13 Mistakes to avoid when selling your home
Don’t instruct an estate agent to sell your home until you have read this report. Lets start the year well ensuring a successful sale early in 2009!
Imagine you find your dream home and cannot sell your house, because the agent you use is not up to the job and lets you down. This report will give you the inside knowledge of how to avoid genuine heartache and avoid all the stress that can accompany moving house. Martin Hawksby Estate Agents was founded to offer an alternative to the mediocrity in the estate agency world with a sharper and more dynamic approach to selling, providing a hassle free experience.
As we say here… “If it’s not right, do not do it” “If it’s not true, do not say it” (Marcurs Aurelius)
Below is the list of the 13 mistakes you’re most likely to make when selling your home, plus how to avoid them, so you can enjoy peace of mind when selling.
Mistake 1 - Playing Russian Roulette when choosing your agent! Most people when asked how they choose their estate agent reply with comments like; "I viewed a house with them so just gave mine to them", "I like their boards", "I randomly picked them from the paper/yellow pages", "they were the cheapest". The most common comment of all however is without question "I dont know, we just did". Staggering, we make a life changing decision based on a whim, we are all guilty of making massive decisions based on feelings or emotions. By the time you have read this you will hopefully take away the wild guess process of choosing your agent. The first thing I would recommend to anyone looking to sell a property in any area of the country would be to drive around the town and see who is actually SELLING houses, we always have a large market share of properties which is a good indicator that we are a proactive selling agent.
Mistake 2 - Thinking estate agents are all the same and experience is irrelevant is madness. Question; would you choose an agent if they are mature and have a wealth of experience in the industry or would you go for an agent who is young and not experienced - tough one isn't it! Young people have a place in estate agency as they are often energetic and enthusiastic, but they need an experienced head, pulling the strings and orchestrating the team.
Martin Hawksby has been in estate agency for around 25 years and is still massively excited by estate agency. He is 42 years old and there isnt much in the industry he hasnt had experience of so, it would be wise for you to take advantage of this experience, wouldnt it?
Mistake 3 - Being too ambitious with your asking price. We hear these comments all the time, “We’re not in any rush” and “you can always come down but you can’t go up”. Neither of the above comments are in their own way wrong, but in the context of selling a house they can be the cause of untold problems, for example: If your house price is too expensive you do not achieve the necessary level of viewings to enable you to sell, also the house you are buying will probably be sold and the point of the move is gone due to to an overly ambitious asking price. A potential buyer will see your home and like it and then place theirs up for sale but at a price that will not be competitive and the cycle goes on. A mushroom effect takes place in the local market place with many over-priced properties not selling and the market as a whole gets clogged and sterile. Psychologically a house will gain a stigma, with possible buyers if it doesn’t sell in a sensible period of time, and people will think there is something wrong with it and will be hesitant to view it let alone make an offer on it. Viewers will think you are more likely to take a big offer if you have been on the market for a while. If you had priced the house correctly in the first place you would have probably got a better price and in a much shorter time. See what we mean?
Mistake 4 - Thinking your house will sell itself. Many potential clients we have met over the years have felt who you market your property with isn’t that important when it comes to achieving a sale. Lets be honest if visually striking marketing didn’t work then many large companies such as Coca Cola and Tesco to name just two are wasting their time and resources. However, companies such as these have proved over the years a well thought out marketing strategy can be the difference between failure and success. If you properly market your property to the widest possible audience you will more than likely sell it. If you do not, then the level of viewings will not be sufficient enough to enable you to sell. What we mean by this, is if you promote your house better than other houses are being promoted, more people will see it and therefore more people will enquire about it. If you have a glossier and more eye catching brochure than other similar properties have, you will again enjoy more interest in your house. If your property has a floor plan it will offer a more informative overview of your home and again you will receive more viewings. Your house being advertised in a prominent high street office window will again be of a greater benefit to a seller than a bad slot in the window of an agent who may not even be on the main high street and will only use one picture of your property. Do you see what we mean? Marketing is huge!
Many people do no homework on their potential Estate Agent and still think it is unimportant who they use as the house will sell itself. Here at Martin Hawksby we have high quality colour printed A3 details. This ensures when your house is being looked through with many others it will stand out. This along with the high quality photos, digital maps and floor plans we produce means that your home is being presented in a truly eye catching fashion increasing the chance of you selling if you instruct Martin Hawksby. To find out more take a look at our marketing page on this website.
Mistake 5 - Using an agent that doesnt use modern technology or advertise on the internet in the world we live in today could be very big mistake indeed! Time is precious and more often than not we deal with clients through email and the internet who would not be able to contact us otherwise. There are however a lot of estate agents to whom this is still a new concept and not used. Many don’t have an electronic register of buyers and sellers meaning they don’t have the facility to match up any potential buyers instantly to your property! Further more if they are not advertising on the internet and don’t actively use email how can they get quickly get this quality presentation of your house to any clients – fax (poor quality) or the post (sometimes too slow)! We dont need to stress to you the importance and power of internet advertising do we – you’re on it now! You can be reasurred to know that Martin Hawksby offers exposure on a great variety of websites. To find out more visit our marketing page again on this website.
