Selling your home is a major event and one that’s heavily influenced by the agent you choose. But how do you know which agent is best, and how can you be sure they’re the right one for you? Here are 10 questions to ask before selling, and what you should look for when finding ‘the one’.
1. How are you going to sell my home?
With your house in their hands, it’s important to know your agents next steps. Rather than simply showing people round and hoping for the best, your ideal estate agent should be consistently targeting the ideal buyer. If they're not able to easily identify who this might be, it calls into question how much they will put into the sale.
2. Do you think I need to make any improvements?
Your estate agent should be ready and willing to offer tips to help sell, and happy to recommend anything from a simple declutter to a whole room refurbish. If they don't even suggest a quick tidy up, then they're just not trying hard enough.
3. Do you have any other properties like mine?
It’s important for your agent to be able to show recent sales, and if they've managed to shift properties similar to yours, you can feel slightly more confident that your home's in good hands. If you've opted for a larger agent, however, ensure they don't have too many houses like yours on their books. You need to be sure your home will be getting the attention it deserves.
4. What are your fees?
While agency fees have gone down in recent years, it’s vital you know what you’ll need to cough up. Some estate agents will charge for things that others include in their fees (for example EPCs), so it’s good to be clear about this from the start to avoid any nasty surprises later on.
5. Will you be present for the property photos?
A good estate agent will be able to identify the key selling points of a property in a way that the photographer may not. If your agent won't be present for the photos, make sure they are using a company specialised for the job - and while you're at it, check if it's you who'll be footing the bill.
6. Where will my house be advertised?
As well as being displayed on their own website, it’s worth checking which other property portals they use, as these will likely gain far more traffic, meaning more opportunities to sell. Ask whether they have spots in any local press publications or any other ways they may be advertising your property. Reputable agents will likely be part of Guild Property, who also provide great opportunities to get your home out there.
7. What will your role be during the marketing?
Good estate agents will keep you in the loop with at least a weekly phone call, although you should expect an update after each viewing. More dedicated agents will not only give you an update on progress but a weekly marketing report that is tailored to your home.
8. What price will you list my property at?
Pricing will vary according to the current market and is something your agent should be keen to advise you on. However it’s important to remember that the price you list the property at is not the same as asking what it will sell for. Your estate agent should be able to advise how they reached a given figure, as well as offering you examples of comparable sales.
9. How long do you think it will take to sell?
This, of course, can vary wildly, but asking the question will give an idea of how knowledgeable and forthcoming your agent is. As a general rule, accurately valued houses should receive offers within the first 8 weeks of marketing - find out if this is something your agent is shooting for.
10. How well do you know the surrounding area?
A reputable local agent with good knowledge of the area is better equipped to target appropriate buyers and attracts good buyers in return. This kind of knowledge helps get your property off the market sooner, as well as ensuring a smoother selling process should any issues arise.
Buying a house is an exciting time, but also one of the most expensive. It's easy to get swept up in a promising viewing, but don't let the important stuff fall by the wayside. Here are the key things that you don't want to miss.
1. Do you connect?
And no, we’re not talking spiritually. Check your mobile connection in various rooms, both for making calls and connecting to 4G. Whether you work from home or spend your evenings watching Netflix, living in a no-signal zone will get old pretty fast.
2. Is the structure up to scratch?
It’s easy to be taken in by a beautiful interior, but make sure you check the outside of the building is in equally good nick. Walk around the perimeter checking for broken gutters, missing tiles or cracks in the walls. If you spot any, mention it to your estate agent who will be able to find the cause of the problem and take steps to get it fixed.
3. Does your furniture fit?
Unless you’re starting completely from scratch, you will likely be moving some furniture into your new home. Compare the existing furniture with the size of your own, or even come prepared with some key measurements that you can size up during your viewing. Buying a house is already a big investment, so you’ll be glad to save some extra money where you can.
4. Which way does it face?
The aspect of your future home will have a huge impact on your day-to-day life, though the best direction comes down to personal preference. A south-facing garden means sunshine and light, creating a space where plant-life will flourish, but if you’re an early-bird it might leave the house feeling a little gloomy. Consider what aspect will work best for you, and use the compass on your phone to double check at each viewing.
