It pays to do re­search be­fore you start to sell your home

With stacks of in­for­ma­tion on the in­ter­net, there’s no ex­cuse for not do­ing your home­work be­fore you sell your prop­erty. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

SELL­ING your home is one of the most stress­ful life events but you can re­duce the anx­i­ety by be­ing well-pre­pared.

Be­fore you put your prop­erty in the hands of an es­tate agent, it pays to do some home­work on price, pre­sen­ta­tion and the time it might take to sell.

This way there shouldn’t be any great sur­prises when an agent val­ues your house and you can also check out the com­pe­ti­tion.

While years ago this would have been dif­fi­cult, all the in­for­ma­tion is now at your fin­ger­tips.

The two big prop­erty por­tals, Right­move and Zoopla, both fea­ture sold prices on their web­sites and they are post­code spe­cific, while fea­tures de­tails of ask­ing prices and time taken to sell.

Doug Shep­hard, di­rec­tor at, says: “Given the cur­rent eco­nomic con­di­tions, there are con­sid­er­able re­gional dif­fer­ences in the prop­erty mar­ket, both in terms of pric­ing and the num­ber of homes be­ing placed onto the mar­ket. Ven­dors need ob­jec­tive data to pro­vide im­por­tant lo­cal con­text to in­form their dis­cus­sions with es­tate agents.

“Prop­erty prices are in a con­stant flux and it is vi­tal that an ini­tial ask­ing price re­flects the fea­tures of the in­di­vid­ual prop­erty but is also in line with lo­cal trends. Pric­ing too high will dis­cour­age buy­ers. Pric­ing be­low the lo­cal mar­ket aver­age can raise sus­pi­cions amongst po­ten­tial buy­ers.”

He adds: “Un­der­stand­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the ask­ing price and ac­tual sell­ing prices in a lo­cal area will high­light any signs of un­re­al­is­tic price in­fla­tion and ul­ti­mately help set the ven­dor’s ex­pec­ta­tions. Ven­dors should also note that ask­ing prices are nor­mally set slightly higher in the spring and early sum­mer than at other times of the year. This is es­pe­cially the case in sec­ond home mar­kets.”

You can also use por­tals to check out the com­pe­ti­tion from both the out­side and in­side. As­sess­ing sell­ing time is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to es­ti­mate and is de­pen­dent on fac­tors such as price, lo­ca­tion, con­di­tion of the prop­erty and de­mand. has a “typ­i­cal time on the mar­ket” sec­tion on its site and Doug Shep­hard says: “Mar­ket­ing times vary enor­mously across the coun­try, rang­ing from 159 days in New­cas­tle upon Tyne to just 61 days in Brighton. There­fore, it’s vi­tal to get a lo­calised view to prop­erly align your sell­ing time ex­pec­ta­tions.”

The best way to do this is to find a good es­tate agent. No amount of in­ter­net surf­ing can beat great lo­cal knowl­edge.

A web­site won’t tell you what your prop­erty’s strengths and weak­nesses are and it won’t tell you why the house down the road sold for £325,000, while yours is val­ued at £30,000 less. An agent will also act as a buf­fer be­tween you and your buyer and should ne­go­ti­ate hard on your be­half. They will also re­as­sure you when your sale falls through at the last minute.

To as­sess which lo­cal agent is best, ask friends and neigh­bours for rec­om­men­da­tions. Browse the agents’ web­sites and check how ef­fec­tive they are. Are they easy to nav­i­gate and are they fast enough? Also check to see if their For Sale boards are eye-catch­ing.

Per­haps most im­por­tant are their prop­erty pho­to­graphs. Are they pro­fes­sion­ally shot or are they poor qual­ity?

There are some shock­ing ex­am­ples of how not to do it. It is not un­com­mon to see un­made beds, loo rolls piled on top of the toi­let cis­tern, over­flow­ing waste bins, wash­ing up left in the sink, houses cov­ered in snow be­cause they were shot in Jan­uary and it’s now June and cars parked out­side ob­scur­ing the ground floor view of the house. The list is end­less.

Pic­tures sell properties. If none of the lo­cal agents have good qual­ity im­ages, then con­sider com­mis­sion­ing your own us­ing a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher.

This can cost from £300 up­wards but is well worth the ex­pense. A good pic­ture can en­tice a prospec­tive buyer to view and a bad one can lead them to dis­miss your house.

Also ask if the agent in­cludes floor plans on their brochures as they are an enor­mous help to buy­ers. The lay­outs help them de­cide where to put fur­ni­ture and can also give them ideas on us­ing the space.

Fi­nally, ask the agency about its mar­ket­ing strat­egy and its pres­ence on so­cial me­dia sites like Face­book and Twit­ter. Then carry out a se­cret shop­per ex­er­cise. Call the branch as a prospec­tive buyer and pop in and test the re­cep­tion you get in per­son. If staff are friendly, po­lite and help­ful you know that you and your buy­ers will be in good hands.

Knoll Top is a beau­ti­ful gen­tle­man’s res­i­dence in a stun­ning lo­ca­tion. It was com­pleted in 1930 but also has a 21st cen­tury claim to fame. The prop­erty in­spire the game Liam Bowmer, whose par­ents owned the house, cre­ated the on­line fore­run­ner of the best-sell­ing app. In­side, the house com­bines Art Deco fea­tures with a sen­si­tive mod­erni­sa­tion.

IN­SPIR­ING: An­gry Birds.

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