Six ideas for promoting your property beneath the brand new authorities

  • Get a lawyer sharpish, declutter and avoid trying to time the market 

Change is in the air and if you’ve been putting off plans to get your home on the market, now could be the opportune time to pounce. 

The property market looks set to play a central role in Keir Starmer‘s Government as he seeks to boost housebuilding, affordability and ignite economic growth. 

This is Money speaks to estate agents to find out how sellers can increase their chances of securing a quick sale at the best price. 

First appearances count, both externally and externally, but it’s also vital to get the price right and do everything possible to avoid a sale falling through later down the line. 

Get selling! Change is in the air and now could be a great time to list your home

Get selling! Change is in the air and now could be a great time to list your home 

1. Don’t try to time the market

Putting a property on the market isn’t an exact science. While it may be tempting to wait and see if prices rise or fall sharply in the coming months, delaying isn’t always the best bet. 

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former Rics residential chairman, told This is Money: ‘Try not to time the market, as that rarely works out. 

‘If you can wait a little while before putting your property up for sale, this might be a good idea so you can find out how the land lies. 

‘But it’s worth speaking to a trusted local agent about this approach and find out what’s happening with other sales in your area – are they speeding up or are there more viewings now that some of the uncertainty has gone? 

‘Try to be guided by local market conditions, as these could be very different from the national picture.’

Mr Leaf isn’t convinced that waiting until after Labour’s first Budget, whenever that might be, is the best course of action for prospective sellers. 

He said: ‘There is a risk in delaying marketing your property until after the first Budget as it may be counter-productive. 

‘Most people expect taxes to go up under Labour, so the Budget may turn out to be a dampener on confidence and for the wider property market more generally. 

‘Acting now, rather than waiting, may stand you in better stead, particularly if there is an interest rate reduction next month as most buyers are still more interested in the pace of mortgage rate reductions and affordability then political rhetoric.’

2. Build your team

The prospect of selling a home can be daunting and exciting, but don’t rush into the process without having a strong team by your side. 

Having responsive experts working alongside you to get your property sold can make a real different to the ease and speed of the process. 

Before thinking about how you’ll prepare your property for viewings, you need to find the best estate agents to sell your home. There is always the option to do it yourself, but this can be fraught with pitfalls for the uninitiated. 

Track down reviews for estate agents and, if possible, get recommendations from people you know. Estate agents should know their local beats inside-out and be able to give you personalised advice to get your home sold. 

You’ll also need a solicitor. Getting a good one often makes a huge difference to the selling process.

Speaking to This is Money, Donna Vogt, head of agency at David Britton Estates in Cumbria, said: ‘Selling a house can be a complex and time-consuming process, and one of the most critical steps is instructing a legal team early on. 

‘Engaging a solicitor or conveyancer at the outset can streamline the entire transaction, reducing stress and avoiding potential pitfalls.

Team building: Estate agent Donna Vogt thinks getting the right solicitor for a sale is vital

Team building: Estate agent Donna Vogt thinks getting the right solicitor for a sale is vital

‘Having a legal team in place early ensures that all necessary documentation and legal formalities are handled promptly. 

‘This includes preparing the draft contract, obtaining the title deeds, and addressing any potential issues with the property’s title. Early preparation can prevent delays later in the process when a buyer is found and negotiations are under way.’

She added: ‘A solicitor can also provide crucial advice on legal obligations and responsibilities, ensuring compliance with UK property laws. 

‘They can identify and resolve any issues that might arise, such as disputes over boundaries or planning permissions, which could otherwise derail the sale.’

Having a solicitor in place also demonstrates that you are serious and prepared, which can make your property more attractive and potentially expedite the sale process.

3.  Kerb appeal counts

Contrary to what we see in TV property shows and in the movies, most of us don’t live in a dreamy chocolate box cottage or gleaming Georgian mansion with a sweeping driveway or grounds  Capability Brown would be proud of.  

However, even the ugly ducklings of the property world can be given a spruce-up before being listed. 

