Selling Your Property
The prospect of selling your home can be daunting – all the more so if you are looking for another property to buy at the same time. The decisions you make along the way could save you – or cost you – many thousands of pounds. Here’s our guide:
What price should I sell my house for?
One of the most agonising decisions when selling your home is what price to put it on for. Different estate agents may suggest different figures. Put it on too high, and you might not sell it. Put it on too low, and you might get far less than you should.
This is one of the biggest financial decisions you are going to take in your life – and it is as much art and luck as science. Once you have done everything you reasonably can to make the house more appealing to buyers you then need to stack the odds in your favour as much as possible by doing your homework. Remember, it is you not the estate agent, who decides what price to put the property on the market at.
Do your own research
The only solution is to turn yourself into an expert on local house prices – both how much houses have actually sold for, and how much they are on the market for. Remember that negotiation is presumed
Buyers presume there is space for negotiation in the asking price, so you should be prepared to adjust for that
Ask for 5-10% above what you would be happy to get for it
Decide your house sale strategy
Once you are sure there is nothing else to learn about what price your house should be worth, you need to decide what strategy you use for selling it. Your estate agent will have experience of what works locally, and you should certainly listen to their advice – but you should not feel compelled to accept it. A big factor though is how quickly you want to sell.
Types of buyers and dealing with offers
Getting the best price is the primary objective for most sellers, but there are other important factors to consider, including your buyer’s position. We take a look at the different types of buyers and how to deal with offers.
Different types of buyers
There are generally three different types of buyer:
Those using borrowed money, generally a mortgage
Those funding with cash from the sale of their home
Those buying outright using cash
When does an offer become legal?
A verbal offer will be given and if you decide to accept it the purchaser will place a reservation deposit with their lawyer in an escrow account to show commitment and you will sign to agree to take the property off the market while the lawyers do the searches. The lawyers will check everything and advice the purchasers whether to proceed.
On signing the 10% private purchase contract at the notary the sale becomes binding.
Make sure your solicitor starts working promptly
Check all parties are in communication and responding to requests within the agreed timescales
Complete and return the paperwork sent to you as quickly as possible
What is the timescale?
It generally takes 2 weeks for the lawyers to check everything and do the searches. Longer if the purchasers require a mortgage. You will then both sign the private purchase contract at the notary and as a vendor, you will receive 10% of the purchase price. Then you can decide between you and the purchasers when to complete at the notary. 4-6 weeks later is generally acceptable if there are no other issues to take into account.
Be aware that a mortgage application approval can take six weeks or longer. Purchasers requesting a mortgage will wait for this approval before signing the private purchase contract.
NOTE: The above information is based on our previous experience it is in no way legal advice. You must get legal advice on all of the above from a qualified lawyer in Spain.
How to make your home more valuable and sell faster
Preparing your home for viewers is important. It will not only ensure your property is sold faster but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value
- Get rid of all the excess stuff that has accumulated in every nook and cranny. Put it in storage or give it to a friend
- People need to be able to envisage what the property would look like if they were living there. People often find this difficult, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space you’re offering them
- Don’t make it look like a generic hotel; leave some personality. Apart from anything else it gives unimaginative buyers suggestions as to what they might do
- People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property. Show them the attractive side of your lifestyle
- Consider removing any bulky furniture that makes the room feel small and replacing it with smaller furniture
A fresh lick of paint
- Giving your walls a fresh lick of neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger
- It will enable the viewers to more easily imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their needs
- It will be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately than if the walls were still bright purple or lime green
- Create a good first impression – give the front door a new coat of brightly coloured paint
Fix and clean
- Make any minor repairs necessary – holes in walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles, torn or threadbare carpets. Many buyers want to move in without making changes, so allow for this
- Clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there
- Tidy up the garden: cut bushes back, clean the patio and furniture of lichen and dirt, and cut the grass. While this doesn’t add much value to your home it makes it more likely to sell as people visualise themselves using the garden
Update the kitchen
- The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house. It can make all the difference when buyers are unsure
- Consider refacing your kitchen cabinetry. This is much cheaper than installing new cabinetry and often as effective
- Upgrading kitchen countertops are expensive but can add serious value
- Declutter the surfaces and just leave a bowl of fruit out. Take out any bulky appliances
- Consider upgrading the plumbing fixtures and white goods, but keep in mind that while that could make your property sell faster, you will be unlikely to recoup their full value
Light and airy
- Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter. Consider putting some up, especially in smaller rooms or hallways
- Clean windows inside and out, and replace any broken light bulbs. Making the place feel light and airy makes rooms feel bigger and the property more attractive
- Ensure that you have lamps on in any dark corners
- Putting a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow
Light a fire
- If it’s a cold evening, or even chilly day, light your fire. This will make your home feel warm and inviting. If you don’t have a fire then ensure the fireplace is clean
Make it look pretty
- Make sure the windows are properly dressed with blinds or curtains as naked windows make a place feel impersonal and run down. Buy some cheap ones (e.g. from Ikea) if necessary
- Plants and flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and also smell wonderful. So does that fruit bowl on your kitchen counter
Get the right smells
- Bad smells are the single biggest turn off for prospective buyers. Don’t just cover them up, fix the source of the smell. Clear drains, wash bins, open windows, air the kitchen from old cooking smells, get rid of furniture that is embedded with cigarette smoke, and wash any grimy bed sheets
- If you are a smoker, place bowls of vinegar around the house and leave out for three days. Though the vinegar will smell when you open the windows it will disappear quickly taking a most of the stale cigarette smell out with it
- Conversely, good smells can make a property feel like an alluring home. While it might be impractical to bake fresh bread, cakes or brownies for every viewer that visits your home, you could perhaps brew some fresh coffee
Showing the property
- Let the agent show the property
- It’s their job to know what things to say, what to highlight and what to downplay
- They are also effective at answering those tricky questions about the noisy neighbours etc.