Tips for sellers
If you're thinking about selling your home, here are a few handy tips from us
Working with your agent
Work with your agent and make them work for you. At Winkworth, we believe every seller and their home is unique. We'd like you to tell us what made you fall in love with your home and what you enjoy most about it now. We'll highlight this information when we start marketing your home to like-minded buyers.
Make sure your agent is aware of your situation, too. If you are just testing the water and aren't 100% committed to moving, they need to know. Likewise, if you can't move for six months, or, if you need to move imminently, tell your agent and they may be able to regulate the pace of the sale.
Listen to your agent's advice. They do know the local market and fundamentally, they have your interests at heart.
Settling on an asking price will be one of the biggest decisions you make in this process. Invite a selection of local agents to come in and value your property, but don't just go with the agent that provides the highest valuation and/or the lowest fee. An over-inflated asking price may really inhibit the speed of the sale. A low agent fee may mean you get a mediocre service at best.
Do your own research on the Land Registry website and find out what similar properties to yours have sold for in the area. If an agent gives you a much higher valuation than the others, ask them to provide examples of comparable sales.
Preparing your home
There's no avoiding those little DIY jobs that have been waiting to be done for years when you are looking to sell. Take some time to fix those loose floorboards, finish paint jobs, nail down the squeaking floorboard and fit the last skirting board. These details matter.
Once that's done, have a good clear out. Get rid of any clutter and thin out your personal items, like bulky ornaments, family photographs, paperwork and toys. This gives buyers the space to visualise themselves living in your house.
Before the viewings begin, make sure your home is sparkling clean from top to bottom, especially the kitchen and bathroom. If needs be, have the carpets professionally shampooed, particularly if you have pets.
Improve your home's kerb appeal, too. Paint your front door, polish up the brass (if you have any) and sweep away any leaves from the front of the house. Mow the lawn and make sure your garden looks neat and tidy. Show how particular areas can be used for al fresco dining with strategically placed garden furniture.
By law, you will need to commission an EPC (energy performance certificate) for your property. Your estate agent can help you to organise this. You won't be able to market the property without one, so get it sorted as soon as possible.
Line up your solicitor and do some pre-planning
Instruct a solicitor from the outset so that you are ready for action. Waiting until you have accepted an offer can delay the process unnecessarily.
Make sure you have all of your paperwork in order as this can really speed things up. So, if your property is leasehold or share of freehold, make sure you have the papers ready to pass on to your solicitor. Likewise, obtain any planning or building consents well in advance - these can help clinch a sale. Your estate agent and solicitor will be able to advise you on the type of paperwork you need to gather.
When the buyers are in
It is usually best to let your estate agent show the buyers around whilst you go out - they will feel more comfortable if you're not there. This means they can have an open discussion about your house without fear of causing offence. They'll also be able to take their time imagining how your home could become their home.
It's a tricky one, but try and work around viewings. It really helps matters if buyers are able to view your home at a time that suits them. If not, there's the risk they'll see another property and forget yours.
If you have tenants in the property, give them plenty of notice about your plans and keep things friendly. That way, they're more likely to keep the place looking tidy and accommodate viewings.
If at all possible, pack your pets off for a day trip to the neighbours or in-laws. Another nice touch is to leave any parking space you may have free for the buyer. Something as simple as an easy park will help ensure they enter your home in a good frame of mind.
Avoid strong cooking smells and don't smoke in the house in the run up to viewings. Open windows and place a few bunches of fresh flowers around the house to freshen things up and demonstrate that you care about what the buyer thinks.
Do take feedback on board - if all the feedback from viewings points towards a particular issue - do something about it.