2018 update:
How to Sell Your House (Like a Pro)

The ultimate step-by-step guide to a ‘regret-free’ sale

Insider Secrets

Keep reading to discover…
  • Unique insider secrets from serial house sellers
  • How to get the best possible price
  • How to get a faster than average sale
  • And lots more…

 



Top 7 things every house seller needs to know

#1. House selling stats (that may surprise you)

51.8% = Percentage of home sellers that fail to sell within 10 months.

1.18%+VAT (1.4% inc.VAT) = Average estate agency commission (sole agency / no sale, no fee).

30% = Percentage of transactions that collapse before exchange of contracts.

£2,899 = Average amount a home mover will lose through having a transaction collapse.

35% = Percentage of homes currently for sale (England & Wales) that are ‘price reduced’.

<5% = Percentage of UK sellers that use online / hybrid estate agents.

35-40% = Percentage of sale that were successful only after a change of estate agent.

10 = Average number of viewings it takes to achieve an acceptable offer.

Endemic = The practice of ‘deliberate overpricing to win the instruction’ within the estate agency industry.

#2. The basics

  1. You are required by law to commission a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) to produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property prior to putting it on the market (most people get their estate agent to arrange this).
  2. You are responsible for drawing up a contract of sale and issuing it to your buyer (most people opt to instruct a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to handle this).
  3. Only once contracts have exchanged will a buyer’s offer become legally binding.

#3. The truth about the zoopla valuation algorithm

  1. Zoopla does NOT know how much your house is worth.
  2. A wrong or inaccurate Zoopla house valuation can potentially negatively impact your sale (it’s happened to us).
  3. You should (and can) increase your Zoopla estimate if its low and causing potential buyers to question the value of your home.

Coming soon: How to change your Zoopla valuation estimate

#4. The true state of your local property market

To get the best result you need to be a student of your local house sale market, and know how hot or cold it is (and which way it’s moving).

The problem is, when speaking to estate agents, they won’t always tell you the truth. If the market is cold, most agents will be too scared to give you that negative news.

Research has shown:

  • 68% of sellers (fresh to market) did not know their market was cold.
  • 30% of sellers chose an agent that lied (or was wrong) about market condition over an agents(s) that had told them the truth

It’s hard to know who to trust that’s why we created PropCast™ – the UK’s first house selling weather forecast.

It will should you the true state of your local market and help you predict whether your sale will be quick and easy or long and hard…

…It will also help you identify estate agents brave enough to tell you the truth.

Action: Check your PropCast

#5. How much is your house REALLY worth?

We mean absolutely no offence, but…

  1. What an estate agent ‘thinks’ your house is worth is largely irrelevant.
  2. Even what you think is also, largely irrelevant.
  3. Really the only opinions that matter are those of the buyers currently active in your market.

Here is the absolute bottom line:

A house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay (subject to them being able to raise the required finance)

If you are in any doubt about this, think back to when you bought your house:

  1. I’ll bet you had a budget and you went out and compared all the interesting properties that matched that budget.
  2. You then offered on the ones that provided you with the most ‘value’ for the ‘price’ being paid.

Sound familiar?

Well, nothing has changed, all house buyers are engaged in what amounts to a massive comparison-shopping exercise:

  1. They have a budget and compare all the properties they can afford that look interesting.
  2. They then offer on (and hopefully secure) the home that provides them with the most value for the price being asked.

As such, what buyers will pay for your home (i.e. what they think it’s worth) is directly determined by the other properties these buyers are considering.

In other words:

Today’s competition determines today’s value (of your property)

See: How much is your house REALLY worth?

#6. Why ‘pro’ house sellers don’t use online estate agents

In all fairness, these services are just as effective as your ‘average’ high street estate agent (maybe even a touch better).

But who want’s ‘average’ when they’re selling their most prized asset?

We don’t and I’m sure you don’t either.

If you know how to identify the most appropriate estate agent for your property, our research shows you will:

  • Generate more interest from buyers
  • Sell faster
  • Achieve a superior price

See: Why savvy sellers don’t use cheap online or hybrid estate agents

#7. The #1 secret to house selling success

It’s really pretty simple:

The ultimate name of the game is to get as many interested buyers though your door as quickly as possible!

