How to prepare your house for sale

People have different reasons for selling their property. Either disposing of an investment property or simply moving home.

Once you have decided to sell it is important to consider what you want to include in the sale. Normally, fixtures and fittings such as fitted heaters are included in the price but other moveable things such as curtains and kitchen appliances can be up for negotiation.

If you are getting rid of items you no longer need, do it before you start marketing your property as the less clutter you have the more appealing the property can look to potential buyers. Many councils take large items away, sometimes for free.

Give your agent other useful documents and facts about your property which they can mention to potential buyers, such as:

  • Energy Performance Certificate; simply moving home
  • Gas and electrical certificate checks;
  • Planning permissions and building regulations certificates;
  • Council tax, utility, buildings and contents insurance bills – so any potential buyer can estimate running costs; and
  • Service charges and ground rent bills (for flats).

The above requirements will be requested by your solicitor so it will speed up the selling process if these items are prepared prior to finding a buyer.

Valuation of property

Below are ways to help you determine how much you should put your house on the market for:

  • Consult your local estate agent who can offer advice to help you determine a realistic, initial asking price; and
  • Get an accurate picture of trends in your area and search online for comparable properties in your area. Searching for similar properties for sale in your area and seeing what they are currently being marketed for will be useful in deciding a realistic asking price.

Viewings

Having marketed your property either privately or through an estate agent, you need to get your home ready for viewings and give your house the best chance of selling. First impressions are vital so put yourself in the position of the buyers and consider how you can enhance your property’s draw.

Firstly consider the appearance of the outside of the property. The first thing potential buyers will see before they even get past the front door is the exterior. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Does the front of your house need smartening up?
  • Could the front garden be tidier?
  • Would the front door look better with a fresh coat of paint?
  • Do the windows/nets/curtains need cleaning?

Also consider the interior with a critical eye:

  • Ensure the property is clean and tidy and de-clutter spaces using sensible storage ideas. Potential buyers will want to visualise how they can fill the space.
  • Undertake any minor repairs that may need doing.
  • If you want to re-decorate, go for neutral tones, which will appeal to a wider audience.
  • Bring out the best features such as fireplaces and use mirrors to maximise the sense of space.

Negotiating offers

Once you have received an offer, be prepared to negotiate. But remember, you don’t have to sell to the highest bidder. A lower bidder might be better if they:

  • Are paying cash (so don’t have to wait for mortgage approval);
  • Already have a mortgage “agreed in principle”;
  • Don’t have to sell a property first (they could be first-time buyers or investors) or are in a short chain; or
  • Can fit in with your timescales better than other buyers.

A smooth sale

Conveyancing can be time consuming and complex, so it important to instruct a reputable firm of solicitors.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Tell your conveyancer if you want answers to any specific questions in advance;
  • Let them know when you would like to exchange contracts and complete. Tell them you will require regular updates of how the sale if progressing;
  • Let your solicitor know whether the property is vacant and if not when will it be vacant;
  • Provide your solicitor with any relevant information and documents such as the title number of the property, planning consents, building regulations certificates, EPC etc.;
  • Mortgage Account number in order for your solicitor to request a redemption figure from the Lender;
  • Complete a detailed questionnaire on the property called a Property Information Form which covers aspects such as who owns the boundaries and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours; and
  • Complete a form showing what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale.

If you would like any more information in relation to this article then please feel free to contact me via email: gunduz.misiri@bowlinglaw.co.uk or visit my profile.

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