Selling Advice

Sales Advice: Jack Harvey’s insider’s guide for property sellers

Introduction

At Jack Harvey our aim is simple – to find you the right buyer at the right price. Moving house is known to be one of the most stressful things you can do, with large sums of money involved and the process potentially fraught with difficulties and frustrations. Luckily, you will not do it very often, but we at Jack Harvey deal with it every day, so we have written this short guide to remind you of how the process works and some of the challenges you will face and to give you the benefit of our “inside knowledge.” This can only be an introductory guide, but we will be happy to discuss with you in detail about your property and the moving process.

The process

This is an overview of the process for the property seller. See also our legal guide for all of the main stages of the legal and conveyancing work and see our seller’s check-list for all the practical things you will need to do to make a decision to put your house on the market.

Preparing for viewings (kerb appeal)

Creating a good impression with potential buyers is important and may well help sell your house faster and for a higher price. You can ask your estate agent to show people the house for you and they will often accompany buyers anyway, but is usually best if you are there yourself to give a personal tour and answer questions about the property.

Small things can make a big first impression and you want to make sure your house seems well-maintained and cared for and is presented in the best possible light. A well-loved and maintained home will always sell easier than a house that seems to need a lot of attention, even if it is only small things.

Keeping the house and garden tidy, especially the initial access areas like hedges, fences, paths, front door and hall, will make a real difference. Make sure that outside lights and doorbell work and that the front door is in good condition. Avoiding clutter in rooms will make them seem bigger. It is best to actually do all of those little repair and maintenance jobs that you have been putting off for ages, even though it is someone else who will get the benefit!

It may seem like a lot of unnecessary work to do all of this tidying up and then keep the house in “show” condition, but it will definitely pay off in selling your house. You want the house to look “lived-in” but buyers want to see its full potential.

Preparing for viewings, a checklist for sellers

THE OUTSIDE AND ENTRANCE
Mow lawns and trim edges
Sweep and tidy pathways and drive
Tidy and weed borders
Bedding plants / hanging baskets
Trim hedges
Clean / paint fences and window sills by door
GARAGE
Tidy up and light well – it will seem bigger
ENTRANCE DOORWAY
Exterior lights and doorbell working
Touch up chipped paintwork
Clear cobwebs
Polish door fittings and handles
ENTRANCE HALL
Keep clear for good first impression
Well lit
KITCHEN
Tidy and well-lit
Worktops cleared and cleaned
Avoid stale cooking smells
Fresh baking or coffee smells good
Washing up put away
Pets dishes and baskets put away
BATHROOM
Clean and polished
Towels tidied
Air freshener / pot pourri

GENERAL
Clean light switches and door knobs
Stop taps dripping
Touch up paintwork
Make minor repairs
Windows open for fresh air
Childrens toys away
Clear floors as much as possible
Pets away – not everyone likes them
LOUNGE
Curtains pulled back
TV turned off
Air fresheners / flowers / pot pourri
BEDROOMS
Beds made
Clothes put away
Windows open

What Jack Harvey will offer!

We will offer you a free market valuation which will be carried out by an experienced senior member of our team who has extensive knowledge of the area and the type of property you wish to sell. Your property will be promoted on our own website and across a wide range of property portals on a no sale no fee basis.  We will work on your behalf to advise on the sale of your property, market it to potential buyers and deal with all the communication and administration involved in arranging viewings, dealing with offers and price negotiations and completing the sale. The agent is paid by you and is only paid if the sale is completed. We will agree the property details, the target selling price and the marketing plan. Show prospective buyers the property. Accept an offer from a buyer. Progress the legal work to exchange contracts of contracts and then completion of the sale.

We will try to understand your individual requirements and are committed to helping you achieve the results you want in the timescale you want. Every house and every sale is different and you will want the personal attention of a senior person in the business, not just to be put on a conveyor belt to go through a standard process and see what happens.

Appointing an estate agent

You will want to appoint somebody that you trust and feel comfortable with personally, because you will be talking with them a lot.

You should talk with a few local agents, get their views on likely property prices, visit their premises, talk with the office managers or partners, look at their window displays and advertising and come to a view on who you would like to work for you. Sellers and buyers cannot normally contact other people up and down the property chain so you will be relying on your estate agent to make these contacts through other agents in the chain. Your agent is the person who will sort out any problems on your behalf, so you want someone who is committed.