Above all else, keep that in mind when making decisions about your sale.

Especially when it comes to decisions about pricing and/or choosing your estate agent.

In property, there are always exceptions to the rule however; it’s almost always the case that focusing on achieving the above goal will result in you selling for highest price in the shortest time.

What’s more, keeping it front of mind will prompt you to ask more intelligent questions (that in turn generate more intelligent answers).

For example, ask an estate agent, “What’s the highest price you can get for my house?” And you’re likely to get a fanciful figure pulled out of thin air.

It will be a figure they think you want to hear. A figure they hope will impress you enough to convince you to instruct them (over other agents).

On the other hand, ask them “What price will generate the most interest in my house?” and you’ll get a very different (and far more considered) answer. Especially if you then follow that question up and ask them to explain how and why they’ve chosen that figure.

Now the conversation will shift to one that is about ‘positioning’. And this conversation will focus on the relative merits of the properties you’ll be competing against in the market.

Suddenly you’ll find yourself firmly on the road to getting truthful and accurate advice.

More: The A-Z of estate agents (everything you need to know)

Common house selling questions and answers

Is selling really the best thing to do?

Have you considered renting out your home instead of selling it?

  • This might be a good idea if your moving plans involve a dramatic change in lifestyle.
  • e.g. a move from the city to the country may sound like a great adventure but what if the reality doesn’t match the daydream?
  • Sellers remorse is real and renting out your old home may give you a chance to ‘try before you buy’ this new lifestyle.

If your motivation to move comes from a lack of space, have you considered all the costs involved in moving home?

  • Early mortgage redemption penalties can be eye watering and Stamp Duty in particular can take you by surprise (especially when looking to buy at £900k+).
  • Perhaps extending the house; up, down or sideways will give you the space you need for the same (if not less) than the cost of moving?
  • Granted, living amongst a building site isn’t anyone’s cup of tea, but in the long run could be far less stressful and far more gratifying.
  • What’s more, adding useable space to your property will almost always add value and potentially make it even easier to sell in the future (allowing you to bank profits that are free from Capital Gains Tax).

See: Should I sell my house or rent it out instead?

Is now the best time to sell?

  • Ask an estate agent if now is a good time to sell and most will answer you with a resounding ‘yes’.
  • That’s regardless of whether it’s the right advice! What else did you expect?..
  • It’s like asking a hairdresser if they think you need a haircut.

See: When are the best & worst times to sell a house?

How long will it take me to sell?

  • Many house sellers underestimate how long it takes to get to legal completion of a sale and are unclear on the factors that impact upon sale time.
  • It’s crucial to understand that accepting an offer is NOT the same as completing on your sale and being able to move.
  • Roughly speaking (and depending on how hot your market it), selling a house usually takes between 4-6 months (from first day of marketing to legal completion of the transaction).
  • It can take a little less (or a lot more) time too.

Read: How long should it take to sell your house?

What is the timeline for a typical sale?

There are 3 distinct phases to any residential property sale:

  1. Put property on the market – > Accept an offer
  2. Accept and offer – > Exchange of contracts
  3. Exchange of contracts – > Legal completion

It looks like this:

How long to sell a house chart

What is the best way to sell quickly?

  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution here.
  • But there are a number of scams and ‘peddlers of false promises’ to be aware of.

Read: How to sell your house fast (the definitive guide)

Do I sell first; buy first or do both at the same time?

  • There is no one ‘right way’ to move home – there are advantages and disadvantages to buying first, selling first and doing both at the same time.
  • If you have to sell to buy you’ll most likely end up a link in a property chain (having to deal with all the extra complexity and uncertainty that entails).
  • Also, the best time to start making offers on potential new homes will differ dependent on your PropCast™ rating and how easily and quickly your old home is likely to sell.

Read: Should I sell my home before buying a new one?

Who will sell my house?

If you do decide to use an estate agent, they predominately come in 4 fruity flavours:

  1. Independent local high street estate agent
  2. Corporate local high street estate agent
  3. National online estate agent
  4. National hybrid estate agent

If you use a local agent you then must decide whether you’ll use just one (sole agent) or more (joint agent or multiple agents) at the same time.

