It may sound topsy-turvy but when you’re selling property, you need to think like a buyer, and when you’re buying it helps if you can put your seller’s hat on.
Why? Because when you understand the perspective of the person on the other side of the coin, you can tailor your sales pitch or your offer to meet their expectations.
Here then, in no particular order, are the top 5 property secrets from a professional buying agent:
1/ Maximise Storage
Storage, and how it’s used, makes any property easier to sell, and by the same token more attractive to buyers. No one ever walked into a cluttered house and raved about the muddled, chaotic ambiance.
Clear out the cupboards, the garage, shed, and loft or basement, putting back only the things that show how effective that storage area is. Buyers can, and will, peep into cupboards and behind doors, and neat, organised storage promotes an easy, efficient lifestyle.
At the same time, pay attention to how light flows through the house. Use mirrors to reflect light into dark corners or extend and widen narrow or cramped rooms and hallways. A well-placed lamp or two will also work magic to uplift dim, cold-looking areas.
2/ Pay Attention to the Small Things
By small things, we mean those little aspects of housekeeping that make a big impression without the viewer actually being aware of it.
- Curtains and drapes — are they hanging straight with even folds and matching restraints or tie-backs?
- Plug sockets and light switches — are they clean and dust free?
- Windows — keep them sparkling clean and smear-free
- Driveways and gardens— make a regular date with the broom and hoe, and clean up any oil spills where cars are parked.
- Wheelie Bins — get them professionally pressure-cleaned.
- Carpets and Soft Furnishings — deep cleaning these will eliminate pet or cooking smells that you may not notice anymore but which your buyer will.
The list isn’t exhaustive but gives you an idea of the kinds of things that stand out to buyers but which sellers are known to sometimes overlook.
3/ Be Financially Prepared
Little can move a sale along quicker than both seller and buyer being in a position to act immediately.
- Organise a mortgage in principle before you even start looking for property.
- Know your budget and stick to it.
- Find a house you want to buy with a seller who’s just as eager to move as you are.
- Draw up a short list of tick boxes for a potential property so you don’t waste time and money looking at unsuitable ones.
- Understand additional costs like legal fees, stamp duty, conveyance fees, so you aren’t tripped up once the buy/sell process has started.
If everyone did this, buying and selling would become a lot less stressful.
4/ Modernise Selectively
Not all modernising projects are worth the money invested if you want to recoup the outlay.
While tired fixtures and fittings should be updated, there’s little point in retiling the entire bathroom unless tiles are broken. Simply whitening the grout will make a huge difference in the fresh, clean appearance of the room.
Similarly, tearing out the kitchen may not increase the value of the house by the amount the project costs. When the cabinet carcasses are good, simply replacing old-fashioned doors with modern alternatives or updating the worktops can have a dramatic effect.
Buyers are more interested in whether everything works, is clean, hygienic, and fit for purpose than they are about the latest fashion. Of course, being up to date on current decor trends is never a bad thing, but if you’re slightly out of date, it’s nothing to spend huge sums rectifying.
5/ Hire a Buying Agent
Buying agents work for sellers as well as buyers, and put a slightly different emphasis on the buy/sell mix than traditional estate agents.
A buying agent will, for instance, work to source properties for buyers before the property even enters the public selling arena. For sellers, they may have motivated buyers that are a perfect match for their property.
Buying agents also tend to work within a local region, gaining intimate knowledge of the property scene and building valuable, diverse contact lists. They have proved invaluable for people on both sides of a property contract, negotiating prices and managing the legal process.
For both buyers and sellers, aspects of the property market are similar. Both want to achieve a sale. Paying attention to what’s important will help to smooth the process, giving satisfaction to both sides.