10 Top Tips When Selling Property

The relationship between a vendor and their selling agent is often paramount to the success of a property sale; however there are many intricacies that are simply overlooked or forgotten, often to the detriment of the sale.

Having sold a variety of properties in differing market conditions and for a range of clients with very individual needs and circumstances, I have shortlisted a handful of tips, which although subtle, are often crucial for success. They go beyond the obvious tips, like ‘cleanliness, pet issues and unwelcoming smells’; and are as follows:

1. Don’t take things personally

Selling your home can be a stressful experience. A property is often the vendor’s largest asset and their proud home. Unwinding this home set-up to re-establish elsewhere can naturally be an emotional and often intrusive upheaval. When emotions are high nerves can certainly be jangled; particularly if somebody is critical of your most prized possession! The key is simply to detach your emotions from the situation. Upon point of sale your property ceases to be your home; instead becoming a product in which somebody else will establish their home. Because everyone’s tastes and requirements differ, their feedback following a viewing will also vary. Remember, there will always be more people who view than people who buy!

2. Be available and accommodating

The economic climate remains challenging for anyone attempting to sell their property. There are few ready, willing and able buyers. Therefore it is crucially important that when a buyer presents themselves, you remain available to accommodate and enable the viewing. Ensure your phones are kept on, are close by and your answer phone messages are checked regularly – after all, it may be a while before a similar opportunity to sell appears. A missed phone call or a knocked-back viewing can often be a lost sale.

3. Don’t pre-judge buyers

One of the most fatal mistakes when selling is to prejudge a buyer. It is a costly pitfall that even the most experienced sales people can make. Keep an open mind and an open door policy to buyers – including those who don’t have their house on the market! I have seen many deals result from this type of viewing.

4. Take advice carefully

We are often reassured by kind advice and well meaning support. However, advice relating to the sale of your largest asset shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many decisions are mistakenly made by vendors, because they accept poor yet trusted advice from their family and friends. Clearly these people have good intentions, but my advice here is simple – take advice from those with the experience and credentials to offer it. If you don’t trust your agent’s advice you have obviously instructed the wrong agent!

5. Be open about problem issues

There is nothing worse for an agent than working hard to establish a sale, only to discover a last minute restrictive hurdle that kills the sale. Provide your agent with the fullest details on any restrictions, covenants, listings, structural issues, boundary disputes and the like, so that they can avoid a last minute hiccup. This will also save you the unnecessary legal expenses resulting from an aborted sale.

6. Choose your solicitor carefully

As with estate agents, solicitors are not all the same. It is important you choose a reliable, accessible and communicative legal representative. In the UK, around 1 in 3 sales fall during the conveyance stage, so a strong solicitor can be instrumental in holding a deal together. During the conveyance, estate agents should maintain a clear dialogue with all parties to keep everyone informed, avoid pitfalls and to iron out any snags. With buyers and sellers often in a heightened state of stress, a non responsive or unavailable solicitor could blow the deal. Remember, your solicitor will get paid whether the sale completes or not!

7. Don’t exchange telephone numbers with buyers

This is a critical error. Your agent is a ‘middle-man’ to mediate and negotiate on your behalf. Having an agent allows the seller time to think before making decisions and can avoid you being placed in an awkward, pressured or emotionally challenging situation. I have seen countless sales fall as a result of buyers and sellers communicating between themselves. Selling your home is a serious business transaction in which you are selling your largest asset. By diluting the professional and experienced involvement of an agent, you are simply jeopardising your sale.

8. Work with your agent

Estate agents spend most of their working day absorbing knock-backs and negative feedback from buyers, whilst in pursuit of your sale. There are always more no’s in an agents world than the desired yes’s, a challenge which has been made more difficult by the current economic climate. A motivated, enthusiastic and energetic agent is more likely to succeed for you than a negative, despondent and deflated one. I am aware that most people don’t like estate agents and that the industry has a poor reputation, but sellers can help themselves by avoiding unleashing their stress and frustrations on the person who they have appointed to help. Remember, you get a much more positive response from stroking a dog, than by slapping it!

9. Accept market conditions

It’s an unpleasant reality that the good old days are over! The economic climate is in a poor state; house prices have fallen and ultimately remain vulnerable. Avoiding this truth is a sure way to misalign your property within the market and prolong the sale process. The value of your home will always be variable, subjective and of course relative. As long as the amount you are offered allows a move without loss of money, it is worth considering. The market is very unforgiving for those who maintain unrealistic expectations towards price, the number of available buyers and where their property sits in relation to others.

10. Be patient

Any property will sell in any market, if it is exposed to the fullest buying audience, accurately portrayed and sensibly priced. In today’s competitive market there are a large numbers of available houses for buyers to choose from. It is therefore important that sellers establish regular periodic reviews, if the sale has to be achieved within a desired timeframe. This will help you assess the response to any marketing that has been implemented and to consider what improvements should be made. Often price is the leading issue, but if you are not prepared to drop your price in order to realign your home more competitively, then be patient; after all, you may get your chance once the competition have sold their homes!

Good luck with selling your property!

Written by Gareth Jones of Red Hot Property; leading North East Estate Agent.

First published on Red Hot Property Blog

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