It's a good idea to start preparing your property for sale before you involve an estate agent. This will give you time to take care of any jobs that need doing, such as de-cluttering, DIY and repairs, gardening and giving selected rooms a fresh coat of paint. Although such tasks might seem insignificant, the overall finish and appearance of a property can affect its achievable selling price, so it's a good idea to do them before an agent is invited to suggest a market valuation – ‘What Can I do to Make My Property More Appealing to Buyers?’
Every homeowner wants to achieve the best price, with the least amount of stress, within their desired timescale. At Northwood, we strive to make that a reality for you. Our local property experts apply their intimate knowledge of both your area’s specific market conditions and their active database of buyers, to recommending an asking price and marketing strategy that will maximise viewing activity and the level of offers received. Be wary of agents suggesting inflated asking prices to try to secure your business. Your property could remain unsold for many months, with a lack of buyer interest resulting in you accepting a lower offer than you would have originally achieved if you had come to the market at the right price.
Selling a property can be a complex process. From setting the right price and promoting the property effectively, to negotiating the best offer and liaising with solicitors to ensure a steady legal process through to Completion. That's why most sellers choose to employ an estate agent, who can act on their behalf from start to finish, alleviating the stress and confusion.
You need to consider the reputation of the agent, and their place within the local property market. Have they been successful in selling similar properties? What are their marketing techniques? Will they ensure that your property reaches a local, regional, and national audience? Are they regulated by any professional bodies? How many staff do they have compared with the number of properties on their books? Will they accompany viewings? Will they keep you updated regularly, even after the property has been sold? Do they charge a fair fee? Are there hidden costs or restrictions in their contract? Choose the agent in whom you feel confident to achieve you the full market value by their promotion of the property, to provide you with the most comprehensive and efficient service and to offer you the best value for money in their fee.
You should ask your agent how they plan to market your property. At Northwood, we believe that each sale, each seller and each prospective buyer is unique, and that's why it's about publicising your property to the right prospective buyers at the right time in the best possible way. We use the following methods:
Window displays that invite onlookers inside to enquire further
Direct contact by phone and email to registered buyers, for viewings and feedback
Email alerts to those with a registered online search that matches your property details
Bespoke brochures with detailed floor plans, dimensions and professional photography
Advertising on the Northwooduk.com website, which receives 120,000 visitors each month
Advertising on the main property portals, such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location
Optional upgrades on these property portals, proven to attract more viewers
Eye-catching 'For Sale' signs
Advertising in select publications
Most property marketed for sale in England and Wales is required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which details the energy efficiency of the property. Northwood can arrange for this certificate to be produced on your behalf.
Viewings are all about first impressions – so you need to make sure that property gives a good one. Here are some tips on how to prepare your property for viewings.
The outside is the first thing the prospective buyers will see, so creating ‘kerb appeal’ is vital. This means ensuring that you have clean windows and clear paths as part of a well-maintained front.
You should try to make potential buyers feel at home by ensuring that the property is a comfortable temperature, spotlessly clean and free of clutter. Keeping the lights on is also a good way to brighten up the rooms and to make them seem more spacious.
Where possible, at Northwood we accompany all viewings. Our sales negotiators are trained to identify and highlight the unique features of your property that will appeal to the viewer that they are showing around.
When we successfully secure an offer on your property, we shall:
Provide full details of the offer and the buyer submitting it, both verbally and in writing
Verify the buyer’s financial position and seek evidence thereof
Confirm the details of the entire chain, if one exists
Work for you, to negotiate the best offer
Make recommendations on the next course of action and an unbiased comparison if more than one offer is received
Provide honest, professional advice and guidance on accepting the offer that is best for you
Whether you accept or reject an offer is your choice. Aside from the price offered, you should also consider other aspects, such as the financial ability of the buyer to proceed, whether they are in a chain, their desired timescale and whether they have placed any conditions on the offer. If the initial offer is rejected, the prospective buyer may come back with further offers and negotiations will continue.
Once the negotiations have reached a positive conclusion and you are happy to accept an offer, you will need to instruct a conveyancer, (if you haven’t already done so.)
Your conveyancer will send the buyer’s conveyancer a draft contract, setting out the particulars of the sale, such as the agreed selling price. At this stage, it is helpful for you to provide your conveyancer with any necessary documents to support the contract, such as what fixtures and fittings (if any) you are including in the sale and any guarantees or certificates for works you have had done to the property. The buyer’s conveyancer will raise enquiries about the contract and documents, which you and your conveyancer will need to provide truthful answers to.
We will liaise with you, the solicitors and your buyer throughout the process, keeping you up to date on:
The buyer's mortgage application and offer.
The survey date and its outcome.
Status of the legal process.
The rest of the chain where applicable.
Once the buyer’s mortgage offer is received, the buyer’s conveyancer is satisfied with the responses to the enquiries raised and a date for completion is agreed by all parties, we can look to exchange contracts.
The contract must be signed by both buyer and seller and the buyer must pay a non-refundable deposit via their conveyancer to your conveyancer. The deposit is usually 10% of the purchase price.
Once contracts are exchanged, the transaction becomes legally binding.
Completion, put simply, is ‘Moving Day’. The outstanding monies (from the lender, if applicable or from the buyer directly) will be transferred to your conveyancer, who will deduct any fees, redeem your outstanding mortgage (if applicable) and transfer the balance to you. You will be required to vacate the property and to hand over all the keys to Northwood. We shall then telephone the new owner to collect them. Congratulations - you have sold your property!
Make sure you take metre readings and redirect your post; you can use our change of address checklist to make sure everyone whose important knows that you have moved.
Change of address checklist
Download the checklist below:
The above is only meant as a guide, and no two sales are the same. If you have any specific questions about selling your home, or to arrange a property valuation, get in touch with your local Northwood office.