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Selling Tips

Your property is likely to be the most expensive assets you will ever own. If you are thinking of selling then you will be faced with a number of decisions to make, these decisions have the potential to materially affect how successful you will be in terms of price and time scale. Consider the following advice and every decision before you make it.

Getting prepared

The paperwork
Having a copy of the lease available for inspection is imperative. Accounts for the maintenance of leasehold property will be required at some point, as will a copy of the buildings insurance certificate. Often these are asked for only a short time before contracts are due to exchange. Having these documents available at the outset can save unnecessary delay.

Your freehold property will benefit from early preparation.

Do you have readily access to guarantees for any work that you or your predecessors have had done e.g. damp/woodworm/rewiring etc?

What about your extension – did you obtain Local Authority Building Regulations Consent? Was planning consent necessary? Is there any covenant in your deeds requiring you to seek consent of someone else prior to building an extension?

Guarantees and other documents could already be held with the deeds, but it’s best to make sure of this sooner, rather than when it’s too late! If you are thinking of selling then instruct your solicitor as soon as possible to obtain your title documents from your lender or from your bank etc so that they can be checked. If you wait until you have found a purchaser, then you might leave too little time to sort things out if you are faced with any problems.

Marketing Preparation
First impressions count. If your house has a great interior but the communal parts leave a lot to be desired, then you could spoil the overall effect and lower your chances of achieving the maximum price.

Here is a list of things to look at if you want your home to make the best impression.

Get rid of offending smells – heavy cigarette smoke in particular.
Maximise your space by rearranging your furniture. Replace the camp bed in your second bedroom with a proper double bed showing your homes maximum potential.
Take advice from an experienced estate agent or a house doctor as to whether it might be worthwhile to do any cosmetic or essential work in advance of marketing.
Keep your garden/terrace in order, a real asset in the summer months.
Particularly in the winter, the smell of fresh-baked bread or fresh coffee can help. Yes, that really is true!
Kerb-appeal is vitally important. It creates the all-important "first impression".

Market Appraisals
Prospective sellers often rely upon the advice of estate agents to identify the best possible price to ask for their property. Experience varies hugely throughout the industry, however not all estate agents are the same. Even the most experienced estate agent is only able to give an informed opinion as to what he/she THINKS will be the likely result of marketing. The simple truth is that until any property is tested in the open market, nobody really knows what price will be achieved.

Many new vendors make the mistake of appointing the agent who suggests the highest asking price, when the reality might be that the agent has over-valued the property just to secure the instruction. Over-valuation helps nobody, least of all the seller who will have their expectations raised and then disappointed once they realise that nobody wants to buy their home!

It’s a good idea to ask three agents to value your property. This will give you the chance to see which of them makes you feel most comfortable. If they advise on price, get them to justify what they are saying to you by telling you what similar properties have sold in the area recently. Don’t be distracted by an agent who claims your home is worth more than any other agent. Make them prove it and above all, don’t sign an agency agreement restricting you for months on end. You may find that after a couple of weeks of marketing, a price reduction will be suggested, you will have wasted your time and will have achieved nothing. Worse still, you’ll be stuck with someone you would rather not have acting for you at the price originally suggested by the other agent.

Presenting your Home
People who look at your home will be unlikely to pay its full potential price if no effort has been made to present it at its best.

The exception to this is any character property that lends itself to refurbishment. Let us tell you that presentation is the secret to successful selling. If you wish to seek advice, or simply do not have the time to get the best from your home, most estate agents should have the necessary skills and the ability to make your home more marketable, so just ask!

Selling Costs

Not all conveyancers/solicitors charge the same. Neither are their services identical. At the budget end of the spectrum, there are firms whose charges are fixed regardless of the sale price. Be warned though, cheapest is not necessarily the best!

VAT (Currently 20% of the conveyancer’s fee)

Estate Agent
Some agents charge less, but make sure to check on the service they provide so that you are confident that your property will be marketed to its full potential. This will assure that you achieve the best price for it. Remember, you get what you pay for!

VAT (Currently 17.5% of the agent’s commission)

Asking Price
Pitching the correct price for your property can be difficult. Larger developments are less of a problem, there are often similar properties on the market and prices can be gauged from those. Do not assume that asking prices are the same as selling prices. Just because you see an asking price advertised, it does not confirm the price was agreed at that level. Individual homes can be harder to value, difficulty is added because property values are a constantly moving. Generally the higher the price, the smaller the potential market for any property.

It is almost always best to allow the estate agent to show your property. Prospect Residential accompany all viewings. It should be noted that if you are asked any questions, then you are obliged to answer them honestly and accurately.

It is always best to allow your agent to handle any negotiations, more so if they are experienced, good at listening and sensitive to the needs of both parties. At the outset, clearly set out the terms of your sale and as well as the price, agree the following:

The timescale for exchange and completion.
Items included (or not included).
Any special conditions of sale that are personal to you.



Fixtures and fittings
It is often best to discuss these when negotiating the offer. If a viewer sees a home that has fixtures and fittings which they consider to be a positive asset, these can always be used as a useful negotiating tool. If a purchaser makes a reduced offer, then perhaps you could counter by offering to include the items at a better price – perhaps at your asking price.