You will have to agree and sign the estate agent’s terms of business (which can contain some nasty surprises so read it and ask questions).

You will also have to agree the estate agent’s commission level (which will most likely be on a ‘no sale no fee’ basis).

Thinking about using a cheap online or hybrid estate agent?

  1. Did you know they only sell about 50% of the properties they take on?
  2. Are you aware that most get paid regardless of whether they sell your property or not?
  3. Did you know there is also evidence to suggest they will undersell your home?

Read: Online estate agents: Will they lose you £1,000’s?

Should I do work to the property or sell it ‘as is’?

The basic prep needed to get a house ready for sale is a bit of a pain but certainly not complicated.

Should you get a copy of Paul Hollywood’s book ‘Bread’ and start baking day and night? No.

All you need to do (and I’m sure you’ve heard all this 1,000 times) is:

  • Neutralise colours and odours
  • Clear the clutter
  • Clean thoroughly
  • Define the use of each room
  • Take care of any unfinished DIY projects

These jobs are well worth tackling because most house hunters want a home they can move into and start enjoying straight away.

A couple of weekends work and you will make your house significantly easier to sell.

And if in all honestly your home is a little rough around the edges, you’ll certainly achieve a better price (compared to if you do nothing).

Read: How to prepare your home to increase it’s saleability and value 

Step-by-step guide to selling your home

Step 1 – Check your PropCast™

Check your PropCast™ to find out how hot the markets you’ll be buying and selling in are so you can:

a) Strategically plan your move to increase your chances of success.

b) Intelligently price your house to achieve the most successful outcome given the prevailing market conditions.

c) Identify estate agents with integrity through their provision of accurate and truthful advice.

d) Identify estate agents that will put your best interests first & protect the value of your asset.

Action: Check your PropCast™ [free tool]

Step 2 – Check out your competition

Selling your home IS a competition.

Fundamentally, homebuyers are engaged in what amounts to a massive comparison-shopping exercise.

Because of this, it’s crucial to correctly position your house in the market (against the other homes they could buy).

Action: Use Rightmove and/or Zoopla to see (in your local area and price range):

  1. What’s recently come on for sale
  2. Very recently sold
  3. Currently struggling to sell

Step 3 – Change your Zoopla valuation

Check your Zoopla valuation and if it’s lower than what you feel is fair market value, change it.

Do this before you get estate agents round.

Content Lock: How to change your Zoopla valuation [step-by-step]

Step 4 – Research & shortlist estate agents

Your goal here is to shortlist the agents that:

1. Have the most appropriate database of (and relationship with) potential serious buyers of your property.

2. Can generate the most viewings / offers from that database (and from direct interest generated through portal and off-line advertising).

3. Can demonstrate integrity, experience and deep knowledge of how your local market works (and the buyers active within it).

Step 5 – Choose & instruct a solicitor (or licensed conveyancer)

  • Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of a property from one party to another. It’s dull but essential work.
  • You can do conveyancing yourself but there is a steep learning curve and the cost saving is minimal.
  • Most buyers and sellers opt to use a licensed conveyancer or solicitor (either is fine).
  • Your estate agent will probably recommend a conveyancer but you are free to choose your own and we would actively encourage you to steer clear of most conveyancing services recommended by corporate estate agency chains.
  • We would also steer clear of excessively cheap services because case handlers tend to be overworked, and you stand a far greater chance of actually moving home if your conveyancer is easily contactable and on the ball.

Top Tip: Most property sellers wait until they find a buyer before they find and instruct a conveyancer.

With the new breed of ‘no-move, no-fee’ conveyancing services, it costs you nothing to instruct your conveyancer earlier than this.

Doing this will shave a good few weeks off the time it takes to process your transaction.

This is especially true when selling a leasehold property as it can takes weeks to get hold of the Management Information Pack.

