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10 tricks to sell your home… fast

SELLINGHOUSEDespite a near static property market, you can make selling a breeze instead of a waiting game.

While making a big profit on your home was practically guaranteed a few years ago, the housing market these days is much trickier to negotiate. According to HM Revenue & Customs, the number of homeowners finding a buyer has halved over the past five years. In 2010, 885,000 homes were sold in the UK – just over half of the peak sales recorded in 2006 and 2007. But, if you’re set on moving house, don’t let the scare stories put you off. We’ve got 10 tips to help you find a buyer faster.

1. Get kerb appeal
First impressions count, so make sure the exterior of your house is up to scratch, with a shiny front door and a tidy garden. ‘The property needs to look inviting and welcoming,’ says Daniella Aspland, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Bromley office. ‘If a property looks gorgeous from the outside then viewers are already excited about going in and will be more positive.’

2. Brainstorm all of the major property selling points
Don’t forget to advertise what may be a draw card for a certain type of buyer, not just the points that you find most attractive – for example, if you’re in the catchment area of a top-rated school or your local area has just received a government grant. Recent research carried out by estate agents Hamptons International found that London buyers are willing to pay an extra £200,000 for a property near to the capital’s top-10 rated primary schools. Even living near a current regeneration zone can make your home more attractive to prospective buyers – when Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture for 2008, which involved a £750m regeneration programme in the city centre, house prices went up an average of 21.9% – almost double the rise of house prices experienced in the rest of the North West.

It’s not just being close to a station or shops that make good selling points – adding in good road links or being near to a popular park facility may just be the thing that gets your home snapped up.

3. Make your house better than your buyers’ home
‘The majority of people buying properties are moving up the property ladder. This means they are spending more money to gain space and in all likelihood more prestige in terms of the type or style of the house,’ says Lucy Inskip, senior consultant at House Doctor, the experts in getting your house interior looking its best before viewings (www.housedoctor.co.uk). Anything you can do to make your home seem more luxurious and your lifestyle appear more successful can encourage viewers to believe that all this could potentially be theirs if they were to buy your home. ‘Edit your possessions to only show the most expensive brands, your best coats, bags and shoes, upmarket magazines and highbrow papers,’ suggests Lucy. Hide clutter and signs of everyday living – you want the buyer to imagine their life in the house, not be distracted by yours!

4. Give buyers what they want
Research shows that light and airy rooms, a quality kitchen, a comfortable living area and a calming master bedroom are what appeal most to viewers. It can be worth spending a bit of money on these rooms to tick the boxes on your buyer’s list – little tricks can make a big difference. For instance, just upping the wattage in your light bulbs will make your home lighter and brighter in seconds.
 
5. Have each room as it was intended to be used
‘It is very important to dress rooms as they were originally intended as many people have difficulty defining spaces,’ says Chris Early, sales manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Surrey Quays branch. ‘Sellers should not rely on buyers’ imagination, so a “double room” should have a double bed in it as buyers may not appreciate the space or be able to imagine their own furniture there.’

So turn your study back into a bedroom, and the kids’ playroom into a lounge to help your buyer get a picture of what the house can offer. Even if they do end up using a spare room to keep junk in, while they’re looking round they’ll be envisioning owning the guest room you’ve created.
 
6. Make your home ‘feel right’
‘Dressing every room of the house appropriately goes a long way to making a house feel right,’ explains Lucy. Known in the trade as ‘staging’, it’s all about making sure you create the right impression for viewers. ‘All the senses should be catered for when someone is viewing,’ she continues. ‘Light scented candles, play soft music, ensure that green plants and fresh flowers are used throughout.

‘Staging your property isn’t so much about adding value, but is critical to getting it sold at all – we expect your selling price to be 10% more than you would achieve without staging your property and that’s if you get any proceedable offers at all,’ she claims. Try brewing a fresh pot of coffee or baking aromatic biscuits before any viewings to get your house smelling like a homely, welcoming abode.

7. Be proactive
A good estate agent will advertise your property in the local press and national websites such as www.rightmove.co.uk, but there are plenty more avenues that you can explore which might just bring you your buyer. Sarah’s property website, www.tepilo.com, gives you the chance to buy and sell property without relying on agents. Taking out the ‘middle man’ can save you lots of money in fees and speed up the process, too. There’s also plenty of advice, with tips for sprucing up your home and techniques for taking photos that show it at its best.

8. Have an open day
‘This is an excellent way to concentrate a lot of activity in a short space of time,’ says Chris Early. ‘It is great for a seller as they can really stage their property for the day. Also
it creates competition among buyers which can boost the price. When looking to do an open day it is important to have an attractive asking price which will bring people in. Offers can be submitted and the vendor has the opportunity to choose the buyer that is offering the most favourable terms.’

9. Price cleverly
‘It’s not enough simply to understand how houses are priced in your area at the moment – it’s also important to know in which direction they are travelling,’; says Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents. ‘This can also help you to price cleverly. For example, if prices are dropping by 1% every month and you want to sell within three months – drop your price by 3% at the outset. This will give you a more competitive price and increase the chances of getting a good offer.’
 
10. Know your bottom price
‘There are two figures to be aware of when you are selling your property,’ adds Peter. ‘The amount that you would like to receive and the figure that you are prepared to accept.’ Knowing your numbers will save you a great deal of agonising over any offers that you receive – and therefore save you time, too.


sarahBeeny2011HEADSHOTSarah says… ‘Despite what you read, the truth is nobody has any idea what is going to happen in the market. If now is a good time in your life to sell, sell now, as you never know, the market may have moved down if you wait.’

 

 


This article was first published in at home with Sarah Beeny in December 2011. [Read the digital edition here]


Image: Getty

 

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