Mistake 6 - Using an estate agent who suffers from a lack of enthusiasm. If you live a busy life you probably hate the idea of researching the local estate agents, to choose which one is right for you. But just imagine that you did and you could interview them all like a job interview, so when you book your valuation or register on the mailing list you look for the tell tale signs of lack of interest or not showing the proper level of respect, i.e. sir, madam etc, or do not ask a wide range of questions about yourself or your property. A great tip is to go into the agent’s offices and check out the way they deal with you as this will be a clear indicator of how they will deal with your potential buyers.
(i) Standing up to greet you on entering their office.
(ii) Discussing the market generally with you and taking sincere interest in your own unique circumstances.
(iii) How well did they sell the idea of viewing any of their houses, this is an excellent way of determining how well they would be pushing yours.
Mistake 7 - Using an agent who does not communicate properly. Poor communication, big deal or not? “We don’t care about that as long as they sell it”. If we had a pound for every time we have heard this, we would be millionaires. We have warned clients about dealing with Estate Agents who have a reputation for poor communication and nearly always our warning has been confirmed and they have suffered with high levels of anxiety and stress. We are sure you can imagine. Many vendors leave messages for their estate agent when they are having problems during the sales process and surprise, they often don’t get a call back.
Moving house is considered to be the third most stressful situation we encounter in our lives behind death and divorce. Because of this it is essential for you to know from the outset that you will get the correct levels of communication throughout the sales process. At Martin Hawksby we pride ourselves on having exceptionally high service standards and our excellent after sales service has earned us many referrals and recommendations over the years.
Mistake 8 - Not presenting your house correctly. We believe it is essential to present your house in a state of cleanliness, pleasant neutral decoration with clean carpets and a de-cluttered environment, with a well maintained garden. If you have all of the above in place and the price is right, it is almost certain you will sell your home, even if the market is terrible. But many people who are thinking of selling do not live like the above, and when they come to sell, they argue that it isn’t important and what’s the point, “As the potential buyer will change it anyway”, also “We don’t want to spend on redecorating or improvements as we will not get our money back.” The reality is that if you don’t, you will not achieve as much money and take literally months to sell and no one really wants that do they?
Mistake 9 - Not creating the right ambience for viewings. If you instruct an agent who is pro-active, uses quality marketing and employs experienced staff then hopefully you will start receiving viewings. Hopefully by this point you have already done what you can in terms of making your home attractive, but your task is not done yet. It is essential that your house is not only appealing to the eye in terms of decor but is kept tidy and is presented to the client in a calm and peaceful atmosphere when the buyer is walking round. Many people laugh when they hear of vendors baking bread or making coffee but it is in fact little touches like this that can make all the difference. We would recommend the following where possible:
1) De-clutter the house and keep it as tidy as possible
2) Try to keep the house free of children and pets for viewings
3) Keep the house quite - no tv’s on and if anything at all only soft relaxing music
4) Try to avoid any nasty smells - litter trays are a classic
5) Make sure the front of the house looks its best - garden tidy, cars moved and even the front door recently painted/cleaned. Remember this delivers the buyer a good, bad or indifferent first impression.
6) In the rear garden make sure there are no toys out, make sure any mess from pets has been cleaned and where possible lawns mowed.
These things may seem obvious but you have to remember when someone buys your home they are not just buying bricks and mortar, they are buying into the idea of their dream lifestyle. Your task is to do what you can to paint that dream. If you need ideas on this we would recommend visiting some local show homes or alternatively ask out one of our experienced staff to give you advice on how best to present your home for the market to make sure you sell it.
Mistake 10 - Using an agent not on the High St. Many Buyers use an agent who is not in the main thoroughfare and then they suffer as a consequence because the number of enquiries they receive are far fewer. If they are off the beaten track you may find that people don’t even go in their office and people who are new to the area may even not know they are there.
Mistake 11 – Opening Hours. It is important that your agent opens when buyers are needing to do business. What occurs when some agents are closed = NOTHING! When we are closed – did you know that a lot can be organised through this website. You can arrange viewings and valuations in principle as well as being able to view ALL our properties online with great information. All agents including ourselves in 2008 have reduced our operational hours slightly, however many have NOT created a 24 hour virtual office online effectively meaning we are NEVER closed! Check the agents websites before you choose, this will tell you a lot about their commitment to you.
Mistake 12 - Not getting your buyers mortgage checked out. Can you imagine how angry you would be if after months of trying to find a buyer, you get one, only to find out after a further few weeks and a lot of money spent, that they can't get a mortgage. Unfortunately this is a reality for many sellers, if they do not check their agents procedures from the outset. We have saved vendors hundreds if not thousands of pounds, in the current climate by insisting that buyers be financially qualified before we recommend an offer to them.
Mistake 13 – Confusing the cheapest fee with high standards of service. Lets be honest, you get nothing free in life do you, so if you get an offer of a cheap fee make sure the marketing won’t suffer and the staffing levels are sufficient enough to conduct business in a busy office. You tend to find that in life you get what you pay for, equally nobody wants to be ripped off so paying an extortionate fee is not something to be recommended either. Think about it, less fee – less marketing – less viewers – less chance and less of a price achieved on your home. An Estate Agent will not give you high quality brochures and lots of marketing and employ lots of staff to sell your house and charge next to nothing in fees, it just doesn’t happen. Pay a fair fee and you should get a good level of service, pay peanuts and you get……. well let’s not go there.
These are just 13 mistakes to be wary of and there are many, many more.
If you are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book first, here is the summarised version: To avoid all 13 mistakes call Martin Hawksby today on 01933 224444 and arrange a free no obligation valuation on your home.