Achieving the best price
Where to invest time & money before marketing your property
Preparation and empathy are the keys. When you like a property, you start to imagine living there. Part of our job is to work with vendors to help remove the barriers to that process, then to show you, the buyer, what physically exists and crucially, in achieving the best price for the vendor - to show the potential of the house, how it, and your life there, might evolve over the years.
Too few vendors allow time for anything other than stage two - showing the house as it is. As a result, they often set and accept a lower price than necessary, or take what should have been preparatory action only after their house has failed to sell. By that time, any buyers that are interested feel in a strong position to negotiate.
So what steps should vendors take to ensure maximum appeal for their property?
Guidelines are as follows:
1. Secure your boundaries
Vagueness is a real barrier. Buyers like to be able to see what they are getting. That means clearly identifiable boundaries that will correspond to the plans on your title deed. If you have any boundary disputes, resolve them. If you have a public footpath through your garden, attempt to have it re-routed. If you have shared access (including private roads) ensure the rights of all concerned are properly defined.
2. Remedy off-putting defects
Most houses have some obvious defects, such as rotting window frames, that stare you - and your potential buyer in the face. First impressions count, so the worse these are, the more it will pay to have the work done.
3. Install kitchens for yourself
Kitchens can really sell, but it is difficult to recover the cost of a top line fitted kitchen, especially as many buyers have strong ideas as to what they want.
4. Schedule maintenance costs
Particularly important for larger houses and listed buildings where high maintenance might be assumed. Vendors are often genuinely unable to give precise figures, but this uncertainty tends to prove more discouraging to buyers than the actual costs themselves.
5. Extensions and conversions: do get permission, do not build
Most vendors are reluctant to get involved in these projects, even where they are likely to pay. Obtain planning permission, however, and you highlight potential, without having to fulfil it yourself.
6. Option adjacent land
The decision as to whether to buy adjacent land will always be determined by individual circumstances. However, if you can secure an option to buy, you will then be in a position to offer your house with or without the extra land, thus again expanding your market without having to commit to action.
7. Exploit any history
Nothing fires a buyer's imagination like a house with a history. Anything of national significance will usually be known, but local research often yields minor gems that are of great interest to buyers and to the press. Property journalists are constantly looking out for interesting homes and can give valuable publicity. So, whatever is special about your property, make sure your agent knows about it - and uses it.