The property ladder is one of the best established and easiest methods of investing to understand. But don’t let anyone tell you that it’s easy to climb. Whether you’re looking to make good on an investment or you just want the best price you can get for a home that you’ve spent years in, getting the sale right is essential. But there is a wide variety of mistakes that people keep making. Let’s take a look at the potholes where many falter but you will be certain not to fail.
Selling when it’s the wrong move
Selling isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, it might be your only option, such as if you need the capital to afford another home. But if you’re looking at long-term investment, you should consider whether or not the property might be better suited as a rental. You could stand to make more money renting in a city where rent prices are higher than the rest of the surrounding area, for instance. But there are also areas where getting a steady stream of tenants is nigh-guaranteed, such as city centers close to retail areas where professionals are constantly looking for some accommodation. Do your research before you make the choice of selling or renting.
Not understanding price-points
If you are, indeed, selling, then you need to start by getting an idea of how much exactly you should sell it for. There are a variety of different factors that play into finding a good price for your home. First of all, you should get an independent valuation, which looks at all the concrete details of the home, including the amount of space available, how many rooms the property has, and any issues that might knock down its value some. But there’s also a wealth of information that might be available to help you value your home, as well. Listings of houses currently on the market in the area and past-listings of comparable properties can give you a closer approximation of the price-tag worth attaching.
Failing to understand the costs
Setting the price point is only going to be one of the key financial decisions you make as well. The costs of selling a home are often just a small drop compared to the gains you stand to make, but if you fail to account for the costs, the process may break down before it has the time to finish. The costs of the estate agent are an obvious one, but there are other hidden costs to keep in mind, as well. You might have to pay for additional home stage or painting. As part of cleaning services, you might have to invest in carpet washing or lawn care. Then you have the legal costs to worry about too, including transfer tax. Make sure you budget them all so you’re not running out of money before a sale completes.
Going it alone
A lot of the tips that follow are going to be simplified, or taken care of entirely, with this one step. If you’re willing to get more hands-on with the house sale and take care of it yourself, you could save a little money that way, but you better have the expertise to back it up. If you’re not willing to do all the research required and learn how to play the market, then you better partner up with someone whose entire career is built around selling homes. Estate agents are well versed in marketing homes and presenting viewings. But they can also simplify the process of understanding the market and the legal steps of selling a home, too.
Not taking care of it
Are you leaving the home for another place, staying elsewhere, or simply selling a home that you don’t live in? If so, you have to ensure that you’re not leaving it in a state that will be scaring potential buyers as soon as they step in the front door or, even more crucially, at first glance. A thorough clean of the whole home, getting rid of any clutter, stains, or marks, is essential. There are plenty of cleaning services that can help you both take of that one big spring clean, as well as more regular tidy-ups throughout the months during the long process of a sale. Remember, exterior matters as much as the interior, too. Keep any gardens tidy and look after the guttering and the roof.
Selling an empty home
Tidying up and getting rid of clutter is one thing, but there are plenty who take it too far and get rid of absolutely everything in the home. It is true that having a little too much style on display can sometimes get in the way of a potential buyer’s vision for the property. But if it’s entirely empty, without any décor or furniture, that can be just as much of a distraction. Instead of buying all new furniture for the place, however, think about renting your décor from a home staging company. Go for a look that has a little personality and engages their imagination as to what they can do with the home, but without being too imposing with its own style.
Not marketing it
Again, this step can be simplified a ton with the simple act of hiring an estate agent who knows the property and knows the area. But even then, it’s worth thinking about new and relevant ways to market the property. Are there any listings that it could be suited to? Could you and your network better improve awareness by sharing those listings on social media? Do you have the best possible photography for the property and are you including all pertinent details? Learn to market your home, even if you’re using an estate agent. It’s your best bet for catching those buyers you might otherwise miss.
Trying to hide issues with the home
Every home has issues, whether they’re minor or major. Structural problems, disputes with neighbors, building work done in or around the property, planning permission complications. No house is perfect. The problem is when you try to pretend that your property is. Failing to declare some of these more major issues won’t just scare a lot of buyers away when they do their own research and find out about them. If you do end up selling the home and the buyer only becomes aware of said issues after the sale, then it could lead to potential legal trouble for you. There’s nothing wrong with being unaware of crack in the basement wall that might be caught by an inspection, but try not to hide too much that you’re already aware of.
Putting nothing into it
This is for those that are a little earlier in the home selling process. Particularly, those with an investment property but haven’t yet thought about when to sell it. Shifts in the market and developments in the area are some of your best bets to make the most money with your home, but if you’re not making any home improvements to increase its value yourself, you are making a mistake. You have to factor how much said improvements cost compared to much they stand to add, but additional conversions, extensions, and renovations are certain to bump up the price. If you have a property in an area that’s being developed and showing lots of promise, then invest in the property to keep up with the improving standards.
Failing to negotiate
There is a serious issue with egos when it comes to selling the home. Don’t be one of those sellers who comes to the table with a narrow view of getting what you’re asking for and nothing less. Sometimes, very occasionally, you will strike it lucky and get exactly that. However, the vast majority of homes on the market sell at less than asking price. Being difficult during negotiations is only more likely to turn away buyers even if they are interested in paying a decent price for the home. Take emotion out of it, treat it like a business transaction and negotiate like a pro.
Having unrealistic expectations
Don’t go into the selling process expecting everything to be easy and the home to be gone within a month’s’ time. It doesn’t take that long. Even if you find a willing buyer immediately, the legal process of selling can take a couple months, if not more. There’s also the potential for little roadblocks such as missing paperwork or fixes you need to make that can push the timeline even further back. You can prepare for a sale as much as you like, but keep your expectations open. Aim for a sale within the year, prepare for the chance you might be waiting a little longer.
There are plenty of mistakes to make in all stages of the home-selling process. Staying vigilant is key but don’t forget to rely on experts where your own knowledge falters. You can get a lot more in return if you’re willing to invest a little now.