News: Home Sellers Face a Tough Market

Tue, 31 Aug 10

An increase in housing supply has put vendors on the back foot with increased competition in property sales. Further declines in house prices are predicted for much of the UK. Data from the July 2010 RICS Housing Market Survey shows an increase in new vendor instructions and falling new buyer enquiries, sellers are faced with a tough market to secure a sale.

"Those looking to put their house on the market and increase their chances of securing a sale quickly and at the best possible price need to take action" says Richard Sexton, director of business development at e.surv Chartered Surveyors, the UKís leading residential surveyor. Richard and the team at e.surv, which inspects in excess of 400,000 residential properties every year, suggest 10 top tips to sellers to make the best of a home viewing with a potential vendor.

e.survís Top 10 tips for selling your home

1)     Kerb appeal

Pack away your gnomes! The first impression can be all that counts, so make it a good one. Mow the lawn, trim the bushes, keep the driveway clear and touch up any faded paintwork.

2)     Know all you can about your home

If you live in an old house, a bit of history can add flavour, whilst details such as how much your utility and Council Tax bills cost can help buyers save time and make an informed decision. Find out about local schools even if you do not have children yourself.

3)     De-personalise

Personal items and photographs will be a distraction to potential buyers. You want buyers to be able to be able to 'see' themselves living in your house.

4)     Define each area

Potential buyers will want to see how their possessions will fit into the space so be sure to make it clear how each room is different and can be used. A room fulfilling multiple functions, such as a combined office and playroom, will look messy - and just confuse!

5)     Make minor / major repairs

Most buyers are not DIY fanatics so make sure you do all those little jobs, such as repairing loose hinges or drawer fronts and replacing broken light bulbs. Outstanding small jobs can all-too-easily give the wrong impression.

6)     Spring clean

Giving your property a really good clean and tidy can make a big difference, but you will have to do more than baking bread and grinding coffee to impress. Buyers want to be reassured that their potential new property has been properly maintained.

7)     Neutralise

You might love navy blue gloss paint, purple flock wallpaper and a burnt orange carpet, twinned with a built-in bar and saloon doors, but for most such things are a real turn off. A more 'neutral' approach, white or magnolia, will have wider appeal.

8)     Kitchen and bathroom

Giving your kitchen and bathroom a facelift can add a fresh gleam to your property, and need not cost thousands. Suspiciously stained bathroom carpets need to go, along with '70s chic' bathroom suites. Cheaper improvements like new taps, getting rid of the grubby grouting, or a lick of emulsion will make all the difference.

9)     Rearrange furniture and de-clutter

By rearranging or removing surplus furniture you can maximise floor and wall space, allowing potential buyers to see more of your home.

10) Preparation is key

A well lit and well-aired house will create a pleasant environment for a viewing. Put some fresh coffee on and be sure to remove distractions such as pets, children and music or television noise. Give potential buyers and surveyors acting for the purchaser or his lender time to look around undisturbed but also be prepared to answer any questions they may have to the best of your ability. Scrutinise your house with an objective eye; is the house welcoming? What statement is each room making? The small changes can have the biggest impact. Remember, itís a competitive market out there. 

"Further to these tips, I would strongly suggest that in order to secure potential buyers, vendors must ensure that their property is advertised as widely as possible and priced competitively." Doug Shephard, Business Development Director, Home.co.uk.

See also: Selling Property, Home Selling Guide, Conveyancing, House Prices & Trends

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