Our advice is to find a good (not too cheap) conveyancing solicitor now and instruct them to:

  1. Arrange for your title deeds to be recovered.
  2. Have a draft contract prepared.
  3. Issue you with the seller property information questionnaires (TA10 / TA6).
  4. Get the Management Information Pack (for leasehold property)

See: Conveyancing: Everything you need to know

Step 6 – Get your paperwork together

Your conveyancer will issue you with a fittings and contents form (TA10) & a property information form (TA6)

You will be expected to be able to produce FNSEA certificates, building regulation certificates & planning permission certificates (for any work you’ve done to the property).

You’ll also need to quickly be able to put your hands on: utility bills, building & contents insurance documents and anything relating to your mortgage.

Read: Conveyancing process explained when selling a house

Step 7 – Workout your finances and research mortgages

  1. Contact your mortgage lender to find out your outstanding mortgage balance and the cost of any early redemption penalties (if applicable).
  2. Familiarise yourself with all the major costs (and hidden costs) involved in buying and/or selling.
  3. Research mortgage products and possible contingencies like bridging loans and let to buy.

Remember, only once you’ve a realistic idea of your likely sale price will you be able to calculate your true buying power.

And only when you have a firm offer on your old home will you truly know what you can offer on a new one.

Read: How much does it really cost to sell a house?

Read: Simple guide to mortgages when moving home 

Step 8 – Prepare your home for sale

Clean, tidy, neutral colors, clutter-free – you know all this!

Don’t feel you need to replace kitchen cabinets or bathroom suite if they’re in working order.

Read: How to prepare your home for sale 

Read: Room by room home staging guide

Step 9 – Invite shortlisted estate agents round

Contact 3-5 local estate agents and invite them round to pitch for your business and present market appraisals.

  • Don’t choose the estate agent you dislike the least or the one that gives you the highest valuation or the lowest fee.
  • Choose the estate agent that clearly justifies their pricing advice and can demonstrate how they’re able to reach above average numbers of buyers active in your price range.

Step 10 – Negotiate estate agency contracts terms & fee

An estate agent’s fee and contract can (and should) be negotiated.

Never sign any contract before you have satisfactory answers to the following questions:

  1. How long is the tie-in period on your contract? – Get this down to no longer than 12 weeks in a cold market and 6 weeks in a hot market. Agents will long tie-in periods are to be treated with suspicion. Agents with short tie-in periods are to be applauded.
  2. How many weeks notice do I have to give? – Have this changed if you feel it’s unfair (2-4 weeks is fair in our opinion).
  3. Is your agency agreement ‘sole agency’ or ‘sole selling rights’? – Make sure they explain the difference to you.
  4. Is there a ‘ready, willing and able’ clause within your Terms of Business? – Get it removed if the agent is claiming their service is ‘no sale no fee’.
  5. What are your fees inclusive of VAT?
  6. Are there any additional costs or withdrawal fees? – Negotiate on these if you feel they are unfair.
  7. When are fees (and any additional costs) due and when are they payable? – Fees should be due on exchange payable on completion.
  8. What redress scheme are you a member of? – All agents must belong to one.

Top Tips:

  • If you don’t understand anything in the contract don’t sign it. Instead, start asking a lot of questions and don’t give-up until you get satisfactory answers.
  • Cross out or change any clauses you find unacceptable. Remember the estate agent works for you, not the other way round. Contracts are negotiable and nothing is written in stone.

Read: Estate Agent Fees: A guide for savvy sellers

Step 11 – Decide on your pricing strategy

Get yourself a copy of the free strategy blueprint that accompanies PropCast™.

It contains pricing advice that will be specific to your property and market condition.

Action: Check your PropCast™ and get your free strategy blueprint

Step 12 – Instruct your chosen estate agent(s)

  1. Make sure your estate agent is clear on what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale.
  2. Give you estate agent chapter and verse on all the benefits there are to living in your home & area.
  3. Ask to have the agency negotiators (negs) tour your property.
  4. Sign the estate agency contract (in your home) and return.
  5. Give the estate agent a set of keys so they can conduct viewings.

Step 13 – Instruct DEA to conduct EPC

By law you need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you can market your property.

Have your estate agent take care of this or organise yourself.

Step 14 – Check (& sign off) draft marketing particulars

  1. Make sure you’re happy with the photos and the description.
  2. Are all your properties main USP’s (unique selling points) on show and adequately described?
  3. Is there a floor plan? It’s essential to have one in our opinion.
  4. If you are unhappy with anything don’t hesitate to have the estate agent redo it.

