The Seven Secrets of a Successful Sale
At Knight Edmonds we genuinely love helping people move home successfully and painlessly. During the many years we’ve worked in the industry, we have experienced pretty much everything that can, and sometimes does, happen during the process.
There’s a lot that can happen but we’ve tried to cover as much as we can by putting together seven simple steps to help guide you through the process.
- Choosing an Excellent Agent
- Preparing Your Property to Sell
- Having Strangers in Your House
- An Offer You Can Refuse
- The Legal Stuff (Conveyancing)
- Moving Time
- The Knight Edmonds Promise
Choosing an Excellent Agent
So you’ve made the decision to sell your property. The next step is to choose an estate agent. But with so many to choose from; what should you really look for?
Here’s what to look out for when choosing an agent to market your property.
- Do they really know the area that well? Ask the agent about other clients they have helped nearby. Listen to what they say and understand how well they really know your area.
- Do they have client testimonials? A good agent will always have previous clients who will vouch for them or have positively reviewed them.
- Do you like them? You’ll be working closely with the agent you choose so it’s important that you like and trust them. If in doubt, go with your instinct.
- Fees and costs. Remember the saying ‘If you pay peanuts you get monkeys’? Remember that your fee forms the agents marketing budget. If you’re not investing then they’re not either. Ask the agent what is included within their fee? Do you have to pay extra to have photos? Are floorplans provided as standard or are they an ‘optional extra’? What options do they have for remote viewings? Can they produce 3D tours or property videos?
- Where do they advertise? Most buyers begin searching on the internet. Are they on the top three property portals? It’s also worth asking an agency how its marketing strategy differs from its competitors. What makes it stand out from the crowd?
- Do your homework. Check how the agents are currently presenting properties. Are the photos of good quality? Do the descriptions make sense? Does every property have a floorplan and online viewing option?
- What kind of contracts do they offer? Ask the agents about the length of their standard contracts. Usually it’s three months. Find out about penalties for taking your property off the market or moving to multiagency.
Preparing your Property to Sell
Once you’ve chosen the agent you are comfortable with and confident in, it’s time to prepare your property to go on sale.
The more effort you put into the preparation for your photography appointment the better the result will be you get from it.
- Declutter. Get organised and make sure anything that you no longer need or use is out of sight. It’s time to be ruthless, so whether you are going to put it in storage, sell it or give it to charity just make sure you do it. Remember there’s no hiding from a 3D camera.
- Clean every corner. A tidy, clean, fresh smelling home has an instant appeal. If you can’t face doing a major clean yourself, call in a cleaning company to do it for you.
- Lighten up. Unless your home is blessed with natural light beaming in through floor to ceiling windows there’s a chance your home could benefit from some light therapy. Paint dark walls light neutral colours; this alone will make any property feel more spacious.
- Look outside. A common mistake people make when preparing their property for sale is to focus all their attention on the interior, overlooking the outdoor areas. With that in mind make sure your garden lawn is cut, the barbeque is covered up and that the outdoor space is neat and tidy. It’s worth taking a walk down to the kerb and having a good hard look at what your buyers first impression will look like.
- Repair and replace. Whether it’s a dripping tap, a crack in the plaster or a wonky blind, get it repaired or buy new ones. Small details often detract from a positive overall impression.
At Knight Edmonds we will always advise you how to prepare your property in the best way.
Having Strangers in Your House
By now you’ve chosen an agent and instructed us (we hope). We’ve visited the property, taken clear photographs, created a detailed floor plan and virtual tour. The next step is letting a complete stranger into your home to have a look around. We always ensure that buyers are properly registered and provide plenty of information to properly identify them.
Having viewers turn up at your door and walk through your home can be unnerving. A warm welcome goes a long way. The more comfortable a person feels in your property, the more time they will take to look around and see if it is one they are really interested in.
Generally speaking we always aim to be present at viewings so that you have the minimum of disruption. But sometimes, after a discussion, it may be that you are better suited to conduct the viewing. It depends on a range of different factors. We will always discuss this with you prior to arranging a viewing. Either way remember these ‘strangers’ are all potential buyers.
- The first impression is the most important. Make sure the front of your property is tidy. Even take a look near your home and ensure there’s no windswept litter sending out the wrong message.
- It’s always worth having a tidy up when you know people are coming to view. Dirty dishes in the sink don’t help a property’s appeal.
- If you have pets, make sure they are somewhere safe. You want the viewer to focus on the appeal of your home, not your dog bowl or cat litter.
- If you are selling in the winter make sure your home is kept warm. If you are selling in the summer the opposite applies - keep your windows open and make sure the property is cool.
- Remember, we’re here to help, so call us with any questions, suggestions or concerns you might have.
An Offer You Can Refuse
You’ve followed all the steps so far and people are coming through the door and sizing up your property.
