Belfast Telegraph

Top tips to help secure a quicker house sale

As the autumn selling season begins, Vicky Shaw finds out how to increase your chances as a first-time seller

Moving on: selling a house for the first time can come as a great relief
Moving on: selling a house for the first time can come as a great relief

For first-time buyers, getting on the property ladder can be a steep learning curve. But what if you've already bought your first home and you're now looking to sell for the first time?

Just like buying a first home, the experience of being a first-time seller can also have its unexpected twists and turns.

So, what do you need to know?

As the housing market prepares for the autumn selling season to get under way, we asked Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Housesimple, for tips on the common questions first-time sellers may have...

Is there a 'best time' to put my property on the market?

Selling a property is all about timing - but it's not as simple as what time of year. As a rule of thumb, there are certain times that you might want to avoid if you can, like the festive period and summer when there can be a dip in activity with school holidays.

However, in this digital world it's not only about what season you sell in, but also what day of the week and even what time you list your property. Housesimple suggests those who launch their property on a Sunday evening when the portal traffic is at its peak may receive a particularly good response.

Should I wait to sell my current property before I look to buy?

Many sellers won't even consider a buyer's offer unless they are in a position to go ahead with it.

Consider whether you have the cash to buy if your current property doesn't fly off the shelf.

If you are in a comfortable position to cover the deposit on your new home, you may want to look now to allow you to move quickly the moment your home sale is agreed.

If you receive an offer on your property but haven't found a house yet, there may be options such as renting for a while.

Are there any renovations to prioritise which might increase the value of my property before I put it on the market?

From installing real wood flooring, to investing in high-end work surfaces or timeless colours and fabrics, interior updates can transform your home to give it the greatest impact when you sell.

A recent survey by Housesimple found buyers put the importance of a good living room above that of either the kitchen or bathroom. The top priority for 27% of buyers was the amount of storage - so consider how you can make the most of your storage space and show off your living room in its best light with a fresh lick of paint.

Spending time and money on your home's exterior too will go a long way in increasing your property's appeal. Think about repainting fences, mowing the lawn, planting some bright flowers and giving your drive a hose down.

How much is it going to cost me to sell?

Estate agents' fees can vary. In June, Housesimple announced plans to roll out a 'free of charge' service to specific towns and cities. Also, make sure you understand any penalties if selling your home means repaying your mortgage early.

Each lender has a different way of calculating the early repayment charges (ERCs), but they will often amount to a percentage of the amount that you repay during the fixed-rate period. Factor in removal costs too.

How do I decide what an acceptable offer would be?

Find out how much similar properties in your area have sold for and look at what's currently on the market. The quality of any offer is also important.

For example: have they sold? Can they move quickly? What are their time frames? Consider whether the answers to these questions align with your own moving plans.

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