Property: How to sell your home faster

·7 min read
BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/08/15: A For Sale estate agent board sign erected outside a property in in Bristol. According to property site Rightmove, UK house prices fell in August as demand drops for bigger homes after the government changed its stamp duty tax break for buyers. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Ensure your home is in the best possible condition to entice buyers, and that you're well prepared to proceed with a sale as soon as you have accepted an offer. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA /LightRocket via Getty Images

If your home is currently up for sale, the odds are stacked in your favour, as we’re now in a sellers’ market.

Despite this, you may be keen to see things progress slightly quicker than usual. While it’s probably too late to see your home sold this side of Christmas, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure the sale happens as early as possible in 2022.

Should I try selling it on social media?

Recent research revealed that some sellers are turning to TikTok – as well as Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – for advice and tips when selling a property.

Estate agent Purplebricks found that Instagram is the primary social destination for house sellers to get inspiration, with 18% citing it as their go-to resource. It also found that TikTok is the second most popular source, with 16% using it to provide tips and tricks for selling a property.

Some sellers are even creating a profile of their property on these sites to act as a sales tool.

Elsewhere, others are turning to home stagers – those who will arrange the interior to make it more appealing to prospective buyers.

Is it worth using a home-staging company?

Home staging involves stripping back the personal elements of a home and installing bespoke furniture, soft furnishings, accessories and artwork to create a desirable vision for potential buyers. The industry has been given a big boost by property shows such as Selling Sunset on Netflix.

Bailey Carson, from property site Angi, said: “Staged homes spend less time on the market and often bring in higher offers.” While this can be a good way to make your property stand out from the crowd, all this comes at a cost.

Go down the DIY route

If you’re on a budget, you don’t need to pay someone to help you stage your home.

Alicia Murphy, an interior styling expert from the website Emerald Terrace, said: “Some homeowners are now reaching out to stylists and stagers. However, you can also find so much inspiration for interior styling on the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, and get creative from the comfort of your own home.” There are plenty of other tried-and-tested things you can do to help your transaction go through more speedily.

Get the best photos you can

One of the key ways to speed things up is by ensuring you’ve got the best possible photos of your property to help market it. Paul Neal, mortgage specialist at Missing Element Mortgage Services, said: “Make the pictures eye-catching yet simple, as people will flick onto the next property if yours doesn’t instantly catch their attention. Good pictures and a great video will always sell a house more quickly.”

Read more: The happiest place to live in the UK revealed

First impressions count

When selling your home, first impressions are key. They can improve your chances of a speedy sale, while also boosting the value. Focus on things such as a freshly painted door and exterior, and make sure you’ve got clean windows, clear gutters and a tidy driveway.

Kevin Shaw, from property firm Leaders Romans Group, said: “Buyers will make a judgment on your home within seconds of setting eyes on it. Focusing on the outside is a must. This is especially important in the winter when bad weather can hit the exterior of your home hard.”

Update the main rooms in your house

As the kitchen and bathroom are the rooms prospective buyers will be most interested in, it’s worth giving them some TLC. Bruna Pani, from We Buy Any House, said: “If required, give the most functional rooms an update to entice prospective buyers. By sprucing them up you can demonstrate that they are well designed.”

Bookshelf and fireplace in decorated living room at home
Entice buyers by decluttering and organising rooms, and arranging furniture correctly.

Clean and declutter

Make sure your house has been cleaned thoroughly.

Kate Wood, from NerdWallet.com, said: “You don’t necessarily need professional home staging; just a thorough cleaning and some decisive decluttering can work wonders. Removing personal items makes it easier for buyers to envision the home as theirs.”

Don’t forget to draw curtains to allow natural light in, and open windows to let fresh air in.

Give it a fresh lick of paint

Giving your home a fresh lick of neutral paint will do it the world of good.

Pete Mugleston, from Onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk, said: “Your home will seem lighter, brighter and even bigger, and the neutral colours will allow the viewers to easily imagine how they would adapt each room.”

It will also help if you're willing to roll up your sleeves and do some DIY.

Mugleston added: “No prospective buyer wants to walk into a home and see holes in the walls, broken door knobs, cracked tiles and threadbare carpets. Ensure everything is spick and span before opening your home up to viewers. Also get rid of any funny smells, as these are one of the first things a buyer will notice.”

Look outside the boundaries of your property

Even things that aren’t yours but located near your house could make a huge difference.

Colby Short, from GetAgent.co.uk, said: “For example, dumped furniture on the street isn’t going to make for a quick sale. Take a step back, across the road, and have a look from afar.”

Read more: UK home sales halve in October as market put on ice

Have the requisite paperwork to hand

As a seller, you need to be organised; this means ensuring you’re financially shipshape and proceedable.

You must also get all the necessary paperwork in order. You’ll need ID documents, title deeds, the fixtures and fittings form, property information form, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and freehold or leasehold documents. If you’ve had work done, you’ll need planning permission documents and original drawings.

Instruct your conveyancer at an early stage

While most sellers wait for an offer before instructing a conveyancing solicitor – as a conveyancer cannot legally act for you until you have a buyer – there’s nothing to stop you instructing one ahead of this.

Chris Salmon from conveyancing specialists, Quittance Legal Services, said: “A conveyancing solicitor can still collate information around your sale, and anticipate any bottlenecks before a buyer is found. This means you can hit the ground running with a sale once you’ve got a buyer, as you are far less likely to run into legal roadblocks.”

Keep things moving quickly

Generally speaking, the conveyancing process can take anywhere between eight and 12 weeks from the point the sale is agreed, but this will vary.

You should pull out all the stops to keep the process moving along as fast as possible. This means being in regular contact with your solicitor to ensure they respond quickly to requests for information.

You also need to be as prompt as possible about signing and returning forms and paperwork.

Get your ducks in a row

If you’re trying to buy at the same time as selling, you need to be organised and ensure timing won’t be an issue.

Jamie Cooke, from property firm Iamsold, has this advice: “It’s easy to get carried away and focus on the selling process, but the same amount of attention should be spent on your next step on the property ladder. If you’re buying, get your ‘mortgage in principle’ sorted. Make sure you’re also looking at properties, and be ready to make your own offers. If speed of sale is your main goal, you may need to be more flexible with your own preferences.”

The key thing to remember is this: the shorter the time between agreeing a sale and exchanging contracts, the less likely it is the deal will fall through.

Do I have any other options?

If you are in need of a rapid sale, you might also want to think about things such as choosing a cash buyer, going down the auction route, offering a discount from the market value, part exchange, and bringing in a second estate agent. But always do your research first so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Watch: Why are house prices rising

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