Step 15 – Decide if now is the time to start making offers (if also buying)

Do you offer now on new home or wait?

If your selling in a hot market, now may be the right time to start making offers.

If it’s a cold market, it’s probably best to wait until your property is firmly under offer.

Read: Should I sell my home before buying a new one?

Action: Check your PropCast™ to see how hot (or cold) your market is

Step 16 – Set your property live in the market

  1. Check your property advert on the property portals to make sure it’s displaying correctly.
  2. Is it showing up for the kind of buyer searches you’d expect?
  3. Has the agent got the right number of bedrooms?

Step 17 – Handle viewings

  • We recommend letting the trained professionals take care of this.
  • Try to be as accommodating to viewing requests as possible.
  • It’s a pain but you really should make sure the house is tidy and clean for every viewing.

Step 18 – Get progress report from estate agents

Hopefully you should already be getting these once a week.

Ask to see your Rightmove property performance report and have the estate agent translate it.

If you’ve had 10 viewings but no offers that could signal there’s a problem.

If its been two weeks and you’re not getting any viewings then there is almost certainly a problem.

Read: How long should it take to sell your home?

Step 19 – Receive offers

Under the Estate Agents Act 1979, estate agents have a legal duty to pass on all offers in writing.

You are under no obligation to accept any offer. If it’s too low, don’t get upset, counteroffer.

If your estate agent is of low integrity, you’ll need to be wary of undue pressure from them (on you) to accept an under-negotiated offer.

A good estate agent will not just pass on offers and ask you what you want to do – A good agent will actively advise you on whether to accept, reject or negotiate the offer.

Top tips:

  1. Don’t discount early offers as these usually come from the best / most serious buyers.
  2. The first offer a buyer makes is rarely their best offer.

Step 20 – Understand your buyer’s ability to buy your home

Although price is usually the most important factor, speed and certainty are no doubt also key considerations.

As such, an offer without knowledge of the buyer’s circumstances and ability to proceed is worthless.

Before presenting you with an offer, a good estate agent will have already sought answers to the following questions:

  1. Has the buyer got a property to sell?
  2. If so, what stage has the sale reached?
  3. Are there any other dependent transactions in the chain?
  4. If so, exactly what stage has each transaction reached?
  5. Does the buyer have a mortgage arranged or are they buying with cash (and is it immediately available)?
  6. How likely are they to secure the mortgage they need?
  7. When do they want to exchange & complete?
  8. What are they expecting to be left in the property?

Step 21 – Accept offer

In England & Wales, offers are usually made ‘subject to survey & contract’.

  • As such a property transaction does not become legally binding at the point you accept an offer.
  • It only becomes legally binding when contracts exchange.
  • Up until exchange of contracts you’re free to accept a higher offer (or pull out of the deal) and your buyer is free to reduce their offer (or pull out of the deal).

Taking the property off the market

Once an offer has been accepted, most buyers will ask you to take the property off the market and cease any further advertising or viewings from taking place.

  • In most cases, agreeing to this is the right thing to do but it should be discussed with your estate agent, as there are always exceptions.
  • If you do take the property off the market, make sure your estate agent has made it clear to the buyer that if the deal has not progressed (e.g. their solicitor instructed or survey booked etc..) within a predefined timeframe (usually 2-4 weeks), the property will go back onto the open market.

Top tip: Misunderstandings over fixtures & fittings often cause of deals falling apart. When negotiating the offer, be very clear about what you’re leaving and what you’re taking.

Action: Give your solicitor’s details to your estate agent so they can issue a memorandum of sale to all parties.

Step 22 – Let the conveyancing process begin

  1. Inform your solicitor (in writing) that you have accepted an offer and that you wish them to issue draft contracts.
  2. If not already done, your solicitor will obtain official copies from HM Land Registry and your Title Deeds.
  3. Discuss a time frame for the transaction with your solicitor and identify a realistic target for the completion date (to then be agreed with the other side).
  4. If you are also buying a property, tell your solicitor so they can work towards dovetailing the transactions if needed.
  5. Make sure your solicitor is in possession of your completed protocol forms:
  • TA6 – Property Information Form
  • TA10 – Fixtures & Contents Form
  • TA7 – Leasehold Information Form (if applicable)

Once all preliminary paperwork has been assembled your solicitor will send a contract pack to your buyer’s solicitor who examines it and queries anything they disagree with or don’t like the look of.

