Selling Guide

A Sellers’ Guide

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ll shortly be putting your property on to the market to try and sell it.

At Saxon Shore we appreciate that choosing the right estate agent to represent you is a difficult and sometimes confusing process.

That’s why we’ve written this useful sellers’ guide. Whilst we obviously believe we are the best choice to sell your property, for the reasons we’ll set out when we meet you, we also hope you’ll find this guide useful whichever agent you choose.

Over the next few pages you’ll find clear information to help you:

  • Choose the right estate agent for your property
  • Present your home in the best way for a sale
  • Carry out a successful viewing
  • Understand the aftersales process

There’s also a moving home checklist to act as a useful reminder for all the things you need to do when moving to a new property.

We’d like to wish you all the best with your move, and thank you in advance for considering Saxon Shore as your estate agent.

Richard Gates & Liz Jeffery

Your personal representatives

Saxon Shore

Questions to ask a potential estate agent

Here are the right questions to ask when choosing who’s going to represent you, plus what you should be able to expect from your estate agent.

Q: Where and how will you market my home?

Make sure the agent advertises their properties in all the places you’d expect:

  • Online and on social media
  • In newspaper ads
  • In their own property brochures
  • On ‘for sale’ signs

Ask to see previous examples of their marketing. Do they meet with the standards of how you’d like to see your property presented? Will your property be marketed in its best light regardless of where it’s advertised?

Q: Will your online marketing keep buyers engaged?

Pick five properties at random online from each of the estate agents you’ve invited round. It’s important that all properties are presented consistently in terms of photo quality and write-ups. Do some get more favourable treatment than others? Do you think yours would be presented in its best light?

The longer a buyer spends looking at your property online, the greater the chance they’ll actually view it. Does the agent keep house-hunters engaged with floor plans and virtual walkthroughs, or do you think people would soon lose interest in what’s being presented?

Think about the properties you spend the most time looking at online. What is it about these listings that keep you interested?

It’s absolutely crucial that your home is presented well online. The websites Rightmove and Zoopla are the main way buyers will engage with your property when it’s for sale, and social media is also now a key player.

Estate agents tend to be slow to adopt new technology and most aren’t even close to making the most of social media, in particular. It can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool when buyers see new properties pop up on their mobile social media feeds, so you need your chosen agent to know exactly what they’re doing online.

Q: Who will be looking after me throughout this process?

Although you might strike up an excellent relationship with the person who comes to value your property, chances are someone else will deal with you after that.

Find out about the rest of the team. Will the people who accompany the viewings have seen your home before they turn up with potential buyers? In fact, will anyone at all accompany buyers? If they say they will, make sure this is part of the contract as you may find what is promised and delivered will vary.

Who will have responsibility to keep you updated, and how often will they meet with you to discuss progress if the property doesn’t sell quickly? We would recommend your agent meet with you every four weeks to review the sale. Finally, who will look after things once the property is under offer?

Agent comparison checklist

Questions to ask agents

Agent 1

Agent 2

Agent 3

 

 

 

 

Do you provide free professional photography?

 

 

 

Do you provide a free Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

 

 

 

Do you provide floor plans?

 

 

 

Do you provide virtual tours?

 

 

 

How long is your contract?

 

 

 

What’s your commission rate?

 

 

 

Do you have buyers waiting for this type of property? Ask for evidence.

Do you have a sample of your property brochures?

How often will my property appear in newspaper adverts?

Do you advertise on Rightmove?

Do you advertise on Zoopla?

Do you accompany viewings?

Who will negotiate any offers?

Who will look after me when the house is sold?

What will you do if the property doesn’t sell quickly?

Does you use social media to market my property?

(Look at their social media accounts to check.)

Viewing guide

Now that your property is on the market, the next step is letting people look around to see what’s on offer. Many sellers find this stage slightly daunting, so here are some useful tips to help viewings go as well as possible.

Have the agent present wherever possible

We know from experience that buyers prefer an estate agent to show them around a property. One reason for this is that it helps break the ice between seller and buyer. Many people would rather not turn up at a stranger’s house on their own, and the more relaxed a potential buyer is the longer they’ll spend looking around.

