How to Sell my Home Quickly
Many properties look at their absolute best in spring and summer, so don’t rely on the buyer’s imagination
Most estate agents were expecting an increase in activity after the election but surprisingly this has not occurred and the market is still experiencing a shortage of properties across the whole Oxfordshire area.
The view was that this reticence in coming to market was due to uncertainty around the election result or perhaps the potential effect of Mansion Tax or more changes to Stamp Duty, but even since the election sellers are still holding back. In the most popular Oxfordshire locations there is no doubt that this is a seller’s market, but when visiting properties across the county, the most common questions I’m asked are “What are your clients looking for in a property?” and “What do I need to do with my home to sell quickly?”.
So what are my clients looking for?
This is a difficult question to answer as every client is an individual and has totally different requirements. In general terms however, most potential buyers are looking for a property they can move into without hassle, and the most common request from clients is a spacious, open plan property with privacy and a slightly above average sized garden.
The interior should flow well with a contemporary design and the house should be situated in a semi- rural location, not too far from civilisation, ideally within walking distance of one of the best pubs in the area. It will come as no surprise that the house name with the highest average value for property in the UK is “The Rectory”, as usually this will be the most sought-after property in most villages and will certainly be within walking distance of the local pub.
Children and their education requirements continue to be driving forces for most families considering a move, and proximity to one of the area’s best state or independent schools will have a major impact on the attractiveness and value of a property. This brings us to the second question my clients ask: “What do I need to do to sell my home quickly?”
The old cliché that buyers make a decision to purchase within seconds of walking in the door still rings true in many cases, but the initial decision is often changed by how the property is presented and by issues not directly related to the house. In my experience the top five things a vendor should consider before putting the property on the market are as follows:
1. Make sure the price is correct
Take advice on the value of your property from at least two local estate agents who you know have recently sold property in the area, ideally similar to your own.
Most vendors have a very good idea what their home is worth, and good agents will support their valuation with comparable properties that have sold recently. Don’t be tempted by speculative asking prices, as most property in this market will attract serous interest in a couple of weeks if priced correctly. If the price is too high it could take months, and the property could become “unsaleable” merely because the price was too high from the outset.
2. Use the best agent in your market
They won’t always be the cheapest. The best agents arrange everything for their client; they talk with confidence about every element of the property and can answer almost every question without bothering the vendor. As a buying agent, I know that traits like these mean that the selling agent is acting entirely in their client’s best interest.
Unfortunately, not all will stick to these best practices, so be careful when choosing your agent.
3. Make sure that you are in a position to move if you get the right offer
All my clients will be able to proceed with their purchase without needing to sell their current home. They are usually busy, they want certainty, and they will not want to wait for the vendor to find somewhere for themselves. This is why sellers are increasingly choosing to rent between sale and purchase.
4. Make sure your property looks appealing
De-clutter and put small items and bulky furniture into storage if possible. This gives a feeling of space and a “spring clean” impression. This may seem obvious, but if you’ve lived in the same place for some time it is useful to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the house before you put it on the market to advise on presentation. Also, take your agents advice and stay out of the way when people view. Depending on the budget you have, either the estate agent or a professional home stager can advise on how to present your property. Increasingly I am asked to view property before houses come to market, and such investment in presentation of the property really is effective and can produce a buyer in days at the best possible price even without the need for a sale board and advertising.
5. Do not forget the garden
In a rural location, the value and attractiveness of a property can vary by season. Many properties look at their absolute best in spring and summer, so don’t rely on the buyer’s imagination to convince them your house is the one for them. Plan the best season to market your property and you will maximise your return. The property market usually goes a little quieter in August as the holidays reach their peak, but the shrewd seller will come to the market now before the seasonal upturn of new instructions in September to ensure they have the best chance of finding a buyer for their home now whilst the sellers still have an advantage.
- Stephen Wolfenden
As a chartered surveyor and property professional with over 30 years’ experience, Stephen Wolfenden understands the pitfalls of house purchase and the pressures of relocation with a new job.
Time is often your most precious commodity when you’re looking for your next property, and in particular it’s often in short supply when you’re wanting to arrange a move from one region to another, or even from one country to another.
Related Articles: Property Finders