How to Sell Your House Quickly
Trying to sell your house quickly is never easy. There may be fewer houses on the market than there used to be, but there are also fewer buyers around as people are having trouble getting mortgages, or are waiting in the hope that prices will come down even further. So how do you sell your house quickly anyway?
Nothing will guarantee a sale for a house owner, as so many factors have to be taken into consideration, but there are things that you can do which will stack the odds more in your favour.
The Price Is Right
The first thing you must do is to make sure the price is right. Get a quote from three different estate agents. If you get three quotes that are the same then that makes things simple, but if you are given three different prices, then it’s best to take the mid point of the three and take that as your starting price.
If you ask for too much money for your house you won’t sell, it’s as simple as that. Why would people buy your house at an inflated price, if they can get a similar one down the road for less? So don’t decide what you would like to get for your house, work out what you can realistically get in the current market conditions. If your house has been on the market for over 6 months and you’ve had no offers then Andrew Winter of Channel 4’s ‘Selling Houses’ gives this advice:
“If your house is well presented, but you’ve had hardly any viewings, you need to sit your agent down and get talking! Is he or she just rubbish, or are you asking too much?”
Do Some Window Shopping
Secondly, take a tour of a few houses for sale in your area which seem similar to yours. See how they are presented for sale and what buyers are getting for their money. Do they have an ensuite bathroom? How many bedrooms do they have? Do they have a large garden? How are they decorated? Are they modern in style, traditional or downright old fashioned? You will get an idea of what is available to buyers and at what price, and you will then have a better idea of whether your own house is priced correctly and has the type of decor and facilities that buyers expect.
Fancy A Facelift?
Make sure the outside of your house is tidy and clean. Buyers often make their decision before they even get inside the front door, so don’t let peeling paint, rotting window frames, piles of rubbish, or a garden full of weeds, put people off. Touch up paintwork, pull up weeds, remove rubbish, and add a few nice touches like a flowering plant or shrub in an attractive pot by the front door. That first impression is all important. Phil Spencer of Channel 4’s ‘Location, Location, Location’ gives this advice:
“work hard at what the outside of the property looks like, because a lot of potential purchasers are driving by, looking over your garden fence and deciding if they’re interested or not.”
Remove The Clutter
Once buyers get inside they don’t want to see all your junk in the hall. Make sure all the hallways are free of clutter; even furniture can make a hall look small and pokey. You should try and remove all furniture to make the hall look more spacious; remove bicycles, toys, shoes and coats, make sure the carpet is freshly hoovered or swept, and touch up any paintwork or dirty marks on the walls or skirting boards. Do the same for all the other rooms in the house. Try and get as much clutter as possible into the loft, or at least out of sight in a cupboard.
If you don’t have room to store anything, ask a relative or close friend if they would be willing to store some things for you temporarily, whilst you are selling your house. Touch up any paintwork that is peeling or shabby, remove dead or dying plants, and don’t have too many ornaments or knick-knacks as they can make rooms look small and chaotic. If the house next door is run down, tell the neighbours you are trying to sell and offer to weed their garden for them, or give their door a quick lick of paint (if they don’t mind), as a scruffy house next door could put off potential buyers.
A Little Less Orange, Please
Next, think about the decor. You may like bright colours, but your buyers may not. To appeal to as many people as possible it’s best to keep the colours neutral. White can be harsh and magnolia can be boring, but pale shades are best as they don’t offend anyone, and make rooms look bigger and more spacious. If a buyer hates your orange walls, they may feel that they don’t want to buy your house. Buyers rarely want the bother of repainting all the walls; they want a house that has immediate appeal and which they can just move straight into.
It’s important to make sure that everything in your house works and that nothing is out of order or broken. If your shower drips, your built in oven doesn’t work, or you have a crack in a window, this will put buyers off. Buyers want to move straight into a house and then enjoy living there. They don’t want to have to employ a plumber, a glazier or a builder to fix a load of problems before they move in. Also, if one thing doesn’t work, then your potential buyer will wonder what else doesn’t work, or is about to go wrong. If the tap is dripping, they will start to eye the boiler suspiciously and wonder if the double glazing is about to fail.
Top Of The List
Make sure you are fully aware of local schools, hospitals, bus routes and leisure facilites, even if you don’t tend to use them yourself, as the closeness of amenities can be very attractive to your potential buyers.
Remember it doesn’t take much to put a potential buyer off a house and with other houses to choose from and so few buyers around, they can just go and take their pick of another one. So, make sure the price is fair, your house is clean, tidy, and decorated in neutral colours, fix anything that is not working, put in some decorative touches like a pretty pot with some flowers, and finally prepare to wow your buyers.
All this hard work won’t guarantee a sale, but it will certainly swing the odds in your favour and could put your house at the top of the short list.