What you need to know before selling your home in 2018
Consumer journalist Christine Toner takes a look at some of the things you might not have thought about when it comes to selling your home in 2018. So for example, did you know that most high street agents market your home with Zoopla OR Rightmove but not both? For this and more, read on....
February 1, 2018
We did it! We made it through January – officially the most miserable and longest month of the year (I refuse to believe there were only 31 days in that month). Spring is on the horizon (OK, yes it’s freezing but let’s be positive) and that means thousands of homeowners across the country will be preparing to sell their homes. If that includes you, don’t do anything until you’ve read our top tips on selling this year.
1. Online estate agents are taking off
Online estate agents are growing in popularity and it’s not difficult to see why. TV and radio adverts by the likes of PurpleBricks, which poke fun at high street agents are obviously helping to open home sellers eyes to other options. Commission costs tend to be one of the biggest gripes for sellers so when the online agent model came to market – which allows sellers to pay an up front one off fee rather than a commission – sellers were quickly attracted to it. If you’re keen to join the digital revolution and sell your home with an online or hybrid agent however be warned, online estate agents change their packages more times than we’ve had hot dinners and all of them differ. Check them and check again to find the right one.
2. Make sure your home is being seen by the right people
We all know that most buyers start their property searches online so to make sure your property is being seen by the right people you need to have it listed on the right property portals – the biggest of which are, of course, Rightmove and Zoopla. Now, I know what you’re thinking – this is property selling in 2018, not 1998 – EVERYONE knows properties have to be online to get noticed. But, did you know most high street agents have to choose which of the top portals to advertise your property on and can’t list it on both? That’s because many high street agents are members of the industry portal OnTheMarket which operates a one portal rule.
OnTheMarket will float on the Stock Exchange on February 9th and has announced new joiners will not have to adhere to the one portal rule. Good news for all us homesellers! Those agents who are already members, however, will still have to restrict marketing your home to either Rightmove or Zoopla. Make sure you find out your agent’s position before signing any contracts. And in the meantime, come on estate agents: put the customer first.
3. Don’t be afraid to change
In an ideal world you’ll list your property and within 24 hours the perfect buyer will come along and offer the full asking price without a second thought. Unfortunately, when it comes to the housing market we don’t live in a perfect world (which is why we’re here!). Some sellers will find their homes lingering on the market for much longer than they would like.
Homes that are stuck on the market for weeks or months tend to lose value. Indeed, our research found to get the best price for your property you need to be getting an offer within 12 days.
Sometimes a home is not selling because it needs sprucing up to show its true potential or the asking price is wrong but it could also be down to your agent. If you feel they’re not doing a good job don’t be afraid to challenge them. Ask them what they’re doing to market the property and what more could be done. Find out how they think the search for a buyer is going and what could be going wrong.
And if all else fails give notice to terminate your contract and find a better agent.
4. Selling at auction is a growing trend
While property auctions have always been popular for sellers of rundown properties in need of renovations or quirky or unusual homes that might struggle on the open market, in recent years they’ve also caught the attention of your standard seller wanting to sell quickly – largely because of new innovations from auction houses and a wider adoption of auctions by estate agents.
A new type of auction is now used by a number of agents, known as the modern method of auction. With these auctions, buyers are able to bid on a property online. The buyer will pay a non refundable reservation fee and will have a longer completion timescale, giving them more time to sort mortgage finance. Selling at auction online means you can maximise exposure while also selling your property fast. But look at the small print carefully and check the costs involved before going down this route.