5. How are the electrics?
A survey by Electrical Safety First revealed that two-thirds of potential buyers do no check the electrics before buying a property, leaving them no only at risk of injury but a significant payout to fix any existing issues. Check the condition of all the light switches and sockets, and keep your eyes peeled for damage in any visible wiring
6. Does the area suit your needs?
The surrounding area is as important as the house itself, so it’s important to consider what you need nearby and what you can go without. Is it more important to be able to quickly pop out for some milk or to have a friendly local pub within walking distance? Use the time before or after the viewing to scope out the area and see what’s about.
7. How old is the roof?
Some roofs have a lifespan of as little as 20 years, so it is important to find out prior to purchase how long the current one has been there and what kind of roof it is. Replacing a roof is an expensive endeavour, so it’s best to know how long to plan for from the off.
8. How’s the pressure?
Run all the taps to make sure they are in good working order - poor pressure is a problem that’s not always easily fixed. A good test is to turn on the shower furthest from the water source, as this is a good indicator of how the water in the rest of the house should run.
9. Is the boiler in good working order?
A boiler over 10 years old will be running at a lower efficiency, costing you more in your energy bills. Find out when it was first installed and ask for evidence of an annual service, but be sure to take a proper look at it yourself.
10. What’s beyond the boundaries?
Check what adjoins each side of the building and garden. Backing onto an open space like a park may seem like a nice idea, but it can present a security hazard. Likewise, that convenient school on the other side may prove a noisy nuisance.
A property can tick all the boxes, but it's ultimately how you feel in it that counts. If after all your checks you don't quite feel at home, then trust your gut instinct and move on to the next.
Last Updated: 07/01/2018 19:17:09 Author: Beth Colman Tags: Selling
The start of a new year is synonymous with new beginnings, and if you’re looking to sell up in 2018 now is the perfect time to start preparing. While interest picks up after the Christmas lull, take some time to implement these straightforward fixes that could make all the difference to your future sale.
1. First Impressions CountResearch suggests that buyers make their mind up about a property within the first 30 seconds, and sometimes before they’ve even set foot inside! While sprucing up the interior is an absolute must, don’t forget about the exterior of your home. Be sure to sweep your path and get rid of any weeds, and store your bins out of sight if possible.
If your front door needs a fresh lick of paint, this is a cheap and easy DIY project. Traditional, muted colours are a timeless choice, and one that viewers tend to favour.
2. Time to Declutter
Stacks of magazines and untold numbers of knick knacks all detract from the feel of your home, not to mention make it look smaller. Sort through each room deciding what needs to be binned or recycled and what can be taken to the charity shop. As a general rule, if you haven’t used something in the last year, you’re unlikely to be using it again! Encouraging buyers and lightening the load of your future move, decluttering is a great first step in getting your house ready for sale.
For household items that make the cut, ensure that as much as possible is tidied away out of sight. The more of a blank canvas your house appears, the more the potential buyer will be able to imagine their own belongings inside.
3. Smells that Sell
Scents can completely change the impression of a property, and are an easy way to create a relaxed and homely atmosphere. Citrus and fresh laundry smells top the list of viewer’s favourites and are easily achieved with a simple reed diffuser. You want the smell to be noticable but certainly not overpowering, so try just one in the living room and one in a bedroom to start with. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but brewing a fresh pot of coffee just before a viewing is another way to create a warm and cosy feel.
Just as good smells can change the ambience of a property, bad smells like smoke or wet dog are enough to drive a buyer away. It can be hard to recognise scents we are surrounded by every day, so ask an honest friend or neighbour to take a walk around and tell you if they smell anything unseemly.
4. Space and Light
Great lighting can add perceived value to your home by creating the illusion of space. Painting walls a neutral off-white will give your rooms an instant lift, but if you don’t have the time to redecorate there are other small fixes that can really make a difference. Try replacing any heavy curtains with blinds and replacing light fixtures with high-voltage bulbs. Well-placed mirrors can increase the overall sense of light, and are great for opening up smaller areas like hallways
If you are thinking about selling your home this year, give Colman and Co a call on 01494 871991 for a free valuation with no obligation. We are the specialist agent for Chalfont Giles and the surrounding area, with over 40 years experience.
