Most homeowners who are moving home will need to sell their current property in order to proceed. The equity (the amount at which you sell minus your current mortgage balance) will be your deposit for the next purchase. You can top this up from savings or a family gift if you wish.
There is always a “magic number”, the minimum that a seller (vendor) is willing to accept to agree on a sale. However, the way a home is marketed and presented when it is listed for sale can make a big difference in terms of how quickly it sells.
It goes without saying that your asking price should not be way over the odds for the area. Don’t just list it necessarily with the Estate Agent who suggests the highest potential sale price.
With the advent of Zoopla and Rightmove the initial “splash” onto the market is vital and you want to generate as many viewings in the first two weeks as possible. If you get no initial interest at all these days there is a good chance it has been over-valued.
Some potential sellers prefer not to put their houses on the market until they have identified one that they want to buy. If this is you and you need a quick sale, here are some tips to give yourself the best possible chance of selling it.
The first tip can be difficult to imagine, but the first thing you need to do is inspect your own house as if you were viewing it for the first time yourself. If it has good “kerbside appeal”, (i.e. it looks nice as you drive up to it) that will be a great first impression.
Something simple like a freshly jet-washed drive and neatly cut front lawn indicates that you are the kind of person that looks after their home. The potential buyer will probably think the inside is likely to be as nice as the outside from this “feelgood factor”.
It’s a bit like the old saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
Remove any clutter from the front of the property, e.g. children’s bikes and toys etc. Make sure your front door looks appealing (clean) and the doorbell works. Treat yourself to a new doormat.
Once that is done, next go around the house room by room. You should pay special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms. Cupboards and wardrobes should be neatly stacked and free of clutter.
If you are a smoker the smell can put people off so give the house a good airing before your potential purchaser arrives. Remove anything that you think has a smoky smell about it.
Interior doors should all be freshly painted. Polish the brass fixtures and ensure all doors open and close nicely, no broken locks etc.
You will want your buyer to feel at home and relaxed as they view your property so try and avoid having pets or young children getting in their way as they move around.
That said, if it’s a family home you are selling then just a couple of family pictures and paintings can help as it will them envisage bringing up their family there too.
Don’t crowd them and let them walk around on their own if appropriate so they can talk between themselves if there are two of them.
Your bathroom should be presented spotlessly, put away any items, cosmetics etc that aren’t in daily use. Co-ordinate your towels and flannels to ensure nothing is mis-matched. Don’t leave items of clothing scattered around on the floor.
Ensure the house is well-lit with all lights turned on in any darker rooms and leave all curtains and blinds open. Your home should feel nice and warm but not too hot. All lightbulbs should be working.
Despite what people claim about “baking bread” smells, this is corny and old-fashioned, ensure there are no cooking smells lingering whatsoever. Cut back and prune any large interior plants that block out light.
One of the key things is to ensure your home is immaculately clean. Wash your curtains, blinds, wipe down your walls and clean all your floors and windows. All repairs should be up to date too and clean bedding on the beds.
Windows should be sparkling clean inside and out. New carpets in smaller rooms can be an inexpensive way of creating the impression that your house is welcoming and has been well cared for.
Plain painted walls create the idea of a “blank canvas” that the buyer can personalise. No one likes the idea of scraping wallpaper off walls if it can be avoided!
Buyers are always attracted by the idea of “space”, anything that you are storing outside of cupboards should be put away or thrown away (saves you a job when you move!) and take everything off your kitchen tops.
In terms of your garden, do a general clean up and remove all rubbish. The viewer may want to look inside your shed so don’t just throw everything in there, it needs to look neat and tidy.
Cut your lawn and remove grass clippings. Weed the paths and walkways and replace dead plants.
Pay attention to your fences, make sure all the slats are in place and it’s nicely painted or creosoted. Tidy up any visible items such as outdoor barbecues. People do still like to see a colourful garden so ensure it’s nicely turned out.
Flowering plants are nice to see if the season is conducive. De-clutter your garage so it’s clear a car could be parked in there if required.
People buy from people, so I always think it’s better if you do the viewings yourself as the seller. You will no doubt feel very passionate about your home and can show it off in its best light, albeit pointing out any small issues that you have encountered over the years (“We had a leak, we fixed it”) to present a balanced view.
Estate Agents do want to earn their commission, but they will have limited knowledge of your home compared with you.
Finally, remember the emotions attached with moving home. If you have a family it helps to accentuate it has been a happy home for you, this is sure to rub off on the viewers if they are thinking of raising a family also.