Property sales

Selling your property is becoming a real task as the market has taken a nose dive recently, and mortgages on offer for first time buyers have become very thin on the ground resulting in private property sales really slowing down.

Hopefully we will still be able to provide you with some tips and advice on private property sales including what to expect to make selling your home a little less stressful.

Before you contact an estate agent

First of all, before you even approach an estate agent to market your property have a good look around each room in your home, a useful tip is to photograph every room and then look at the pictures. Look for any clutter which you may not see on a day to day basis, as you live there you can become blinkered. If it helps show the pictures to someone who does not live with you and ask them for their opinion. The same approach should be taken for outside the property: you want kerb appeal!. When you do choose your estate agent, the first thing they will do is come and take pictures of your home, so best be ready with a well presented house rather than have them taken and then not be happy with the way it looks on your brochure and online advertisement.

Next, go around the house and look for chipped paint work which can quickly and easily be covered. If you have pets, make sure there are no lingering odours!! Get plug ins and if you really feel you have to, steam clean or replace carpets. Touch up your paint work and clean your home from top to bottom. Try and keep your house in "show house" standard as much as possible as viewers often want to see your house the same day as they see it in the estate agent window or online and so the less you have to do the better.
Remove all personal pictures and quirky items which make your property your home as personal items could in fact put viewers off. On the same note try to keep your colour schemes as neutral as possible. If you have a brightly coloured sofa put a neutral coloured throw over it, as what is to your taste may not be to theirs. You have to focus on the fact that you are not showing off your home, you are marketing a property and so you must remove yourself from all personal, sentimental aspects of your home.

Estate Agents

Choose your Estate Agent wisely, do your research as to which Estate Agent sells the most properties in your area and always get more than one valuation to see what your market price should be. Check the terms and conditions of the Estate Agent you choose and always compare fees. If possible do not opt for an Estate Agent where you have to pay a fee to take your property off the market or change Estate Agent. You don't want to end up stuck with an agent which you think isn't doing their job resulting in you having to pay them just to move to another agent. Make sure you are clear from the start what your Estate Agent will be doing to market your home and ask for regular updates as to progress if this is something you feel you would like.

Property Viewers

When you do get a viewer, try to not get into personal conversation, keep it light and polite as some people may feel uncomfortable if you were too chatty, you are not looking for a friend you are looking for a buyer. Make sure that when you walk into a room that you let them walk in first and you stand in a place where you are not blocking a feature or the light. Most estate agents will conduct viewings on your behalf, meaning you are able to keep put of the viewing all together.

Know your facts, for example if you don't pay the council tax (ie: your other half does) make sure you know what band your property falls into and what the monthly payments are. Same applies to freehold and leasehold ground rent and utilities costs.

As long as you're happy with the people you are showing round, let them have a look on their own as this will be when they will relax and have a chat about your house. But of course if you do not feel happy doing this then don't, instincts can count for a lot.

Don't forget your garden, if you're lucky enough to have one. Gardens are a major selling point for some viewers and a major turn off for others, but either way, very few buyers will want to think they have a major task ahead of them. Think of your garden as another room; keep it neat, tidy and as comfortable and practicable as possible.

Many of the viewers you have may well know the local area, but others will be new to your village, town or city. Local councils often produce handbooks which contain information about the local facilities, churches, schools and clubs etc. Get hold of some copies and offer them to your viewers for them to take away. Alternatively, pull some information together for them, but don't go through this with them page by page - this may come across as a bit pushy - unless of course they ask you to.

House Viewing Safety

Never show a property on your own! If you don't have a partner, or they aren't available, get a family member or friend to come round. If there is no-one then ask the estate agent to come along. Always try and keep a friend or family member up to date with what time a viewer is to arrive and let them know when they have left so that you feel safer and so more relaxed. Also if you do have pets, try and find somewhere for them to go whilst the viewer is there as not everyone likes animals.

Property Feedback

Always ask your estate agent to obtain feedback as this can be a really useful tool, and try not to take to heart any comments that the viewers preferred another property as let's be honest, it would be very dull if we all liked the same things.

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Updated on 29th February, 2012

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