28 Mar 2018
Author: Stephen Breen
You have made the decision, you are selling your home and moving on, now you must decide at what price you should list your property. Get this wrong and you risk your property languishing on the market for too long, get it right and you could be in your new home in just a few short months. Here’s our guide to valuing your home.
Get it right from day one
Whilst an unusually high valuation from an agent might tempt you to inflate your home’s price for a punt, you could miss out on a wave of buyers who are ready to move at the right figure. Would-be buyers have alerts set up for newly listed properties within their budget but with the wrong price, your home could be left off the list or dismissed. Properties that have been sitting on the market a while and had their price reduced can also send a red flag to buyers, leaving homes to gather dust for months or even years. Choose a realistic price from day one or expect interest in your home to quickly become stagnant.
Choose the right agent
Certainly not all agents are the same, so get a number of valuations/quotes and consider whether the cheapest is really the best. In particular, it’s important to find a good fit for your property – so look for an agent that deals with a lot of homes in your area around the same price range. It’s also crucial that your agency can attract buyers from across the country, which means having a good internet presence and multiple shop front locations.
When you visit a potential agency, speak to the staff who will be selling your home and decide how you’d feel if they were giving you a viewing as a prospective buyer. Key qualities of a good agency are having good listening skills rather than a polished sales spiel, having great communication both with sellers and potential buyers, being proactive with leads, and having good local knowledge both of the property market and local services.
Make first impressions count
In a slow market where there is plenty of choice, it takes a little extra spit and polish to impress buyers. Imagine you were moving into your home for the first time – what little jobs would you want to finish? Deep clean and declutter, have the carpets cleaned, touch up the paintwork, clean the grout, paint the skirting boards and weed the garden before you even think about having photographs taken. Once your home looks its best, purchase some cushions and throws, buy fresh flowers and put coordinated fresh linen on the bed with the aim of giving your home a ‘show property’ feel. If your furniture is cheap and cheerful, consider hiring some designer pieces to give each room the wow factor.
Another easy win is to look at which way your internal doors open. Doors that open into the corridor rather than the room can make the space feel cluttered. If it’s possible to get the doors rehung for a reasonable price, this can make the space feel more comfortable.
Draw them in
Designer Phoebe Oldrey likens photographs on property websites to Tinder, with buyers scrolling past those that don’t make the right impression. Your home might look like a showroom but the wrong photos can make it look dingy and dull. Ensure your photos make your home look light, bright and clean on your listing, or buyers simply won’t give your property a chance.
Once you’ve got buyers through the door, make sure your home smells appealing. Whilst it is often said that buyers like the smell of fresh bread or coffee, it is enough to simply make your home smell clean and fresh without any strong or unpleasant odours.
Extend your lease
If you’re selling a flat, check the terms of your lease and ensure the number of years left isn’t putting people off. Anything less than 80 years remaining will make it difficult for buyers to get a mortgage and many lenders ask for 90 years as standard. Check with your freeholder to see the costs involved in extending before speaking to a legal advisor and considering the pros and cons. Extending a lease usually costs thousands but can also add thousands to the value: for example, an 85 year lease will cost typically £6,000 to extend with £2,500 of costs, but will add around £10,000 to the property value on average (Source: Leasehold Advisory Service; Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward).