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Top tips: advice for first-time sellers

First-time buyers receive a lot of media attention and are also blessed with a wealth of useful information, tips and advice on how to purchase a property, whether it be online, via newspapers, through TV programmes or from friends and family who have bought before.

By contrast, first-time sellers are pretty neglected, with the assumption being that this demographic will be fine on their own, despite the fact they’ve never sold a home before.

With this in mind, and to help the plight of first-time sellers, we have compiled a list of top tips on how to sell a home for the first time.

Set a realistic asking price

This is something your agent can advise on, using their years of industry experience and expert local knowledge to set a price that is both fair and competitive. It’s a difficult balance to strike – go too high and you risk alienating prospective buyers; go too low and you risk undervaluing your property and not getting its full worth.

Pick the right agent

Choosing the right agent in the first place is also a hugely important step for any first-time seller. A good, reliable agent will ensure the house selling process is as painless and simple as possible, keeping you up to date and in the know throughout. They will also deal with any issues in a measured, professional manner.

By contrast, a bad agent could delay the sales process significantly and leave you in the dark when it comes to information about the sale of your home.

Before you bring your home to market, it’s a wise idea to carry out thorough research into the best local agents in your area. Online reviews can be useful, as can recommendations from friends, family and work colleagues.

Using a well-established agent with excellent local and national knowledge will boost your chances of selling quickly no end, marketing your property effectively and targeting it towards the right sort of buyers.

Make your home feel less personal

A cluttered home is unlikely to appeal to would-be buyers – in fact, it could actively put them off. A home that feels too lived-in and intimate makes it difficult for buyers to visualise the home as their own.

More than anywhere else, clutter tends to form by the front door, in the living room, in the kitchen and in spare rooms. Make sure these areas are clean and tidy and keep the knick knacks, heirlooms and family photos to a minimum.

When a buyer comes to view your home, let them explore as much or as little as they want and allow them to go at their own pace. Be on hand to answer questions, but don’t be too pushy, intrusive or over-friendly. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying out the viewing, an agent will

happily do this on your behalf – and will be able to offer buyers a more neutral, unbiased appraisal of your home’s best attributes.

Take a flexible approach to viewings

To successfully sell your home, you need to get the viewings right. They are often the make or break moment for buyers, so your property needs to be up to scratch. Sub-standard simply won’t do.

As well as a clean, inviting and attractive home, taking a flexible approach to viewings should also increase your chances of selling. Most buyers, especially those purchasing homes in London, are likely to be busy, time-poor people with very crowded schedules. As such, they will appreciate flexibility when it comes to viewing times.

If you can accommodate their requests as much as possible – as long as they aren’t demanding a 6am or 11pm viewing – this should help to up the number of eyes on your home. Work closely with your agent to get as many viewings as possible. After all, the more viewings you have, the better your chances of selling your home.

If you can arrange viewings during daylight hours – allowing you to shine the best light on your property – that would be ideal. With spring now in full swing, longer days and better weather are becoming more commonplace, and it’s also the season when activity in the London market tends to ramp up. Be sure to use this to your advantage.

Make sure your marketing is up to scratch

Again, this is something your agent will help you with – ensuring that all aspects of your marketing strategy, from online adverts and full-colour photos to floorplans, viewings and property particulars, are up to scratch.

In this day and age, of course, having a significant online presence is vital. The majority of buyers will head first to Rightmove, Zoopla and other major listing websites to browse for property, so it’s important that your property stands out from the crowd on these platforms.

As a first-time seller, it’s highly likely that you’ll be selling a starter home to first-time buyers. This demographic, which makes up a big proportion of the buyers’ market in the capital, will be active, keen to push through sales in a fast manner and highly tech-savvy. They will be searching for properties on their smartphones and tablets, probably on the move, so your home needs to wow them and make them look twice.

Fortunately, the first-time buyer market is currently booming, so you won’t be short of demand for your home. The recent abolition of stamp duty for most first-time buyers and favourable borrowing conditions are helping to keep demand high; if you target your property well, your chances of selling should be good.

Selling a home requires patience, determination, persistence and, more often than not, a little helping of luck. Carrying out the above steps, though, will certainly do your chances of a successful sale no harm. For more help and advice on buying or selling a home in London, please get in touch with Atkinson McLeod. To find out how much your home could be worth in the current marketplace, you can request a free and instant online valuation.

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Top tips: advice for first-time sellers
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Top tips: advice for first-time sellers
First-time buyers receive a lot of media attention and are also blessed with a wealth of useful information, tips and advice on how to purchase a property, whether it be online, via newspapers, through TV programmes or from friends and family who have bought before.
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Atkinson McLeod
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