Understanding the seller’s needs
Moving home doesn’t need to be complicated and our role as the estate agent is to facilitate the needs of the seller and to “make the move happen”
So what should you expect from your estate agent?
… a professional service?
… experienced, friendly and enthusiastic staff with a high level of expertise and local knowledge?
… to achieve the best possible price in a time-scale to suit your needs?
… well yes all of the above, especially in terms of achieving the best price; however these should be your standard expectations of any estate agent. You should also expect your estate agent to listen, so as to understand the motivation behind the move and in doing so offer the best possible advice specific to your circumstances. Your estate agent should respond in a timely fashion, provide excellent levels of communication and remain both positive and dedicated throughout the whole process.
They should remain true to the cause, telling you what you need to hear even if at times this may not be what you were hoping to hear. Honest feedback is vital and as a straight talking estate agency, we are here to assist people in the sale of their property and will always treat the situation with the respect it deserves.
Within this webpage we will briefly run through the selling process and touch briefly on the service we offer. There are a few suggestions and useful tips and if you have any questions, please get in touch.
Preparing an effective marketing plan and pricing strategy will help gain maximum exposure and the best price for your property.
Market & Property Appraisal
Pricing plays an important role with a number of factors to consider, such as the speed in which a seller needs to complete and the level of competition currently in the marketplace. We offer an independent assessment of your property carried out in person by our Office Manager, free of charge and with absolutely no obligation.
You may want an idea on value without being sure about selling, perhaps as part of an intention to a re-mortgage and we are more than happy to help. Our Market & Property Appraisals are genuinely free with no fear of the pressure or constant pursuing often associated with such appointments. During the visit we will explain how the market is performing, advise you of potential market changes and offer advice and guidance on how to maximise your sale price. When suggesting a price we use our expertise, sold price data, recent activity on properties similar to your own and information gained from our continual market research activities. If you are new to the business of selling property there will be plenty of opportunity, before, during and after the appointment to ask questions and discover more about the selling process.
When you decide to sell, we will discuss various marketing plans and find the one best suited to you and the property. At Trading Places we use the very latest technology and proven marketing techniques to promote your property.
We advertise on all major property websites including Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation and your property will also appear on guildproperty.co.uk and our own website tradingplacesproperty.com, which is fully responsive for compatibility with smartphones and tablets. In addition your property will feature on touchscreen window displays in the London Park Lane offices of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.
Our online marketing activity also includes social media coverage through Facebook and Twitter, which we supplement with our fortnightly e-magazine (e-zine), Property Lifestyle magazine, Trading Places TV, e-mail campaigns and of course the option of a For Sale board. The more exposure your property receives, the wider the audience you can expect to attract, giving greater choice of buyer.
Once instructed, our proactive team of sales professionals will immediately contact our database of registered buyers by telephone, e-mail and SMS text alerts. All potential buyers are pre-qualified and if the situation dictates, and upon your request, we will only put forward buyers suited to your requirements. For example, if in need of a quick sale in order to facilitate a purchase of your own then those buyers with a property to sell but not yet on the market, or those who are part of a lengthy chain, may not present you with the best option.
High quality photography, glossy property brochures (physical and digital versions) along with floor plans and an HD property video can help promote your property in the best possible way; however, a seller can play their part and later on this webpage we offer a selection of property presentation tips.
We have remained an elected member of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents since 2002, and each member of our team has passed an exam to become a Guild Associate Member. Our “Continual Training & Development Programme” is testament to our belief that investment in our staff helps to keep us at the very forefront of our industry.
Since 2000 we have been a member of The Property Ombudsman and this level of professionalism is carried across our whole business by membership with ARLA (Association of Residential Landlords) SafeAgent, and by us holding Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Offers and sales progression
Whilst the estate agent is employed to attract buyers to your property, there is much more to our service than simply marketing and accompanying viewings.
Depending on market conditions, pricing strategy and style of marketing plan, the offers we receive on your property may arrive one at a time or in volume. In a strong seller’s market it is not uncommon to receive multiple offers on a property following an open day event. It may seem obvious to go with the highest offer; however, in such circumstances, increased offers should of course first be sought to establish the most each party is willing to pay. Other factors to consider include:
What is their buying position?
