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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 23rd Feb 10, 6:46 PM
    • 1,228Posts
    • 3,559Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    Great 'What I wish I'd known as a newbie house seller' Hunt
    • #1
    • 23rd Feb 10, 6:46 PM
    Great 'What I wish I'd known as a newbie house seller' Hunt 23rd Feb 10 at 6:46 PM
    A month ago we asked MoneySavers what they wish they'd known before buying their first pad. We were blown away by the volume of fab tips, so now want to ask folks for their best advice for newbie home sellers.

    Whether it's HiPs, estate agents or enticing buyers with baking smells, please impart your hard-learned wisdom. Click reply below to add your top tips.


    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers


    Last edited by Former MSE Rose; 23-02-2010 at 7:33 PM.
Page 1
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 23rd Feb 10, 8:14 PM
    • 23,970 Posts
    • 27,131 Thanks
    Fire Fox
    • #2
    • 23rd Feb 10, 8:14 PM
    • #2
    • 23rd Feb 10, 8:14 PM
    The minute the house goes onto the market it becomes public property. Potential buyers need to think of it as their future home, they don't want to know that you have outgrown it and can't wait to move - declutter, declutter, declutter and clean, clean, clean.
    What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours.
    • Hopejack
    • By Hopejack 23rd Feb 10, 8:58 PM
    • 505 Posts
    • 350 Thanks
    Hopejack
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 10, 8:58 PM
    • #3
    • 23rd Feb 10, 8:58 PM
    Always shop around for your HIP, some EA's are charging huge prices to organise a HIP for you (some contract it out to a 3rd party and obviously get commission from that). There are some good HIP providers out there who are independent and can save you s. Plus, should you wish to move EAs at some point, that HIP is yours to take as you please. Some EAs will say it's their property and ask for a fee for it if you haven't paid upfront for it.

    Negotiate on the EA's fee - most are negotiable especially in today's market. Even if it's just 0.25% off - it's still a large amount once you add VAT.
    • Hopejack
    • By Hopejack 23rd Feb 10, 9:00 PM
    • 505 Posts
    • 350 Thanks
    Hopejack
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 10, 9:00 PM
    • #4
    • 23rd Feb 10, 9:00 PM
    Just thought of some more...

    Don't be tempted to use the solicitor or mortgage broker your EA tries to push you into (presuming you are buying another property for the latter). Again, they often get commission and some say that their mortgage brokers don't remain completely confidential about your purchase affordability....
    • Cannon Fodder
    • By Cannon Fodder 23rd Feb 10, 9:05 PM
    • 3,848 Posts
    • 6,208 Thanks
    Cannon Fodder
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 10, 9:05 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Feb 10, 9:05 PM
    1) Take Estate Agents "valuations", aka guesstimates, with a pinch of salt.

    A third will go high, hoping to win your business. A third will go low, looking for quick turnover and easy commission. A third will be about right.

    Telling one from the other is a minefield. Get at least 3 EAs in for comparison.

    Use family and friends for recommendations on the best/worst EAs.


    2) Do not sit back and wait for the chain to "do its thing". You have to be proactive, pushing EAs, solicitors, your buyer, your vendor if also buying, your Lender, surveyor, etc etc.

    Otherwise it will take months instead of weeks.


    3) Redirect your post well in advance.


    4) Be honest. Something discovered on the 3rd, measuring up visit, that was not mentioned at first viewing risks scuppering the deal.
    Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 26-02-2010 at 3:58 PM.
    Hi, we've noticed that you don't have a signature to remove. If you're not sure why please read the forum rules or email the forum team if you are feeling left out.
    • Patr100
    • By Patr100 23rd Feb 10, 10:54 PM
    • 1,356 Posts
    • 570 Thanks
    Patr100
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 10, 10:54 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 10, 10:54 PM
    Make sure those odd jobs/decorating/tidying up is done before you instruct an EA and they come round to take the photos otherwise that broken fence, cluttered bathroom etc may be in the brochure/on Rightmove -
    either after instruction there wil be no time to do the jobs before it goes on the market or if you do no one will know by the photos and they may put off potential buyers.
    If the pics look bad, it won't matter how immaculate your home has been made since if they don't get as far as your doorstep.

    or get the EA to update the photos.
    -
    ---I Shop Therefore I Am ---
  • princessamy86
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:06 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:06 PM
    -If you want an agent to drop their fees, try putting your house on at the end of the month-they have targets to hit and will be more likely to drop the fees to ensure they hit these targets for new properties on the books.