It is not usually a good idea to just appoint the agent that gives the highest initial price indications – it is whether buyers will actually pay that price within the timescale you require that is important, and whether the agent can work with you to complete the sale smoothly.

You can place your property with more than one agent and possibly be exposed to more buyers, but they will charge a higher fee percentage as they will incur costs but possibly have someone else sell the property and therefore get no fee. You will probably get more focus and personal attention by appointing a sole agent, at least to start with, and you avoid the duplication and confusion of having to deal with more than one person at a time.

You need to balance all of these factors when deciding which agent to appoint, but make sure you get someone with experience who you like and trust and believe will really get you the best overall net price for your property.

Valuations

Estate agents have experience of the local property market and current conditions and have constant feedback from potential buyers so are well placed to help you decide correct the price to market your property at.

There is generally a balance between price and speed of sale. If you can afford to wait as long as it takes to find the perfect buyer who falls in love with your house and will pay a premium price, it is worth marketing at a higher value. If you are desperate for a quick sale, a lower price would probably attract more buyers.

There are dangers in over-pricing a property, even if you can afford to wait. The vast majority of viewings come in the first few weeks a property is on the market. If it is over-priced, some well-placed buyers may decide not to view it and, if it stays on the market too long, people begin to wonder what is wrong with it. Also, if you drop the price later that can also undermine confidence and it is difficult to resurrect the interest of people who have previously turned it down at the higher price. As a practical issue, even if you can find the perfect buyer at the higher price, the mortgage valuation may well come out below the agreed price and lead to the sale falling through anyway.
The price is generally a compromise by both seller and buyer – the seller would have liked more but will accept a fair offer from a well-placed buyer so as not to lose the property they have found. The buyer was looking for something slightly different and will have to spend money to get the property the way they want it, but will pay more than they had planned because of the position / garden / kitchen etc.

Every buyer has different requirements and the amount they have to compromise those requirements with your property will determine the offer they will make. Most buyers have seen a lot of properties similar to yours in the area and are well qualified to take a view on the price.

Dealing with offers

You may refuse all offers below the asking price if you are willing to wait for the right buyer or if you need to achieve the full price to fund your own purchase. On the other hand, you may accept a low offer from a well-placed buyer if you have also obtained a lower price than expected on your own purchase.

Your estate agent will help you evaluate offers and, as far as possible, research the real position of the buyers for you. This is the time at which you will want a close relationship with your agent to make sure you are achieving the best possible price without losing good buyers.

Surveys and price negotiations

The buyer will have a survey of some sort done and this often brings up issues that have not been considered previously – whether they are major problems or just minor issues. There will usually be some discussion about whether the financial impact of these matters was included in the original offer or not. The seller will take the position that the house was “sold as seen”, whereas the buyer will say that the offer was made on the basis that the house was “perfect”. In practice, both sides will need to be flexible to come to a mutually acceptable position.

The other thing happening at this time is solicitors preparing detailed schedules of what is and what is not included in the price and that can also bring out problems. If the lovely garden shed or expensive curtains that the buyer thought were included are actually being removed by the seller, there will need to be a discussion!

The estate agent can be a great help at this stage by being in the middle of the discussions and avoiding them becoming personal issues for the buyer and seller. They are really just clarifications of the position as more information becomes available and have to be resolved if the sale is to complete.

This is the stage at which things become difficult and may fall apart, particularly when the difficulties are multiplied by the number of stages in the chain and made worse by time getting short and tempers getting frayed! A lot of the problems can be avoided by being open and clear from the start about any potential problems with the property and exactly what is included in the sale price.

Getting the deal completed

The key stages for the seller’s solicitor are: Once you have accepted an offer, your solicitor or conveyancer will manage the process through to completion. Remember that neither you nor the buyer is legally committed to the sale until signed contracts are actually exchanged.

Obtain Title Deeds and Land Registry information. Complete the questionnaire of property information Prepare draft contract. Answer buyers solicitors additional enquiries. Obtain redemption figures from mortgage lender. Agree exchange and completion dates. Receive fee accounts and prepare financial statements. Confirm that funds have been received and authorise release of keys.

For further information or for a personal discussion about selling your property, please contact. Jack Harvey on 0208 337 7444

Why should you consider Jack Harvey Estate Agents?

Our small team have over 40 years combined property experience and extensive local knowledge

  • We can guarantee a professional yet personal service
  • We are committed to keeping customers informed at every stage of negotiations and providing realistic advice throughout
  • We are community focused
  • State of the art technology
  • The latest marketing techniques in print and on the internet