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Estate agents’ secrets to selling a home

Written by: Christina Hoghton
10 successful strategies to sell your property revealed, from those who know best...

Selling a home and moving to a new one is exciting, but it can also be expensive and stressful.

To help homeowners who want to sell their property, Admiral Home Insurance has teamed up with a panel of expert estate agents to share some of their trade secrets.

Noel Summerfield, head of home at Admiral, said: “While we all want to move home quickly, it can be an overwhelming experience – regardless of whether it’s your first experience of selling a house or you’ve done it before.

“These top tips cover everything from preparing your home before placing it on the market, to negotiating agency fees, as well as what attracts and puts off the all-important buyer post-Covid-19.”

10 secrets of selling (and buying) a home

1. Declutter, keep it neutral and invest small for a big return
“I’ve sold a house for the full asking price after it had been on the market for a while because we changed the kitchen colour from blue to magnolia! And it only cost £40 in paint to make the transformation. It is worth investing small amounts to see a big difference and it can sometimes be all it takes to get the offer you’ve been looking for” says a senior director based in Essex with over 22 years’ experience in the industry.

2. Do your research before selecting an estate agent
“Paying attention to the different agencies selling properties in your area will reveal what agencies are doing well. The number of sold boards is a giveaway,” says the estate agency owner from Suffolk.

3. When it comes to negotiating agency fees, avoid going into battle with a salesman
The senior director from Essex advises buyers to be vigilant of VAT as some estate agents may leave it off the initial figure. He says: “Always think – and ask – is there going to be 20% on top of whatever he or she is going to offer me? Otherwise you could be in for a shock with the final bill.”

4. Get the price right
“Remember, more people equals more offers, which puts you in a better position as you have more to play with” explains a senior director from Essex.

“Put your property on the market for a really good price so that you can get more people through the door. That’s far better than having the property on the market overpriced and then having to reduce the
costs because you don’t have enough people wanting to view it.”

5. Know when to accept an offer and when to wait
“If you have put your property on the market and have had your first open house, for example, and you get offers in, wait at least two weeks before you accept an offer,” says the senior director from Essex.

“The agent should always be there to advise you on how strong the market is and how things are going in order to then determine whether the property is still getting a good response from buyers.”

6. Communication is key to a successful relationship with your estate agent and a quicker sale
A current estate agency owner in Suffolk advises: “There is nothing worse than not being able to get hold of the seller when required. You need to be accessible, available and at the end of the phone if you want things to move quickly.”

7. Buyers are looking for more green space and home offices post-Covid
An estate agency owner from Dorset adds: “With people being stuck indoors during lockdown, it’s made them think about the space that they have or don’t have, and increased the importance of garden space, so people are looking to update and increase their outdoor areas and access to the fresh air.

“In addition, an office space and study are now seen as essential where people are working from home. This feature is definitely high up on buyers’ agendas at the moment.”

8. Aim to book viewings when the sun is shining, and school is in session
“The best time or day to book a viewing depends on the property,” explains one estate agency owner from Dorset. “If there’s a particular time where the sun is more prevalent in the garden, you should try and fix the slot for this time of day.

“Also, if the home is close to a school, avoid doing a viewing when there is likely to be heavy school traffic.”

9. Top considerations for buyers
An estate agency owner from Suffolk advises: “If you’re a buyer, register with all the estate agents covering the area you’re looking to move to. It’s important to have a memorable conversation with the agency, explaining exactly what you’re looking for and the reason why.

“Keep in regular contact with them and make sure to answer the phone when they call to tell you about a property.”

10. Top tips for buying a home
When it comes to a bidding war a senior director from Essex says: “You mustn’t let your heart rule your pocket. You have to stick to your budget. An agent should be within £5,000 to £7,000 of a surveyor’s valuation.”

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