As homeowners, one of the most time-consuming and testing periods of our lives can be when we’re trying to sell our property. Generally speaking, securing a buyer is never swift and the time it takes to find one can also cost you a lot of money in the long run, with council tax and ongoing utility bills really adding up. Here at Vivo Property Buyers, we look at how you can take control of the situation and speed up your house sale. We hope that our advice will help you to move on to the next stage in your life and also save some valuable money too!
To avoid months of frustration, consider when you put your house up for sale. It is well-known that the best time to sell is during spring months when there are the greatest numbers of buyers looking for new property. This window is short, however, and during the summer months, the market slows considerably, with buyers being preoccupied with holidays and any parental responsibilities. This inertia is also apparent in winter due to seasonal holidays. So, if you are unable to market your property in spring, it may be worth waiting until autumn which is the second most active time to sell. Plus, with winter on its way, buyers often seek a quick deal in time for Christmas. Interestingly, Boxing Day is when most people decide to sell their homes and look elsewhere, so ensure you have everything in place for a quick spring sale when most of the business is done!
Nowadays, the first ‘viewing’ of your property by potential buyers is mostly done online. Therefore, it is essential that you invest in quality photographs of your property that will incentivise a buyer into booking a formal viewing of your house. By advertising on online property sites, you’re essentially putting your house in the shop window, so ensure any images are flattering and highlight the perks of your property. You do not necessarily need to hire a professional photographer for this task but be aware that bad imagery can put buyers off and if users see that your property has been on the site for a long time, it may indicate to them that there is something wrong with your house.
Staging your home from a buying perspective
Once you have decided to sell, it is time to begin to turn your ‘home’ in a ‘house’ for someone else to buy. This means you should start preparing your property for a sale by presenting it neutrally and reducing the amount of ‘personalisation’ in your home. While it may be a sad thing to do, the way the property is showcased to the buyer can greatly influence their impression of the house and in turn whether they wish to buy it. Home buyers are looking for a decluttered and plain canvas for them to add their own personality too, so viewing a property full of idiosyncrasies can deter offers being made.
A lot of importance is placed upon kerb appeal when selling your home. Common suggestions are to maintain your front lawn and ensure that there is a clear path leading to your front door. While this advice is sound, the quickest way to secure a sale is found inside your house, namely your kitchen! This room is often the most important to buyers and your most valuable asset. A contemporary, clean-looking kitchen will sway viewers into your favour, while a cramped and outdated kitchen can deter people from taking any further interest in your property. So, if you have a budget to make home improvements prior to a sale we recommend investing in a modern, sleek kitchen as it can often be a deal maker!
Be a local expert
When you have people looking around your property, they do not know it as well you and may not know the area as well either. Purchasing a house is also a major life decision, so buyers will have lots of queries about your property and beyond. This is where, as a seller, you can be really proactive and preempt any questions and help sell your home. Inform them of the positive aspects of your home, such as a recently upgraded bathroom or close community spirit in the neighbourhood. Also, try to mitigate any concerns they may have about your property and help reassure them before issues have time to fester. You will probably be asked why you are selling the house, so ensure you have prepared an answer that will reassure the viewer too.
If the viewings will take place with an estate agent, perhaps prepare a small booklet on your home for potential buyers to take away with them. This extra step can really help inform buyers and make yours stand out and be memorable.
Know your buyer
A pertinent issue with any house sale is the dreaded property chain, which can grind any progress with a deal to a halt. Consequently, before proceeding with an offer from a prospective buyer you should try to understand where they are in the buying process. Ask them questions such as do they have a Mortgage-in-Principle and do they have a buyer for their property. If an offer is made by someone who is part of an extensive property chain, the sale of your house will be highly dependent on the sale of all the other houses in the chain, which could slow down and put your deal at risk of falling through. The ideal scenario is to sell to a first-time buyer (who is not part of a chain) or someone that has already secured a buyer for their own house and can proceed with a greater deal of certainty.
Be ready and set timelines
Before marketing your property, ensure you have a solicitor on board, this will save you a couple of weeks once you have found a buyer for your property. This is quite an important decision, so we recommend the following:
- Use someone you have worked with before and who you have good experience with
- Ask friends and family for any solicitor recommendations as well
- Ensure you chose an open-minded solicitor who works in the same manner as modern day companies and not stuck in the past. This involves one that communicates via email rather than by post, this can cause huge delays!
Moreover, once a sale has been agreed, you should continue to be proactive until you have exchanged and it has finally completed. Immediately after accepting the offer, inform solicitors and set an exchange date to ensure that there is a timeline for the post-agreement processes to take place. Conveyancing is another procedure that commences after a sale has been agreed and is one of the lengthiest stages of the post-agreement process. We recommend using a company that holds a Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation (CQS) to put your mind at rest that you’re in capable hands.
You will also need to provide a lot of information during the conveyancing period, so prepare for that stage beforehand and put a folder together collecting the information which you pre-empty the solictors will ask:
- Certified ID
- Proof of address (from all registered owners of the property)
- Gas safety certificate
- Electrical certificate
- EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
- Any guarantees which you have on the build or appliances
- FENSA certificate if new windows have been installed
- Water bills, other utility bills
We hope these tips help you to sell your house faster; maybe you’ve been on the market for what seems like an age or have found your dream home and want to sell fast. If you are struggling to secure a buyer for your property, an alternative is to sell to a professional property buyer such as Vivo Property Buyers. With