An accurately priced property in an excellent location will get offers very quickly. The ideal scenario is people want your property so much they offer the asking price. If buyers are competing for your property, this will drive the price up.
However, there are a number of factors to consider aside from which buyer is willing to pay the most.
- What is their situation? Your agent needs to give you as much information as possible about the people making the offer. Do they have a property to sell? Would they be in a chain if they did?
- Do they have a mortgage offer already approved? The ideal buyer is a cash one which usually reduces the sale process time.
- Is the buyer prepared to enter a reservation agreement. This is often a very strong indicator of just how serious your buyer is.
- As the seller you are often in the strongest position, but always treat the buyer the way you like to be treated.
- The ‘offers’ part of the property process is where a good estate agent proves their value. You should have a good, confident relationship with them. Plenty of contact will ensure you feel totally informed of what’s happening.
- Remember that accepting an offer is just another part of the process and there are a few more hurdles to overcome.
The Legal Stuff (Conveyancing)
You’ve accepted an offer from a suitably strong buyer. What next? It’s time to appoint a solicitor.
Conveyancing involves legally transferring home ownership from you to the buyer. It begins when the offer on your house is accepted and ends when the buyer receives the keys.
Understanding the process will help ensure there are no nasty surprises during the process.
- You’ll need to instruct a solicitor, ideally one who specialises in conveyancing work. Beware as not all solicitors are as experienced in this field as others.
- Choose the one you feel is the best value for money and will offer the most support throughout the process.
- Your appointed solicitor will then draw up terms of engagement with you, setting out their charges.
- Your solicitor will write to your buyer’s solicitor to confirm they are instructed and prepare a copy of the draft contract and any other details, such as the property’s title and the standard forms.
- You’ll be asked for several items of paperwork including warranties, any relevant planning permissions etc. Prepare these once you know you’ve accepted an offer. It will speed up the process.
- All being well it usually takes 10-14 weeks to complete the legal side of a sale.
- Shortly before you exchange contracts your solicitor will ask you to transfer your deposit to them. Once they exchange a deposit is paid to the other side and the deal is finalised.
- Once contracts have been exchanged and a completion date has been set it is time to look at who you need to tell that you’re moving.
Please note this only covers the sale of your property and not your purchase. At Knight Edmonds we are always happy to help and share our experience with you if you have any questions.
Once you’ve exchanged contracts there are still a lot of things to think about and to prepare. When you get your moving date, the following checklist will come in very useful.
You are usually given a period of time between exchanging contracts and completion of your sale.
Don’t forget to:
- Check your home insurance – make sure you have cover from the day you move in to your new home.
- Get written quotes from several removal firms. Get references and check the limits of their insurance.
- If you’re not using professional removers, ask friends to help.
- Notify the relevant utility companies of your departure.
- Start getting rid of possessions you no longer need. Decide which items can be taken to a charity shop, sold at car boot sale or offered to your friends.
- If you need new furniture or carpets for your future property, order them now and arrange delivery for when you move in.
- Start packing non-essential items such as books and non-seasonal clothing into boxes.
- De-register from your doctor, dentist and optician if you’re moving out of the area.
- Where appropriate, ensure that your children’s educational needs are fulfilled.
- Visit the post office and arrange for your post to be forwarded (you will be charged a fee for this service).
- If you have children or pets, arrange for someone to look after them during the move.
- Make a list of everyone who should know about the move. Send out change of address messages via email or the post.
- Finalise arrangements with your removal company. Confirm arrival times and make sure your removers have directions to your new address.
- Arrange a time to collect the keys for your new home from the estate agent.
- Notify the bank of any changes to direct debits and standing orders.
The Knight Edmonds Promise
We hope you found this guide useful. It is always our aim to help our clients and make the sales process as simple as possible. We’re here to help.
We’re an independent agency and we believe that’s what gives us the edge over many of our rivals.
We’ve set out our promises to our clients below.
- Honesty. Estate agents don’t have the best reputation and sometimes deservedly so. However, at Knight Edmonds we will ALWAYS be honest in our dealings with you.
- Accessible. Our phone lines connect to our mobiles as well as our office. We take calls out of hours at times that suit you not us.
- Experience. Together we’ve helped more than a thousand people move home. There’s hardly anything that we haven’t seen or problems we haven’t solved.
- Passion. It may sound corny but it’s true, it’s one of our core values. At Knight Edmonds we are all passionate about property otherwise we would have different careers. We bring that enthusiasm and passion to the process of selling your property successfully.
- Location. If you want to see us, we’re centrally based with our own private parking. Just pop down and we’ll put the kettle on.
We would love the opportunity to meet you, discuss your needs and help you achieve your property dreams.
Call us today on 01622 291491 or pop into our office for a cup of tea and a chat at Kestrel House, Knightrider Street, Maidstone ME15 6LU.