Sellers take note – it only takes seven seconds for someone to make a first impression about your home, according to new research from Hitachi Personal Finance.
The condition of your front door, hallway and driveway or garden are among the first things people will use to judge your home.
While selling your home can often be more stressful than buying your first property, there are a number of ways to make a sale soon rather than later.
Here, we reveal 15 tips to help you sell your home faster and secure the best price.
- If you’re thinking about selling your home, find out how much you can borrow and where to get the best mortgage deal by calling Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461.
1) Get your finances in order
The first thing you’ll need to do is work out whether you can genuinely afford to sell your home and move.
Having a clear financial plan will help make sure that you aren’t caught out by any unexpected expenses which could delay the sale of your property.
If your new property is more expensive you should find out how much you can borrow and which lender will be able to offer you the best deal.
You might be able to transfer your mortgage to a new property through a process called porting, if you’re still within your existing mortgage term.
- Find out more: the cost of selling a house
2) Get your documents ready early
Sorting out your documents, such as energy performance certificates (EPCs), as early as possible will help your sale move along faster.
Our downloadable checklist explains all of the documents you might need to arrange when it comes to selling your home.
- Find out more: EPCs explained
3) Hire a solicitor or conveyancer
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring a property from one person to another.
Hiring a conveyancer or solicitor before you start accepting offers can help you speed up the process of selling your home.
It demonstrates to prospective buyers that you are serious about selling and want the process to be as efficient as possible.
- Find out more: get a free quote from Which? Conveyancing
4) Choose the right time to sell
Choosing the right time to put your home on the market will increase the chances of it being sold sooner.
If the property market seems slow, it may be worth waiting for momentum to pick up again.
A good indicator of the state of the market is looking at whether house prices have increased, decreased or stayed the same in your area.
If your home has been on the market for a while and you haven’t received any offers, it’s worth taking it down temporarily as buyers can be put off by a house that’s been on sale for months.
- Find out more: interactive house prices map
5) De-clutter your home
Having a lot of clutter and mess around your home hides it’s true potential and is likely to put off prospective buyers.
Getting rid of items that you don’t need will not only help free up extra space but also make it easier for you when it comes to moving to a new property.
You could donate your items to charity or potentially make money by selling them online.
- Find out more: how to sell your house
6) Add a fresh coat of paint
Simple home improvements, like refreshing ageing paintwork, can make a massive difference to how your home is viewed by buyers.
They are also a lot cheaper than bigger projects like kitchen and bathroom renovations – which might end up being changed by a potential buyer anyway.
It’s worth getting an estate agent’s opinion on the types of work that your property might need and whether it’s worth the expenditure.
- Find out more: painting and decorating tips from Which? Trusted Traders
7) Repair and replace broken or faulty items
It’s really important to make sure that everything is in proper working order in your home before people start viewing.
Broken light bulbs, faulty door handles and taps that don’t work properly can really put off prospective buyers and slow down the sale process.
This applies to things outside of your home too; including broken gates and fences.
- Find out more: 7 reasons why your house isn’t selling
8) Make the most out of outdoor spaces
Home improvements aren’t just limited to the inside of your property, the first thing buyers will see is the exterior.
If you have a garden, make sure it’s in good condition and at at the very least, you’ll need to mow the lawn and get rid of any weeds.
Try to keep any garden furniture or equipment tidy too.
- Find out more: Which? Trusted Traders gardening tips
9) Present your home as a blank canvas
Buyers will be looking for a property that they can make their own home.
Try presenting your property in a way that allows viewers to imagine where they could add their own unique touches.
If you were granted planning permission for renovations like a loft conversion but decided against it, for example, display the plans somewhere prominent during viewings.
If you didn’t apply for any planning permissions but know of neighbours who’ve had projects approved, share this with viewers so that they can have a better idea of the building potential of your home.
10) Get your home valued professionally
Invite at least three different estate agents around to value your property.
Be sure to pick companies that have a proven track record of selling similar properties in your area.
Our estate agents comparison tool, in partnership with GetAgent, can help you find suitable companies and get quotes too.
Don’t be afraid to grill each agent on why they think your property is worth the amount that they suggest and ask for examples of how much similar properties on their books have sold for over the last few months.
- Find out more: how to find the best estate agent
11) Set a realistic asking price
It’s crucial that you set a realistic asking price for your home to secure a quicker sale.
Going too high will put people off of buying and you’ll also limit your exposure as your property won’t appear on portal results when buyers set price caps on their searches.
Some estate agents have been found to overvalue properties in order to win business, so make sure that you factor in your own research when deciding on a price.
- Find out more: how much is your house worth?
12) Pick the best way to sell your property
How you decide to sell your property will vary depending on your circumstances.
If you don’t have much time to host viewings it might be best to use an estate agent who can handle this for you.
Make sure that you shop around for the best agent, compare fees and haggle a better deal where you can.
If you’d like to take a more hands-on approach and have time to do most of the work yourself, you can choose not to use an estate agent.
- Find out more: estate agents fees and contracts
13) Help prepare marketing materials
Double check the marketing materials prepared by your estate agent before they start promoting.
Inaccuracies in your property’s description and floor plan could slow down the sale process.
Make sure that the images used to promote your property are high quality and give a good impression of your home too.
14) Make sure your home gets the right amount of exposure
It’s important to make sure that your home is listed on Rightmove, the UK’s biggest portal so that it has a better chance of being found by prospective buyers.
Other major portals include Zoopla, Prime Location and OnTheMarket. If you choose to use an estate agent, make sure that your property is listed on their website too.
You can also spread the word yourself by advertising in the local press and online community forums.
Ensuring that you have a sale board outside your house will also catch the attention of passers-by.
- Find out more: online estate agents
15) Be a good host
If you’re conducting house viewings yourself, try to be as warm and welcoming as possible when showing people around your home.
It’s worth thinking about the order you’d like to show the rooms and any particular features that you’d like to showcase.
Doing a couple of run-throughs before you get started will help you nail your tour down.
Don’t forget to promote your local area and highlight things like the nearest transport links, shops, restaurants, schools and medical services.
- Find out more: area comparison tool: where should I buy a home?
Speaking to an independent mortgage broker can help you make a financial plan to help make selling your property as simple as possible as well as helping you find the best mortgage deal to secure your next property. Call the experts at Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461 or fill in the form below for a free call back.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.