Wed 07 Feb 2018
With over 25 years of experience selling properties in the Midlands, David Woodcock, Sales Director at John German Estate Agents shares his advice on how to achieve the best price for your house.
David Woodcock, Sales Director (pictured here front left) with the John German team in Ashby de la Zouch.
5 Tips to maximise your house's selling price
- Make sure your agent is motivated to get you the best price
- Don't under estimate the importance of presentation
- Set the right asking price from the start
- Use professionals to carry out viewings
- Don't panic, stick to your guns and take the advice of your agent
1. Make sure your agent is motivated to get you the best priceIn terms of getting the best price for your house it is vital to consider which agent is going to be motivated to get you the best possible price for your house. Will an agent that gets paid regardless of a sale or not be motivated enough to do this for you? In the long run this could make thousands of pounds worth of difference to your house sale.
With the emergence of 'DIY' agents such as Purple Bricks, there has been a rise in differing levels of service from estate agents. Some agents will offer you an all-inclusive service; accompanied viewings, extensive exposure to their database of buyers, online advertising, expert negotiation and sales progression. This type of service tends to be offered on a no sale, no fee basis. Your fee is usually charged as a small percentage of the actual selling price of your home. With no upfront costs, you only pay the fee when the property has been sold, this is paid by your solicitor from the proceeds of your sale. Unsurprisingly, most agents offering this type of service will be highly motivated to get you the best price for your house, they'll be determined to progress the sale through until it is sold, otherwise they don't get paid.
Alternatively other agents, like many DIY/online agents will offer a package based on you paying an initial lower up-front fee regardless of whether your property sells or not. To make this more economical to the agent, the service they'll provide you is likely to be a watered down service, focusing mainly to list your property online. You may have to carry out many aspects of the sale yourself including viewings and in some cases sales progression. You could also be charged for other 'extras', like a for sale board and floorplans.
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Your overall strategy when attempting to get the best price for your house is to attract as many buyers as possible. The more interest you have from buyers, the more likely you'll receive multiple offers. People buy with their eyes, therefore make sure your house is looking as good as it can before putting it on the market. It's about making the right first impression, so declutter, have a spring clean and spruce up any tired looking spaces.
2. Don't underestimate the importance of presentation
Hopefully your agent will produce high quality pictures including some lifestyle shots to catch the attention and imagination of buyers. Avoid using photos that are too dark or not sharp enough, it can take just one bad picture to put a buyer off. If you are not happy with the pictures your agent has taken, don't be afraid to tell them. Remember first impressions really do count!
Cottage for sale in Hugglescote, Leicestershire
We understand not all properties are picture perfect, but by highlighting the best features you still can attract plenty of attention. Let's say for example your property has an amazing state of the art kitchen, however the front of the house outside isn't the most appealing; let buyers know about the kitchen hiding inside. A good way to do this is to advertise your property as a 'Premium Listing' on Rightmove where 2-3 images are used in the search results. This way you can display the kitchen as well as the front, enticing buyers to click to find out more, rather than scrolling on past to another property with a more attractive front.
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3. Set the right asking price from the startThe first 8 weeks when your house goes on the market is the most important, this is when your property is fresh in the eyes of buyers. It can be tempting to set the asking price above its current market value in the hope you'll attract a keen buyer willing to pay that little bit more. However this could cost you in the long run, so we would recommend that you stick to a fair price from the start. Marketing your property for more than it is worth may put buyers off viewing or making an offer on it. Fast forward a month or so, with little interest on your property, you may have to consider dropping down to the original suggested asking price; by this point the damage may have already been done. Everything is public knowledge, buyers can see online how long your property has been on the market for and also compare the price against similar properties which have already been sold. If your property has been up for sale for longer than six weeks, buyers do start to wonder if there are any issues, questioning why it hasn't sold. This gives buyers a basis to make a lower offer which could result in you accepting an offer for a lot less than expected.
A decent estate agent should have an idea whether there are buyers out there willing to pay the asking price you want to achieve. So try and find a local agent that has sold similar houses in your area because they will be able to give you proper advice on what level you should market your property at. Ask to see examples of actual houses they have sold to ensure they are not inflating the price, and a list of buyers looking for a property just like yours.
Another tip is to consider Rightmove's property search criteria in terms of pricing. Try and set the price so it comes up in two price ranges on a Rightmove search. The more people who see your house on Rightmove the more interest you will receive. Again, ask your agent for a 'Premium Listing' so your property stands out from other houses in the same price range.
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4. Use professionals to carry out the viewingsWe recommend that you let your agent carry out the viewings for you. They are trained to point out all the relevant selling points of your home, encourage offers and/or draw out honest feedback. If you were to do the viewings yourself you're less likely to hear a buyers objections as they are more inclined to be polite, meaning you'll never know if they have any doubts or worries about your property. A good agent will encourage a viewer to share their thoughts openly with them. In doing so, the agent will where possible, overcome the objections of the buyer or else take their comments as constructive feedback and make adjustments or amendments where necessary.
Open days are another idea to help create a buzz around your property. Whether the open day is advertised or not, when possible, try to group your viewings on the same day or over the same weekend. If a buyer likes your property and feels other parties could be interested in it too, they'll be more inclined to make you an offer sharpish, and this may also prompt them to offer nearer the asking price or even above it.
Remember time is of the essence when it comes to getting a good price for your house!
5. Don't panic, stick to your guns and take the advice of your agentThe first offer on your property might not be the best one, if this is the case ask for an increased offer and wait. This is where the negotiation skills of a trusted agent can really help. Having established the circumstances of the buyer, knowing the level of demand for your property, plus the ever changing market conditions, your agent should be able to tell you whether it is a decent offer or whether it's worth holding out for a better one. This will help you keep your cool and stick to your guns to achieve the best price.
Finding the right buyer is really important so you are not let down at a later stage in the process. Your agent should vet all buyers before you make a decision on accepting an offer. This may not necessarily mean you going for the highest bidder, but instead a purchaser that is in a better position to proceed, i.e. a cash buyer not in a chain, reducing the risk of a potential fall through. If your sale does fall through it could prove more difficult to get the same level of offer on your property again.
Did you know?
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"We just wanted to say a big thank you to the Lichfield team for selling our home and achieving the best price possible. We had had various agents value our home, but John German was confident and sincere, no gimmicks. A special thank you to Caroline who handled all the accompanied viewings and ensured our house was secure. We now realise that you may save money with an online agent but from the initial valuation to the completion day, John German looked after us and they were a phone call away for anything that we were worried about throughout the whole sale. Real people who care. We will definitely recommend you."