branch. Follow Matthew on LinkedIn by clicking here.