28 Sep 2011

A to Z of Selling your Home

A to Z of Selling your Home

It is fair to say that these days selling a property can be a bit of a daunting prospect.  In what is undoubtedly a more challenging property market, Fiona Wildgoose, Resident Partner at Aberdein Considine’s Dyce Office, provides an A to Z of advice for selling your property.

It is fair to say that these days selling a property can be a bit of a daunting prospect.  In what is undoubtedly a more challenging property market, Fiona Wildgoose, Resident Partner at Aberdein Considine’s Dyce Office, provides an A to Z of advice for selling your property.

Advertise.  There are many different media to advertise your property through – use them all.  The more exposure your property has, the better.  In addition to the internet, remember that the local press still has an extremely large readership in the North East.  Press Advertising can attract you those vital extra viewers.

BuyersThere are only a limited numberof actual buyers in the market at any one time, meaning those who are able to purchase as opposed to those who need to sell a property first or have yet to confirm mortgage finance.  There are more properties on the market than there are actual buyers with the result that sellers are having to work harder to achieve a sale.

Competition.  Be aware of similar properties on the market and in particular what they are priced at.  A competitive price attracts attention.

Developers.  If your intention following a sale is to purchase again, and if a brand new property is of interest to you, some developers offer the option of part-exchange or a guaranteed price for your current property in the event it does not sell on the open market.  This may be an option to enable you to move into a new property without having to sell your property on the open market.

Expense.  Be prepared to spend money to achieve a sale.  Moving house can be an expensive process, but watching the pennies too carefullycan cost you in the long run.  Do those minor repair or redecoration jobs you are deliberating about and spend that money on extra advertising.  Selling property at the moment is about doing everything you can to show your property to the best advantage and ensuring it has maximum exposure.

Financial Advice.  It is important you obtain financial advice to confirm your own position especially if you intend purchasing again following a sale.  Knowing exactly where you are financially means you are better able to make decisions regarding your sale.

Goal.  What is your end goal?  If your goal is ultimately to purchase another property, keep focussed on that when considering offers received for your current property.  If the offer you receive is less than you were hoping for, it can be worthwhile clarifying the price you will need to pay for any new property.  If a new property can be purchased for less than you thought, you will be better placed to accept a lower offer for your own property.

Home Report.  It is important that the Home Report for your property is as favourable as you can make it.  A draft Home Report is always issued by the surveyor for approval by a seller.  Take the time to check it carefully.  You have the option to get repair or maintenance work done prior to your Home Report being finalised to show your property in the best possible light.

Interest.  Capitalise on any interest shown in your property, even if at a very early stage.  There are not many offers out there and sellers who do not act promptly when they receive an offer, could have to wait a long time for another one.

Journalism.  Every week sees a different report on the state of the housing market, many of them conflicting.  It can be difficult as a seller to get to grips with it all.  It you are ever unsure or concerned about anything you hear or read, ask your solicitor or agent.

Keep Positive.  Do not get disheartened if your property does not sell as quickly as you would like, or if there are not huge numbers of viewers through the door.  It is a slower market on the whole and selling can be an exercise in patience.

Lease.  The leasing market at the moment is buoyant.  Depending on your financial situation, you may find that retaining your property and leasing it out is a better option for you than trying to sell at the current time.

Mortgages.  Be aware of the difficulties faced by a lot of prospective buyers when it comes to securing mortgage finance at the moment.  The relatively high level of deposits required and strict lending criteria do limit the borrowing available to most which will of course restrict the prices which can be paid for properties on the market.

Negotiate.  Be prepared to negotiate with a buyer.  A lot of initial offers are low, but resist the urge to dismiss it – it is not about the figure offered, just focus on the fact that it is an offer.  Go back with a counter figure as most offers can ultimately be negotiated up to an acceptable level.

One.  It is the most used cliché in the book when it comes to selling property, but it does only take one interested party through your door to secure a sale.  It is not about the number of viewers you have, it is about the quality of that particular viewer, and one person in a position to buy who likes your property is all it takes.

Presentation.  It is vital to ensure that your property is presented as well as you possibly can as a viewers first impression stays with them.  It is true that viewers like to imagine themselves living in a property so de-clutter wherever possible.  Remember that your likes and dislikes may not be shared by your viewers.  Ideally, pets should be removed as not everyone is an animal lover and try to do what you can to mask strong odours such as cigarette smoke or cooking smells.

Questions.  Do not hesitate to ask questions of your agent, solicitor, or financial advisor.  It is a difficult market and the more information and advice you have the better equipped you are to deal with it.

Realistic.  Be realistic in your expectations.  Ask your agent and solicitor what a realistic selling price is and listen to them.  Sellers who hold out for an unachievable figure risk being on the market for a long, long time.

Surveyor.  Remember that a surveyor’s comments on your property in the Home Report will be read by all prospective purchasers so feel free to query any points of concern you have with the surveyor at the time the draft Home Report is issued to you for your approval. 

Time.  Be prepared to give your property time to sell.  It is not every property that will sell quickly.  If you have a particular timescale you wish to sell by, make sure you allow plenty of time to do so.

Under Valuation.  Do not be fixated on the Home Report valuation figure as the reality is that a good number of properties in the current market are actually selling below valuation.  Review your figures and if you can accept under valuation for your property, market your property accordingly.  It may give you the edge over the competition.

Viewings.  Remember viewings are an opportunity for you to draw attention to the positive features of your property and the area in which it is located.  Always ensure you take contact details for your viewers as your agent can obtain feedback which can be very useful for the future marketing of your property.  Even negative comments can be used constructively to possibly remedy an issue for future viewings,

Work.  Without a doubt, sellers are generally having to work that bit harder to sell.  It is not a market for sitting back and waiting for things to happen, it is about doing everything possible and using every tool available to you to try and achieve that sale.

Xpertise. Your solicitor and estate agents have experience of selling properties.  They are doing it every day.  You may not always agree with them, but ask their opinion and listen to their recommendations and advice. 

You.  You know more about your own property than anyone else.  Ensure that your agent has all the information you feel would assist a sale and ensure all the positives about your property are sufficiently emphasised in the marketing material.

Z-Bed.  Whilst the ideal is of course to move into a new property the same day you sell, be prepared to consider alternatives.  Achieving a sale is the priority as most cannot even consider purchasing a new property until this happens.  Do not let the fact that you do not have a new property to move to deter you from accepting an offer – be prepared to consider temporary accommodation, even imposing yourself on relatives pending a purchase.

Fiona Wildgoose, Partner

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