We’d like to sell our property. What do we need to do and should we spend money redecorating?
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Our expert Simon Gerrard answers your property questions on what steps to take before you put your house on the market
Firstly you will need to know how much your home is worth. I would always advise on asking three local estate agents to provide you with a market appraisal. Choose the agents who you feel have had the most success selling your type of property in your area. You should look through agent’s websites to get a feel of what they can offer, and you could also ask friends or neighbours if they can recommend an agent. But make sure that they are members of the NAEA. I will give more advice on what to look for when choosing your agent in my next article.
Ask each agent what they would market your home for, and what they believe you could actually achieve. Ask them to justify their proposal with comparable evidence to make sure they are not just picking a figure out of the air.
You will then need to consider how you will finance your next purchase. Contact your financial advisor who will be able to give you the best options available to you. How much you are able to borrow may have changed dramatically too as a result of the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) so it’s important you have the most up to date information if you need a mortgage to make your next move.
You should also contact your solicitor and let them know your plans. They will need to apply for your title deeds and if your property is leasehold there will be information that has to be obtained from the managing agent or Freeholder. They will also need details of any guarantees for work that has been carried out on the property. Getting as much information together at an early stage will save a lot of time when a buyer has been found. If you don’t already have a solicitor who can handle the conveyancing, your NAEA estate agent will be able to recommend one who they know are used to dealing with property like yours.
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Now you will need to consider if you can do any work to your property to make it achieve a better price or sell quicker. What you do and how much you spend will very much depend on your own circumstances and the speed of sale you need.
Assuming your property is in ‘normal lived in’ condition, fitting a new kitchen or bathroom will not always be the answer as this may not be to a potential buyers taste, so you may only recoup the cost and delay selling. In rare cases significant investment into a property can reap rewards, such as a rundown property in a high value location. Although in such cases a keen buyer may well pay a premium price to get a property they can put their own stamp on.
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In the majority of cases the best advice is to look after the basics and consider first impressions. While re-decorating may be a good idea, many people don’t have the time, the inclination or the money to give the whole property a fresh coat of paint. If you would rather not decorate ensure the property is as spotless as possible, do those little repair jobs you had been putting off, like fixing the dripping tap or broken bathroom tiles, and follow the age old advice of de-cluttering.
Next on the list is a removal company who can handle your move, or even help with storing some of your belongings during marketing. Although you won’t be able to give them any specific dates at this time of when you will be moving, you will get an estimate of costs and advice on how to pack. Make sure you use a reputable local firm, you can find one on the British Association of Removers (BAR) website.
Ultimately the most important aspect of selling a property is making sure the asking price is right. Whatever the condition of the property there will be an interested buyer. Talk to your NAEA agent and let them know exactly what you need from the sale, they will then be able to give you the best advice.
Simon Gerrard is the managing director of Martyn Gerrad Estate Agents and a former president of the NAEA. Email your property questions for Simon firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @HamHighProperty