We're all expert property buyers - what makes us better sellers?

It’s been running for 15 years, and during that time, British TV staple Location, Location, Location has been teaching a nation of budding housebuyers how to approach what is possibly one of the most challenging tasks in life.  So we’re all experts now, right?
 
We might think we know more about it, but are we actually any better at buying and selling houses?  There are some simple tips that can help anyone to sell a property (and none of them involve baking bread or wafting fresh coffee aromas around).
 
Location is crucial

Is your selling agent local? Using a local agent works wonders for the physical selling part of the task – they know the schools, facilities and amenities.  They also know the market better than anyone else – they will have sold houses like yours before, and likely have waiting potential buyers.  So a local agent is best positioned to price and present your property, as well as market it to potential buyers.
 
The House Doctor does actually make a difference

Research shows that some careful dressing can better your chances of selling your property quickly, or for the best market price.  Some agents go the extra mile and offer you advice in this area – take it.  Doctoring doesn’t have to be radical – updated décor or paint, de-cluttering, and styling/staging are all part of the House Doctor’s emergency kit, and with some simple tweaking, your property could be elevated to the next level.
 
Home Reports – quality counts

It is important to check that your home report has been provided by a surveyor from the panel of all the major mortgage lenders.  This “all panel” surveyor approach is not mandatory, and isn’t used by everyone, so it’s vital that you check– because your buyer and buyers solicitor will want to know that they can trust the report and obtain  mortgage lending on same.  Cheaper options are available, and can be tempting, but they are often a false economy, as they can create a barrier between you and your potential buyer.
 
Seeing is believing

Most people find their houses online, which is great for the seller because there is usually the scope to add lots of photographs.  However, pictures can be as much of a turn-off as they can be an attraction.  Given that people take just a few seconds to form a first impression, a bad photograph can scupper your chances of selling from the off.  This is definitely one area to leave to the professionals, who will be adept in taking creative, quality, light, bright and detailed shots of the right rooms, features and selling points in your property.  The best professionals don’t approach the job as if they are selling a house – they are selling the lifestyle that the house delivers – and that’s what attracts buyers!
 
Making sure you present your property to its best advantage means putting yourself in your potential buyers’ shoes, and being across the whole package – by making things easy for the buyer, the ‘sold’ sticker could be winging its way to you far sooner than you think.
 
Craig Forster is a partner and head of property with Allan McDougall Solicitors.

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