Your essential checklist

Moving is stressful, no doubt about that. However, long before your van has pulled up and boxes been packed, you have to deal with the finer, prolonged details of how to sell your home quickly – and at the right price.

“Petty impatience confounds great projects,” said philosopher Confucious, and confound them it does when we assume that selling a home doesn’t require much more than handing it over to an agent, telling them to get as much as they can get, and then resuming the far more life-affirming process of picking out your future home.

If you really want to get things moving (market dependent of course), here are some fundamentals to tick off your list.

Make sure your asking price is realistic

In order to win your business, in a very competitive environment, an estate agent may be likely to bend to your will when it comes to asking price — especially if someone else has confirmed they could absolutely achieve that. While a high valuation can be an optimistic starting point in the process, if you’re looking to sell quickly you need to get a realistic range of valuations (we recommend at least 5) and also do your own local research on what houses are actually selling for in your area. To find out what any house sold for, over several years, you can try sites like Nethouseprices and Zoopla.

Find the right agent

It is vital that you both trust and like your agent if you want to sell your home quickly. Part of their job is to be personal and lure suitable buyers in quickly, so be critical when it comes to first impressions. Ask them specifics about which digital platforms they’re using to advertise their properties, what sort of homes they’ve recently sold — at what prices and in which areas — and if the sort of buyers they target are the sort who may be interested in your home. Asking about recent success stories is crucial so don’t be shy about asking for examples of timelines on properties sold in the last 6 weeks.

Get your home good enough for Insta

Estate agents will take care of the photography, but they won’t take care of the design touches that make all the difference — like flowers in vases, decluttered spaces, tidy rooms. You have a few seconds to capture people’s attention on your website listing so make sure at least one of the rooms has an eye-catching or impossible chic style or design feature for the main shot. If in doubt, clear the room and go for minimalist! Clear lines and fuss-free patterns photograph well so remove things like scruffy throws from sofas, get rid of rugs (if the floor is tiled/wooden), pack away clutter and book the right time of day for the photographers to get rooms in their best light to sell your home quickly. If show-home-ready isn’t your forte, you could even consider hiring a junior interior designer (find them on LinkedIn) for a weekend of work to get the place ready for its close up.

Give it a good declutter

This goes beyond just a clean house. Clutter around the home is both an eyesore and a source of stress, so don’t let future buyers see their soon-to-be homes as a place of chaos. Since some buyers are looking to move for more space, make a feature of the space in the house by tossing what you won’t be taking with you or, if you just like having a lot of stuff, consider hiring a storage unit for a few weeks to edit out the excess bits from the viewing process. Storage spaces tend to be cheaper — up to 50% off — for the first 8 weeks, after which point you may have moved out! And if you need help, just hire a good declutterer to take care of it.

Pick the right buyer

For you to complete quickly, your buyer needs to complete quickly first. Pick someone who is not in a chain, such as a first-time buyer, or a cash buyer not waiting on a loan. You may even consider accepting a lower offer if they are ready to move quickly and have all ducks in a row, such as a loan agreed in principle. [However, it’s a good idea to have a lowest offer price in your head before you start this whole process, so you don’t walk away with regrets.] And trust your gut, if you get the feeling that they might become difficult at some stage in the process — and you have other options — reassess your position or bring up any difficult conversations before you move forward.

Set the date

Set a date you’d like to complete by. Seasonal deadlines can be easy to picture such as, moved out by summer or out of the house by New Year’s Eve. It may seem arbitrary but if you make it clear to your agent, prospective buyers, builders or solicitors that you have a goal and will be working to it, it adds gentle pressure and timelines for all parties to work towards. Remember, keep pushing people to move the process along — no one will do that on your behalf.

Find the right solicitor

Now is the time to ask as many friends as possible for recommendations, focussing on how quickly they were able to get things over the line with their solicitors. Once you take a recommendation, start the relationship with clear communication about the date you would like to complete by. Don’t be polite and make it sound flexible, send a concrete message (in writing) to make sure there is no misunderstanding at all further down the line about your expectations.

Fast-track local authority searches

This essential part of the home buying process can really hold things up. Local authority searches look at myriad conditions relating to the land or property such as planning permissions, conservation areas, new road plans, and listed buildings. These searches are required by mortgage lenders so start this as soon as possible. You can also use fast-track platforms like Gazeal to speed things up and sell your home quickly.

Finally, don’t ignore the power of scent

It may seem a little Stepford Wives but getting your house smelling good can conjure up just the right amount of emotion in a buyer to help them feel at home in the space. When quizzed on what UK house buyers would like to smell walking into a prospective home, over 35% of them said freshly baked bread, closely followed by coffee (32%), clean laundry (29%), fresh flowers (24%) and an open fire (19%). What you should avoid is the excessive lighting of candles or sticks of incense; the buyer is more likely to feel that potent scents are masking over bad ones so just air the place out, start baking and put on a wash.

HomeHero is a digital home manager, taking care of your chores, bills, maintenance and admin, to free up your time for what matters most.

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