Your solicitor will obtain initial settlement figures from your mortgage lender (if applicable).

Read: The conveyancing process explained (when selling)

Step 23 – Allow access for surveys

• If buying with a mortgage your buyer’s lender will almost certainly require a valuation survey of the property to be carried out.

• As a lenders’ valuation survey tells one nothing about the condition of a property, your buyer may decide to commission an additional Homebuyers Report (or even a full structural survey).

• Expect the buyer to attempt to renegotiate on price if a surveys reveal problems with the property.

Step 24 – Answer all solicitor’s enquires quickly

You will not be able to exchange contracts until your solicitor has been able to satisfy the purchaser’s solicitor on all enquiries raised.

Standard enquiries will relate to:

  • Disputes
  • Boundaries
  • Planning constraints & permissions
  • Rights of way
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Guarantees or insurance policies
  • Utilities and services
  • Fixtures & fittings included in the sale

Top Tip: Do not go on holiday during this time. The faster you can answer any and all enquiries, the more momentum your transaction will retain.

Step 25 – Exchange contracts

Once your buyer’s solicitor is satisfied all enquires have been answered (and their client’s formal mortgage offer has been received), it’s time to exchange contracts.

  1. Your solicitor will send you the finalized contract & transfer documents (TR1) for signing.
  2. Once signed the contract is legally binding. Neither you and or your buyer can pull out with risking financial penalty.
  3. At this point your completion date will be set in stone and your solicitor will take receipt of your buyer’s deposit.
  4. Your solicitor will issue you a completion statement detailing your final balance, legal fees and other transactional costs.

More: Exchange of contracts explained

Step 26 – Completion

Completion is the point at which the ownership of the property changes hands and it’s moving day.

Given it involves the transfer of funds it can only take place on a Bank working day.

Top Tip: You solicitor must be in receipt of your signed Transfer document (TR1) as this is what is exchanged in return for the balance of the purchase price (which the buyer’s solicitor will send by bank transfer).

More: Completion of contracts explained

Step 27 – Hand over keys and vacate property

Once your solicitor has received your buyer’s money they will telephone the estate agent to authorize release of the keys.

Most contracts require you to be all packed and ready to vacate your old home by 1pm.

Step 28 – Repay your mortgage

Now in receipt of your buyer’s purchase funds and having already received your exact mortgage redemption figures, your solicitor will pay off your mortgage.

Read: Mortgages when moving home guide

Step 29 – Make final payments

Before you receive the proceeds from your sale, your solicitor will deduct their legal fees, your estate agent’s commission and any other costs as details in their completion statement.

Your solicitor will settle your estate agents invoice.

Top Tip: Check your bank account to make sure the amount you receive is the same as the sum detailed in the completion statement.

Step 30 – Tie-up loose ends

  1. Cancel your direct debit for your existing mortgage lender.
  2. Take meter readings and send them to utility companies.
  3. Cancel building insurance.

Top 8 house selling myths

#1. “Selling a house is simply a matter of advertising it on Rightmove so really estate agents bring little value to the table”

  • We can’t stress this enough – It’s not all about Rightmove.
  • True, 95% of homebuyers ‘start’ their search online but this doesn’t mean estate agents do nothing.
  • Many people search the dream but end up buying the compromise – Proactive estate agents help house buyers make this transition.
  • Proactive estate agents help make sales happen and transactions stick.
  • Understanding this (and why a strategically chosen local estate agent will get more buyers though your door) is what separates house sellers that undersell from those that achieve a premium price.
  • More: Why ‘Pro’ house sellers don’t use online / hybrid estate agents

 

#2. “Once a buyer has been found the estate agent just sits back and waits for their commission cheque”

  • Average estate agents may do this but ‘proper’ estate agents know that in actual fact finding a buyer is often the easy bit – it’s what comes next that’s hard.
  • Getting a sale from offer acceptance to exchange of contracts is a road peppered with landmines.
  • You estate agent (not your conveyancer) will be your most effective ally in helping you navigate this road without having your deal blow up in your face.
  • This gets to the heart of why we believe it’s so important to use a ‘no sale no fee’ estate agents that only gets paid if your sale completes.

