Five tips when selling your home
By the time you've tackled all those DIY jobs you've been putting off for years and scrutinised your finances, you’ll be ready to put your house on the market. Here are five top tips to get you on the move.
1. Understand your local market
While media headlines and statistics may give you the gist of national trends, the UK is made up of so many wildly varying micro-markets that these generic averages are of little relevance to your property search. An easy way to work out what's happening in your local market is to count 'for sale' and 'sold' boards, which will tell you if your chosen area has a fast- moving, static or falling market.
"Find a road in your neighbourhood that has around 10 boards up," explains Kate Faulkner, property expert and director of Propertychecklists.co.uk. "For example, if more than four say the property's actually already sold, this suggests you have a rising market. Whereas only two sold would tell you your market is likely to be falling."
She adds that if the properties sell within two to four weeks that suggests a fast-moving market, whereas if it takes six to eight weeks that's a more stable market.
Next, understanding the difference between the advertised property price and what properties are actually selling for on websites such as Mouseprice.co.uk or Nethouseprices.com can help to identify over-priced – or good-value properties – to buy. All this can help you find agents you can trust more easily.
2. Calculate costs
Work out what you think your property is worth before you call an agent. Websites, such as Rightmove.co.uk or Mouseprice.co.uk, will help you see exactly what properties similar to yours have sold for previously. Then do a search for similar properties online as if you are buying your own property. Ticking the 'sold subject to contract' or 'under offer' boxes when searching allows you to find out which agents have sold properties like yours and help you to identify which agents to approach for a valuation.
Then calculate moving costs. For example, agents tend to charge between 1% and 2% of the sale price, while some charge extra for photos and floorplans. You'll also need to pay for legal and removal fees and you may end up having to pay to redeem your mortgage unless you can take your mortgage to the next property.
3. Choose your estate agent carefully
Now that almost every property appears on online search sites, you may think choosing between one agent and another is immaterial. And it's true, house-hunters will most likely see your property online first – whichever agent is marketing it. But will they take and upload the 20-plus photos needed to secure click-throughs?
Will they give you feedback after every viewing or tell you how many people have viewed your property online? And will they help you solve problems and keep chains together?
Check out not just what they charge but what they will do for their money. Avoid long tie-ins and find out if you will be charged if your property doesn't sell.
Also try out a new tool that has been launched to help people find out which estate agent has sold the most properties in their area, as well as how long, on average, it takes them to make a sale.
Instead of just looking for the cheapest agent or the one who has the most ‘For sale’ boards in their area, people can now base their decision on sales performance, time it took to sell and price achieved, using data sourced from more than 18,000 estate agents.
The free service – estateagent4me.co.uk – from property advice site the HomeOwners Alliance lets sellers find local agents and rank them on:
- how likely they are to sell your home – based on the percentage of properties sold, compared to the total number of properties listed with that agent;
- the speed at which they will make a sale – based on the average time it takes for a property on their books to be sold;
- whether they get the asking price – based on what percentage of the asking price is achieved on average; and
- what their charges are.
4. Sell up and rent
Trying to combine a house sale and purchase – where one depends on the other – makes for a tense juggling act, especially as a buyer can pull out at any time prior to exchange. A willingness to move into rented property may make it easier to sell your home and puts you in a stronger position when you come to buy.
Alternatively, with new-builds, a developer may sell you its property and part-exchange yours. Typically, this is offered on a selection of plots and you have to be trading up by 30%, but some companies have schemes that will work even if you are trading down.
5. De-clutter before you sell
To make your home easier to sell, be ruthless about throwing stuff away or putting it into storage. Once clutter-free, make sure every room is dressed to suit its intended purpose. A spare bedroom should be styled as such – not just left as the junk room.
- See how to Clear your clutter for a richer life.
A catch-all phrase that can range from assessing the price of a property or vehicle before offering it for sale or the net worth of assets in an investment portfolio to the prices of shares on a stock exchange.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.