Last Updated: 18/07/2019 22:17:10 Tags: Selling
Remove the clutter
As well as obvious clutter like discarded toys or shoes, think about what other items may be making your home look less clean and spacious than it could, like bins or multiple shampoo bottles. You want all surfaces and tabletops to be mostly clear, so that potential buyers can imagine their own items in their place. Being able to visualise themselves in your home brings them one step closer to booking that all-important viewing. You don’t have to get rid of these items completely - spaces like entranceways and downstairs toilets are rarely photographed for listings, so you can stash your things away in there while your photographer is round.
Things like family photographs and works of art are highly personal objects, not to mention distracting in an image. Again, this is about making your property feel more neutral and allowing potential buyers to focus on the space itself rather than the items in your house. Don’t forget to remove any pet items from sight too - they may be a beloved family member to you, but for others it could be off-putting.
Most property photos are taken from the doorway, so make sure that all doors can be easily and fully opened to allow your photographer to fully capture the room. Similarly, any additional people in the house (or the aforementioned family pet!) may get in the way of the photographer doing their job. If you can, make arrangements for as few people to be home as possible so they can work without distraction - the better quality photos will be worth the small inconvenience.
Fixtures and fittings
Look around your home and see if there are any little details that may have passed you by. Day-to-day it can be hard to notice things like blown light bulbs or loose fittings, but they can completely change the look and feel of a photograph. It’s this attention to detail that will instantly elevate your images and make your home feel more welcoming to potential buyers.
Exterior photos are often the first to be seen on a property listing, so it’s important that the photographer gets them right. Cars are a big obstruction to exterior photos and can even cover up key features, so make other parking arrangements for before your photographer arrives. If you don’t have on-street parking or a car park nearby, ask a neighbour if you can use their driveway.
The final touches
While clutter is a definite no-no, there are a couple of flourishes that can add a splash of colour to a property image and make the room feel more inviting. Once you’ve cleared away the kitchen gadgets and appliances from your sideboard, try adding a bowl of fruit. Similarly, a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers will make a coffee table look far more appealing than a collection of old letters and magazines.
With a whole host of estate agents out there, from online-only to big high street names, how do you know which one is best for you? Here at Colman & Co, we believe that choosing to sell with a local agent boasts numerous advantages that larger companies can’t provide, making them number one choice for you and your home. Here are 5 reasons why.
1.Expert Local Knowledge
When it comes to property, extensive local knowledge can have a significant impact on the speed of your sale as well as the accuracy provided at the valuation stage. Not only will an independent local agent be in tune with the best types of buyers for your home, but they will also have a working knowledge of the community, local features and amenities and first-hand insight into the market of the area. All this makes for a more tailored service that will likely produce a much smoother sale.
2. A More Focused Sale
Independent agents have smaller portfolios than their counterparts in major firms, allowing them more time to spend on your sale (free from the pressure of financial targets). The result tends to be a much more in-depth look at your property with more frequent updates on progress and marketing, making your move as stress-free as possible.
3. That Personal Touch
As independent agents aren’t governed by higher management, they have the flexibility to deliver a more bespoke service to suit the needs of individual clients and get to know them on a more personal level. The ability to be able to pop into the office shouldn’t be overlooked either; speaking to prospective buyers face-to-face is a great chance to really sell your property prior to a viewing.
4. Local Contacts
Established agents are often trusted members of the community and will be well connected to other local professionals such as plumbers or solicitors. With this comes the knowledge that your property is in safe hands, whether you’re revamping a room before viewings or signing off on a sale. As well as a wealth of professional contacts, local agents might even have potential buyers lined up who are looking for property just like yours.
5. Your Best Interests at Heart
For smaller agents you are a valued client, rather than just a number. Small businesses rely heavily on a good reputation and excellent customer feedback, meaning they will often go the extra mile to not simply secure the sale, but one at the best possible price to the best possible buyers.