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A New Home in Time for Christmas?

A new home in time for Christmas? With just over 100 days to go it can be done and you could be decking another hall with boughs of holly!  

Autumn is a key time to sell your property but what actually sells a house? In a market where new sellers outnumber successful buyers 2:1 it is crucial to address the Price, Presentation and Promotion of a property to be in with a chance of a successful sale. 

"Given the level of competition for proceedable buyers in many markets, making an immediate and impactful impression is more important than ever, and this means finding the perfect combination of attractive price, compelling photographs and alluring description." - Rightmove

Firstly, get your home ready for the market.  Clean, declutter, and freshen up.

Next step is engaging the services of an estate agent.  So how do you choose?

Personal recommendation from previous clients is a good place to start. 

A good agent should be able to prove what proportion of homes they have sold in the area and have credible evidence of their track record.  

At Andrew Grant we believe it is important to choose an agent with an on street presence; who understands the local property market; has an excellent knowledge of the area;  has their own database of prospective buyers and subscribes to Rightmove and OnTheMarket, the property portal sites

A good agent will also support you through what can be a very stressful time.  A house, in most cases, is our biggest ever purchase and we don’t, under normal circumstances, buy one that often.   At Andrew Grant so much of our feedback contains the words “we couldn’t have done it without you”.

Before making a decision on which agency to use it is wise to invite at least two agents' opinion on a market appraisal of your property.  Your property has to be marketed at an achievable price.  Beware the agent who values your home too high just to gain your instruction – remember anything is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.  Priced correctly you may attract more than one buyer so may create a bidding war that culminates in you agreeing a sale at over your asking price.  

Do not select an agent based on the cheapest fee, although cost is obviously important, sometimes a low fee can also mean a low chance of sale.  Like most things in life you tend to get what you pay for.

A good agent will be expert in how to market your house to its best advantage.  They will be able to provide you with good photographs and floorplans which are essential for both brochures and website advertising.  

Eye appeal is paramount and you can help with this – tidy up and make your home look inviting.  If you were just looking on the internet – would it appeal to you?  Take a look at some of the photographs of houses for sale on the internet at how not to do it!  Plump your cushions, cut the lawn, put the toilet seat down – it all makes for a better picture!

Don’t have photographs that relate to a season – daffodils in high summer aren’t good, it just ages the time the house has been on the market.  

Never under estimate the power of a For Sale board.  At Andrew Grant we know they are an imperative item in the selling process. They may capture the passer by who has admired your house for years; your neighbours may tell their friends who have wanted to move to the area; they indicate the property to a viewer who may be unfamiliar with the area. Even if your property is not visible from the road it alerts the passing motorist that there is a house for sale and it may just be in that area they are wishing to buy. Don’t go without one! They are simple but oh so effective!

Preparation is key, so it's a good idea to instruct a solicitor to do your conveyancing early. Ask them to prepare a draft contract and apply for the title deeds, while you pull together all your own paperwork on the property - that is, all building certificates for any structural building work carried out, and any valid work guarantees. Also, ask your solicitor to fully explain all costs associated with selling. Finally, find out from your mortgage lender whether you will be hit with any redemption penalties. Then you'll know at what price you can afford to sell. 

First impressions count – ensure your home looks at its best prior to a viewing.  Try and leave pets with a neighbour and clean away their food and water bowls.  Turn the lights and heating on, don’t smoke or cook a curry before a viewing.  If you’ve got parking leave space for the prospective buyers.

If you’re doing the viewings don’t overload your audience with too much detail but feel free to highlight the odd positives, like parking or a south facing garden. 

The person who offers the highest price is not always the best choice. Listen to your agent's advice on buyers they will find out how they are financing the purchase.  Your agent will ask for proof of their funding.  Cash buyers are best but if a mortgage is required they will ask to see a mortgage “in principle” letter from their lender.  An agent will also find out about any forward chains that could complicate completion dates further along the buying process.

Your agent should present every offer that is made to you and will have all background information on the buyer’s position.   Market conditions, competition from other parties, how quickly you need to sell will all determine what a buyer is prepared to offer.  Compromise on both sides is often needed and this is where your agent acts on your behalf to negotiate the best deal for you.  Bear in mind what you might be prepared to leave in the property eg curtains as this may be something that can be worked into the negotiations.

The longer it takes to reach exchange of contracts the higher the chances of the sale falling apart.  You will need to stay in touch with your solicitor and agent to ensure that the buying process is proceeding.  Your agent’s work is possibly harder now than prior to the sale being agreed.  They will also be keeping in touch with all relative parties, including other representatives in the chain if there is one, to ensure the purchase reaches completion.

If you would like a free market appraisal on your home please click here.

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