Be­fore the au­tumn home-sell­ing sea­son be­gins, VICKY SHAW finds out how to boost your chances as a first-time seller

Gloucestershire Echo - - YOUR MONEY -

FOR first-time buy­ers, get­ting on the prop­erty lad­der can be a steep learn­ing curve. But what if you’ve bought your first home and you’re look­ing to sell for the first time?

Just like buy­ing a first home, the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a first-time seller can also have its un­ex­pected twists and turns.

So, what do you need to know? As the hous­ing mar­ket pre­pares for the au­tumn sell­ing sea­son to get un­der way, we asked Sam Mitchell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of on­line es­tate agent Hous­es­im­ple (hous­es­im­ple.com), for tips on the com­mon ques­tions first-time sell­ers may have...

Is there a ‘best time’ to put my prop­erty on the mar­ket? SELL­ING a prop­erty is all about timing – but it’s not as sim­ple as what time of year. As a rule of thumb, there are cer­tain times that you might want to avoid if you can, like the fes­tive pe­riod and sum­mer when there can be a dip in ac­tiv­ity with school hol­i­days.

How­ever, in this dig­i­tal world it’s not only about what sea­son you sell in but also what day of the week and even what time you list your prop­erty. Hous­es­im­ple sug­gests those who launch their prop­erty on a Sun­day evening when the por­tal traf­fic is at its peak may re­ceive a par­tic­u­larly good re­sponse.

Should I wait to sell my cur­rent prop­erty be­fore I look to buy? MANY sell­ers won’t even con­sider a buyer’s of­fer un­less they are in a po­si­tion to go ahead. Con­sider whether you have the cash to buy if your cur­rent prop­erty doesn’t fly off the shelf.

If you are in a com­fort­able po­si­tion to cover the de­posit on your new home, you may want to look now to al­low you to move quickly the mo­ment your home sale is agreed. If you re­ceive an of­fer on your prop­erty but haven’t found a house yet, there may be op­tions such as rent­ing for a while.

Are there any ren­o­va­tions to pri­ori­tise which might in­crease the value of my prop­erty be­fore I put it on the mar­ket?

FROM in­stalling real wood floor­ing, to in­vest­ing in high-end work sur­faces or time­less colours and fab­rics, in­te­rior up­dates can trans­form your home to give it the great­est im­pact when you sell.

A re­cent sur­vey by Hous­es­im­ple found buy­ers put the im­por­tance of a good liv­ing room above that of ei­ther the kitchen or bath­room.

The top pri­or­ity for 27% of buy­ers was the amount of stor­age – so con­sider how you can make the most of your stor­age space and show off your liv­ing room in its best light with a fresh lick of paint.

Also think about first im­pres­sions of the prop­erty from the out­side – as some buy­ers can make up their minds in sec­onds. Spend­ing time and money on your home’s ex­te­rior too will go a long way in in­creas­ing your prop­erty’s ap­peal.

Think about re­paint­ing fences, mow­ing the lawn, plant­ing some bright flow­ers, emp­ty­ing bins, and giv­ing your drive a hose down.

What do I need to do be­fore a home view­ing?

A LIT­TLE stag­ing can make a huge dif­fer­ence, so clear out the clut­ter and leave room for the buyer to imag­ine their life there.

If you’re go­ing to be present at your house view­ings, make sure you are pre­pared to an­swer any ques­tions that may arise.

Strike a bal­ance be­tween be­ing friendly and over-so­cia­ble, so once you’ve guided them around leave them to have a tour for them­selves.

How much is it go­ing to cost me to sell?

ES­TATE agents’ fees can vary. In June, Hous­es­im­ple an­nounced plans to roll out a ‘free of charge’ service to spe­cific towns and cities. Also, make sure you un­der­stand any penal­ties if sell­ing your home means re­pay­ing your mort­gage early. Each lender has a dif­fer­ent way of cal­cu­lat­ing the early re­pay­ment charges (ERCS) but they will of­ten amount to a per­cent­age of the amount that you re­pay dur­ing the fixed-rate pe­riod. Fac­tor in re­moval costs too – whether you want a firm to pack and move for you, or you just want to hire a van and do it your­self.

How do I de­cide what an ac­cept­able of­fer would be? FIND out how much sim­i­lar prop­er­ties in your area have sold for and look at what’s cur­rently on the mar­ket. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand your com­pe­ti­tion.

The qual­ity of any of­fer is also im­por­tant. For ex­am­ple: Have they sold? Can they move quickly? What are their time frames? Con­sider whether the answers to these ques­tions align with your own mov­ing plans.

Box­ing clever: Fol­low our ad­vice and you could be a suc­cess­ful first-time seller

Lit­tle changes can make a big dif­fer­ence be­fore a home view­ing

Sam Mitchell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Hous­es­im­ple

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