Prepare your home well to attract a buyer

By Philip Macdonald, managing director of Abbotts Countryside

Gone are the days, temporarily at least, of inflated 2007-style house prices. Today’s sellers have to be realistic about the true market value of their property, whilst allowing for some ‘negotiation’ room.

They also need to be mindful that, for extraordinarily well presented and/or unique properties, keen and well funded buyers may be prepared to pay a premium. But that premium is highly unlikely to measure up to the peak of 2007.

To maximise the potential of your property, make it look good; this is the agent’s perennial plea, but not always taken seriously by their customers.

An appealing property will attract a buyer, even if it is not actually what they specified!

Buyers can be erratic, falling in love with the most unsuitable and unlikely properties, when they should be unemotionally transfixed on what they originally deemed to be ‘appropriate’.

So what do I mean by being realistic?

Listen to your chosen agent (and choose the agent carefully to reflect the type of property you are selling) and ask to see details of comparable properties recently sold.

You can then equate the actual sale price to your own property and appreciate whether your agent is being realistic when he advises on a market value, and what you can expect to achieve – a figure a little below the recommended asking price.

Pay attention to suggestions that a modest outlay on redecoration would push up the price likely to be paid, or that the garden needs a professional tidy-up. You want to sell?

You want the best price?

Then do it.

Mend anything that’s broken: even something relatively minor like a gate or doorbell will be noticed.

Clean the windows, clear the paths, tidy the garage and garden shed (and the loft), make sure the bathroom and kitchen are spotless (including inside the cooker and fridge) and kids’ and pets’ toys are stashed away safely.

Give viewers a genuinely warm welcome, even offering a coffee (few accept).

Answer questions fairly, but don’t get into too much detail about fixtures and fittings – that’s your agent’s job, as is any discussion about price.

Your agent will follow up the visit himself to ascertain first impressions and level of interest, which he will feed back to you.

Some properties sell quickly, others may sit around for a few weeks; if the latter happens, then be prepared to drop the asking price and reinvigorate the marketing.

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