How to get a better deal when you sell your home

When you’ve made the hard decision to move on from your current home the fun really begins, and a lot of tough decisions need to be made which could make the job a lot easier. Do you sell through a traditional estate agent or online? What value do you choose? How much work do you put in before placing the house on the market?

The first decision is this: do I sell now, or wait a few months or even years? At some point interest rates must surely rise, although as the BBC reports, that time is not yet. If you’re selling and moving on the change in interest rates might counterbalance itself, but if you’re moving into a rental property, for example, a higher interest rate might deter buyers. Are house prices in your area rising – and could this put people off?

 Once you’ve established that you want to sell, and that your finances are strong enough to do so, you need to establish what will happen once you move. Put a plan in place, which ideally won’t involve paying two mortgages simultaneously. Depending on the situation of other sellers and buyers involved in your chain it is usually possible to link your sale and purchase so that this situation will not arise but alternatively a month-by-month rental agreement may be possible with the buyer, but ascertain this early in the process.

 The value of your soon-to-be-ex property can be enhanced in several simple steps, such as cleaning, redecorating into lighter colours, completing any repairs and removing clutter. Try to remove any evidence of pets such as odour or damage.

Place the home slightly higher than the market value, in preparation for a seller tabling an offer 5-10% lower, while remembering that a sensible asking price is one of the key factors in generating interest in your property.

At some point you’ll need to decide whether to use a high street or online estate agent only, a growing market of which up to 70pc of home sellers were unaware of, according to a poll by Ipsos Mori reported in the Telegraph. With such a huge decision many sellers (and buyers) will want the reassurance of seeing someone face-to-face. Some online agents only estimate valuations from databases and do not directly arrange for visitations, and the properties will not appear in the windows of local estate agents, and might therefore miss potential buyers.

However, on the plus side, the sale can often be conducted far more quickly and the fees can be set by the seller themselves for as little as £95; there’s also sometimes a tiered schedule of services on offer. This could include professional photography and professionally written descriptions. Reputable companies will boast membership of The Property Ombudsman scheme, and should advertise on giant portals such as Zoopla and RightMove. Find out more about possible services and the online process here.

From now on your property will need to be constantly clean and ready for arrivals. Viewings organised by an online agent may be an additional service and hence an added cost, or you could try yourself; it’s perhaps wise to organise an ‘open house’ day if this becomes too onerous. However you decide to run, make sure you are friendly and courteous to visitors, and the house looks welcoming and warm.

The online agent will negotiate on your behalf with interested parties for a price and, as with traditional estate agents, you should be quick to respond to any correspondence. Conveyancing is often offered by estate agents and online services are a great way of saving more in fees on this typically-expensive part of the process,as well as saving time by virtue of the more efficient systems that online companies offer, bringing exchange and completion times down to a minimum.

Achieving the best deal for your house simply requires a few actions, which include a decision on when to sell, and if this will be with an online agent; do plenty of research and get several opinions on valuation from various agents; and keep your home clean and tidy ready for interested viewers. Following these guidelines will ensure you get a great deal for your property, as quickly as possible.

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