The six biggest challenges when selling your home

The six biggest challenges when selling your home

Let go of any emotional attachment

We may feel a strong emotional bond with our homes, especially if they were our first homes or where we raised our families. However, emotions do not help to sell houses and you need to be rational and objective when you put your home on the market.

A common problem with over-emotional sellers is that they tend to overprice their homes. They may also be too picky about who they want to sell to, what they want to keep or leave behind, or how fast they want to sell. This can put off buyers from the start and in the current market conditions where the buyer has more power, this can lead to significant delays.

Choose the right estate agent, not the cheapest

With the high cost of living, you may be tempted to go for a low fixed-fee agent, or the high-street agent who offers the lowest fee or the highest valuation for your home. These are not usually the best agents and choosing the right agent should be based on other performance indicators.

Rather than the lowest cost, look for the agent that achieves the highest proportion of asking price, the agent with the highest customer satisfaction ratings, or the one that has the fastest average time to sell - depending on what matters most to you.

It is also important to note that the property market in your area may have behaved very differently from the national picture, or even from the neighbouring town. A good local agent will have the best insight into what price you can expect and, as a result, they can also help you overcome any emotional attachments you have in order to price to sell.

They can also save you money and time when it comes to sales progression, the smooth handling of your transaction and the wider chain, reducing the chance of a collapse and completing your sale as quickly as possible.

Paperwork helps productivity

It may seem like a small task, but make sure you have all the paperwork you need ready to go. Gas certificates, electrical completion certificates and warranties are just some of the documents you will need.

Missing documentation is one of the most common reasons a property sale will be delayed and it’s also one area where a seller can get ahead of the game before they’ve even listed their home for sale.

Pick the right solicitor

You may have picked the best-performing estate agent in your area, but without the right solicitor, you’re still likely to face a lengthy transaction timeline.

Again, don’t simply opt for the most affordable, they are also likely to be the most overworked. You also want to avoid the firm recommended by your estate agent. This is often a recommendation made purely on a pre-existing business relationship that benefits the agent and solicitor, not the seller.

Do your research and look for the best. One simple trick is to record how long each solicitor takes to reply to your initial enquiry. This will give you an idea of how proactive they will be when it comes to responding to future issues.

Proactivity is key

Although you’re paying estate agents and solicitors to get you through to completion, you will also need to approach your sale with a proactive attitude. It’s not just about having your paperwork in order or instructing the right people at the right time, you have to stay on the ball and make yourself available - particularly when it comes to the viewing process.

It’s also likely that you will need to provide a constant stream of information about your property so it’s advisable to avoid booking any holidays while your sale is completing to ensure you can act on anything that is required at speed.

You should also check in with your solicitor and estate agent on a weekly basis just to make sure they are on top of everything and there is nothing outstanding that they are waiting on.

The dreaded chain

The dreaded chain can be a nightmare for buyers, sellers, estate agents and solicitors. It’s essentially the number of homes connected to your own sale, such as your buyer's existing property and the onward purchase of the person you might be buying a home from.

Unfortunately, the chain is largely out of your control and no matter how proactive you are, you can’t avoid delays caused by other parties moving at different speeds.

The most common delays associated with a chain include differing timeframes for property searches, particularly within different local authorities, the time it takes to convert a mortgage offer to formal status and issues when reviewing title deeds. One common delay is often the use of a maiden name on a title deed and to rectify this, your solicitor will need to see a copy of your marriage certificate.

Again, it speaks to the importance of ensuring your paperwork is in order from the get-go and that all chain-related communications are handled by your estate agent or solicitor, while all those involved in the chain are present, proactive and upfront with all required information.