Hard times demand desperate measures! Homeowners who need to sell now may have to work even harder to attract buyers. Location and pricing remain two vital ingredients for buyers, and I have listed my 10 Top Property Tips on how to sell in a particularly difficult market, having taken the advice of my Property Professionals:
1 Choose a Professional Estate Agent
In a difficult market, Estate Agents have to work even harder for their commission fees. I always advise vendors to seek the opinion of at least three agents to visit your property, provide a valuation, give a clear breakdown of fees and fair terms of business. The agent who gives the highest valuation is not necessarily the best agent for the job.
An experienced agent will have sold similar properties recently, have good local knowledge, and also have an array of marketing tools to use to promote your property to obtain the best price and in the best time-scales.
2 Sell privately – DIY
Estate agents’ fees can range from 1 – 2.5% of the property’s selling price and there is usually a ‘No SALE, no FEE’ agreement. DIY property sales may appear a cost-saving, but when times are tough, you may need a professional to negotiate on your behalf. Also if you’re already in a full-time job, can you combine the two?
3 Know your market
Experienced Estate Agents are worth their weight in gold! They provide valuable advice, negotiate on your behalf, progress the sale of your property, and have to pick up the pieces if the sale falls through, for whatever reason.
4 Price, Price, Price
James DUFFY, Branch Manager of Callaways Estate & Lettings Agents, says: “Every vendor has an expectation of what his/her house will fetch. There is a marketing price, an agreed price, and finally a contract price (depending on results of surveys, price of fittings and fixtures etc). Sellers should be realistic in a falling market and their house may have been worth ££££s before the economic crash, but we have to apply the current market value. If you really need to sell fast, we suggest an asking price that is slightly lower than your ideal – it looks better than desperately slashing the price at a later date. Actually, if it’s realistic, you may even get several interested parties offering higher!”
James continues: “A strong buyer with a ready mortgage offer or cash is worth accommodating. Keep him interested and happy during the sales process and negotiations. If you need to move into rented accommodation to get the sale, then it’s worthwhile especially as you’ll put yourself in a position of being a ‘cash buyer’ yourself.”
6 Décor – Inside and Out
Julie Healy, Marketing Director at Callaways Lettings Agency, gives the following advice: “Whether you’re selling or letting a property, make sure that the outside of your house is neat, tidy and well presented. Spruce up the exterior, it needn’t cost a fortune, but it makes all the difference in presenting a cared-for property and obtaining the best price possible. Keep the inside of your property clean, tidy and uncluttered. Also de-personalize and consider repainting in neutral colours. It’s also advisable to check for pet odours!“
7 Promote your property’s GOOD points
Are you in a good catchment area for schools? Close to good transport links? Your buyer will be keen to hear the benefits of living in your property – and who will know them better than you and your Estate Agent!
James says: “I always ask vendors what they like about their home, and use these things to involve buyers – for example, the park opposite where you can walk your dog, and the local bridle paths; the local pubs which have quiz nights etc. Viewers can often picture themselves actively taking part in such things – and it helps to sell the house.”
8 Caveat gazundering
Gazundering, where buyers slash the price they are willing to pay just before contracts are exchanged, has increased in recent months, and puts sellers into a desperate situation. Your agent should be adept at minimizing the risk.
9 Play the waiting game
There are unlikely to be hordes of buyers waiting for your property at the moment, so if you’re afraid you won’t get the interest or price you want, it may be worth taking your property off the market (or letting it out) and waiting for a market recovery before starting the process again.
10 Improve, don’t move
Are you moving because you need more space? Extending your existing home could be a viable option. Maybe with some TLC you’ll learn to love your home again – so you can go down the DIY route, or ask an interior designer to come in and give you some enthralling ideas.
Julie concludes, “When we need to move, we need to make the most of our property’s best features, maximizing the sense of space and light, and presenting it in a way which appeals to the maximum number of potential buyers.
Callaways have teamed up with several interior designers and architects to help you make the most of your home whether you’re selling or letting by implementing simple and economic changes to furniture placement, colour schemes, decluttering and improving a room’s focal point.”