If you need to move within a certain timeframe, e.g. school holidays or a deadline to complete on the property you are buying, then the buying position of the person making the offer could be very important. A first time buyer with nothing to sell offers a less complicated transaction than a sale dependent buyer, especially if they have yet to put their property on the market and/or their required sale price is unrealistic.
Cash or mortgage?
Most buyers will require a mortgage and their level of borrowing could have a significant bearing on your decision. A buyer needing to borrow 85% of the sale price may struggle if the surveyor employed on behalf of the bank down-values your property. If, in this example, the buyer’s available funds are completely tied up in the 15% deposit, stamp duty and other moving costs, it could leave them unable to proceed at the agreed price and, more importantly, you in need of a new buyer. If a buyer purports to be a cash buyer, then naturally evidence of this must be requested – sometimes cash suddenly becomes anything but, e.g. “I’ll have the cash once my partner finds a buyer for their house”.
You may end up receiving two very similar offers from two buyers who are in the same buying position, both with significant levels of deposit. If one buyer began the process by offering particularly low, only increasing to a sensible level when increased offers were encouraged, it “could” suggest a higher chance of them seeking a price reduction at a later date. Genuine buyers usually come in with a sensible starting offer and whilst ultimately the seller will decide which offers to accept, the advice and guidance of an experienced estate agent will prove particularly helpful when a less than obvious choice presents itself.
Proper communication between the seller and their estate agent is of paramount importance, which is why our sellers are given all the information they need to make an informed decision about accepting or rejecting an offer.
Once you have accepted an offer
With a sale price agreed, both you and your buyer will need to employ a conveyancing solicitor. Their expertise will help guide you through the process, taking care of the legal aspects of the transaction. Mortgage brokers may also become involved. Just because you appoint an experienced solicitor, operating a manageable workload, it does not mean everybody else involved in the process is going to be as efficient.
Anyone balancing a heavy workload can find themselves short on time and it’s our role to help keep things moving.
Throughout the process we are in communication with various parties, such as the buyer’s solicitor, their mortgage broker, surveyors, the buyer themselves and of course you and your solicitor. We are the central point to all those involved.
When part of a chain, the number of “involved” parties can rise significantly - more buyers, more sellers, more solicitors, more mortgage brokers, more surveyors and more estate agents; all seeking the best outcome for themselves or their client. We are here to monitor all developments, to keep you fully updated and to chase third parties as and when required.
In the event of a complication resulting in possible renegotiation talks, perhaps following the results of a survey, we will handle these for you. To the eyes of a buyer, first timers especially, a detailed survey such as a homebuyers report can make for a worrying read. Time and understanding, along with past case study examples, will help us quantify such findings and point out the various minor defects one should expect to come across when buying a pre-owned property, especially if built over 100 years ago. Handled with care most problems can be resolved ending in a fair and satisfactory solution.
Managing both the sale and people’s expectations, with the ability to solve problems are necessary skills for the modern day estate agent, and in our experience, finding the buyer is simply the first stage of the process.
Presenting your property for sale
Most buyers form an opinion within the first 15 seconds of entering a property.
There are affordable improvements you can make to your home that will significantly enhance the buyer’s experience.
Years of busy family life, entertaining and general wear and tear is more easily noticed by someone entering a property for the first time. However, preparing your property for sale doesn’t need to be expensive.
The exterior of your home is the first view buyers have of your property; a freshly cut lawn, scrubbed path or driveway, trimmed hedges and an inviting entrance will help create a positive first impression.
Here are a few suggestions and tips to help maximise the selling potential of your home:
Now where’s that tool box?
Sensitively repair or remove tired or broken fixtures and fittings and attend to any small DIY jobs. Sometimes it’s as much about what does not get noticed as what does. Tend to broken door knobs, cracked tiles, kitchen cupboards and anything else that can be easily repaired.
Keep it clean
Regardless of the time of year give your property a thorough spring clean. Tackle lime-scale build up, heavy staining and any grotty grouting around your kitchen and bathroom tiles. If they look old and worn, then renew your sink and bath seals.
Show off your space
Declutter where possible to avoid your home appearing smaller than it is. When we visit to take photographs this will make all the difference and we can always visit over two days if you need to move boxed up items from one part of the property to another in order to accommodate the photography. If you have outgrown your home you could consider temporary storage. If your property is tenanted, perhaps offer your tenant a day’s free rent for making an extra effort to tidy and better organise the property in readiness for our photography.