Also, viewings will generally go more smoothly. The agent should be familiar with the property and have already discussed with the sellers what they think are the most important aspects to tell the potential buyer.

Finally, it’s crucial to get feedback after a viewing, as understanding why somebody has decided not to make you an offer can give you a chance to make changes. Viewers give the best feedback immediately after leaving a property, so if the agent is with them they’ll get a clear snapshot (rather than calling the next day to find they can’t remember as well).

First impressions are crucial

It’s an old saying and so true, but very few people actually give this serious thought. When a potential viewer arrives at a property, they’ll spend more time staring at the outside than the current owners probably have in the last few years.

Take a few minutes with the agent before you begin to market to look at the outside of your property. Be open, and think critically from a potential buyer’s point of view. What was it about the house you liked the first time you saw it? What are the jobs you’ve been meaning to do for years that never got done? Is the lawn mowed and are the borders weeded? Would a lick of paint around the windows or doors enhance things? Even a few cheerful pot plants by the door can work wonders.

Next, try the front door test. When a buyer walks in, will they be greeted with the smell of wet dog and a mountain of clutter? Or will they enter a warm, fresh-smelling property that looks tidy (even if only the seller and agent know the cupboards are full to bursting point)?

Be honest with yourself and ask the agent to be honest with you. A little time taken here can make all the difference.

Let the viewers breathe (and don’t let them be rushed)

Yes, it’s usually crucial to have the agent at the viewing to show buyers around and point out your property’s most important features. But for buyers, it’s unnerving to find an agent sticking to them like glue.

Our approach is to give a tour and then allow people to wander at their leisure. The more time someone spends looking, the greater the chance they’ll make an offer. So make sure you and the agent allow plenty of time for each viewing – ideally at least 30 minutes. There’s no greater sin in estate agency than rushing a potential viewer out of the door because there’s not enough time between appointments.

The psychology of the viewing

This is a vital area that very few people - and unfortunately very few estate agents - ever think about. What do we mean by the psychology of a viewing?

Most people make a very quick decision to buy a property – often minutes or even moments from walking through the front door. Much of this decision is based on a feeling and an impulse, and there are many things both sellers and agents can do to ensure that the viewing is a positive experience for the potential buyer.

Here, we list five key points to bear in mind. They could make all the difference between a quick sale at an excellent price or a long, drawn out process that results in disappointing offers.

1. Make the viewing a happy experience

This might seem irrelevant, but buyers will be in a better mood if the people around them are happy and positive. Is the agent happy today? Are you happy? Does the house feel happy?

Sometimes, selling a property just isn’t a happy experience for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, be honest with yourself and ask if it’s better to leave the viewing to the agent.

If you are present at a viewing, talk about all the good things about your home. For example, your lovely neighbours (use their names to create a personal feel to the property), the way the sun sets behind the house, the sea view, the people over the road who always watch the house when you go on holiday – basically, whatever it is that has made this house a home.

2. Have the property details to hand

Make sure each viewer gets a set of property details, and leaves physically holding something to help them remember your property. Having something to refer back to that makes your home look beautiful, with useful floor plans to help them visualise how they’d live in the space, can help your property stand out.

3. Know why this particular buyer is interested

Perhaps you moved to your home because of good local schools, but maybe a viewer wants to be close to decent shops and a good bus route.

Spending five minutes enthusing about the school round the corner to discover they don’t have children is a waste of time that could have been used showing off another feature.

People buy properties for all sorts of reasons, and your estate agent should know each viewer’s reasons before they turn up – or at least before they begin the tour.

4. Treat each viewer differently

As we’ve already mentioned, let viewers have time to look around at their leisure – and make sure they’re not bombarded with too much information.

While some people will be happy to talk and ask lots of questions, others would prefer to be given space and left to themselves. Your agent should be skilled in understanding this and treat each viewer differently.

5. Avoid ‘I don’t know!’

Nothing is more annoying and unsatisfying to a potential buyer than having questions answered by the agent with ‘I don’t know’.

Below, we’ve listed 17 of the most common questions buyers ask about a property on a tour. You and your estate agent need to know the answers and have evidence to support them where necessary.

We’ve left space between the questions to jot down the answers on this guide so you always have them to hand. You might think this unnecessary as you’ll be around to help with queries, but buyers often prefer to ask questions directly to the agent – who may not be as well versed as you.

