So your property has been on the market for several months and you seem no closer to a sale than when the first For Sale sign went up. The agent keeps saying the market’s very quiet and sales are down everywhere. But you want to see some action and see it now! Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself about selling your house when time and patience are running out.
Is my asking price asking too much?
One of the main reasons properties grow stale in the sale market, is that the asking price doesn’t reflect the true value of the property. This is particularly likely to happen when, after asking three estate agents for a property valuation, you sign up with the one who comes up with the highest number. The fees that estate agents charge also come into play, but opting for the lowest fee can be a false economy. Real estate agents sometimes overvalue a property in order to get a client’s business. This is why it’s so important to work with estate agents that offer a strong market analysis and realistic property valuations. If your property is offered at a higher price than the norm for your neighbourhood, it’s time to review the asking price – possibly with a different agent.
Does my estate agent have a track record of fast sales?
Shop around and compare agents based on how quickly they sell property, how close they come to the asking price, and how successful they are generally. If your agent has had the same properties in their window for ages, they’re probably not the best people for the job. Estate agents who sell homes quickly, tend to have three things in common: they have excellent knowledge of the local market, they provide realistic property valuations, and they have an excellent network of potential buyers.
Are the right buyers coming through the door?
Lots of buyers have come to view your house, and yet there hasn’t even been a nibble. Your house itself may not be a problem, and your asking price may be spot-on, but if the buyers in your real estate agent’s network aren’t looking for what you’re selling, all that frantic tidying up or renovations before a viewing is just a waste of your time. Selling a home is a bit like matchmaking – you need an estate agent who is able to match seller and buyer. If you’re selling a large family home and your agent is introducing you to single professionals, or if they are routinely bringing young families or retirees to view your sleek London apartment, it may be time to review your contract.
Does my property make a good first impression?
First impressions count. It’s possible to meet someone you don’t take to immediately but become really fond of when you get to know them better, but this almost never works when you’re selling a home. Peeling exterior paint, a neglected garden and a gate hanging off its hinges are all perfectly fine if you want to live in your shabby old home for the next several decades. Get the painters in, or get on the ladder yourself, and spruce up your exterior. Clean the windows and make sure the outside lighting works. Mow the lawn if you have one, get some fresh plants from the nursery to replace some ragged ones, and don’t just repair that hinge: give the gate a fresh coat of paint while you’re at it.
How do I make the inside more appealing without spending a ton?
Tidying up won’t cost a cent. But it’s about more than just doing the dishes and packing away the kids’ toys. You want buyers to imagine themselves living in your space, and to accomplish that, you need to depersonalise your home a little. Put away the knick-knacks that make your house feel like a home, and as far as possible restore rooms to their original purpose. Present bedrooms as bedrooms: many buyers find it hard to see a bedroom when they’re looking at a study or a gym.
Could the lime-green dining room be the problem?
Paint is your friend. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to make your home seem fresh and appealing. But people are easily put off by very bright or very dark colours. Time for that lime-green ‘accent wall’ in the dining room to go. Keep wall colours as neutral as possible, so buyers can more easily imagine adding their own décor touches.
Is the mould in the bathroom putting people off?
It most certainly is. Bathrooms and kitchens are deal breakers. If you’re able to spend any money on preparing your home for selling, this is where you should start. Floors and surfaces come first. Still have a carpet in the bathroom? Call in the tilers stat. The same goes for the kitchen. Consider whether your worktops and cupboard doors need replacing, and when the tiler is done in the bathroom, get them started on the kitchen floor.
Are the pictures doing my property justice?
Photographs that display your property at its best, and from many angles, are key to getting potential buyers through your door. And if your property has been on the market for a while, it could be time to replace the existing pictures with new ones. Assess every aspect of your estate agent’s marketing strategy. Are they using the most appropriate platforms and appealing to the right category of buyers? If, for example, your home is in an area popular with foreign buyers, are you getting enough exposure abroad? Local knowledge and global networks are a winning combination, as is signing up with a good property management company or real estate agent with a marketing plan.
Do I have to let people view my property at night?
Afraid so. And the same goes for early mornings and weekends too. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that the more flexible you are, the sooner this will be over. By restricting access to your home, you are hampering your estate agent’s ability to do the work you engaged them to do.
Is there anything I can do to help?
By ticking off points 1 to 9, you are already doing your best. Of course you could give the marketing plan a boost by promoting your property on social media, telling the neighbours, and even distributing leaflets in your area. Be prepared to have open discussions with your estate agent about tactics like taking the price down a notch, or adding incentives like offering to pay the buyers’ stamp duty or solicitor’s fees. And if they suggest having an open house, say yes. Then put the pets in day-care, and plan a full day’s outing with the kids.
If you have managed to check everything off the list above then you should be ready for a successful sale. The only thing left to do is get in contact with our offices to get the ball rolling. Our comprehensive end-to-end service means that we will manage the entire process of selling your property, and our experience and presence in the real estate market ensures a speedy and profitable sale.