You’ve made the decision – it’s time to sell your current home. You’ve probably done some research online and discussed your plans with friends, as well as asked around for some recommendations. Now you’re ready to choose an estate agent.
Whether you make an appointment to see them in their office or they come to you to talk about putting your property on the market, it’s more than likely the first time you’ll have met face-to-face.
You’re keen to get that ‘For Sale’ board up outside your house as soon as possible, but it’s important to be sure you appoint the right agent – one you can trust to do the best job for you. So what should you look out for? This isn’t a definitive list, but if you hear your potential estate agent say any of these, you might want to pause before signing on the dotted line…
- ‘What do you want your property to fetch?’
You’ll likely have got a rough idea about what your home is worth by looking online or scouring the property pages in the local paper. You’ll know if houses are selling quickly or slowly in your area. But your estate agent’s expertise is one reason why you’re using them in the first place – they’re the ones who are really on top of the current market, or at least they should be.
If you’ve got a figure in mind, it’s worth keeping it to yourself at first to see if it matches the estate agent’s view. If you pitch the price too high then you may struggle to find a buyer; too low, and you could lose out by thousands of pounds.
There’s nothing wrong with doing some background research, but a good agent will have their eye on the ball and should be able to set a price – you can always discuss it if you feel the need.
- ‘Don’t bother about any DIY. Your buyers will probably rip everything out anyway.’
This isn’t necessarily bad advice. Spending a fortune on a new kitchen or carrying out major improvements in the garden generally is a waste of time and money if you’re putting your property up for sale.
But it’s definitely worth sorting out any minor jobs that need doing and making sure the outside of your property is tidy and attractive.
For an objective view, invite a friend round and ask them to look at your home with a buyer’s eye to see what they notice – this can be a good way of learning about good points as well as bad.
A good declutter can work wonders too, so if you have friends or relatives with some space, ask if they wouldn’t mind storing some of your things for a while.
- ‘Make sure you get the coffee pot on before every viewing.’
It’s a cliché we’ve all heard – that the smell of fresh coffee or baking bread will help you sell your house. The thing is, if we all know it then it stops being effective. These days, your potential buyer may be more likely to wonder whether you’re trying to hide something with those more pleasant odours. We’d advise you to let your property do the talking.
- ‘It’s a competitive market – you should accept the first decent offer you get.’
You might be in a hurry to sell, in which case this could be good advice, but generally it’s never a good idea to appear too keen. The buyer will know they’ve got the upper hand and it could cause you problems further down the line.
Selling your home involves a huge financial transaction, so don’t be pressured into making a decision you’re unsure is the right one. Take your time and don’t rush. If an agent is trying to persuade you to agree to a quick sale, it’s not necessarily with your best interests at heart.
- ‘Don’t put it on the market just yet. Wait until…’
Why wait? You have no idea who is out there looking for a new house and yours might just be their dream home. If you delay, you could miss them and lose out on a good sale.
There are certainly times of the year when more buyers are looking – property tends to sell faster in spring, for example – but generally, stock is low and demand is high so people will always be looking for a new home.
We’d advise you to do it today – the best time to sell is when someone wants to buy, and you never know when they’re on the lookout.