Looking for a quick sale for your home? PrimeLocation’s guide has all your need to know on how to sell your house fast.

  • By Property News team

    November 11, 2015 11:30
  • Selling your house can often seem an overwhelming prospect - let alone selling it quickly. But with the correct approach and preparation, you will be in a good position to do so. PrimeLocation's guide shows you how.

    Choose the best time to sell 

    Before you put up a ‘For sale’ sign outside your front door, spend some time researching the housing market. After all, you will boost your chances of selling your property quickly if you put it on the market when buyer demand is high. Buyers competing for properties will help encourage best offers. Think about seasonal demand to ensure you have every opportunity to sell your home fast.

    Spring

    • Traditionally a good time to sell
    • The market tends to be busy with potential buyers
    • Better weather, light and possible sunshine will help boost the appeal of your home
    • Your garden will be in spring bloom
    • Families often try to buy a home to coincide with the end of the academic year 

    Summer

    • School holidays can stall transactions with family buyers
    • Try to get your home on the market as early as possible

    Autumn

    • Traditionally a good time to sell
    • The weather is still good and there are no major holidays
    • Buyers and sellers don't want to be transacting over Christmas so try to get your home on the market as early as possible

    Winter

    • This is considered to be a tougher time to sell
    • Try to put your home on the market in the New Year 

    Look at what is happening in your local housing market as well as at a national level. Check with your local council if there are any proposed or consented developments in the area. Plans that will boost house prices in the area, such as new transport, schools, homes and mobile phone masts, can boost your chances of a quick sale and a best price. However, try to avoid selling your home during construction of these projects.

    You can read PrimeLocation’s news site for the latest, up-to-date intelligence on the national housing market.

    To learn more about what is happening to interest rates, house prices, mortgages and more, you can also:

    •          Speak with estate agents
    •          Chat with friends and family
    •          Read national and local news

    If you have to put your home on the market immediately during a quiet period in the housing market, then you may have to readjust your price accordingly.

    It is recommended you try and sell your home quickly - buyers tend to get suspicious when a home has been on the market for a long period of time. 

    Agree an accurate house price

    It is important to price your home accurately if you want to sell it fast. You should contact local estate agents to get a valuation for your home. They should not charge for this. It's worth approaching several agents in your area about their services as they may offer different services and fees. Try to get three different agents to value your home. Remember – the highest valuation doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a quick sale. You need to agree an asking price that will appeal to buyers in the current housing market.

    You can also check PrimeLocation's historical sold price data.

    This combination of research will mean that you will be in a much better position to decide a realistic asking price for your property.

    Find a good estate agent to provide advice and help

    A good estate agent will be able to help you secure a swift sale. Selling a property takes time, knowledge of the neighbourhood and negotiating skills.

    Have a look on PrimeLocation’s Find an Agent section, which lists estate agents operating in your area.

    When you are choosing an estate agent to sell your house, find out as much as you can about their experience, skills and fees:

    • What fees do they charge?
    • What is their commission rate?
    • What type of contract do they offer? Sole agency, sole selling, joint agency or multiple agency?
    • What price tag do they recommend for your property?
    • Do they have experience in selling homes similar to yours? If so, what prices have they achieved?
    • How and where will they market your property? Make sure they are showcasing your home as widely as possible by listing it on a property portal, such as PrimeLocation.
    • How long will they advertise your house for?
    • Will they carry out viewings of your property?
    • Are they affiliated with reputable trade bodies, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or National Association of Estate Agents?

    Top tips to prepare your house for sale

    First impressions really do count so make sure you take the time to prepare your home for sale. An estate agent will be able to photograph your property to its maximum potential, knowing how to show it off in its best light. It doesn't mean that you can avoid dressing your home though before the pictures are taken and you start viewings.

    It’s worth considering who your target market is. Which type of buyer do you think will be interested in your property? The trick is to make your home appeal to your target market without alienating other types of buyers. Read some more advice for how to sell a house.

    Disassociate yourself

    • Disassociate yourself from your property as much as possible to view it as a potential buyer might. How would it look if you were seeing it for the very first time?
    • Some reports suggest that clearing your home of personal items makes it easier for potential buyers to envisage themselves there.

    De-clutter

    • It’s time to clear out all the clutter that has built up while you have been living at your property.
    • Start by throwing away unwanted items, storing away ornaments, books and toys, and moving some furniture into storage to give the feeling of more space. Don't leave any x rated magazines, guns and medicine on display.
    • Hide away products in the bathrooms and kitchen.
    • Don't let toys, large pieces of equipment and furniture block windows, doors or traffic flows.
    • You should also clear up all the coats in the hallway.

    Clean up

    • Make sure your house is spotless. This means cleaning walls, carpets, sofas, windows and all surfaces.
    • Focus particularly on cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, where grime can build up quickly.
    • Dust, polish, remove limescale and tackle tile grout.

    DIY

    • You may have been putting it off, but now is the time to tackle those broken parts of the house.
    • This might include replacing broken light bulbs, repairing paint chips, giving the front door or walls a fresh lick of paint, or dealing with creaking hinges, dripping taps or cracked tiles.

    Interior design

    • Now is not the time to start a major new renovation or development.
    • However, to boost your chances of selling your house fast, do consider freshening up the interior.
    • Make your home look light, airy and warm. You can paint parts of walls or doors that are looking jaded, hang mirrors up to give the feeling of space and strategically place extra lighting, such as a lamp, in corners. 

    External areas

    • Don’t forget to spruce up the outside of your property, the garden and driveway too.
    • Wash the windows, repair damaged fences, cut the grass, trim the flowerbeds and clear any pathways.
    • Throw away dead plants and empty pots.
    • Store away tools and other garden equipment, such as hoses.