 

#3. “Estate agents are basically all the same”

  • This is a common message perpetuated by the media and online estate agency PR teams.
  • It’s true all estate agents do roughly the same things, its just some do these things considerably better than others.
  • It is also true that some estate agents will be fundamentally better suited and effective at getting serious buyers through your door.

 

#4. “The longer you’re on the market, the more you’ll sell for”

  • Hmmm….Let’s consider this one obvious point straight off the bat – what if the market is falling?
  • Its true that in cold markets, sitting on the market waiting for a buyer to bite can be unavoidable.
  • But in hot markets there is a golden window of opportunity that lasts for about six weeks.
  • After this period, excessive ‘time on market’ becomes the enemy.
  • Thanks to Rightmove & Zoopla etc.., buyers can see exactly how long you’ve been on the market and are easily spooked.
  • The last thing you want is for buyers to be thinking, “Why hasn’t anyone bought this house?…What’s wrong with it?”
  • That is not how you encourage buyers to make strong offers.
  • A quick sale is a good sale and the name of the game is to get as many interested parties viewing your house a quickly as possible.
  • Property insiders know that in the main, the best offers tend to come at the beginning of the marketing exercise.
  • Houses that are priced incorrectly sit on the market gathering dust and the longer a house takes to sell the less it is likely to sell for.

Top Tip: It takes one buyer to make a sale but it takes two or more to spark a bidding war – so make it your mission to price the property to get people through the door.

 

#5. “Estate agents routinely undervalue property so they don’t have to work too hard to sell them”

  • There will always be instances of where some scumbag has taken advantage of old Mrs Miggins and sold her property to their developer mate below market value.
  • But that does not reflect what’s really going on.
  • We surveyed estate agents covering 2,000 postcode districts in the UK and asked a simple question – “Is overpricing by your competitors a problem in your market?” 100% of respondents said “yes”.
  • Be in no doubt – Deliberate overpricing is endemic in the estate agency industry.
  • And it will stay that way for as long as house sellers allow themselves to be taken in by it.
  • What’s more, this widespread practice makes the standard advice to get 3 agents round and go with the middle valuation very dangerous advice to follow.
  • All 3 agents are likely to ‘deliberately overprice’ your home to some degree, so going with the middle valuation would be a big mistake.

 

#6. “You need to leave plenty of ‘wiggle room’ (10-20%) because buyers always offer less than asking price”

  • This is absolutely not true.
  • If the house is competitively priced against the competition, interest comes quick, your negotiating position is strong and buyers have no problem paying asking price (if the asking price is fair compared to what else is on the market).
  • Adding lots of ‘wiggle room’ on top often takes your property into the realm of looking overpriced (poor value for money) and so of course buyers will offer below the asking price. If they offer at all.
  • What’s more, you get less interest in your property because fewer buyers perceive it to be priced fairly.
  • Most home sellers will get the best results if they set their asking price within 5% of what target buyers would consider to be the fair market value of the property.
  • That said, every sale is different and needs to be analysed by someone who is an expert in the dynamics of your local market (and how your property sits within it).

 

#7. “Because of the UK housing crisis I won’t have any trouble finding a buyer for my home”

  • It’s often stated there aren’t enough homes to go round in the UK.
  • It’s believed this imbalance of supply vs. demand means there are hordes of buyers chasing after every home that goes for sale.
  • It’s also believed that this supply vs. demand imbalance is what is (and will continue) to drive house price growth.
  • None of this is 100% accurate. See: There Is No UK Housing Crisis (there never was one)

 

#8. “My house must be worth more than what I bought it for”

Mindset, motivation & cliches

Most likely your decision to sell your house (or flat) will be a variation on one of the following reasons:

  1. You need something small or larger to better fit your needs.
  2. A job, relationship or health issue requires you to relocate.
  3. You have equity sitting in the property that you’d like to do something with.
  4. You’re facing some sort of financial problem and wish to avoid repossession.
  5. Your neighbours (or the area) are negatively affecting you well being.

