How to sell your first home like a pro

If this is the first time you are selling your house, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a case of listing your property and packing your bags. There is a lot of preparation, paperwork and promotion needed before you can get your price and move on to greener pastures. Stay well informed with our guide on how to sell a house, garnered from industry experts.

Look at market conditions and get a valuation

Your online estate agent will be far less sentimental about your property than you are. While this may be somewhat irksome, it is to your benefit because they will give you a more realistic indication of what price to expect. With online property sites listing all the houses and apartments for sale in a certain area, you will be able to determine what the going rate is. There are also other factors that will determine your price, including how quickly you need to sell and macro-economic conditions; for example, how easily banks are granting mortgages. Houses will also sell quickly in certain areas (popular boroughs in London for example). Certain attributes may also drive down costs like noisy traffic. If you are not comfortable with the valuation provided, feel free to get a second opinion – most estate agents offer free valuations, so it won’t cost a penny.

Also give a thought to your target market before going through the house selling process. If your target market is a young family, for example, they may hope for the sale to be concluded more quickly or look for features in the house that might be unsafe for children.

First impressions count

According to Rightmove, the first week that your property is listed is the most important to hook potential buyers, which means before you list your property you need to ensure it’s in perfect condition, or at least appears as good as new in the photos. Tidy, clean, paint, varnish and rearrange furniture before you try to sell a property. A good tip is to move large pieces of furniture that overcrowd the rooms into the attic so that your house appears more spacious. Opting for a premium listing on Rightmove will also ensure your property appears to be Top of the Pops to any prospective buyer.

Do the boring stuff early on

As online estate agents, we find every step of the buying and selling process fascinating but we’re also aware that you may not share our sentiments hence the term ‘boring stuff’. With this description we include draft contracts and title deeds (conveyancing through your solicitor) and building and energy performance certificates (normally arranged by third party specialists), as well as early repayment charges on your mortgage (discuss this with your bank or building society). It’s essential that you are prepared for any potential setbacks and hidden costs, however online estate agents can make the process a whole lot easier with legal setup, discount conveyancing and EPC services.

Don’t forget to reign in your home selling costs as well. Online estate agents are a popular and cost-effective alternative to traditional estate agents to prevent selling costs eating into your equity.

Viewings and offers

It is best if you could have an agent handle the full sales progression including viewings – they know how to wax lyrical about location, natural light, views and convenient transport links. While interested buyers are walking through your property, resist the urge to hover; rather get your shopping done and give them the space to poke and prod. After all, when you’re property hunting you would enjoy the same consideration.

The highest offer may not be the best offer. Ensure you listen to your estate agent’s advice on who is the most solid bidder – this will depend on individual circumstances. If they are first time buyers they won’t have another house to sell which can delay the process but they will also need a lot of guidance which also delays the process. If the interested buyer owns a property ensure it is under offer. Good choices are buy-to-let buyers who don’t need to make a sale, or buyers represented by a professional home search consultant, as the sale will be pushed through quickly on their side as well. Once you have accepted an offer you need to stay on top of it to ensure the process is being pushed through from all sides, otherwise it could fall through or the buyer may decrease their offer.

Lastly remember the three Ps when selling your house: presentation, price, promotion – if you get those right the process should be relatively painless.

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