A recent attention grabbing headline claimed that “Buying or selling a house is most stressful part of modern life“. This bold statement is based on a survey commissioned by estatesdirect.com and backed up with a list of the top 10 most stressful elements. At the risk of being accused of being cynical, we at Propia treat all such surveys with a pinch of salt; the sample size is invariably statistically insignificant and the questions so heavily loaded, in accordance with whoever has commissioned the poll, that even our pet dog (who is yet to get onto the property ladder) would support the original notion.
If we are going to insist on being so downright contemptuous of these surveys then why are we even giving them the time of day? Well, specifics aside, there is often an element of truth in them and certainly in this case the process of selling a home can be very difficult.
A large source of this discomfort stems from the fact that it is something most of us will only do a few times in our lives and so we do not take it in our stride like we would, for example, popping round the corner to buy a pint of milk in the morning. The internet is therefore peppered with sites offering tips and advice to help guide you seamlessly through this process and so, not wanting to be left out, we have put together our own little guide.
However (you probably knew this was coming) we like to do things a little differently and being the clinical perfectionists that we are, before we jump straight in we feel it is important to understand exactly where you are coming from. Therefore this blog, as I write, has quickly developed from a one-pager into a three part series. Firstly we will look at exactly what you are looking to get out of the sale and then in the subsequent posts we will look at the top improvements and the top common pitfalls.
So, you are selling your house? Good. Congratulations. If done properly it can be a lot of fun, rewarding and profitable. But before you start dreaming about all that, you need to ask yourself:
“What am I trying to get out of this process and what do I really want to avoid?”
We would suggest the answers to this can typically be chosen from the following:
Clearly some of these are heavily intertwined, but some are also (excuse the maths expression) inversely correlated. Let me explain:
Bob is selling his house. Bob has read the first half of this wonderful article and decides that all 4 are of equal importance and he wants to optimise all of them, he asks Propia (that’s us) for help. We tell him that we can add value to his house by building a loft extension and side return, fitting new flooring, a new kitchen and a new bathroom and then subsequently presenting it for market and helping with the marketing BUT this will delay the sales process by 3 months and create a significant amount of disruption given that he lives there with his wife and recently born quadruplets (hence the need to move)!
So, you see, you can’t always have all of the above. Taking each one individually:
1. Sell for a high price
Typically this is either 1st or 2nd in order of priorities. You are always restricted by the prevailing market conditions but you are also always capable of maximising the value given those conditions. This is exactly where we at Propia can help you, from making physical changes to presenting your home there are many ways to achieve that best price. All decisions you make such as the estate agent you choose, the asking price, negotiation tactics and your onward purchase will all contribute to the final price you achieve and all have knock-on effects on the other factors to consider.
This can really be broken down into two parts. Firstly there is the pre-sale when you are preparing to put your property on the market and then secondly there is the time period when it is actually on the market. The former is the part we feel is often rushed as many people do not put in the required effort to help maximise part 1 above. The latter is the time during which you should keep your home looking like a show home for weeks on end whilst nosy people try and picture themselves living there.
By making the right decisions early on you can limit the amount of hassle you are likely to encounter. Choosing the right agent, conveyancer and, in particular, buyer will all help to reduce the likelihood of unwanted surprises.
Similar but distinctly different from hassle-free, minimising disruption is for those who want to lead a normal life throughout the process. If you care about all the items above this is realistically not possible but for some people this is where their priorities lie.
So, think about it, what are your motivations for selling and which of the inverse of the above would really get on your nerves?