How to sell in a buyers’ market

With families across the country tightening their belts and mortgages becoming more difficult to obtain, the UK housing market is becoming increasingly focused on the buyer – a rare commodity in challenging times. In a market where the buyer is king, what can you do to make your property an attractive investment?

We’ve created an 8 step plan to help you through the tough times and snag a buyer for your property:

1. Get the price right.

It is extremely important not to get carried away and price your property too high. A good-value price will attract buyers and can start a bidding war. Struggling agents can set unrealistically high values to attract business, so it is important to ask every agent who values the property to provide evidence supporting that valuation.

Accurately valuing a property is a difficult task. If you are unsure of the figure you get from your estate agent, ask a qualified Chartered Surveyor to carry out a formal valuation.

2. Pick your moment carefully

Selling your property is a big decision and a long, important process. It is good advice not to rush into putting the property on to the market. Bide your time and wait for market conditions to look up if you can.

3. Be prepared!

It is a difficult market at the moment so things might not go as smoothly as you would like. Spend a few months before you market the property, carefully planning the process. If buyers aren’t biting, have a plan of action prepared. Be ready to lower the price, take a different strategy or wait for the market to perk up.

4. Be aware of the stamp duty thresholds

A savvy buyer will know what they are and might try to negotiate you below the threshold. The current barriers are:
· 5% Stamp Duty at £1,000,000+
· 4% Stamp Duty at £500,000 – £1,000,000
· 3% Stamp Duty at £250,000 – £500,000
· 1% Stamp Duty at £125,000 – £250,000

Astute sellers will price sufficiently above the threshold to create a buffer and avoid the possibility of aggressive negotiations.

5. Spread your advertising net far.

Overseas buyers can enjoy the benefits of a weak sterling at the moment and are reputedly increasingly searching outside of London. Add to this the ‘counter-urbanisation’ effect, with more professionals retiring or moving out to the countryside, and it could well be that your buyer won’t be local to the area. Spread the advertising net far and wide and make good use of the internet.

6. But be careful when considering using two agents.

It might be a tempting way to access more of the buyers’ market, but the confusion can mean you lose control when it comes to the purchase. If you do choose to do this, check the fine print very carefully; some Estate Agents will insist on ‘sole agency’ and even if you sell your home privately or through another agent you will still be charged a commission fee.

7. Make sure you present your home to the best of your ability, inside and out.

Every room needs to make a good impression on the buyer and they need to be able to visualise themselves in the home. Re-grout bathroom tiles, realign cupboards, de-scuff floors, clean the carpets and clear away as much personal clutter as possible. Make sure the windows have all been cleaned well; sun streaming through a dirty window is a dead giveaway. Return each room to its proper function. If the lounge, for example, has become a makeshift children’s play area it may put off buyers.

8. Have patience

There is always demand for a well placed, well priced and well presented property. It might take a little longer than you would like in this market, but persevere and you will find a buyer.

Many properties are being overpriced by estate agents keen to attract sellers. If you want an independent expert to value or survey your proposed property purchase, go to www.propertysurveying.co.uk and contact the local, independent, professionally qualified Chartered Surveyor near you.

28-09-11

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