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Tips for selling your house

Feeling overwhelmed with advice about how to sell your house? Here at Strike we’re big believers in keeping things simple so this is a quick, handy article that will take you through some super snappy tips for selling your home.

color garden paint

Firstly, we’ll guide you through how to make your house as saleable as possible. Then we’ll talk about the actual selling process, from getting an agent to negotiating a price.

Firstly - how do I make my house more saleable?

We get this question a lot, and we can see why. You’ll want your house to be shipshape, so ensure the fastest sale at the best price possible. A fast sale also ensures the house doesn't drop in value, which happens if the house lingers on the market for a while. So let’s get this house sold, sharpish and add thousands of pounds to the asking price with this useful advice.

1) Clean and declutter

You know that bit in Snow White where all the Woodland creatures help her to clean up and brighten the house? You want your prospective buyers to come in feeling like those forest animals have just left the building.

2) Decorate

Spending some cash now should make you more money in the long run. A lick of paint doesn’t cost a lot, but could vastly improve the overall feel of the front room, for example. Though you can’t predict what the viewers will exactly want from their future home, you can make some pretty good guesses that they’re not looking for somewhere that looks dark and dingy, for example. Making the space feel as airy and bright as possible is a good bet. Don’t make dramatic design decisions, instead keep things fresh and clean with light but neutral colours. Redoing kitchens and bathrooms that have seen better days may cost you a little more upfront, but should ensure a higher asking price! Sometimes you’ve got to spend a little to make a lot.

3) Dress the home

Spruce up the space with plants and soft furnishings for a great way to add some surface level touches and make your home seem as appealing as possible. These items will not only add some texture and warmth to the space, but they’ll also ensure it doesn’t feel too depersonalised.

4) Kerb appeal

This basically means how your house looks from the outside – how inviting it is. You might think about changing the door colour, adding smart lighting to the doorway, replanting the front garden (or even just clearing the leaves), and/or fixing any issues with the roof and windows. The aim here is not only to attract more viewings, from local folk who may be passing by and see a gorgeous house with a “for sale” sign outside, but also to give prospective buyers a brilliant first impression. Allow them the opportunity to pull up to their future new home and get all the warm and fuzzy feelings! (Sorry for saying warm and fuzzy feelings…but you know what we mean.)

5) Smell

It may seem silly, but bad smells are the biggest turn-off for people viewing a house. Get rid of the nasty ones by making sure drains are clear, bins are clean and by not cooking anything pungent the night before a morning viewing. Open windows where you can! Bed sheets should be clean and smelling great, in order to make sure the whole bedroom smells fresh. Buying fresh flowers and lighting candles is also a great way to infuse the room with fresh, clean scents that will hopefully have a big impact on your viewer.

Now you’ve got some guidance on what you could do to your house, let’s lay out a roadmap for the actual selling process.

1) Find an estate agent

You’ll need a reputable and experienced estate agent who has a good track record of selling homes in your area. Though you could be tempted to scrimp on this bit (opting to sell it yourself), this is an unpredictable and potentially risky route, especially if you haven’t done it before. We recommend saving yourself the hassle and risk and finding a great agent. You could get a few different agents to value your home (if you’re prepared to pay for them, but remember they’re always free with Strike). That way you can get to know the person who will be selling your (probably) most expensive asset. If you’re looking for some more guidance on how to get to know your agent, check out our list of questions to ask your estate agent.

2) Price it right

Pricing your home correctly is key to attracting potential buyers. Research similar homes in your area and get a professional valuation to determine the right asking price. You can start with an online valuation, to give you a rough estimation, but then you’ll want to get it valued by an expert if you decide you’re going to sell. This will then give you an idea of the budget you have to spend if you’re planning on buying a new property. You want to get a price you’re happy with, but you also don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Research shows that 70% of estate agents have said the number 1 mistake people make when selling their home is pricing it too highly. Your estate agent should guide you through this part: trust their expertise.

3) Be flexible on viewings

Be open to viewings at a variety of times, including weekends, to accommodate the schedules of potential buyers. If you decide to go with Strike, we can host your viewings for you. We don’t charge an agency commission here at Strike, instead you can add services like hosted viewings as a paid-for add-on, meaning you can curate exactly the kind of agent you want. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow for constant viewings, let us handle that for you.

4) Be prepared to negotiate

Whilst you should be ready to negotiate on the price and any other terms, you should also have a bottom line that you're not willing to go below. You can work with your agent on this - what are your limits and boundaries? Decide on a sensible red line and don’t compromise; if you don’t have any luck, then you may have to take it off the market and try again in a few months when the market changes.

5) Be prepared for extra costs

The process of selling a home can take longer than expected and may involve unexpected costs. Not only do you have to be patient during the process, but you should have some budget set aside for these extra charges. Things don’t always go as smoothly as we’d like, and by building a buffer into your budget you can avoid your sale to fall through because you haven’t budgeted for even small obstacles. Some of these costly bumps might include:

  • Selling your current home before your upcoming home is ready (either the sale might not have gone through, or you have to do some work on it) – If this is the case then you will most likely find yourself renting…or staying with friends or family, if you’re the rare exception where they actually love you enough to let you and your huge cat and 2 children and sewing machine move in…So, yeah. You’ll probably be renting. Think about building this into the budget!

  • Stamp duty on your next home – you won’t be paying stamp duty when selling, but you will if you’re planning to buy your next property. 

  • Capital gains tax – if you’re home isn’t your primary residence, remember you will have to pay CGT, which is a percentage of the profit you make on your property. 

  • Moving costs – packing materials, removal services, storage facilities (if you need them), it all adds up! Think ahead and borrow boxes and bags from friends if you’re looking to save some money. Some little cost cutting tricks here and there can add up.

  • Mortgage costs and admin – talking to a mortgage broker sooner rather than later will help you to have an idea of what mortgage deals might work for you. Whilst the end of 2022 saw the removal of a lot of low rate mortgages from the market, 2023 sees lenders cutting fixed rates so mortgages are becoming more affordable. A broker can sort out a mortgage in principal, which is like having a promise for a mortgage when the time comes. You’ll also want to work out what you’re doing with your current mortgage - are you porting it (which means taking it with you to your new house), or paying it off and getting a new one for your next place. If you are taking it with you, do you need to extend it if your next house requires borrowing more money? Or perhaps you’ll port your current mortgage plus take out another one on top. It’s up to you, but as you can see there are a lot of options, so it’s good to be aware of them before you start the selling process.

Here at Strike, we want your move to be as smooth and painless as possible. We believe the key to a pain-free selling process is having useful and jargon-free information to hand – knowledge is power! These tips should help you to feel  empowered and in-the-know throughout the selling process.