Top Tip: It’s worth taking a moment to really clarify in your mind, exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve by selling…

…What’s your ultimate end goal?

It’s a good idea to focus on this, not on a particular sale price (that may or may not be achievable).

Price is of course important but here’s an under-appreciated fact:

The road is littered with house sellers that missed out on opportunities to achieve their ultimate goal because they put their focus on price above all else

Clichés are clichés for a reason

No doubt about it, selling is stressful.

Arguably, it’s even more so than buying due you (as a seller) having less control over proceedings.

As a buyer you can choose to make an offer but as a seller you have to wait for an offer to come (& hope it’s at a reasonable and acceptable level).

It’s the uncertainty of it all that’s the real mind bender!

Selling a house is inherently an activity that has an uncertain outcome. Chains breakdown, buyers change their minds, structural issues come out of the woodwork – there are a million and one things that can and do go wrong.

Prepare yourself to experience a certain amount of anxiety, frustration and even at times vulnerability.

Top Tip: Firmly establish your reason for selling and sear it into you mind.

When things get rough the strength and clarity of your reason to move is what will see you through to the other side with your sanity intact.

The Bottom Line

Your decision to sell may be out of choice or it may have been forced upon you.

Either way, know this:

Pricing your property competitively, presenting it well, making it available for buyers to view (at their convenience) & choosing your estate agent strategically are the four things under your control that will most improve your chances of success

Why savvy sellers are ‘truth seekers’

Fact! – When it comes to selling a house, nothing but the truth will do:

  1. Truth about the state of the market.
  2. Truth about pricing advice.
  3. Truth about the position of interested buyers.
  4. The list goes on.

At every step, anything other than the truth will derail your moving plans and cause stress-levels to elevate.

Sadly, a fundamental problem faced by every UK house seller is that truthful advice is hard come by (and even harder to recognise)…

…Welcome to the dysfunctional relationship that exists between the estate agency industry and the general public.

We believe it to be the root cause of:

  1. The widespread distrust (and lack of respect) much of the general public has in the estate agency industry.
  2. Why ‘deliberate overpricing to win the instruction’ is an endemic practice.
  3. Why many house sellers end up unwittingly underselling their homes.

Get the truth: The strategy guide that accompanies PropCast™ contains simple proven techniques that will help you get the truth out of almost any estate agent.

Action: Check your PropCast™ and find out how to make estate agents tell the truth 

Conclusion: The 5 golden rules to house selling success

1. Know how hot (or not) the markets are you’ll be buying and selling in so you can:

a) Strategically plan your move to increase your chances of success.

b) Intelligently price your house to achieve the most successful outcome given the prevailing market conditions.

c) Identify estate agents with integrity through their provision of accurate and truthful advice.

 

2. Know that coming to the market at the wrong price ends in you either not selling or underselling.

a) Know that many estate agents will overvalue your property in an attempt to win your instruction.

b) Know how to spot the agents doing that.

c) Know how to get truthful and accurate pricing advice out of estate agents (and / or recognize agents with integrity giving you truthful and accurate advice).

 

3. Know that homebuyers are basically engaged in what amounts to a massive comparison-shopping exercise.

Because of this, it’s crucial to choose the estate agent that knows how to correctly position your house in the market (against the other homes they could buy).

It’s one of the two primary factors that will determine how much interest you generate in your home from buyers that can go the distance & complete on your sale.

 

4. Know that getting the best price (from the best buyer) is achieved by identifying the local estate agent that:

a) Has the most appropriate database of (& relationship with) potential serious buyers of your property.

b) Can generate the most viewings / offers from that database (and from direct interest generated through portal & off-line advertising).

c) Has integrity, experience and deep knowledge of how your local market works (and the buyers active within it).

 

5. Know that finding a buyer is often the easiest piece of the puzzle.

The really tough work begins after you accept an offer (but selecting the right agent from the start will go a long way to ensuring your moving goals are achieved).

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Gavin Brazg

Gavin Brazg

MSc Dip Arch

Founder & CEO

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