Purchasing a Property on the Isle of Wight
1. MARKET TIMING
We are finding that generally there is no ‘wrong’ time to sell a home as even last December we were achieving successful sales – and the trend still continues. However, the traditional Spring time to commence marketing (February – April) still remains true, as well as Autumn (September/October).
2. DE-CLUTTER & DE-PERSONALISE
Potential buyers can imagine themselves living in a home more easily if personal items (photographs, ornaments, posters) are removed. Things rarely used could be put in the attic/cellar perhaps – or, failing that, use one room for such items. Ensure the furniture is positioned to maximise space.
3. FRESH & CLEAN
The front garden (if applicable) and front door are the first items noticeable to visitors. Ensure the entrance door is well painted and clean – and that the garden is neat and, if possible, with some colour (whether with planted borders or tubs and perhaps a hanging basket). Internally, a fresh coat of neutral paint and new flooring where necessary can make such a difference to first impressions. If you prefer not to re-tile a bathroom, re-grouting should suffice. If there are net curtains, if it is possible to live without them, taking them down will give more natural light. Placing fresh flowers gives a lovely fresh feel and splash of colour. Even if not decorated (not always necessary as most new owners will wish to put their ‘own stamp on it’) ensure the property is fresh, clean and bright.
5. CHOOSING AN ESTATE AGENT
It is wise to have more than one local agent to value your home but, although tempting to go for highest value/lowest fee, this could back-fire on you. An agent should explain why they have arrived at their market figure, giving comparable evidence of recent sales as well as explain why they feel they would be the right agent for your property, They should be have an in-depth knowledge of the area as this is equally important to a buyer who may be in unfamiliar surroundings). Also, if they are genuinely enthusiastic about the house, this is a good sign as they will also be enthusiastic when describing it to potential buyers.
If the information is not volunteered, ask what up front fees are applicable and whether there is a ‘tie in’ period contract. Check what property websites they are linked to and why they feel they are the right agent for you. Above all, it is important to have good rapport and trust with your agent. If they charge a slightly higher fee, they may also a superior service and achieve a better result for you – i.e. speedier sale/better price – which will justify the fee. Ask to see an example of the brochure they will produce.
6. MARKET PREPARATION
If you have a mortgage, check there will be no penalties with your lender. As well as the advice listed above, consider your onward move. If you need to tie in a purchase, it is worth to start checking what is available, and registering with all agents in the area you will be moving to. If you are able to consider renting, this will allow you to sell your house as ‘Chain Free’ which can simplify a sale – and put you in a good buying position when you eventually buy.
It really does help to have a For Sale board, and tell your neighbours – word of mouth is a powerful tool. You never know who might live just round the corner, waiting for your house to come to the market. It is important for an agent to have clear and concise brochure with excellent photography and detailed floor plans which all feature on the main property portals. The local paper is a good tool as well as concise window displays.
It is usual for agents to accompany viewings. They should give as much notice as possible (24 or 48 hours) – although sometimes short notice viewings are requested. If there is a parking space, it is wise to leave this free for a ‘viewer’ if street parking is not always available. If there are dogs, just in case someone is not so keen/allergic, it is wise to take it out for a walk at that time or see if a family member/neighbour could look after your pet for a while. Often sellers wonder whether they should be home during viewings. Although this is personal choice, potential buyers are more open with questions if the owner is not there. An agent should always give feedback soon after the viewing – whatever the outcome.
9. CHOOSING THE BEST BUYER
If lucky enough to have more than one offer at the same time, the person who offers the highest price is not always the best choice, i.e. there may be a very long ‘chain’ (the agent should check out every part of the chain with relevant agents prior to relaying the offer). We find out exactly their financial and buying position – providing proof for the owners where relevant.
10. OFFER ACCEPTANCE AND THE SALES TRANSACTION
Estate agents act between a vendor and buyer. Although their client is a seller, they do need to ‘work for’ a buyer too because they are an important part of this process. Once a deal is struck, the property is removed from the market (or at least labelled as ‘sale agreed’ on marketing tools). An agent prepares the memorandum of sale to both acting solicitors and keeps vendors and purchasers fully informed of progress, assisting solicitors where possible and chasing outstanding items.
The best part of an agent’s job is handing keys to excited new owners! This means that a successful transaction has taken place.