    -Be realistic. It's tempting to think, oh mrs down-the-road has put hers on at xxx, but mine's nicer so I'll try it at yyyy which is a bit higher. As a general rule, this is going to put buyers off viewing at all as they will think you are living in cloud cuckoo land, and that you don't want to negotiate. Have a look at your immediate competition and price accordingly.

    -As another posted said, good pictures are ESSENTIAL. Most people look on rightmove, giving you approximately 20 seconds to make an impression on them. Poor photos do not make a good impression. If the EA pictures are awful, get them to retake them or take your own.
    Scar tissue that I wish you saw, sarcastic mister know it all, close your eyes and I'll kiss you cause with the birds I'll share this lonely view.
    • Hopejack
    • By Hopejack 23rd Feb 10, 11:10 PM
    • 505 Posts
    • 350 Thanks
    Hopejack
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:10 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:10 PM
    Be picky about the photos your EA takes - mine spent over an hour taking ours as we kept trying different shots/angles! I'm always amazed at how bad some photos are on Rightmove etc. If you don't care about how it looks why should a potential buyer be interested? Silly things like making sure toilet seat is down etc! My EA even asked me to move little things out of the room like dish drainer in kitchen for photos.

    Never overlook your garden/outside space. This is an important feature and while it doesn't have to be professionally landscaped or anything (or cost the earth), neat and tidy with a bit of greenery makes a big difference. If you can fit table/chairs outside put them there to show the space off etc.

    Likewise, if you can fit a small table/chairs in your kitchen put some in, even if you have a separate dining room with a formal table in it. A lot of people these days prefer to have a breakfasting kitchen to a formal dining room.
    Last edited by Former MSE Penelope; 26-02-2010 at 4:00 PM.
  • timmyt
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:19 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 10, 11:19 PM
    use a solicitor firm local to you. don't go cheap. [avoid selling through national estate agents] never pay less than 500 plus VAT for any sale or purchase. If you do you will have corners cut. Remember even 500 is less than anyone in the process (estate agent, surveyor, mortgage company) are charging, yet your lawyer is your friend and is simply looking after you. They have the most important job to make sure you legally get what you are paying hundreds of thousands for.

    Go cheap, get cheap, but people still will.
    • bitsandpieces
    • By bitsandpieces 23rd Feb 10, 11:38 PM
    • 1,696 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    bitsandpieces
    Shop around for a HIP. Buyers often ignore them completely - this is one product where I would go for the cheapest buy, so long as the company doing it is vaguely competent.
  • timmyt
    be careful about a cheap HIP.....we do repair jobs to defective ones. try and pay no more than 300 all in though. Cost price is just under 200 anyway, and use a local solicitor as they will then know all about your deeds and so can (1) offer you a conveyancing discount (2) may also forewarn you about problems they see, which will help speed up the sale time

