Humming the ’12 Days of Christmas’ won’t get your house on the market, but if you’ve decided that Christmas 2015 will be the last festive celebration in your current home, then following the 12 steps below will put you in the best possible position to take advantage of the festive peak period for property searches from 28 December until mid-January:
1 December - Research estate agents
Try to shortlist the agents covering your area by asking the following questions: How will they market your property? What is the quality of the photography they offer? Do they offer access to London buyers?
2 December – Consider what will be the deciding factor when choosing an agent.
Having chosen your shortlisted agents, marshal your thoughts as to the deciding factor – will it be based on fees, or how they have valued your property, or who can do the best job and achieve the best price. Don’t be swayed by low fees or a high price.
3 December – Friends and family feedback
Take a good look at your house and try to consider what first impressions it might leave someone who has never seen it before. Ask your friends and family to cast a critical eye and give you some honest feedback. If there are any quick changes you can make as a result, then definitely do! Sometimes all it can take is tidying up a bookcase or putting away some ornaments.
4 December – Make appointments for the agents to visit.
Contact your short-listed agents and invite them over to give you a market appraisal. Make sure you allow enough time for each visit. A good agent will spend time with you to understand what level of service you require.
5 December – Prepare questions for the market appraisal visits
It is wise to create a list of the same questions for each agent – it makes it easier to compare what they have to offer and who you think will do the best job.
6 December – Research comparable evidence on what’s SOLD in your area
Be prepared for the agent that gives you an over-inflated valuation. Some agents are paid on winning instructions, but the real skill lies in delivering results for your client by selling the house. Put it on the market for too much and there won’t be any offers. Price it correctly and you may end up with two people in a bidding war.
7 December – Clear up the clutter, tidy & prepare.
It’s obvious, but many vendors don’t make the house look as good as it can. De-clutter, clean and make sure you are prepared for the professional photographs to be taken. Make sure the entrance and front garden are included in your plans.
8 December – Make a list of small fixes, stage the property
There may be some small DIY jobs that need completing before viewings. The photographer can use photoshop to ‘repaint’ a wall, but the job needs to be completed for when the first potential purchasers walk through the door.
9 December – Appoint your agent (who will organise a photographer, floorplans and your EPC)
There’s always some room for negotiation, so make sure you choose the best agent for the job – not the cheapest. £350 saved on instruction could equate to £5-10,000 off the sale price if you choose the wrong agent.
10 December – Get your paperwork in order
If you need a mortgage to finance your onward purchase, make sure you speak to a mortgage broker or lender before you start the search for your next home. Having this paperwork ready will help to speed up the process once you have a new house to buy and a buyer for yours.
11 December – Choose a solicitor
Don’t leave this to the last minute – you don’t want to be left behind when you’ve got an impatient purchaser in the wings. You could sell on the first viewing! Make sure you choose a solicitor with a good reputation. Your agent will be able to provide you with some suggestions too.
12 December – Decide on launch day
Listen to your agent’s advice regarding the best day to launch your property to the market. Your agent should be able to provide you with data on the most popular times to search for a property over the festive period that you will be able to capitalise on.
After that you can sit back and enjoy a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine and celebrate what could potentially be the last Christmas in your current home!