Advice to Sellers

Get Your Home Market-Ready

First impressions are important, so check your kerb appeal: tidy the garden front and back, paint window sills and the front door, make sure the house number or name is visible.

Ensure the view through the front windows is appealing too. Rooms inside should be kept tidy (even when you're not expecting a viewing - don't be surprised if people stop and have a good peer into your home to see if it might suit them).

Declutter - consider putting some of your stuff in storage, tidy and clean, neutralise animal smells, get someone to take the kids and pets out during viewings.

Finish Any DIY Projects

Update - consider replacing kitchen cupboard doors and drawer fronts. Out-of-date bathroom suites can also let a property down, but you don't have to spend a fortune: simply installing new taps or new shower screen, and putting out nice fluffy towels can make a difference.

Paint - a lick of paint can transform a room and bring it up to date.

Use the space - a double bedroom has more value than a single, and a single bedroom has more value than a study, so show the rooms off to their best advantage to maximise their appeal.

House full of family photos? Tone it down - the viewers need to imagine themselves living there, not you.

Clean, dust and tidy everywhere, open windows and, yes, put that pot of coffee on.

Market Your Home Effectively

If you're showing people round your home yourself, decide in advance what order you're going to show the rooms in.

... Allow viewers to enter the room first, then follow them in. This allows them a better view of the room and, if it's a small one, will help it feel larger.

Think about the benefits of each room and share them with viewers. Then let them walk around on their own. Disappear into the garden for 10 minutes so viewers can talk without you milling around.

Enthuse about the plus points of living in your area, such as good schools, a local swimming pool, good commuter links, etc.

Receiving Offers

Don't take ages to consider each new offer before responding - too long, and the buyer may lose interest.

Be aware of your position - if the market is rising and you have an attractive property in a popular area, then you are in a strong position and should not move too much on price. If the market is slow, then you have to compromise more, or risk losing your buyer and waiting a long time to find another.

How To Decide What Offer To Accept

Work out how much you need to sell for to meet your objectives.

Calculate how much you need to borrow on your next home. Work out how much, if any, equity (ie, value) you have in your current property. Calculate how much you can use as a down-payment on your next property.

... Ensure you'll have enough money to cover stamp duty, solicitor's fees, survey and mortgage, and fees for the buying and selling process.

Get advice if you need it from an independent market-wide financial advisor. It'll pay in the long-run.

Approach your existing lender to see what they can offer you. Compare this deal with others on offer.

Have your mortgage agreed in principle early on.

Working With Your Solicitor

Once you get an offer, keep on top of your solicitor to ensure the process progresses smoothly and speedily.

Don't let a sale fall through because of delays you've caused.

Remember that you will need to produce documents such as guarantees for work done on your property, and planning and buildings regulations approval for applicable work.

Getting A Good Survey

Ongoing maintenance of your home should have gone some way to prevent problems cropping up on a surveyor's report.

If the valuation is low, find out why and ask to see the surveyor's report. Enlist your estate agent to help you get details of other like for like properties that have sold recently.

Advice to Sellers

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