The UK housing market is hotting up if the headlines are anything to go buy. An article in The Telegraph says it’s a “horrible situation for all buyers who are losing their leverage in what is increasingly a sellers market.” So if your house is still sitting idle in what is being called a ‘seller’s market’- it’s time to assess your situation. Read on for some methods to woo potential buyers, market your property and get things (and you) moving.
If you can, try and put your house on the market in early spring or autumn. People are more prepared for house hunting and buying without the big breaks over summer and Christmas/ New Year aren’t looming over them. Also as more people are seeking properties at these times, prices go up.
Choose how you sell
If you are using an estate agent, check their other properties and see if you are in their usual market (but this isn’t vital). And even though you are in a hurry, try to get at least three valuations. Freakonomics author Steven Levitt points out that the homes of estate agents sell for higher prices. Yes, that could be because they know all the tricks listed here, but research suggests its because they will wait for longer to get the right price whereas when they are selling houses for a living, a quicker turnover creates a higher yield.
Do some research, keep on top of the market and try not to lower the price of your house if you think it is a fair one. If you’re selling independently, using a website such as Houseweb, do your research thoroughly and make sure you are actually available to maximise viewings.
BBC online business writer Brian Milligan warns: When you sign up with a private sale website, they will send you a “For Sale” sign with your phone number on it to erect outside your house. Get used to the graft of banging the sign into the ground, because from now on the task is only going to get harder. You take the photographs, you show potential buyers round, you organise Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s), and above all, you negotiate on price with any potential buyer.
Chuck the clutter
It sounds obvious but de-personalising your space really helps. Firstly it looks better, think of the clear lines in a show home. Secondly, it can help viewers to better visualise the house as their own. Put family photos in a draw and take down children’s posters, making sure you rub off any tack marks.
A lick of paint
Investing in a paint job can make all the difference by adding a finished touch and cared-for appearance that will make others want your home. HSBC surveyed property valuers for their tips and found that simple tasks such as mowing the lawn, trimming hedges and repairing any chipped paint were useful. Peter Dockar, head of mortgages at HSBC, said: “Many householders spend the Bank Holidays on DIY projects to help boost property value and saleability. However it is often the smaller jobs like painting the front door that can make all the difference when looking for a quick sale.”
Kerb enthusiasm how to create it
Don’t forget how your house will look from the front. Check the gate works and isn’t rusting, tidy the flowerbeds, remove any weeds and consider hanging baskets or flower displays to brighten up the aspect. For tips and guides on repair jobs, visit www.diy.com.
Park round the corner (especially if your car is tatty) so potential buyers can use the drive, making visiting the house as easy as possible. Don’t leave any mess, tired plants, toys, bikes or (heaven forbid) a caravan! First impressions are very important.
No, you don’t need a red carpet. But do make sure the heating is on if it’s chilly. Keep pets (and their fur) away and ensure the house smells fresh. Make sure you open the windows every day before visitors arrive and don’t cook anything that might linger in the air.
Showing round your potential buyer
Don’t show your own property. Location Location Location presenter Phil Spencer told home.co.uk , that, “you’ll probably be paying an agent to do this; they know their job, so I always recommend that property owners go out during viewings. If you must show your property yourself, guide viewers around the property once, showing the best rooms first or last. Don’t overload them with detail, such as the size of your boiler or the trouble with the neighbour’s cat. Never point out problems, but do feel free to highlight the odd positive point, like a south-facing garden, or very convenient parking.
Build a good relationship with your estate agent and solicitor. Ask them to stay in touch and ask questions such as ‘Will you get back to me either way by Friday?’ Research shows people are much more likely to do what they’ve said when they have answered ‘yes’ to a question.
Seal the deal
Act quickly and decisively once you have the offer you want. Contact removal firms and negotiate a moving date to get things going forward. Consider using storage and temporary accommodation if you havent found the house you want to buy yet and your home has not attracted much interest as you dont want to lose that buyer.
author byline : Lifestyle and property writer Jessica Bourne has lived in London so she knows how tough it is to buy and sell a home. She is experienced in writing about property matters, especially in the field of marketing homes for sale. She has also recently written an in-depth article for the eccount money blog about another potential upcoming housing bubble in the UK.