The property market thrives on myths and misconceptions and is often veiled in mystery! On the whole, selling a property is much easier than you would be led to believe and the procedure for buying and selling is relatively straightforward. Nevertheless, you will hear plenty of horror stories!
Likewise, if you ask various friends who have sold a property, what is their secret to success? You will be given a whole range of answers including the advice that it is always good to have bread baking in the oven during a viewing!
All types of colourful myths are out there and tangible though they may be, many of them are simply myths… and need to be dispelled!
You Must Have an Estate Agent
This is probably the largest myth of all and is no longer relevant because the property market has changed so dramatically with the development of the internet.
In the past, working with an estate agent was essential. Estate agents always knew what properties were on the market and which would be getting a ‘For Sale’ sign soon. Estate agents had a thorough knowledge of the area and knew all their prospective customers well. Whilst there are still many traditional style estate agents around, they do not in fact know their customers as well and do not necessarily know when a property is going on the market.
These days, it is so easy to access information on any given area and on most properties on the market. Properties for sale in your chosen area are advertised online with accurate property descriptions, good photographs and even 360º virtual tours.
It is very easy to view a property in the first instance from the comfort of your home – without the help of an estate agent. Many buyers only approach the estate agent when they would like to proceed with a viewing or making an offer on the property.
An increasing number of properties are even sold without an estate agent online through eBay, Gumtree and others but this is still a tiny minority of total sales.
Estate agents still fulfil an important role in small rural communities and also at the top end of the market where it is essential that they know their customer well so that they can find the appropriate property for them.
You Should Put Your House on the Market in the Spring
This is another myth that was more applicable in the past as house viewing was more easily done in nicer weather! The fact is that people are always having to move, whatever time of the year and the property market is now active all year through.
Job hunters can secure a new job in any month and young professionals can be on the move at any time too – and usually with short notice. Those in rented accommodation tend to consider getting onto the property market as their rental agreement comes to an end – whenever that may be.
It is equally true that individuals may plan to make a move at a certain time of year for personal reasons – for example the couple who are downsizing but want to enjoy a final summer in their garden before they go, or families who decide to move within a school holiday. It is true that December – February can be quieter months, but where property is in high demand, speedy sales are made whatever the weather!
A Property with the Right Agent Only Takes Days to Sell
If only, we hear you cry! This can certainly be the case in areas where there is great demand and you have placed your property with a good estate agent and it is on the market at the right price. The average length of time between a property first going on the market and it being placed ‘under offer’ is 47 days.
Unfortunately, in around 20%+ of cases, the transaction falls through – usually at the buyer’s end for a variety of reasons including changing their mind and not having their finances in place and ready to go.
You Must Use Professionals Recommended by Your Agent
It is true that for ease and convenience it can work well to use the mortgage broker and conveyancer recommended by your estate agent, but you do not have too. Often if you find your own you will find their charges lower – it’s a matter of personal choice.
You Must Renovate Your Property Prior to Selling
This is another misconception because again, in the past, properties that needed renovation secured only lower prices. These days, this is not always the case and often if the house owner does any work on his property he risks not completing the work in a way that appeals to new buyers or simply does not see his expenses back!
House buyers are often looking for properties with character and know full well there could be work to do on such a place.
It is pointless to go to the time and expense of fitting a new kitchen or bathroom, but it is important that the cost of doing so by a new owner must be factored into the price tag – which need not be so low if your property has plenty of good features.
Many potential buyers like the fact that they can complete any work as they would like and are happy if the work is not urgent and they can move in and complete it at a later stage.
Buyers Are Not Looking Closely at Your Home
Oh yes they are! It has been proven many times, that whilst an owner need not renovate to sell the property, they do have to prepare their property for the market. This is something that costs time rather than money.
Before you put your property on the market, have a really good sort out of your possessions and don’t be afraid to ditch excess kit – particularly in the kitchen and garage. Clear every room of clutter so that rooms look more spacious and in the kitchen, ensure that work surfaces are clear and clean.
Give your house a good spring clean and ensure that all the windows are sparkling clean too as this has a huge impact. If you have any brightly coloured or highly decorated walls that will not be to everyone’s taste, it is best to give them a fresh coat of paint in a neutral magnolia tone.
Tidy all the garden, front and back. As well as ensuring that lawns are well cut, give hedges and bushes a really good haircut and weed all the flower beds and dig them over to make them look good.
Wash outside paintwork as it is surprising how dirty it gets and add some bright colourful flowers in flowerbeds and hanging baskets for impact. Take a look at your house from the pavement to check that it looks really smart and tidy.
Best to Go with Several Estate Agencies
Again, in the past, there was sense in this comment as each estate agency had its own clientele but today this is not necessary. Looking online at property, website portals such as Rightmove show all the properties available in the area through different agents and interestingly, the properties that keep appearing can make their owners appear desperate to sell and can dull interest in them.
Best to choose your estate agent carefully – probably the one that seems to be handling plenty of properties in your area, has good local knowledge and is charging realistic prices. Your chosen agent will want to be sole agent so let him/ her get to work on selling your property and only consider multi-agency if your chosen agency fails to perform.
You Should Keep Reducing the Price
It is not a good idea to ‘chase the market down’ even if it takes a while to sell your property. If you do keep reducing the price, there will be some canny buyers watching so they can buy at the lowest price – sensing your desperation to sell. The key to success is to carefully consider “what is the realistic price tag for your property?”
A price that is too high will deter potential buyers and you will find your property sticking on the market and not getting any interest – which may well force you into dropping the price. Conversely, you don’t want to price your property too low when it goes on the market because although you will get a quick sale, you will have done yourself out of thousands of £££££.
Make your research first. Have a good look at the prices of similar properties that are on the market in your area and speak with any new neighbours who have recently moved in, to establish what price they paid for their home.
When you have decided on the price, ask yourself if this includes a little wiggle room as most potential buyers put in offers as everyone loves a bargain! On this point, it is worth remembering that houses in some areas in the UK regularly sell for 5% to 10% below the asking price.
There Are Sharks in the Property Market
Sadly, there are unscrupulous people in all areas of life, but because buying and selling property are the biggest financial transactions you will do in your life, it is best to do them
The National Association of Property Buyers offers sound and essential information to property sellers. Propertymark was launched in 2017 and aims to help people to buy, sell or rent their property and guides consumers through the maze of paperwork and procedures.
Propertymark brought five different property associations ‘under one roof’ and is working hard to promote the highest standards within the property industry and to ensure that property buying and selling is as straightforward as possible. Watch out for Propertymark’s distinctive logo on your chosen estate agent’s door.