So, you’ve decided that it’s time to move on and put your property up for sale. Maybe you’re looking for more space, keen for a new project or perhaps you’re relocating for work?
Selling your first home can seem like an overwhelmingly epic task, especially if you’ve never done it before. How does it actually work? What will it cost? How long will it take? What’s the property worth? How do I get ready for viewings?
Sellers are faced with many questions and decisions throughout the process. At Redbrik, our ethos is all about honesty, customer service and innovative marketing. We operate with a straightforward, jargon-free approach and treat every client as an individual.
We’ve put together these top tips for first-time sellers to get you clued up on how to sell and guide you every step of the way through the selling process.
Choosing an estate agent
Once you’ve decided to sell your property, the first step is to invite an estate agent to value your home and give advice on the current local property market, but with so much choice how do you choose which one? A good place to start is online. Try Googling ‘estate agents’ in your area and have a good look around each website to get a feel of their approach, ethos, property portfolio and team.
You could also look at the Best Estate Agency Guide for top companies in your area. This is like a ‘Michelin Guide’ for estate agents. They mystery shop every agent in the country and assess their performance on Rightmove, the UK’s leading property portal website (Redbrik we were voted number one in Yorkshire & Humberside).
It’s important to find a business which is focused on proactively selling your home, not just listing it on websites. Keep an eye out for ‘sold’ and ‘for sale’ boards in your area to get an idea of which estate agents are popular locally, but pay particular attention to the ones that are sold. Try browsing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to look at how different estate agents market properties on social media, this can now be a big part of the marketing, and it gives you a good idea of what they are like as a business.
Mystery shopping is useful too – email and call a few different agents, talk to their staff and find out how they work. And lastly, phone a friend! Ask family, colleagues, neighbours who they have used and recommend.
All this might seem like a lot of hassle initially, but you are selling the most valuable asset you own, and getting it wrong can cost you thousands of pounds. So, take the time to get it right.
Standing out from the crowd
Once you’ve selected the estate agents you like, the next step is to book market appraisal, also known as a valuation. Take the opportunity to ask lots of questions about how they will market your property.
Find out if they have a list of buyers who might be interested in the property? A great agent will have an up-to-date applicant database which they use to generate interest in your home. It is the most effective way to attract possible buyers for viewings if they are prepared to hit the phones.
Talk to them about photography. First impressions count and quality images are one of the most critical factors in selling your home. Ask to see examples of photos used in brochures, listings and on social media.
Chat with the estate agents about floor plans. How are they created? What do they look like? Are they interactive? It’s important to find out whether an estate agent uses online digital marketing as part of the selling process. Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket are some of the most popular portals, and some agents will also market properties on national newspaper websites.
Social media is one of the fastest ways to connect with potential buyers so make sure you ask about how each agent uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach audiences.
The price is right
One of the most important elements of selling is getting the pricing strategy right. At Redbrik we know that properties achieve most interest in the first two weeks after going live, so price strategy is critical to a successful sale.
There are lots of different pricing strategies, so be sure to ask which they recommend for your property.
Redbrik’s talented Property Consultants all work in the same way, which starts with listening to you and understanding why you are selling. From there, it’s all about giving you expert advice on how to achieve the best possible price.
We consider comparable properties for sale or those who have sold recently, but also market conditions. We’re experts in the locations we cover. We don’t do vanity valuations and tell you what you want to hear. We are realistic, honest and create the right conditions to maximise the value of your home.
How much is going to cost me? One of the most common questions asked by people thinking about selling! During your market appraisal, talk to the estate agents about how you might be charged so that you are clear on costs from the outset.
Find out what each fee includes and whether there are any additional or hidden costs. Each estate agent is different. Some work on a fixed basis, so no matter what the sale price, they get paid the same.
There are ‘call centre / online only agents’ who demand upfront-only payments, so they are paid even if they are not successful in selling your property.
The vast majority of estate agents will look to work with you and charge a percentage of the sold price. With this approach, there is a greater motivation for the agent to get the best price for you and, by only paying when you have sold, you only pay for results.
Investing in a quality marketing upfront usually generates better quality marketing material and can help to achieve a quicker sale.
Bringing your property profile to life
Once you have instructed an estate agent, they’ll visit the property to take detailed measurements of each room for a floorplan, make notes for the description and photograph the exterior and interior of your property.
Beautiful lifestyle images really capture the character of your home and can show buyers the potential of their future home and innovative technology can take it to the next level.
Drone footage can capture the scale and scope of homes and gardens from a unique vantage point, while 3D, 360-degree walkthroughs and virtual reality experiences give purchasers a real feeling of how they would use and live in the home.
Get your property sale-ready
Our job is all about helping clients secure the best offers in a timeframe that suits you. So, when selling, you want to do everything you can to show off your property’s potential. It’s important to help potential buyers visualise themselves living in your home.
Try to step back and look at your home objectively. Remove unnecessary clutter and personal items to make a room look bigger and consider giving the walls a neutral lick of paint. Fix small outstanding repairs, clear away toiletries and children’s toys and clean EVERYTHING!
For many people, the garden is one of the biggest selling points so make sure you weed and cut the grass and hedges. You could also consider some well-placed pot plants for colour.
Buyers will often drive past a property before they book a viewing and check its curb appeal. Tidy up the front garden and driveway, clean the windows, and give the front door or walls a spruce with some fresh paint if they need it.
Be flexible with viewings
The more flexible you are with viewings, the quicker you can expect a sale. Try to accommodate potential buyers as much as possible and be clear with your agent on what you expect to suit your personal circumstances.
Provide plenty of viewing opportunities at weekends so buyers who work during the week can still view your property in daylight hours at its best.
Many of our properties attract significantly high numbers of viewings which is where Redbrik PropertyFile comes into its own. This online portal is designed to make selling easier and provides all the information you need in one place to keep you updated on every aspect of your experience with Redbrik. It can be accessed 24/7, 365 days a year from any location on an internet-enabled device so you can check the status of sale, find out when viewings are taking place and what offers have been received, all at a time that suits you.
Considering the offer
Getting an offer is fantastic, but how do you know if you should accept it? A good agency will really help you make certain you are doing the right thing. They will help you understand the buyer’s position in regards negotiation, timescales and position. They’ll give you guidance on their financial status, to ensure they are able to proceed. Is it cash, mortgage or linked to a sale?
All these things matter when negotiating and all the time the agent should relate it back to what is best for you and your circumstances. It does not always mean taking the highest offer, but the best offer for you. When you get an offer, take your time, discuss it thoroughly and make sure it’s right for you.
Once you have accepted an offer, it is then the start of the sale progression process. Make sure you have picked an agent that will regularly push the sale along, liaising with lawyers, surveyors and the entire chain to ensure it goes through in the timescale that suits all parties.
Usually, it is at least four to six weeks, even if there is no chain, but it can take as long as 14-16 weeks. At Redbrik we work to the 30/90 approach – aiming for the sales to be agreed in the first 30 days and progress the deal, so it goes through in under 90 days from the point of a sale being agreed.
Our team is here to guide you and help answer all these questions and more. Every sale and every client is different and that’s why we treat all our vendors as individuals.