    Room by room hints

    Kitchen

    • Clear the surfaces in your kitchen, pack away appliances, equipment and other kitchenware, remove dirty dish clothes and sponges, rubbish, and remove evidence of problems, such as ants. 
    • Remove grime that has built up and aerate the room to remove cooking smells.
    • Choose elegant pieces such as flowers, cookbooks, pretty bowls or small designer appliances to decorate your kitchen.
    • Consider upgrading white goods. They could make your property sell faster - but bear in mind that you may not be able to recoup their full value.

    Bathroom

    • Tidy away toothbrushes, soaps, razors and medicines.
    • Replace them with fresh soap, flowers, and designer bathroom items.
    • Hang up clean, freshly laundered towels.
    • Remove grime limescale that has built up and grout.

    Bedrooms

    • Pack away clothes and extra bed linen.
    • Change the bed sheets.

    Living areas

    • Clear away books, newspapers, magazines, toys, DVDs.
    • Pack other items that clutter, such as cushions and rugs on the floor.

    Hallway

    • Pay close attention to the front gate and door - potential buyers' first impression is critical.
    • Repaint your front door.
    • Make sure front locks and handles work.
    • Remove shoes, coats and jackets that take up space in the hallway.
    • Make the view of the hallway appeal to draw buyers in.

    Also consider:

    • The view from each doorway.
    • Making each room open to visitors.
    • Packing away work out furniture and replacing with new pieces (you can consider rental furniture).
    • Staging a trial walk-through. Perhaps a friend or family member can pose as a potential buyer?

    Promote the neighbourhood

    You could prepare a file on the local area for potential buyers - it may help them make a quicker decision to purchase your home. Points to consider highlighting include:

    • Transport links
    • Schools and public services
    • Neighbours
    • Amenities
    • Entertainment and nightlife
    • Parks and other recreation
    • Restaurants and shopping
    • Community and safety

    Start the conveyancing early

    It’s a good idea to start the conveyancing process promptly if you want to secure a quick sale. Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one person to another.

    Instruct a solicitor early. They can start tackling some of the administration, including:

    • Drafting up a contract
    • Applying for title deeds

    You will need to bring together paperwork too, such as planning consents and certificates for structural building work completed.

    Make the most of viewings

    Your home needs to be clearly on the market and given as great an audience as possible if you want to sell it quickly.

    • Make sure it is listed on a major property portal, such as PrimeLocation.
    • You might also consider having a ‘For sale’ board up outside your property.
    • And remember too that word of mouth can be very powerful. Tell your friends, family and neighbours that your home is up for sale.

    Estate agents can help with viewings and if you are paying for one to sell your property, it makes sense to take advantage of their advice and services. Estate agents are less likely to accompany a buyer who is wasting their time and they can also deal with any awkward questions.

    Before a viewing, do a final sweep of the house:

    • Tidy, clean and clear the last of the clutter.
    • You might consider removing pets and noisy children.
    • If you have a parking space, leave it free for the buyer. You want to make your property as welcoming as possible.

    Take into account:

    • Temperature: make a fire if it’s cold or open up the windows if it’s a warm, sunny day.
    • Odours: clear bins and drains, air the room of any cigarette smoke and old cooking smells. Try adding fresh flowers or plants throughout the house.
    • Lighting: pull back the curtains to let the light in and switch the lights on in dark areas.
    • Sound: make sure the children aren’t shouting or the radio is on full blast.

    During the viewing:

    • Try to show your best rooms first – and let the buyer enter the room first.
    • Do not point out any potential problems or issues with the property.
    • Remain as positive as possible about the property and the surrounding area while it is being shown to potential buyers.

    You can also use viewings to find out information that may help sell your home quickly. Questions to consider asking potential buyers include:

    • Are they first-time home buyers?
    • If they are already on the property ladder, what is their status? Have they already sold their home and are chain-free? Have they got their home under offer? Are they looking to buy an additional property? Are they buy-to-let investors?
    • You will also need to be prepared for any tricky questions from viewers. They may well ask you why you are selling your house.

    Choose a swift buyer

    This is where the information on the buyers that you gathered during viewings comes in handy. These factors can all influence how quickly a sale can be wrapped up. The best buyer is not necessarily the one offering the highest price.

    • Are they chain-free and able to move quickly?
    • How do they plan to finance the purchase – and is the money in place?
    • Do they have to secure a mortgage? 

    Accept the best offer

    Once you have accepted the best offer on the table, the solicitor will push the conveyancing process forward. You need to negotiate with the buyer over what is included in the sale - for example, curtains and white goods. 

    At this stage, you are close to securing a sale. You do not want your potential buyer distracted by other opportunities. So keep in regular contact with your solicitor and estate agent to ensure the buyer is still committed to the deal.

    You and the buyer will then sign the final contract and swap them, in a process known as exchanging contracts. At this point, the sale is recognised by law and you and the buyer will likely incur a penalty if one of you pulls out. You and your buyer are now formally committed to the deal and you both have the completion date confirmed. 

    Done deal

    On the day of completion, your solicitor will receive the full sum of money from the buyer – and you will hand over your keys. Congratulations. You have sold your property - and quickly. 

    Complaints

    If you are unhappy with your selling agent’s advice, you can register a complaint with their redress scheme.

    All estate agents must belong to an approved complaints redress scheme. They are the Property Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Services: Property.

    Related articles

    The content provided in the PrimeLocation guides is for information only. In all cases, independent and professional advice should be sought before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial services products.

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