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The ultimate pre-market checklist for sellers

Swindon-based estate agents Dewhurst & Co suggest a variety of ways to get as prepared as possible.

In 25 years of business, it’s safe to say our experts have seen a lot of house sales.

While we’re delighted to guide you as early on in your sale process as possible - even from the first ‘we’re thinking of moving’ - we thought we’d put together a checklist to help you along the way.

Although we make things as easy as possible for our sellers, there’s always a to-do list to get through before that ‘for sale’ sign goes up. We collected first-hand advice from four of our property-selling experts to help you get as prepared as possible to come to market.

Chris Dewhurst

Chris Dewhurst, Director:

1. Get your floorplan and EPC done. An up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate is mandatory for every home put on the market. This tells your buyer not just how efficient your home is, but how efficient it could be with suggested changes. It’s valuable information for buyers, and it’s never anything to worry about. Period properties often come with lower ratings, and buyers are prepared for that.

A floorplan is not mandatory. However, data from Rightmove indicates that properties with floorplans receive 30% more interest than those that don’t. This is because it can be very difficult to get a feel for a house through pictures alone. Viewers - especially those who plan to refurbish or develop - will want to know upfront how big the house and rooms are, and how the place is configured.

When you sell through Dewhurst, we organise your EPC and floorplan as standard.

Richard True

Richard True, Associate Director:

2. Get your financial and legal ducks in a row. Don’t wait until you’ve secured a sale before lining up your solicitor, and if you currently have a mortgage on an existing property you’re looking to sell, check with your lender for any mortgage penalties or conditions. These are the sorts of things that can cause delays once a sale has been agreed.

3. Start your search. There’s no way around it - there’s a lot of admin involved in house selling. But one of the fun parts is starting your search for your onward purchase.

Some people prefer to wait until they’ve secured a buyer before they start looking. But if they sell very quickly, they can be in for a mad rush to find their new home. We recommend starting to get a feel for the area, property types, and local prices early on. Naturally, we can help with this, too!

Natalie Bristowe

Natalie Bristow, Sales Negotiator

4. Get your property photo-ready. One of the things we’re asked most often is, ‘should I redecorate before I sell?’. Our answer always depends on the property and the seller’s unique situation. It’s a delicate balance between adding value to your property and whether it makes it more saleable.

As sales experts, we can advise you on this. If your home is relatively in good condition, it might be best to leave the big jobs to your buyers. People love to put their own stamp on things. Kitchens, bathrooms, and colour schemes can be very personal. And many people find the idea of a ‘project’ more appealing than something that’s all done. On the other hand, your home might be suitable for first time buyers who want it ‘move-in-able’, so keeping redecorations light, bright and neutral is best.

Either way, there are a few things you can do to make your property more appealing. Check your kerb appeal and make sure the front of your property is looking smart. Small jobs like filling in picture holes, painting woodwork, and clearing clutter do wonders for first-viewing appeal.

Set up a little office or workstation to demonstrate people can work from home. Gardens should be as tidy as possible too to create the feeling of space - make sure you cut the grass, sweep the driveway, and clear any old weather-worn furniture. Finally, air, light, and cleanliness are key. You might consider doing a deep clean, keeping windows open, and installing some bright new lightbulbs. This will prepare you nicely for...

5. Property photography. Again, this is something we can organise for you. A professional eye is always recommended for presenting a house in its best light. Once your brochure is ready, you’ll also need a form stating the information is correct, as per the terms of the Property Misdescriptions Act.

Jordan Baverstock

Jordan Baverstock, Sales Negotiator

6. Think about access. Before we take your property to the market and start bringing in viewers, think about how you’d like viewings to work. We do tend to advise sellers to be out of the house while we’re showing potential buyers around. This is because they may find it harder to relax and focus (and be less inclined to give honest feedback!) with you there.

Do you have preferred times? Can you provide keys and/or codes? Is the house alarmed? If you have a garage or other outbuilding, your viewers will want to see it, so remember to think about access for those too.

7. Sign your contracts. The only thing left to do is check you’re happy with your agency terms. This is where we’ll state our fees, and usually a timeframe for exclusive sale rights.

We hope this guide has given you some useful pearls of wisdom for a smooth house-selling process. If you’d like to take things a step further, don’t hesitate to call Chris Dewhurst on 01793 701111 for a no-obligation chat, or property valuation.

dewhurstandco.com

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