5 absolute MUSTS for first-time sellers

So, we’ve done our bit and given advice on how to save for your first home in an earlier piece. But what about those looking to sell for the first time? If you had the means to buy a place within the bounds of the M25 five or so years ago, it must be awfully difficult not to wake up with a big smile each morning.

True, house-price growth in the UK has slowed for much of 2015, with London in particular shifting down a few gears over the last six months. However, the proposed expansion of the Conservative Party’s ‘right to buy’ scheme is likely to bring more buyers into the market – paradoxically driving up prices, and potentially widening the grin of many homeowners.

Yet if you’re keen to sell up so that you can upsize, downsize or simply move to pastures new, and you’ve never done it before, we’ve got five tips that will ensure your lovely abode is sold swiftly, while also maximising the number on pennies that end up in your pocket.

1.       Don’t scare them away

It’s easy to get carried away in a seller’s market, and pick a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ asking price. But, bear in mind you’re likely to get the most viewings in the first couple of weeks, given that buyers are plugged into listing services that have pop ups of new properties. So take advantage of this brief window of opportunity by pricing your place competitively. The old adage ‘the first offer is the best’ may not always be true, but give yourself the best possible chance of getting a sale over the line while you’re still flavour of the month.

2.       Promotion from within

Taking brilliant, high-resolution photographs is an absolute necessity, but also about the only generic element of promoting your house. Beyond that, have a think about who would want to live in it. A family? Retirees? Downsizing empty nesters? Working professionals? Once you’ve worked out your target market, tell them what they want to hear. Quiet neighbourhood? High-quality local schools? Good heat retention? These are all questions prospective buyers will ask, so make sure you and/or your agent are available and at the ready to drive these points home.

3.       Dangle the carrot

Everyone likes to feel as though they’ve got a bargain, so why not throw in a few ‘freebies’? If you’ve got some hard-to-move appliances such as built-in washer dryers, dishwashers, or even wall-mounted flat screens, a great alternative to breaking your back trying to remove these is to leave them there and ‘work it’ into your asking price. The divide between incoming offers and the price you have in mind has a much better chance of being bridged if you give yourself a selling point like this – one that will also save the buyer hassles and expense when they move in.

4.       Get rid of the clutter

In all likelihood, first timers will be selling a smaller place, and thus should have a good appreciation for the fine line between ‘cosy’ and ‘cramped’. Space is very much of the essence, and although a house often appears better when furnished, you can employ some subtle tricks to make the whole place feel more spacious. It goes without saying that all counters and work surfaces should be cleared, but in terms of floor space, maybe you could remove the dresser from your bedroom(s)? Make some room in your cupboards? Or ditch some tables, chairs or unnecessary space takers? It may require bugging a friend to store them for you for a while, or even selling bits and buying new ones when you move. But it will all be worth it, and you’ll be amazed at what a difference the perception of added space could make to the market value of your home.

5.       Splash some cash

Remember that, above all, buyers are often lazy. The last thing they want is to have a list of jobs or upgrades waiting for them once they move in. Take care of all the necessary repairs and replacements on your end, and go one step further by giving your walls an extra lick of paint, upgrading your kitchen and replacing any tired carpets. Selling a place that looks good is a whole lot easier than selling a place that could look good, and this might be the biggest trump card of all in terms of getting bang for your buck.

Have you recently moved or know someone else who has? If you’ve got any tips or advice on selling your house, we’d love to hear from you! Drop @LendingWorks a line on Twitter, or tweet us your pearls of wisdom using the hashtag #NewbieMoves.

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