Advice for future sellers in self-isolation

Dawn Carritt, our Director of Country Houses and Estates, shares her top tips for sellers in self-isolation.

Our first priority at Jackson-Stops is to minimise risk to staff, clients and those members of the public that we deal with, which is why it is important that property transactions and property viewings are placed on hold. However, that doesn’t mean sellers should sit on their hands during this time. In fact, for those sellers with unexpected time of their hands, there are a number of important steps you can take now, which can help speed up the process when you are able to launch your home to the market.

Finding the right solicitor for you

For those looking to sell this year, now is a good time to decide which solicitor you are likely to use. Most solicitors are now working from home and can be easily contacted. Explain to them that you are thinking of selling and want to get as much of the paperwork sorted as possible. In particular, I would recommend you ask them for the enquiries forms (TA6, TA7 and TA10) which are the forms they will normally send you when you agree terms with a buyer. These with show you a raft of questions to be answered and the various documents you will need to unearth, ranging from service records and guarantees to planning permissions and listed building consents.

Get your hands dirty

For those with gardens and larger amounts of land, make sure your boundaries are clearly defined and weeds are cut back. This will mean that once you are able to show potential buyers around, not only will they be able to appreciate the extent of your land but they will also be able to see that the fences, gates and hedges are all in good order, particularly after the storms we had earlier this year. 

Now is also an opportune time to think about what is growing in your garden, particularly if the good weather holds up. With many garden centres looking to sell their products, you should still be possible to order plants online. If so, you can get the weeding and the planting done now so that once summer arrives, you’ll have a beautifully stocked garden. Even if the estate agents and their photographers are still not allowed to come and photograph your property you can take your own pictures of your garden looking its best to show potential buyers in the future.

First impressions count

Property maintenance may not be quite so easy at this current time as it depends on whether one can purchase building materials online and whether builders are going to be able to come and do non-essential work. However, for those that are good at DIY now is the time to get any jobs you can do done. First impressions really do count when it comes to selling so things like painting the driveway gates or front door and where possible fixing anything that is broken is advised.  For the larger jobs, if nothing else, make a list of what needs to be done, particularly on the outside of the property and see whether your builder can get this work in the diary once Government guidelines allow this.

Dig out the instruction manuals

Use this time to collect any instruction manuals for equipment and start building up a folder for a new owner, so you’re not scrambling around for these once you come to pack up your belongings. For the same reason, you may also want to put together a list of contractors who you regularly use and who maintain the property’s heating, home entertainment equipment, and swimming pools.

Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted

Finally, if you own a period building or one with an interesting history, consider briefing your chosen agent now. They can’t come and visit the property but sharing a selection of photographs can help and the agent can then carry out the necessary research. I specialise in historic houses and buildings of architectural importance. Such properties take time to research thoroughly and the information can reap dividends when one comes to sell as it helps attract the right kind of buyer. However, the research takes time to do, and much of it can now be done online. Like so many things ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’.

If you are looking to sell your home later this year and want further advice on how you can spend your time in self-isolation wisely, please contact your local Jackson-Stops branch.