Plus, there’s normally one person in a household who knows more about the utilities and practical issues to do with the property, so it’s helpful to have the information written down in case they’re not present for the viewing.

  1. Which way does the garden face?
  2. Do you have a combination boiler, and when was it installed/serviced?
  3. Where are the nearest shops and how far away are they?
  4. Where is the nearest bus stop/train station and how far away are they?
  5. What’s the parking like?
  6. Will you take an offer? (Never say ‘No’, always say ‘Talk to my agent, and we will always consider any offers seriously and on merit’)
  7. How quickly can you move? (Things can change quickly so even if you haven’t found somewhere to move to yet always imply you’ll be flexible and do your best to meet the needs of any buyer)
  8. What are the schools like? (Secondary as well as primary)
  9. What are the neighbours like?
  10. Do you have documentation for extensions or roof conversions etc?
  11. Where do the property boundaries begin and end?
  12. Which council tax band are you in?
  13. What are your average utility costs?
  14. Have you had any structural or damp issues? If so what have you done to remedy them?
  15. If this property is leasehold, how long is the lease and what are the service charges?
  16. Is it a listed building or in a conservation area? If so, what are the restrictions?
  17. Do you have cavity wall insulation?

What happens during a sale?

Everything we’ve discussed so far has been based on your property not being under offer. Here’s a guide to the aftersales process to help you understand the key stages and likely timescales involved. Bear in mind this is the basics of the process and every sale will have its own unique situations and challenges.

Offer accepted

 

Seller and buyer instruct solicitors

Searches are received back (usually two weeks after application). Seller’s solicitor will have replied to the initial enquiries raised by the buyer’s solicitor

Buyer carries out mortgage application where applicable

Contract issued to seller for signature

Lender instructs survey

Mortgage application sent to underwriter for approval

Mortgage offer issued and sent to solicitor

All contracts and mortgage deed signed. Contracts can now be exchanged

Buyer’s solicitor may raise additional enquiries based on searches and earlier replies to enquiries

All enquiries satisfied, buyer’s solicitor will report to the buyer with a contract to sign and requesting deposit funds

Moving home checklist      

One week to go

Confirm removals company Book the day off work! Notify friends and family of new address Contact phone company Contact broadband provider Arrange for mail to be forwarded Arrange childcare for the day Arrange pet care for the day Make sure removals company have access to current and new property Notify TV licence Notify water board Notify all other utilities Notify council tax Return borrowed items to neighbours Don’t pack the kettle! Make food arrangements Have your phone fully charged and keep charger close Check everywhere before you leave 

When you’ve moved

Send friends and family new address cards Notify bank, driver’s licence, life insurance and pensions etc 

There is another way, the Saxon Shore Way

Welcome to Saxon Shore. We are a fresh type of estate agency bridging the gap between your local high street agent and new online-style agents.

We are a brother and sister team who grew up locally and together have almost 30 years’ experience in estate agency and marketing. We offer a personalised service from valuation through to completion.

Our marketing is designed to showcase your home in a way that will stand out to buyers. There are no optional extras here, just an outstanding marketing package available to all. 

We believe estate agency boards should look as attractive as the home they represent. That’s why our artist-designed boards not only look beautiful outside your home but they also attract buyers’ attention. 

All our properties are presented via our social media channels which before they go to market. This is a modern and effective approach that appeals to both buyers and sellers.

Why choose Saxon Shore?

Personal, end-to-end service: At Saxon Shore we provide you with one dedicated, experienced and locally rooted contact to support you from valuation through to completion.The best marketing and presentation: Bespoke marketing packages for all. No optional extras or ‘exclusive’ homes, just great marketing to showcase your home.Artist-designed boards: Our ‘for sale’ signs are as eye catching and beautiful as your homeNo sale, no fee: There are no upfront fees. We get paid when we’ve done our job and sold your home.Modern. Targeted. Effective: Our digital marketing goes beyond the usual property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. We have a strong online presence and engaged local audience, which means your property gets in front of potential buyers faster.

Try a different way, follow #thesaxonshoreway

T: 01227 507725

E: info@saxonshoreway

W: www.saxonshore.co.uk

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