    don't use a national estate agent as they will invariably have a pricey HIP and you may not even get to own it if you withdraw
  • Paul Ojelay
    House Selling Tips
    I have over a decade of experience in buying & selling houses and have helped 100s of clients do the same. Main tips:
    • Make it an investment decision, not an emotional.
    • Plan and reseach well in advance - regular check rightmove or similar website sold and for sale prices.
    • Have a definate minimum sale price and timescale written down and have a written back up plan in case you do not achieve it.
    • Pretend to be a buyer and see how low other sellers in your area will go after bartering.
    • Never trust an estate agent. Get at least three agents to value your property and barter with their fees. Make sure they take lots of photos to use on internet advertisement.
    • Make sure your property interior & exterior is clean and tidy. White & magnolia paint and replacment cheap cream/natural carpets will help sell.
    • Remember most buyers are led to buy on emoitional not investment decisions.
    • Be nice to potential buyers. Ask them what they are looking for. Provide email & contact number.
    • Use a conveyancer who has a good relationship with your IFA.
    • Use an IFA who offers advice with a choice of fee or commision rather than a mortgage broker. The aim of most mortgage brokers is to sell mortgages. You may need advice without a product involved and the sale of a property is a major life planning event for most people, which may affect your retirment planning, tax postion, inheritance issues, etc.
    • Have somewhere to move to & take book sufficient time off work.
    • Makesure your inform all institutions of your change of address.
  • Muldoon
    Hi Guys
    We have just sold, for 1k over the asking price! we made the house immaculate inside and out, The wife made the agent come back and retake some of the photos , paid 1% fees got a hip through our agent 250. Used a fantastic of the "internet" solictor (Lambert & Pugh in Norwich, we are near Brighton) who was 550 cheaper than any local one So got the HIP and survey with the savings. We sold for 8k more then the house next door. People who viewed both could not believe how much nicer our house was. De-clutter, do the tip run, De-clutter again! We had four full price offers the first weekend of viewing!
    • Bufger
    • By Bufger 24th Feb 10, 9:45 AM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 3,132 Thanks
    Bufger
    Direct contact with your buyer can help reduce anxiety in the long periods where the sale doesnt seem to be moving. It can also identify which end of the deal is lagging behind so the relevant party can get it moving again.

    This is only advisable if you are a reasonable judge of character. Nobody wants direct contact with someone that will constantly hastle them but it is often comforting knowing that the other people are still moving towards the sale and arent likely to pull out of it.

    Its better to be open an honest than be caught out hiding something towards the end, this can easily ruin the sale and lead to your buyers pulling out. Honesty is the best policy!
    MFW - <100k
    All other debts cleared thanks to the knowledge gained from this wonderful website and its users!
  • pie81
    Here's what I learned when selling for the first time last year:

    Consider using a site like homenetwork to sell. You'll have to do viewings, negotiation of price, and chasing up the chain yourself (we decided against it because of this), but you'll save loads on EA fees.

    Always get several EA valuations and don't be tempted by any that seem too good to be true. They are. Do your own research on similar properties that have sold recently in the area so you can judge what is a fair price. Bear in mind that you will always be biased in favour of your own home - after all you bought it!

    Negotiate with the EA before signing, not only on their fee, but also on their terms. Read their contract carefully. Many still try to get away with terms that allow them to charge a fee even if you sell the place privately to a friend, or even if you fire the EA and then sell to someone completely new through a new agent. If you see terms like this, cross them out before signing.

    Don't get the HIP from the EA (at least not without shopping around first), they are often overpriced. I'd suggest Hips4u.

    Once you've accepted an offer, make sure your buyer is getting on with things. You have taken the place off the market, they should be showing commitment too by booking in the survey asap and getting mortgage arranged. If they don't get on with it, give them a deadline and then put the place back on the market.

    Also check with your solicitor regularly to check where everything's got to.

    Don't lie on the HIP or the seller's questionnaires, they form part of the sale contract and you can be sued if they are wrong.

    Many buyers these days will try to knock the price down as a result of "defects" in the property. This is fair enough if it's something large, like damp or roof issues, but if it's just minor niggles stand your ground. (Our buyers tried to knock the price down just because they thought some plasterwork needed repairing and the fusebox was old...)
  • Noggin the Nog
    When I sold my old flat, it had been occupied by tenants and was pretty empty of pictures and decorative things when they moved out. It looked pretty bleak and would have looked awful in photos.

    I went to IKEA in a taxi, spent about 120 and came back with colourful rugs (2 each, I seem to remember), throws, pictures, decorative baskets to put on the empty shelves, bright teatowels to hang in the kitchen, fresh towels for the bathroom, attractive cushions, etc., and managed to get the whole lot in a taxi back.

    By the time I'd installed that lot it looked fantastic, particularly the burnt orange bed-throw (6). The photos looked great.

    So, my recommendation is that if your home is looking a bit bland or empty, go to somewhere like IKEA where you can get colourful, attractive stuff for very little money, and brighten it up. I'm sure it helped get me loads of viewers!
  • jayohne
    to use an agent or not
    first posting so please treat me gently!!

