Low interest rates, a Stamp Duty ‘holiday’ and a post-lockdown desire for change are fuelling a mini property boom. If you want something bigger, smaller or just different there’s no time like the present. Follow our advice to get your current home sold.
Do your research
The first thing you’ll want to find out is how much your home is worth. Be sure to do your homework and research the local market. See what similar sized properties are selling for but do make sure you’re comparing like with like. Pay particular attention to the square footage, layout, any features and, of course, the location. Knowing how much your existing home is worth will be a central factor in deciding what you can afford to buy.
“There’s lots of information and paperwork that your estate agent, solicitor or potential purchasers will ask for,” says John Jarvis, from home sale experts The Property Perspective. “Take time to pull it all together now and you’ll be ahead of the curve.”
Items you’ll need to include:
• Proof of identity (eg. passport, driving licence) and address (eg. bank statement, utility bill).
• An up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - if you don’t have one then your estate agent can normally arrange a new one.
• Any certificates, guarantees and warranties for work you’ve had done, eg. New windows, damp proofing, or for appliances, plus confirmation of planning permissions and/or building regulations.
• Any indemnity policies you may have received when purchasing.
Decide now what you want to take and leave in the property as your conveyancing solicitor will request you complete a fixtures and fittings form once you instruct them.
Get professional help
Choosing the right estate agent and the best solicitor is crucial when it comes to selling your house quickly, efficiently and for the best price.
Word of mouth recommendations are valuable. Also look out for ‘for sale’ signs in your local area to see who is active and, even more so, ‘sold’ signs as evidence of success. Ask any potential agent about their experience in the local area and how they’ll promote your property, including via social media. Check out their membership of any professional bodies to be sure they are reputable. We’d recommend you get three estate agents to value your property, but don’t necessarily be tempted by the highest price; it’s better to choose an agent who’s honest and fair rather than one who has overvalued your home.
The same advice to shop around and check credentials applies to choosing a solicitor. Ask for personal recommendations from any family or friends who’ve bought or sold a home recently; alternatively your lender, mortgage broker or IFA may be able to advise. Ideally get quotes from three different firms and make sure they provide a full breakdown of their fees so you can be sure you’re comparing the same service.
If your house looks loved and cared for – then someone else will love it too!
Clean and declutter
Make sure your home is presented in the best possible light.
“You don’t have to spend a fortune on restyling, but you should take time to ensure your house is spotlessly clean, tidy, in good repair and is welcoming to any potential buyers.” says Redrow interior design manager Aylsha Ali. “Decluttering is a good idea, no one wants to see rooms that are overcrowded as it can suggest the house lacks storage. But, at the same time, don’t go so far that you strip out any personality.
“Make sure you finish off all those jobs you were “going” to do – fix that gate, oil those door hinges, weed the drive. And a fresh paint of coat can go a long way, especially if your walls and doors are looking tired, or to tone down bold colours that might not be to everyone’s taste. Keep walls fairly neutral and instead use accessories to add splashes of colour.
With some people still a little hesitant to undertake viewings, how your property is presented online will be key. If you find yourself taking your own marketing photographs then make sure you get the best angle in every room. Turn on all the lights and turn off TVs and computer screens. For outside shots, move cars out of the way and ensure wheelie bins are hidden. If your estate agent is taking the photos make sure they do the same. Property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla are the dating apps of the property world – don’t give people a reason to ‘swipe left’!
Consider making a video tour of your home, showing off its best features. Megan Jones did exactly that when selling her old home to buy brand new from Redrow: “Because of the Coronavirus everything was done virtually, including the valuation and viewings. I took all the photographs and filmed a video tour of the house even doing things like opening and closing cupboard doors to show that they had soft closers. It must have worked because we had about 15 virtual viewings in the first week and two rival offers.”