IN THIS day and age there are deals to be found on virtually everything. But does that also apply to selling the most valuable asset you own, even in the current subdued housing market? Robert Carroll, managing director of MOV8 Real Estate in Edinburgh, has top tips to save money when selling a property.
1 Are you paying a fee?
If so, negotiate hard, especially if you have a more expensive property. Push for a flat or capped fee. Alternatively, low-cost, fixed fee models can save you a lot of money, particularly if you own a high-value property, and they are becoming more and more popular.
2 Don’t buy what you don’t need
Some agents will buy an entire page in a newspaper and try to re-sell parts of that page to you. Some charge several hundreds of pounds for a newspaper advert for a one bedroom flat. Think before you buy advertising – is your buyer likely to be looking in that place?
3 Don’t hang around
Your property is costing you money every day that it isn’t selling. This is particularly acute if the property is vacant. In addition, buyers will be less attracted to a property that has been sitting on the market for a long time which can harm its eventual sale price. Make sure that your property sells more quickly by pricing it realistically from the outset and use buyer-friendly terms like Offers in the Region Of rather than Fixed Price or Offers Over.
4 Read the small print
Look out for up-front marketing fees and ‘termination’ fees in addition to estate agency fees. You’re already paying an estate agency fee, paying for schedules and maybe photographs so what is this ‘marketing fee’ or ‘termination fee’ in the small print? If they are not for anything concrete, push the agent hard to reduce or remove these fees.
5 Do the Home Report properly
Don’t waste money on a Home Report that’s not useful to a buyer. Buyers can sometimes use the Home Report for their own mortgage instead of having to pay for a separate mortgage survey. This saves them money so makes your property more attractive. ‘Cheap’ Home Report companies can be a false economy – many lenders won’t accept these reports so the buyer will have to get their own survey, making your house less attractive. It pays to get a Home Report from a major firm of chartered surveyors that is acceptable to these lenders.
6 Don’t discourage offers
Any offer is better than no offer. It’s a starting place for a negotiation and your estate agent can earn their stripes by negotiating the price up on your behalf. Remember, you never have to accept an offer: it’s always your decision.
7 Consider selling in winter
Estate agents will often be more flexible on their fees at a time of year when they are traditionally quiet. There is a general perception that winter is a bad time of year to sell, so buyers have very little to choose from. It’s a simple case of supply and demand – supply goes down, but demand remains healthy from, so in our experience you’re actually far more likely to sell at this time of year.
8 Get those marigolds on
Buyers can afford to be choosy in this market, so make sure that your house is the best of its kind. Before you spend thousands on decorating, give the house an intensive clean – that can often give the property a real lift. Do the small jobs you’ve been meaning to do for ages and tidy stuff away into boxes. A bit of time and elbow grease can save you a small fortune and also help your property sell.
9 Get advice
When you come to buy, speak to an independent mortgage adviser. Your mortgage is often your largest monthly outlay, so make sure you get it right. You can, of course, research all the options yourself, but the choices can be confusing. Professional advice will make sure that you get the best deal and many advisers offer completely free mortgage advice. If you don’t seek an independent perspective then it could end up costing you thousands due to a higher rate or higher or needless charges from the lender.
10 Buy smart
There’s an old expression that you make your money on property when you buy. Quiz your solicitor on what experience they have of the property market in your area, ensure their finger is on the pulse and that they can give you great advice on what to pay and on negotiating tactics – it could save you a lot of money.