Smells, odours and (even) allergies
This is something we’re sure everyone has heard before but it can help. Avoid any strong smells being present when people are viewing your home. Cooking, smoke and pet related odours may be off putting to some people. Cat or dog hair may even cause an allergic reaction, and with it the potential to lose a “could-be buyer”, so a quick vac around the house to pick up any loose hair is a good idea.
Give your property the “live here feel”
Too often people worry about removing all trace of personalisation; however give this a little more thought as many buyers want to experience that all important “I could live here” feeling so a homely feel is a good thing. For vacant properties we would suggest using a home staging specialist. Prices are not as high as you might expect, especially in a market where property usually sells quickly.
Flowers, mirrors and candles
Collectively these can create a feel good factor, help with odours and direct more light around a room.
Freshen it up
Partial redecoration to some rooms is certainly worth considering, especially if one area in particular is overdue a fresh lick of paint, maybe the hallway? If you can do this yourself, it’s simply a case of time and buying the materials. Why not look at the front door too as this will most certainly help to create a good first impression – newly painted front door, plant pots or a hanging basket? If you feel unable to undertake any redecoration there will be plenty of decorators happy to help. Small jobs such as these needn’t be overly expensive.
Don’t freeze or overheat your buyers
In the winter keep it warm, in the summer keep it cool. You want prospective buyers to feel comfortable when viewing your property; not left shivering to the bone or in danger of overheating. If the property is vacant set the heating/cooling system accordingly.
Lay on a spread
If the market and situation is right to host an open day event, why not put on a spread (for your buyers not us, honest). From past experiences a few snacks such as sandwiches, crisps and soft drinks have helped to create a positive atmosphere and goes down a treat with bored children fed up from viewing properties. We will play host and agent while you go out for the day.
Don’t forget the garden
If you have a shed use it. Clear everything from the garden to make it neat and tidy. Remove potential hazards, such as panes of glass or loose bricks and paving slabs, the last thing you want is a personal injury claim. If the garden is overgrown and out of control, use the services of a local gardener to give it a general overhaul.
Put your house in order
Allow your buyer to picture themselves in residence and show each room to highlight its purpose. If your dining room is full of work papers or exercise equipment, return it to its original purpose for viewings.
Selling your property is a big step and as with anything else it’s better to be prepared. Here is a short checklist to help you with this, which is by no means comprehensive but it makes for a good starting point.
- Choose a reputable agent with a track record for success, don’t feel pressurised
- Speak to your bank to make sure your mortgage is portable and whether there are any charges, e.g. early redemption penalties
- Think carefully before signing an agency agreement and make sure you are comfortable with the terms
- Check the property details making sure they are correct as items listed will be perceived as being included in the sale price
- Secure the services of a local solicitor. It’s advisable to do this early on as they cannot act for both you and your buyer (so get in there first)
- Once you have a completion date, make arrangements to transfer your utilities and take meter readings on the day
- If you are moving home, research the area you are moving to, ask your selling agent to help with this
- Commission your Energy Performance Certificate before you market your property
- Prepare your property for marketing to ensure it is viewed in the best possible light by your buying audience
- Don’t leave your removal arrangements until the last minute. Do your homework, obtain quotes
- Check your documents are in order, such as your lease, and make sure any ground rent and service charges are paid up to date
- Ensure all keys are ready to be handed over to the new owners, including window keys
A quick glance at what we can offer
- Professional photography & high quality property brochures
- HD video tours & a range of floor plan options
- Effective viewing feedback & marketing updates
- Accompanied viewings & hosted open day events
- Lifestyle magazine, fortnightly e-magazine TV Channel
- Social media & property alerts by SMS & e-mail
- Longer opening hours allowing us to carry out even more viewings
- Touchscreen property displays at London Park Lane location
- “have your say” feature on property details & property websites
- Prominent office location with stand-out window displays
- Independent market report for any property across the country
- Local conveyancing, mortgage advice,
- Independent market report for any property
- Local conveyancing, mortgage advice, removals & home staging referrals
What to do Next?
Selling your home is a big step, so be sure to seek the advice of a reputable and established agent to provide you with the necessary advice on what to expect.
At Trading Places we will be there for you every step of the way, from start to finish.
To find out more why not take advantage of our free, without obligation, market and property appraisal service simply call us on 020 8558 1147.
Contact us with any questions