9 min Read
17 Jan 2011

Written by Damien

Damien is one of the most widely quoted money and investment experts in the national press and has made numerous radio & TV appearances. He created MoneytotheMasses.com while working in the City when he became disillusioned with the way the public were left to fend for themselves because they could not afford financial advice.

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Top 10 tips for getting the best price for your house

Top 10 tips for getting the best price for your house

So, 2011 is upon us and your thoughts may turn to moving house. Whether it's a baby on the way, a new job or just the need for more room, the Spring is the best and busiest time for moving home.

As this is likely to be the biggest decision you make in the next few years, make sure you are clued up about how to get the best price for your property.

Top 10 tips for getting the best price for your home.

1.Presentation

Now you may like to live in a house full to the rafters with "old tat" and revel in the fact that it "feels homely", but I can tell you that most people want to a buy a house that would grace the cover of House Beautiful. If you have used words or phrases such as "livid in", "quirky" "different" or heaven forbid "Bohemian" to describe your home, then now is the time to get a grip. Don't get me wrong I am not criticising people's tastes in decor, I am just pointing out the simple fact that any quirky or untidy property will have limited appeal to a prospective buyer.

Clearly, If you are thinking of selling your property you will not want to go to the major cost of transforming it into a show home. But some basic house cleaning as well completing those odd jobs will all help.

Also, make sure that your house is presented in accordance with how it has been described. A 3 bed house is a 3 bed house, not a 2 bed house with a junk room.

Make sure you don't ignore the outside of your house as many potential viewers will drive by before booking a viewing. For instance, wheely bins are the modern scourge on the look of many houses. So moving them out of sight whilst marketing your house may be a good idea. Keeping up to speed on the gardening is another obvious plus point.

Finally if you are going to use an estate agent make sure all the above are completed before you invite them into your house. First impressions count and when the agent is trying to sell your property, it is this impression he will recall when talking to prospective buyers. Treat the agent as a prospective buyer, try and impress them.

2.Price

Right let's get one thing straight, the value of your house is the price someone else is prepared to pay for it. It's not the price next door sold for plus £10k, it's not the price the bloke down the pub told you and it's not even the price estate agent told you (more about this in the next item). So the price at which you need to market your house is one that is low enough to attract interest, but high enough to accommodate a sensible offer.

Do your homework, look on property portals and see the price of comparable properties in your area but remember these are marketing prices, actual sale prices may be around 5% lower.

3.Estate Agent

A decision you have to make early on is do you use an agent, or try and sell your house yourself? Clearly selling a property yourself is a much cheaper option but in the current market, which is slow, I would tend to lean towards using an estate agent.

When choosing an agent always arrange for 3 agents to see your property. When arranging each appointment always push for a senior member of staff to attend, most professional agents will do this as a matter of course. After all you don't want some spotty 'erbert fresh from McDonalds trying to advise you on such an important transaction.

One thing to bear in mind here is that all agents will be desperate to get the instruction to market your property. So it's very likely that they will all tell you how wonderful your house is, even if it looks like the set of the "Young Ones". Also be aware that many agents will quote a marketing price much higher than a realistic sale price just to get your instruction. They will then, over a number of weeks, try and get you to reduce the price to a more realistic level. By doing this they would have taken the instruction off an agent who suggested a more realistic price from the outset. To avoid this ask the agents to show you details of comparable properties, and the prices at which they sold.

4.Marketing

If you are using an estate agent they will do all the marketing for you, but you still need to be involved in making some key decisions. The estate agent will take a number photos of your property but the quality and layout of these photos will have a tremendous impact when viewed on property portals or in the newspaper. For instance don't let them take a photo of the front of your property with 2 cars parked on the drive. Move the cars first so your property is presented in the best light. Also if your house has been on the market for a while get the estate agent to take new exterior photos. It's not a good idea to have photos with bare trees in the middle of summer as it will show that your property has been on the market for months, possibly deterring prospective buyers.

5.Timing

The best time to market your property is in the Spring, as not only is it the busiest time but the longer daylight hours will give a bigger window to book viewings. Obviously, there are often good reasons why you may have to move at other times of the year and that is fine, but please try and avoid December as it is a disastrous month for estate agents.

Tips 6-10

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The remaining tips from this article include details on:

  • Viewings – the order in which you show people around your house is crucial. Find out the best way to do it.
  • Offers – what to expect, what to offer and how to deal with estate agents and get the best possible price
  • Negotiating – the golden rule
  • Solicitors – they are crucial in ensuring the sale goes smoothly. Find out what to look for when choosing a solicitor
  • Completion – things to remember when completing a sale.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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