5 ways to ensure your house sells

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In an unstable economy it is increasingly difficult to sell property let alone ensure it goes for the best price. Whether you’re planning to sell or your house has been on the market for a while these tips will ensure you finally shift it.

1.       Market it well

It is possible to sell your home without employing an estate agent. You’ll save money on agency fees and commission on the final sale. However you should consider why people pay estate agents. They’re experienced, they conduct a large chunk of the work involved in selling a house on your behalf and they have the resources to market your property to potential buyers. These are all key factors in selling a house more quickly, freeing up capital and helping you move on to your next home.

Use an estate agent that can promise you extensive marketing to a wide audience. As standard they should advertise your property in the following ways:

  • Through their own property databases which will be utilised by buyers who approach them.
  • In high street window space that is visible to any number of passersby.
  • On large national property website such as Zoopla and Rightmove.
  • In newspaper ads and property and lifestyle magazines like UrbanLife.

Choosing the right estate agent should be based on a number of key factors:

  • Specialisation- if you’re selling a residential property then don’t go with an agency that mainly deals with commercial real estate. Enough said.
  • Reputation- if the agent is well known in your area or nationally then it’s more likely to be in forefront of buyers minds when searching.
  • Client base- a large agency, especially one that’s part of a chain will expose your property to a much wider audience. You property will appear on the databases in all of the offices in the chain of agencies.
  • Sale price prospects- look at properties on their books that are similar to yours and enquire how long they’ve been on the books. Consider the asking prices of those properties and compare these with competitors’ prices for similar houses. Although you won’t know the minute details of other buildings you can talk through the pricing structure and the plan for your house.

2.       Set the right price

Although everyone wants to get as much money for their home as possible (and you estate agent wants their commission too) you won’t sell at all if you scare buyers off with an unrealistically high price.

A valuer from your estate agents will assess your home and come up with an asking price. Find out how much they know about your area, your street even. The more familiar they are with it the more accurate their valuation will be. If you’re unconvinced about the extent of their knowledge then ask for someone else to carry out the valuation.

Look at the asking price for similar properties in your area. Although you cannot ensure that you and your neighbour’s property will sell for the same price it is a good idea to know the perceived worth of real estate in your area.

Have a survey done so you have a full picture of all the nitty gritty details of your home specifically. Prospective buyers will usually perform a survey before making an offer so make sure there are no nasty surprises.

3.       Make improvements

If you know there’s a crack in the wall but you’ve put off filling it because, ya know, “you’re moving anyway” don’t put it off any longer. Cosmetic problems like cracks could look like major structural issues to a viewer who doesn’t know the house. Any other points that might put a buyer off e.g. a broken door handle, faulty back yard light or dingy paint, should be addressed.

Calculate the cost of the improvements and weigh it up against the benefit to your chances of selling. Never spend too much on improvements, especially cosmetic ones as the new owner may simply change those later anyway. Add value rather that really pays off. It’s true that changing room layout can often add value but you may close off a whole set of buyers who are looking to make improvements themselves.

4.       Stage your house

‘Staging’ refers to tweaking the furnishings and finishing touches to the optimum level and to neutral styles that appeal to the widest range of buyers. You need to see your own home through the eyes of a buyer and think about what is most appealing or off-putting in a first impression.

Cluttered or completely empty properties don’t show off the space or features to their best advantage. You can stage the house yourself or hire a home staging expert. Experts will be able to provide furniture and decorations as well as their trained eye for detail to transform your house into a property that appeals most to buyers.

Staging the right environment can affect the perceived value of your house, helping you achieve a higher sale price. It should also sell more quickly as viewers’ first impressions will be positive.

5.       Accepting an offer

So you’ve been made an offer- lucky you! You don’t have to accept it though. Your agent should negotiate the best price for you but if there aren’t any vying buyers you are entitled to wait it out and see if more interested parties appear.

There may be more factors at play than just money. When do the new owners want to move in? Have you got another property to move to? Don’t be rushed but don’t delay for too long if there’s an offer on the table. Waiting can make buyers nervous and gives them a chance to view a sleuth of other properties in the mean time. On this point, make sure you have all you paperwork ready to exchange once you’ve decided.

It is possible and within both parties rights to withdraw from an agreed sale at any point. Keep a list of other interested parties whom you can contact in the event the sale falls through. This will help you renegotiate a sales agreement more quickly if a previous viewer is still interested.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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