Top Tips for Property Buyers and Sellers

By: Tracy Kellett

Tips for HOME HUNTERS

(1) You're kidding yourself if you think you are going to secure the home of your dreams purely by signing up to Rightmove.

(2) Make an effort to get to know your local estate agents and ensure they see you are a serious buyer by keeping in regular contact. Make the time to get in touch at least every couple of days to see if there is anything new on the market.

(3) Be realistic about what you can buy on your budget. Many home hunters waste months searching for the sort of property that will simply never come up in their price bracket.

(4) The more flexible you can be, the more chance you have of securing a great property. Think outside the box. Are you restricting the area too much? Does it really have to be Georgian? Could you consider converting a former commercial property?

(5) Don't overlook a property purely because of its outside appearance. If a property is on a good road and has everything else going for it, it could still be a good buy. Consider employing the services of an exterior design company or architect to give an ugly property a facelift.

(6) Don't waste money on an expensive survey if the house is not that old. Tradespeople will often come and check electrics, plumbing, roof etc for free and at the same time, provide a quote for any repairs or maintenance, which can be a great lever for asking price negotiations.

(7) Get a great solicitor in place, who can use email, and is a pragmatic problem-solver.

(8) Get your broker sorted early so you know exactly what your budget is and make sure they can move fast when it comes to the time to get a mortgage in place.

(9) Be really nice to the vendors and estate agents - people sell to people they like.

(10) If you know you are going to be stretched for time, consider appointing a professional home finder.

Tips for SELLERS

(1) Make sure your house has kerb appeal by tending to your front garden and giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. If your property is not looking reasonably lovely on the outside, many potential buyers won't even bother to walk up the driveway.

(2) Home hunters have wised-up to house doctoring in recent years. If you must do it, avoid the most obvious tricks, which include laying the table as if for a dinner party, burning scented candles in the bathroom and 'artistic' arrangements of fruit on the kitchen worksurface.

(3) Do however thoroughly declutter your house before allowing potential purchasers to view. If you haven't used it in the last few weeks, chances are won't need it. Make full use of your loft space and put anything that won't fit in storage.

(4) Buyers hate vendor-led viewings, so let your estate agent do the job you are paying them for and make yourself scarce.

(5) If you must be around for a viewing, then get someone to take the kids and dogs out for a long walk.

(6) If your house is not selling, 90 percent of the time it will be because the price is wrong.

(7) Be prepared to move into rented accommodation if necessary. It could save you a lot of stress and stop you from impulse-buying the wrong house.

(8) If you have dogs, a good dousing of 'Oust' is highly recommended. Dog owners are often immune to the smells of their pets and bad odours really turn people off. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company if you have several pets in the house.

(9) If you don't have to sell immediately, consider the effect that time of year has on property sales. If you put your house on the market at the wrong time of year, it could take much longer to sell - and buyers are suspicious of properties that don't move quickly. If you can avoid it, don't market your property until the spring and avoid Christmas and summer holiday periods.

(10) Visibility is everything when it comes to selling. Always ask your estate agent for a sales board, even if you live on a cul de sac or no-through road. And don't forget to tell your friends, colleagues and neighbours that your house is for sale. People talk and word of mouth can really help with a sale.

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