I'm what you might call a first-time seller. Can you give me some general tips on how to go about it, with a view to hopefully minimising the stress involved?
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Q. A. Choosing the right agent is a good place to start. Don’t simply go for the one who values your home highest (they’re just trying to buy your business), or the one who quotes the lowest fees (in estate agency, as in most things, cheap rarely equals good!).
Basically, you need to be confident that your chosen agent really knows their local market, and will give you reliable, professional advice and quality personal service. Also, research has suggested that one of the biggest single sources of stress in housing transactions is poor communication – so you need an agent who’ll keep you fully up to speed at all times.
Personal recommendation is always preferable, but failing that, your best bet is to go for a well-established, owner-operated local agent – one who really knows the marketplace, and whose whole business depends on delivering quality service.
Your asking price is obviously hugely important in determining how quickly and smoothly your sale proceeds. But it’s not easy to get it right. You naturally want the highest possible price, yet at the same time you don’t want to scare away the buyers – which you certainly will do if you ask too much. In reality, there’s a lot more involved in pricing than simply looking in other agents’ windows and adding a few grand on top just in case there’s a real sucker on the loose. So, my best advice here is, listen to your agent.
Next, you yourself can make a big difference by ensuring that your home is presented in the best, most saleable condition. A neat garden; fresh paintwork inside and out; clean and tidy rooms; sparkling windows and pleasant smells can all work wonders.
Finally, with Home Information Packs now a thing of the past, I would strongly recommend that you take the time to gather together any planning consents and/or building regulation approvals you may have acquired for work done on the property, together with all relevant guarantee certificates (for things like gas and electrical installations, woodworm, damp-proofing, double glazing and so on). Much less stressful to do it in advance than in a last-minute panic!