Just contemplating a move of house can be daunting, but when it comes to marketing and the legal process of selling your home, there are some simple, yet effective things that you can do to ensure that your sale is a trauma-free experience.
Research is paramount where estate agents are concerned, so make enquiries before instructing an agent. Ask your friends and colleagues who they would recommend and take time to view agents’ websites before narrowing your choice down to at least two or three to invite for a market appraisal.
When you meet with your shortlisted estate agents, check to see what they are offering beyond a simple brochure and website listing – in other words, what are they going to do to earn their money? If they charge less than their competitors, will you have the benefit of the expertise and experience that their counterparts offer?
Most importantly, don’t be tempted to opt for an agent simply because they give you the highest valuation as this can often be fatal to your sale. The optimum time for selling your home is during the first 12 weeks of marketing: set your price too high and you may be saying goodbye to a quick sale.
Once you have selected your preferred estate agent, now is the time for you to make your home picture-perfect. De-personalise, de-clutter and yes, put the cat’s litter tray outside to ensure your cat doesn’t do the inevitable just as your agent or viewer arrives.
Whilst you might think them common sense, other essential tasks that are often forgotten before photographs and viewings include mowing the lawn, making beds, hiding toys and toiletries and if items are stored under the beds, push them well in so that they don’t make a surprise appearance in your brochure photographs.
It is never too early to speak with a solicitor when you are contemplating selling your home and the same advice when choosing an estate agent applies: ask around for recommendations, obtain quotations for legal fees and find out what qualifications the person potentially dealing with your sale has. Some conveyancing providers like to quote a low fee but then add on a lot of additional costs, so make sure that you aren’t caught out by this tactic.
Also make sure that the solicitor you instruct is a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme. The saying “you get what you pay for” often applies to conveyancing, so if you opt for a rock-bottom price, you might just get a rock-bottom standard of service too.
Once you accept an offer, your solicitor will send a number of forms for you to complete and return to them. Whilst this may seem like an onerous task, do it promptly and you will reduce the chance of your sale being delayed. Collecting together any permissions and guarantees relating to any works you have had done to your home is a great step too and is one that might just help your sale to go through in no time at all.
Most importantly, deal with any enquiries from your solicitor quickly as they can’t sell your home without some help from you.
Partner, Milne Moser Solicitors & Estate Agents