Tidy your bins! Property expert Alex Decmar says sellers need to keep their recycling bins tidy

Tidy your bins! Property expert Alex Decmar says sellers need to keep their recycling bins tidy 

Alex Decmar, a property buying agent in Surrey told This is Money: ‘Generally speaking, most buyers feel very strongly about how a home looks from the front and, combined with the fact that most estate agents lead with that photo in their marketing, when preparing your home for sale you should really do everything possible to have greenery, nicely painted fences and tidy recycling bins.’ 

David Britton, the boss at David Britton Estate Agents, said: ‘You have one chance to blow a prospective buyer away – so declutter, consider redecorating in neutral tones and tackle any major issues. 

‘You might love your collection of pottery dogs on the fireplace, but remember, your taste won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.’

Decluttering, rearranging your rooms to find the optimal layout and doing those small DIY jobs you’ve been putting off, like hanging pictures and touching up paintwork, will all help when it comes to viewings. 

If you’ve got a garden or balcony, head to the local garden centre and get a few new fresh plants, flowers or hanging baskets to enhance your property’s appearance for viewings. 

4. Sort out snags – and bigger problems

Once you’ve lived in a home for a while, snags and problems in your property are likely to become less noticeable to you. 

Prospective buyers will be scrutinising your property and notice things that you’ve left unchecked or unrepaired for years. Buyers have an eye – and a nose – for detail. 

Don't risk it: Sort out as many snags in your home before viewings as possible

Don’t risk it: Sort out as many snags in your home before viewings as possible

Mr Decmar said: ‘Nothing makes a buyer more suspicious than signs of a leak or a bathroom repair that’s not quite finished. 

‘Try and deal with all of the little issues to remove “objections” from a buyer before they step foot in your home. 

‘It’s human nature to be looking for problems when spending large sums of money and you need to try and remove as many of those issues as possible.’

Getting property repairs done can be a costly business. Nationwide recently doubled its maximum personal loan to £50,000 as rising building work costs continue to hit people’s home improvement plans. 

If you are unwilling or cannot afford to sort out key major or minor repairs needed, be mindful that, particularly if a prospective buyer picks up on them, these defects will need to be reflected in the price. 

 5. Price realism 

The era of sub-two per cent mortgage rates seems a lifetime ago and the new normal for mortgage rates will not be changing any time soon. 

Some lenders have started reducing rates on certain mortgage deals ahead of an anticipated fall in interest rates this summer. 

However, the downward trend for mortgage rates is slow and affordability remains a key issue for many. 

Have a look online and in estate agent branch windows to see how much properties near you of a similar size and condition are being listed for. 

Andrew Groocock, partner at Knight Frank told This is Money: ‘For price, the key thing to remember before you instruct an agent is genuinely having an understanding about how they have reached the value of the property. 

‘Have they shown you comparable properties, have they sold a similar home to yours and what price did they achieve? 

‘Agents should provide complete transparency on price, based on facts, so that you can make a balanced decision on which agent to instruct. 

‘Don’t just pick the agent who gives you the highest valuation without the track record to show for it.’ 

6. Avoid a sale falling through

Even if you’ve accepted an offer on your property, there is still a chance the sale could fall through. A collapsed sale can be stressful, time-consuming and costly. 

In England and Wales, there’s nothing to stop either the buyer or seller pulling out of a purchase. 

As a seller, pushing to secure a strict timeframe for the exchange of contracts could be useful, though not always easy to achieve in practice. 

Regular communication with all involved parties is key.  

Harry Bethell, a partner at Knight Frank, told This is Money: ‘To maximize your chances of a successful sale, prioritize communication by regularly staying in touch with your solicitor, estate agent, and the buyer to promptly address any issues. 

‘Alongside timing, accurate pricing, proper presentation of your property, and addressing any issues post-survey are crucial factors in preventing a sale from falling through.’

He added: ‘Regular maintenance of your property and keeping up to date with regular servicing on your heating system, electrics and any structural defects are vital to preventing your property from falling through at a later stage. 

‘Addressing any issues post-survey proactively with a buyer are also vital to keeping a sale together. 

‘If all is in order, the most crucial part of any sale is regular communication amongst the agent, solicitors, buyers and sellers involved in the transaction. 

‘A large proportion of sales can fall apart due to lack of communication and time delays, so keeping in regular contact with the parties involved will prevent issues arising closer to exchanging contracts.’