The housing market has come a long way since the depths of the recession back in 2009.
House prices have risen consistently over the last seven years, and now the market is flourishing once more. While some worry that we’re in another bubble, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s never been a better time to sell.
House prices are at record levels. And for people who live in the south-east or major cities, the news just gets better.
So how do you best take advantage of the market right now? The following are some essential tips to improves your chances of selling your house.
Don’t Expose Yourself To The Risk Of Gazundering
Gazundering – the most dreaded term in the house seller’s dictionary. Gazundering is when the buyers of the house suddenly demand a lower price, just before the transaction is made. And it can really put a spanner in the works when it comes to selling your house.
Imagine this: most of the paperwork is done. You’ve just confirmed you want to buy your new home. And you’ve been through all the tedious process of coaxing the other party to buy your home. Then, at the last, moment, they decide that they want to pay a lower price. It can be devastating. And it can derail or postpone the entire sale.
The trick here is to make sure that you’re not exposed to gazundering in the first place. Usually, buyers will try to demand a lower price if they can find a defect with your home. They then go through the process of buying the house up until the moment of signing the deal.
Then they use that as leverage to demand a lower price, ostensibly because of faults with the home. Thus, the best tactic here is avoidance. Don’t leave making repairs or dealing with problems until the eleventh hour.
Reduce your exposure to gazundering by getting on top of potential problems immediately. If you can’t repair or fix them, be honest with potential buyers. It’s likely that it won’t be a deal breaker. And it means that they will have to be upfront with your about the price that they’re willing to accept from the start.
Avoid Buyer Turn-Offs
Image Source – By Luca Masters
Just like in the world of dating, there are certain, definite no-no’s that you need to avoid when selling. Building societies, like Nationwide, have done extensive research on what buyers like in a house and what they don’t.
It turns out that 55 percent of buyers don’t like a messy house. Strange, you might think, since all your stuff will be gone when they move in. But, like it or not, mess makes a big difference to buying decisions. Best to get rid of it.
Nationwide also found that 70 percent of buyers were put off by rude estate agents. Again, this doesn’t actually have anything to do with your home. But it does make clear the importance of choosing a competent agent. See Entwistle Green for more details on this.
Another real turn off was bad smells, according to the data. Three-quarters of buyers surveyed said that they would be altogether put off a house if it was a little bit stinky. Smell might not seem like a big issue. But a house that stinks can be indicative of deeper issues.
Sure, it might just be a smelly old sofa that’ll be gone before the buyer even moves in. But it could be a sign of deeper problems, like damp in the foundations.
By far the biggest turnoff for buyers, however, was bad DIY jobs. Over 90 percent of buyers said that poorly conceived DIY work would put them off buying a house. Most buyers just don’t want to face the hassle or cost of pulling it all out and starting again.
Avoid Long Chains
Peter sells his house to Paul. Then Paul sells his house to Rachel. Rachel sells her house to Claire and on and on it goes. This is the housing chain. And it’s one of those peculiar features of the property market.
Unfortunately, it can be a real headache for sellers. Buyers may be keen. But they may also get held up by other people further along their chain.
You’ve got a couple of options here. One is to show a preference for buyers from shorter chains. Ideally, you’d get a first-time buyer interested in buying your home.
First-time buyers don’t have a home to sell, so there’s no chain at their end. When they’re ready to buy, they are ready to buy. The other option is to break the chain in front of you by temporarily renting. It’s not ideal for many people, but it can mean a quicker home sale and more time to find the perfect home.
The Kitchen Is The Most Important Room
Going back to that Nationwide survey, it also found that buyers ranked kitchens very highly. 55 percent said that it was the most important room in the house. According to some experts in the industry, sellers aren’t actually selling their home at all. They’re selling their kitchen.
In other words, it’s important. Buyers look at the rest of the home, and they see past your take on the rooms. But because the kitchen is such an ordeal to change, they’d rather have one that was fit for purpose from day one.
Thus, to supercharge your home sale, it’s a good idea to consider investing in your kitchen. New kitchens are expensive. But the cost of not installing one is potentially a significant reduction in your asking price.
This is where you’ll want to get smart. Find out whether you’ll make more money by paying for a new kitchen and asking for a higher asking price.
Or whether you’re best off avoiding the cost of a new kitchen and just getting what you can for the house. It will all depend on your home as it is, and the area in which you live. This is something you’ll want to ask your estate agent.
If you decide to go for a new kitchen, the advice right now is to keep it as neutral as possible. Boring, yes. But boring will have the widest appeal. And buyers will know that if they come to sell the house, they too will benefit from having a generic kitchen. Also, consider installing high quality, stainless steel appliances. Buyers believe these to be the best quality and a good investment.
Hide Your Pets
You might love the fact that your home is a real life version of Ace Ventura’s animal-filled apartment. But buyers won’t see it that way. They’ll see a home overflowing with animals, and that might not be to their tastes.
Perhaps they’re dog and cat lovers. But it’s unlikely that they’ll appreciate the sight or smell of litter trays, dog bowls or dogs themselves. (Remember what we said about bad smells?)
Before you have visitors, do everything you can to remove the evidence of pets. Use a special brush to remove pet hairs from furniture. Take out the cat litter and dog bowls and generally, do what you can to keep your pets out of sight.
Focus On Homeliness
We’ve discussed how important it is to have neutral rooms and colours. But sometimes, sellers take this too far. Programs like Location, Location, Location give the impression that homes need to be perfect. But these soulless abodes are unachievable, and undesirable, for people who actually live in their homes.
Jonathan Howard is the Director of County Homesearch. He says that buyers can enhance first impressions, even if their home is very “lived in.” His advice is to use lighting to its best effect. Cleaning windows to let in more light is a good start, he says. And, he says, switching on lights is an excellent way to create good first impressions.
But he also says that creating a feeling of homeliness is important. Homes that look unloved are difficult to sell. So he recommends cleaning away clutter, lighting the fire and remedying the paintwork.
Top estate agent, Russell Jervis also has some words of wisdom for buyers. He says that most buyers have already made up their mind about whether they are going to buy before they walk through the door.
They take one look at the house from the outside and make their decision. The rest of the home tour is a total waste of time. He says that sellers must revamp their exteriors and make the house attractive from the outside. That means clearing away all the clutter from exterior spaces and cleaning up any unsightly stains problems on the outside.
Consider Home Staging
Home staging is an industry term used by the professionals to help sell your home. It’s all about making a home look fit for sale. Experts do things like grouping furniture, and moving furniture away from walls.
They also employ clever tricks, like painting small rooms the same colour as adjoining rooms to make them appear bigger. Finally, they vary wall hanging positions. This breaks up the monotony of hanging all your pictures in a straight line encircling a room.
Main Image Source – By American Advisory Group