How To Prepare Your Home For Sale

News at EastHaus | 05/07/2017


Selling your home can seem like a daunting task. Dealing with estate agents, solicitors, banks and potential buyers whilst carrying on with your normal daily life can be sometimes be stressful. 

At Easthaus, we recognise the difficulties that can come with selling your home, whether it is your first home or your fifth.

We also know the key to minimising potential difficulties and increasing saleability. 

PREPARATION.

Read on for our six-step guide on how to get your house ready for sale and all that goes with it. 

Step 1: Spring clean your home

Once you have made the decision to sell, as a very first step, and even before you invite estate agents over to value your property where possible, make sure you have had a thorough clear out and general tidy up. It is so important to showcase your house in the best light in order to get the best valuation you can. 

Many people jump in without considering how their property might look to others. You don’t need to redecorate entirely or spend your rainy-day savings on a complete renovation, however do try and be objective. What would appeal to you if you went to see a property? What would turn you off?

Our tips? Declutter, depersonalise, get odd jobs done and keep it clean. 

Also, think about the first thing a potential buyer will see. Bump up your property’s kerb appeal with some potted plants, a swept driveway and no bins on display. 

A good estate agent will always give you advice on how to get your house ready for the pictures they will take. 

Step 2: Get an idea of value

The internet is a hotbed of information. Websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla will give you an understanding of how much properties in your area are currently selling for. However, when doing your research, be sure to look at what has actually been sold rather than just what is on the market as this will give you a great starting point and some understanding of what to expect in terms of value. If you are looking at For Sale prices then be sure to note how long the property has been on the market, as if it’s been on for a long time, there is clearly a reason it has not sold, often this comes down to incorrect pricing.

The housing market in London is especially sensitive, so just a few thousand pounds could make the difference in a potential buyer booking a viewing or clicking onto the next property. 

Step 3: Choosing an Estate Agent

Choosing the right estate agent is essential. For top tips, check out our blog How Do I Choose The Right Estate Agent To Sell My Home. In summary: avoid choosing an agent just because they give you a high valuation. That’s not all that matters. Often, it’s good practice to get at least three agents over to value your home before you choose who to go for. 

Look at their current portfolio of homes for sale. Do they have experience selling a property like yours? Ask them. Have a quick look at how they market properties, check who will be carrying out viewings (you or the agent?). You can also look at review sites like AllAgents and Google to find out how other people’s experiences have been with them. Overall, make sure you feel confident and comfortable with the agent you choose. 

Step 4: Choosing a conveyancer or solicitor

The legal process of selling a home can often be the most overwhelming. Once a price is agreed and you’re all set with an estate agent, it is time to find a conveyancing solicitor. 

A good, experienced conveyancing solicitor is the paramount in the sales process for both parties. 

Your estate agent should be able to provide you with recommendations for a solicitor should you need one, however if you choose to do your own research then do make sure that you choose a reputable firm with a proven track record in property transactions.

If you are selling a leasehold property then do ensure that your conveyancer is experienced in leasehold property matters. If you are selling in London then it is highly advisable that you use a professional experienced in the sale of London property. 

Do also make sure that your chosen property specialist is a member of the Law Society 

For more advice on how to choose a solicitor, check out this helpful article. 

Step 5: Get your paperwork in order

As part of the legal process it is imperative to make sure your affairs are in order. Get all the relevant paperwork ready so you can provide your solicitor with everything they need at the earliest opportunity. This step can often cause long delays so it makes sense to get ahead of the process by organising the admin in advance. 

Ensure you have the correct paperwork if you have had any works done to your home. For example, if you have had an extension or the windows changed make sure you have all the relevant consents in place. If not you may need to apply for retrospective planning or consider taking out an indemnity policy. 

For leasehold properties, you will need to provide your solicitor with a management pack from the building’s management company. This will include a copy of your lease and information about the management of the building including insurances, service charges and ground rent. Do also make sure your charges are all paid up to date as outstanding payments will hold up a sale.

Other key documents you will need to provide can include an energy performance certificate, building regulations certificates, various bills (council tax, utilities, buildings and contents insurance) as well as gas and electrical certificates. 

Your solicitor will talk you through exactly what else might be needed but it is always prudent to prepare as much as you can in advance.

Step 6: When to sell

Research has shown that properties in London can take up to 53 days to sell, so don’t be surprised if you haven’t sold within a few days, however, if your property is attracting little to no interest then do consider why this may be. Price is often the major contributing factor.

The time of year can also make quite a difference to how long it takes for your home to sell. For example, over the summer the property market is notoriously quiet as people are off on their holidays. In contrast, the period between Christmas Day and New Year sees traffic to property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla at its highest.

In summary therefore, preparation is the key. Follow these 6 steps and give your home the best possible chance of a smooth and stress-free sale.

Check out our guide on the process How To Sell A Property for extra information.