Selling and buying homes are one the most important and biggest things you will probably do in your life. In todays housing market even getting on the property ladder is a challenge, but if you are on that ladder and lucky enough to be buying your second home - then it can be a daunting task of knowing where and how to start.
Don't despair though, as this whole process can be really fun and rewarding. It is just about knowing before hand what to look out for! When we purchased our new house last year, it was very much a learning curve for us and there are definitely things we will do differently next time.
Check out my handy tips, inspired by my experiences of selling past property. These are the things most people won't tell you - so I hope they help......
1. Pick the right season
The property market in the UK is like a graph, with peeks and low dips throughout the year. The most popular time to sell your home is in Spring, with most houses going on sale around Easter. Everything looks better in the sun and by Spring, the drab and cold weather has passed, putting everyone in a better mood! But, it isn't just to do with people's moods.....
When natural sunlight is flowing through a property, the garden grass is fresh and green and there is no stuffy central heating on - this all makes your home much more sellable! Saying that, we sold our last property in December, but it was a case of having the log burner and heating on full all day whilst we had viewings, and by the end of it, I thought I was going to pass out by how hot our usually cold Victorian house was! If your home is usually on the cold side and is a bit dark, try putting it on the market in Spring for it to be seen in the best light.
There is another reason for selling in Easter, for most buyers (besides an unlucky few) once the house sale has gone through, you can usually get into your new home before Christmas. Christmas is a manic time for most families and the thought of moving house around this time will put many buyers off. With careful planning and timing it right, you will get the most viewings possible for your property.
2. Research house prices in the area
Before you get your house valued, it is so important to know roughly what the price could be. This protects you from two angles - a, you will know you are getting the best money for your home and b, you will not become frustrated if you have over valued your home in your head - because let's face it, we all do that sometimes! Research what houses are for sale in your area and see what they offer in terms of floor space and facilities etc. From this research you can then compare them to your home and work out roughly what it will go for.
Whilst at our Victorian semi, we added a range of features to the property to make some money on it, such as installing a log burner, new extractor fan and sorting out the installation. In that area at that time the semi-detached houses were selling for roughly £170,000, but most didn't have the bathrooms upstairs and had no parking! So already we were happy, because our home did! Yay! When it came to getting Bourne Road valued, we had a list of all the extras we are offering and lucky for us, our asking price was put up to £180,000.
If you have done your research and are honest with yourselves, then getting a reasonable price bench mark for your home will be easy. I will say though, make sure you don't under sell your property either!
3. Estate agent or sell online?
Now this subject for me is a bit bitter sweet as during our last house sell there wasn't an option to sell online and now there is. At that time we felt like we needed the help, but if I had my time again I would definitely opt for the online process!
Here is why.....
Without mentioning any names (if you want to know who it was email me!), the company that we sold through was a national chain who promised everything under the sun. My hubby is no fool, so when it came to agreeing on fee percentages we got a good deal - well that's what we thought at the time.
From that moment on, there was nothing but disappointment! They gave us a very disappointing and WRONG written advert that we had to rewrite for them. They never returned phone calls, our case got passed from employee to employee, with us having to update each person with everything, everything single time! I hosted my own house viewing (and sold it on the first day - oh yeah check me!), because I did not trust them to sell it well enough from the experience we had already had. Plus they went behind our backs on a house we were trying purchase through them - I was livid! Also most estate agents at this particular firm had never even purchased their own homes, so how could they even understand what a stressful process it is. They over charged, for basically doing nothing! Yes they connected us with a few buyers, but to be honest, that was all they did!
I am sure there are some great estate agents out there - but doing it online is simple and will only cost you in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. If you are don't have time to do it yourself or are elderly, then there still is a need for high-street estate agents, but if you decide to go down that route, really do your research and make sure YOU take control! It's your house and your rules!
4. Create your own write up
You know your house the best! You know what features it offers and what it's like to live there, so it makes sense that you create your description. You don't have to be shakespeare and write a masterpiece, but by creating a warm-hearted and exciting description, it will entice buyers in, then leading them onto booking a viewing.
5. Get great photos!
Most estate agents will offer a photography service where they will come and photograph your home with a wide lens. The wide lens makes the rooms look large and appealing. If you have decided to take this route with an estate agent, then make sure the rooms are tidy and clutter free, ready for the photographs.
If you are selling your home either online or on your own, I would advise getting a professional interior photographer to come and photograph your home. The images are probably the largest selling point of your house advert and if these are done properly, then you will attract many more buyers!
Example from Haart (who are great Estate Agents by the way!)
6. Double check your advert
Before your house advertisement goes live, check it for spelling errors, wrong information and formatting. If you are not 100% happy with it, don't let it go live. Remember you want your home to get snapped up quickly, so you can move onto your next venture smoothly and without any hassle.
7. Be present at the viewings or do them yourself!
Much like writing your own description, you know your house much better than anyone. As a buyer, you want to get a feel for what it is like to live there. Has it been a nice place to live? What are the neighbours like? Have you been happy here? Those are some of the questions that will be running through a buyers mind. You can tell so much from a home owner when you meet them and without them present, it's hard to get a true sense of what the home is like to live in.
I hope these tips have been helpful. When selling and buying houses it is really hard not to get emotional about the whole process. Why wouldn't you though, it's a huge part of your life. Remember though, what will be, will be - so trust the process! Your new home will find you.....