As an estate agent based on the borders of Essex and East London, we see a mix of Essex Country and Village Homes alongside premium semi-suburban properties near to an Underground station. As such, the types of buyers and sellers we encounter can vary greatly. We have compiled our Top 10 mistakes that sellers experience that are as universal as they come.
Selling a property carries a degree of stress no matter how good your estate agent or conveyancing solicitor is. It’s not a bad thing, it just means that you care. With £100,000’s on the line, I’d be concerned that you’re not concerned about the outcome of selling your home.
That said, it takes a great deal of your and our time and effort, so it’s natural for estate agents and vendors to want the process to end with the best possible outcome. All vendors naturally have the ultimate goal of seeing their property sell quickly and at a high profit. Yet in many cases, houses can sit on the property market for months if not years with little to show for the time and effort. This may be due to your agent and or partially due to common mistakes on the part of the vendor.
There are many factors that go into a successful sale, including the estate agent you choose to work with and your marketing strategy. You can improve your chances of avoiding typical mistakes by working with a very proactive, highly recommended and experienced agent. At Lyttons we have built our business on reputation [read our reviews!] on over delivering to our clients and have become known as the agent for customer satisfaction.
Avoid these common pitfalls below, you can maximise your profits, reduce stress and sell your house more quickly.
Mistake 1: Selling your home on your own
Some sellers choose to sell their own home, hoping to save the fees associated with an estate agent. Yet this can end up being a costly mistake. Without the research that an agent can provide [especially to justify prices on mortgage survey], the experience of negotiating such a transaction with the various types of buyers you’ll encounter at different price point and how to moves things forward proactively to completion - it may be difficult to know where to begin. A good agent will earn their fee numerous times over during the course of a sale. Selling your home alone could end up costing you more than if you had hired an agent, if you don’t know what you’re doing. And let’s say, you do know what you’re doing – the point of having an agent is to keep the process at “arm’s length”. Becoming too involved can sometime be worse than not being present enough throughout a sale.
As an agent, it can be difficult to be on other side of the negotiating table – hence when I sold my Grandparent’s bungalow in Budock Water, Falmouth I employed the services of a local estate agent. And they did not disappoint – under-promising and over-delivering. I was very impressed.
Mistake 2: Working with the wrong estate agent
Another mistake is to stick with an agent who is not delivering, not communicating, not employing the proven best practices that an agent like Lyttons constantly monitors. If you choose an estate agent who doesn’t have your best interests in mind, it could sabotage your sale as seriously as if you had sold it on your own. The wrong estate agent might give you bad pricing advice, pursue a limited marketing campaign, or waste time with buyers who are less than serious. It’s worth taking the time to compare your options and find a good estate agent to work with. My advice would be to ask your friends who they would recommend and look at some online reviews.
Mistake 3: Overpricing your property
Setting the sale price too high on your property can backfire by reducing the number of interested buyers. This is especially true of properties advertised over the £1 million threshold. A trust-worthy estate agent will be able to use their experience and knowledge of the current local market to help you choose an appropriate price for your property. At the time of writing in 2021, it may be more profitable to set a lower price for your home than what you think it is actually worth. In a seller’s market, this can stimulate competition between buyers and end up with an ultimately higher offer.
Please do not confuse the “valuation” of your property with the “asking price” – these are two very distinct figures.
Should you require further explanation regarding this – please feel free to contact me directly.
Mistake 4: Not preparing your property for sale
Although it may seem fairly obvious, a seller who neglects to adequately prepare their home to the standard that the local market would expect prior to marketing is most likely to be met with disappointment. Not preparing your home for sale can significantly reduce buyer interest, and even lead to disappointment when they see your home. It’s best to take a bit of time to get rid of clutter, tidy, and stage your house to make it look its best for viewings, purchasers are buying a lifestyle.
Mistake 5: Ignoring maintenance issues
Along with staging and tidying your house, you must also prepare it by repairing basic problems. Realistically, most buyers are not looking for a property that they will need to renovate. Instead, they are looking for a property that is ready to move into immediately. If your home has a leaking roof, ancient electrics and damp, you will frighten away most buyers. It’s better to spend a bit of money to make repairs before the sale, in order to drum up buyer interest and present a house in top shape. Investing in basic refurbishments or upgrades can also be used as a point of interest when you are selling your house. Before you go too crazy with upgrades, however, it’s best to consult with your estate agent. At the very least, obtain quotes for these repairs for when the inevitable renegotiation post-survey comes knocking.
Mistake 6: Overdevelopment
The reason why it’s important to talk to your estate agent before you upgrade your home is that if you go overboard with repairs or what you would consider improvements, you could eventually lose money. Spending too much on renovations could backfire, and you may never recoup this investment. This may depend on the standards within your local area. It’s a good idea to choose a local estate agent to work with. If your upgrades go above and beyond comparable properties in your area, buyers may not be able to afford your higher price. Worst case scenario, no mortgage lender will agree with the valuation and you’ll effectively be in negative equity.
Mistake 7: Not advertising your house sale correctly
Marketing is very important when it comes to selling a home. You could have the most perfect property in your area. If no one knows about it you won’t attract any genuine buyers.
It is possible to secure a buyer without advertising but you’re sourcing from a smaller pool of buyers than if openly advertised.
Use a variety of advertising methods to help entice buyers, including signage outside your property to help spread the word-of-mouth advertising in addition to internet listings.
Mistake 8: Only using traditional methods of selling
The majority of buyers now turn to the internet first when they are in the market for a new home. To appeal to the widest audience, you will need to use innovative marketing methods. This could include online listings, photo editing and manipulation, floor plans and even virtual /drone tours of the home. Your estate agent may also be able to help you with methods such as social media marketing, press releases and blogging to get the word out about your property if it is particularly rare gem of a property.
Mistake 9: Not being flexible
It’s normal to have some preconceived notion of how your sales process will go. Yet because you are trying to reach out to a wide range of potential buyers, you will need to employ some form of flexibility to close the sale. This could include showing your house at odd times of day or night by arranging easy access for your estate agent. It could also include being flexible when you are examining offers. Instead of flat-out refusing them try proposing a counter-offer to negotiate a win-win situation.
Mistake 10: Not reading the fine print
After you’ve gone through the full process of preparing, marketing, and showing your home, you may think you’re in the home stretch of the sale and get careless. Selling a house can be tedious and rather long-winded when it comes to the financial and legal side of it. Especially nowadays where the mortgage lenders have become more involved than ever and solicitors wish to ensure no-one tries to sue them. Some home sellers may not bother reading all the fine print on their contract of sale. However, this can be one of the worst mistakes to make. After you’ve signed this legal document, you must abide by all of its terms and conditions. Without meaning to, you could agree to fund additional repairs or give up appliances you didn’t mean to. Be sure that you read through the full contract thoroughly, going through it with a solicitor before you sign anything.
Save the link to this page. Read it again to make sure you’ve understood everything and refer back to it to help you avoid them during the selling process.
Selling property can also be far less stressful, dare I even say “fun” when you have an experienced estate agent in your corner.
We can help you avoid these common pitfalls, guiding you through each step of the process.