Handy tips for sellers

Your home is likely to be your most valuable asset, the place where you have poured time, money and effort into, but for whatever reason, it’s time to move on. At Harper & Woods we believe every seller and their home is unique. We’d like you to tell us what made you fall in love with your home and what you enjoy most about it now. We’ll highlight this information when we start marketing your home to like-minded buyers.

Firstly, Prepare Yourself
Selling can be a complicated, stressful and frustrating process – it’s just the way things are when you’re dealing with lots of people with different interests in the transaction. However we’ll be there with you from start to finish, from creating your inviting brochure and managing viewings to sorting out offers and complicated chains. Make sure you make us aware of your situation, if you are just testing the water and aren’t 100% committed to moving, or if you can’t move for six months, or if you need to move like, ‘yesterday’, please be honest with us and we may be able to regulate the pace of the sale. Our team will give you honest advice on all the little niggly things, we have your interests at heart and hopefully it will be a breeze.

Secondly, Prepare Your Home
The bottom line is the buyer has to be able to envision themselves living in your home. Unfortunately some buyers lack vision and your job as the seller is to present your home in the best way possible, hopefully these tips will be useful:
DIY– sadly there’s no avoiding those little DIY jobs that have been waiting to be done for years when you are looking to sell your home. Find the time to fix those loose floorboards, finish paint jobs and replace light bulbs. These details do matter.
De-clutter – less is more when it comes to ornaments, photos and anything too individual. Put away your products in the bathroom and clear the work surfaces in the kitchen. Have a good clear out and get rid of any clutter, thin out your personal items. Buyers do check storage space so keep cupboards, lofts and basements as tidy as possible. A spacious home is a desirable home.

Cleanliness – make sure your home is sparkling clean from top to bottom, especially prioritising the hygiene in the kitchen and bathroom, remembering to empty smelly bins. If needs be, have the carpets professionally shampooed, particularly if you have pets. Not only do clean windows, kitchens, bathrooms, carpets and ovens make your home more attractive but it also shows the buyer that they property has been well maintained. To bust a myth; a house that smells fresh and clean is far more important that than the cliché of smelling fresh coffee or baking bread. This costs very little but has a big impact.

First Impressions – once a potential buyer has crossed the threshold it goes without saying that first impressions count. Make the entrance enticing and inviting, as surveys show that many buyers make up their minds within 30 seconds of entering a property. Keep it clear, clean and welcoming!

Kerb Appeal – the majority of buyers nowadays will do a ‘drive past’ on a property that they are interested in viewing. Therefore improving your home’s kerb appeal is essential. Paint your front door, polish up the brass (if you have any) and sweep away any leaves from the front of the house. Also mow the lawn and make sure your garden looks neat, tidy and presentable.
Best Features – spend time dressing your home ready for the taking of photographs. These captured images of your home are a major factor in a buyer deciding whether to view your property or not. Pay particular attention to your key rooms, use fresh flowers and keep it simple. Even the garden is seen as an additional room, so make sure you show it off, strategically place garden furniture to show how particular areas can be used for al fresco dining.

Money Matters
Settling on an asking price can be one of the biggest decisions you make in the selling process, but with our experience and vast knowledge of the area, this should not be an issue. However, we recommended you go online and do your own research too, especially on the Land Registry website. Find out what similar properties to yours have sold for in the local area. This will give you confidence in your asking price and help you understand which properties sell at what prices.

By law, you will need to commission an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for your property. We can help you to organise this as you won’t be able to market the property without one, so it needs to be sorted as soon as possible. You should instruct a solicitor from the outset so that you are ready for action, as waiting until you have accepted an offer can unnecessarily delay the process. You should ensure you have all of your paperwork in order as this can really speed things up. So, if your property is leasehold or share of freehold, make sure you have the papers ready to pass on to your solicitor. Likewise, obtain any planning or building consents well in advance – these can help clinch a sale.

Get The Word Out
We understand that each seller’s circumstances are unique but we recommend having a For Sale board put up to advertise the selling of your home. Tell your neighbours and friends as word of mouth is a powerful tool as well. You just never know who might live around the corner waiting for your house to come on the market.

Time For Viewings
This is a tricky one; but try your best to work around viewings. It really helps if prospective buyers are able to view your home at a time that suits them. If not, there’s the risk that they’ll see another property and forget about yours. If you have tenants in the property that you are selling, give them plenty of notice about your plans and keep things friendly with them. That way, they’re much more likely to keep the place looking tidy and accommodate viewings. We understand it’s as much their home as it is yours, but if at all possible, pack your pets off for a day trip to the neighbours, friends or the in-laws. Another recommended nice touch is to leave any parking space you may have free for the buyer. Something as simple as this will help ensure they enter your home in a positive frame of mind. Remember to avoid strong cooking smells and don’t smoke in the house in the run up to any viewings.

Showing Off Your Home
Conducting viewings is part of our job when marketing your property and it is best to let us show prospective buyers around whilst you go out as they will feel more comfortable if you’re not there. This means they can openly discuss pros and cons of your house without fear of causing offence. They’ll also be able to take their time in imagining how your home could become their home. If you insist on accompanying a viewing, that’s fine, just try to be relaxed. Don’t be negative as to why you are moving and don’t overload them with detail, just be confident and allow them another tour round the property on their own afterwards. Be welcoming rather than overwhelming and be prepared to provide information on the property and local area. A good prepared home will have done most of the work for you. Do take any feedback on board, sometimes the property just isn’t for them, don’t be disheartened. If all the feedback from viewings points towards a particular issue, then we can do something about it.