The 5 things that keep first time sellers awake at night

by Theo Hildebrand on 17th July 2019

Selling a property for the first time can be daunting. So we've put together a quick guide to answer 5 burning questions you might have.

Is there such as thing as ‘the best time’ to put my property on the market?

Selling a property is all about timing - but it's not as simple as what time of year. 

As a rule of thumb, there are certain times that you might want to avoid if you can like the festive period and the late summer when there can be a dip in activity with school holidays.

However, in this digital world it matters not only what season you sell in but also what day of the week and even what time you list your property. Housesimple say that those who launch their property on a Sunday evening when the portal traffic is at its peak receive the best response. 

Should I wait to sell my current property before I look to buy? 

There are several factors to consider when debating whether to wait to sell before you buy but Housesimple say that most sellers won’t even consider a buyer’s offer unless they are in a proceedable position.

In the first instance, you should decide whether you have the cash to buy if your current property doesn’t fly off the shelf. If you are in a comfortable position to cover the deposit on your new home, then nothing is stopping you from looking now and be in a position to move quickly the moment you get your home sale agreed. 

Remember too that if you receive an offer on your property but haven’t found a house yet, there’s no need to panic. You can accept the offer subject to you finding your next home, reject the offer if you have not yet found a property or, look at moving into a rental property in the interim. 

Are there any renovations to prioritise which might increase the value of my property before I put it on the market? 

From installing real wood flooring to investing in high-end work surfaces or timeless colours and fabrics, interior updates can transform your home to give it the greatest impact when you sell.

A recent survey conducted by Housesimple revealed that buyers put the importance of a good living room above that of either the kitchen or bathroom.The top priority for 27% of buyers was the amount of storage - so consider how you can make the most of your storage space and show off your living room in its best light with a fresh lick of paint. 

Spending some time and money on your home's exterior too will go a long way in increasing the appeal. Think about repainting fences, mowing the lawn, planting some bright flowers, emptying bins, and even giving your drive a hose down.

Housesimple say that buyers often make their mind up within a few seconds of arriving at a viewing so they highly recommend prioritising anything that maximises the “curb appeal” of the property. 

What do I need to do before a home viewing?

When it comes to viewings, you want to make sure that your home is at its best. A little staging can make a huge difference, so clear out the clutter and leave room for the buyer to imagine their life there.

If you’re going to be present at your house viewings, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions that may arise. It's essential to strike a balance between friendly and over-sociable, so once you've guided them around leave them to have a tour for themselves. 

How much is it going to cost me to sell?

There are several costs and fees associated with selling a house that you will need to factor in.

Often dubbed the costliest is estate agency fees. This normally covers the costs of advertising your property and arranging viewings, as well as liaising with other parties to get the sale to completion. Try to avoid those that try to charge you up front for these costs as this often means your estate agent will have little incentive to actively market your property and if you don’t sell through them you’ll end up out of pocket. 

However, times are changing. Housesimple recently became the first estate agent in the UK to sell houses for free. Based on the average property price in the UK of £226,798, this could save you over £3,000 in commission. 

You’ll also need a solicitor to deal with transferring the property, otherwise known as conveyancing. The exact cost of this will depend on the sale value of your property but is considerably lower than fees involved when buying, typically in the region of £850-£1,500.

You should talk to your current mortgage provider to understand any penalties you may incur if selling your home means repaying your mortgage early.Each lender has a different way of calculating the early repayment charges (ERCs) but it will normally amount to a percentage of the amount that you repay during the fixed-rate period. 

Finally, if you are moving into a new property, you should also factor in removal costs. These usually range from £300-£600, although you could rent a van to do it yourself for as little as £50 a day. 

How do I decide whether to accept an offer? 

Once you get an offer, give yourself some time to think about it and don’t be afraid to ask your agent for advice. 

Do your research on what similar properties in your area have sold for and look at what else is on the market at the moment to see how much they are asking for. This is important to understand as this is your competition. 

Before you put your property on the market, agree on the lowest price you will sell for. If they have made an offer that is lower than you would like, don't get offended, just think of it as the start of a conversation rather than the end of one. 

The quality of any offer is also more than the price offered. For example, have they sold, can they move quickly, what are their time frames etc. If the answers to these questions align with your motivations, then accepting the offer will have an intrinsic value to you.

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