    I sold my last house in 2003 and because the market was buoyant and I worked for a large company with an electronic notice board I chose to sell the house without an agent... and save on the fee.

    I valued the house sensibly, took lots of nice pictures or my freshly de-cluttered house and got a buyer pretty quickly for a good price... and saved about 3000 in fees.

    But one word of warning....

    When I was buying my next house the vendor (seller) had received offers from myself and another potential buyer. As part of the buying process the estate agents will check out each buyer so that they can advise the vendor as to which is the best offer. Part of this "checking out" investigation is to confirm that you are in a position to move i.e. you have sold your current house. The estate agent was easily able to confirm this from the other buyer by contacting the selling agent but since I had no agent I was asked to provide written proof that I had an offer on my current house. It was not possible to get this sorted out in the time frame required and so the agent recommended that the vendor accepted the other buyers offer.

    So.. in summary. I saved a load by selling on my own but was at a slight disadvantage when buying my next property.
    • dander
    • By dander 24th Feb 10, 11:04 AM
    • 1,589 Posts
    • 998 Thanks
    dander
    Think outside the box for finding solicitors. I got a very good deal on mine because the union I belong to at work offered a discount on various legal services with their recommended solicitor - something like this means you win twice because you get a reccommended solicitor as well as the low price.

    Even in this internet-based day and age, not everyone uses Rightmove (at least when I sold in 2006 I found this to be the case). An estate agent with a busy high-street location will get you more viewings. A for sale board makes a huge difference, especially if your property is in a "good" location - people do still make enquiries based on seeing a board in a place that interests them.

    If there are any problems with your property or issues that you think might cause people to have second thoughts, don't try to hide them. It's better to have people not make an offer in the first place and you don't waste the time and money on progressing the sale, than they keep dropping out when the survey results come back or they find out how short the lease is or whatever.

    An estate agent that is open on Sunday is better, many people want to view houses on weekends. However, in my experience (flat in london) a lot of viewings also take place during working hours. Give your keys to your estate agent if you can and keep the place in good condition - then you can let the estate agent take people round at short notice, even if you are working.

    Be brutally honest about your house. Recognise what the disadvantages are - even if you can't do anything about them it helps you to be prepared for people's reactions and helps you be realistic about the price if you accept that not everyone will consider living right next door to a pub (for instance) an advantage.

    Befriend your estate agent. They are best placed to know what's going on in the market in your area and how people are reacting to your property, both when they show them the details and when/if they view it. People will be more honest with an agent than with the owner of the house. Keep talking to the agent to find out why you're getting the reaction you're getting and figure out what you need to change. Also it pays to keep your profile up at the agents - talk to them at least once a week and your property will stay top of the pile, don't talk to them for weeks on end and they might not know if you are still seriously selling and start to leave your details in the filing cabinet.
    • MoneyBags
    • By MoneyBags 24th Feb 10, 12:24 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    MoneyBags
    My main tips would be - when selling:

    1. Make sure anything in the EA details are correct. When selling our 1st house the property was listed with a parking space - the actual space didnt belong to us - but was actually unregistered land (according the to the land registry) - this mistake cost us 5k

    2. Anything agreed when with the EA / vendor when negotiating a price should be included in the "memorandum of sale" sent to all parties once an agreement has been made ... we were promised a range cooker was part of the house only to find out the vendor wanted 500 for it later
    • mrs T
    • By mrs T 24th Feb 10, 12:50 PM
    • 990 Posts
    • 1,185 Thanks
    mrs T
    Get the boiler serviced and have a report of condition and a receipt. We had to repay a 1000 of our selling price when our purchaser had scottish gas booked to condem our old one the day they moved in. Even more gauling when they boasted what a bargain they'd got all round town plus our kids go to the same school so I still have to see them five years later. We had 25 viewings and only one offer which was considerably less than our solicitor (in Scotland) had told us we would get. I didn't ask for what he said we'd get even when people asked how much we were looking for in the hope we might get more. Offers over is very difficult.
    Last edited by mrs T; 24-02-2010 at 1:00 PM.
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