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Selling your home in 2017? 9 tips to get the most for it

All the essential things you’ll need to know before trading up (or down).
Dec 23rd 2016, 10:51 AM 4,108 1

IS ONE OF your New Year’s Resolutions selling your home?

It can seem like a daunting task if you haven’t been through the process before – or even if you have. There’s a lot to organise and take into consideration before you take the plunge, but there’s no time like the present.

We’ve put together this handy primer to help you tackle the first major hurdles involved in selling your humble abode. As ever, if you have any valuable words of experience or advice, please don’t hesitate to leave them down below in the comments section.

First things first

Once you’ve made up your mind to sell and move on, start looking at your house with a critical eye – and put yourself in the position of prospective buyers seeing it for the first time.

Research by Rightmove found that dirty kitchens and bathrooms were the worst turn-offs to viewers, with more than half of the 4,000 respondents to the survey picking these as the biggest no-no.

These are not only some of the most-used rooms in a house, but also personal places that potential buyers will imagine themselves using. Make this easier for them by ensuring they are spick and span for viewings.

Ben Lillington Lester, Branch Manager of Savills Ireland in Blackrock, told TheJournal.ie:

Having the place clean and clear is an absolute must. I see some places up online with clothes on the floor and cornflakes in the sink. Presentation is key. For example, over 30 per cent of Savills clients are international buyers, they can’t just pop down in person that afternoon to see the place. If your photographs, brochures and internet links aren’t up to scratch, you aren’t going to generate interest and get those leads.

What else is a turn-off?

Other things that may rub buyers up the wrong way include:

Spend but don’t overspend

Fix what is obviously damaged in your house, but don’t go gutting and refitting if it’s not completely key for your property. Focus on first impressions – for example, paint the front door, tidy the garden and make sure communal areas/entrance areas are in tip-top form.

‘Stage’ your home for when viewings and open houses are arranged – ie stow away clutter, make the beds, style the dining room table, arrange furniture well, and so on.

Euro Source: Janitors

That personal touch

Also think about removing any interior design that detracts from the general feel of the house. You don’t have to depersonalise totally, but do bear in mind that the feature wall you love may in reality distract viewers.

Tim Wardley, regional managing director at estate agency Connells, told the Guardian:

“Purchasers are trying to picture themselves living in your home so minimise personal possessions such as photos.”

Sell yourself well

Consider what a buyer is looking for and what they want to see. Describe your assets well and understand what is attractive about your home. Make a list to bring with you to your estate agent – think transport links, schools, what the area is like, whether or not there is parking, levels of noise, etc.

For example, if you have good neighbours, make sure the estate agent knows this so that they can pass on this information to those interested in the house.

Choosing an estate agent

A crucial decision when it comes to sell is your choice of estate agent. This can hold potentially the biggest sway over whether or not your property goes for the right price.

Ben from Savills recommends seeing at least three agents in order to ensure a good range of skills and experience. “See a local agent who knows the area really well, then a large agent, then an international agent like us… They’ve all got something to bring to the table, they’ll all put a different spin on it.”

We ♥ estate agents Source: StuartBannocks

How much to pay?

Haggling on fees with agents is something that comes up often when prospective sellers are considering putting their house on the market – but Ben warns against getting too bogged down in this issue.

“The most important thing is not the fee – it’s getting the best agent and the best price. Fees are flexible, and sensible discussions can be had about them, but you get what you pay for. Decide what you need and work from there.”

Ben’s other piece of insider advice is to ensure the agent you choose has the right team around them. For example, are the people answering phones in the office to set up viewings with prospective buyers as impressive as the agent you met when putting it on the market?

Pricing and timing – key decisions

Ben advises setting a competitive asking price, while of course at the same time ensuring you aren’t under-valuing your home. He strongly warns against setting the asking price too high, explaining:

The first four to six weeks are the most important time, and setting the price too high can lead to little interest. Reducing the asking price later then creates a negative first impression.

Set an asking price instead, he advises, that will “generate interest and excitement. Buyers love hot and fresh properties that are new on the market. They don’t like houses that have been hanging around too long – they’ll worry there’s something the matter with it, or wonder if they’ll have problems selling it on themselves.”

The price has to be right in these early weeks on the market in order to generate competition and getting bidding going. Consider opting for a competitive price from the get-go and following it up with open houses and advertising, rather than scaring prospective bidders off at the first hurdle and having to play catch-up later.

But where to start?

If all of this seems too daunting, consider setting up a market appraisal with a few estate agents first. This will just be a cup of tea and a chat over the timeframes, the property itself and what you’re looking for. Ben says that most (if not all) estate agents should do this step for free – and this is crucial for advising people how to proceed.

“There’s no one size fits all when it comes to advice. You have to meet people and have a conversation and go from there.”

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Edel Corrigan

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