Selling Secrets, Psssst don’t tell the other agents

Get your apron out and put the bread in to bake. Brew some fresh filter coffee and make sure the tasty aroma of the freshly baked bread and freshly ground coffee wafts through the house and kicks likely buyers in the face just as they walk through the door. That’s one idea but possibly a bit over the top. Here are some helpful tips and advice that will hopefully help you sell your property and allow you to impress any prospective purchaser who has come round to view.

Use an agent who knows the market

At Cooke & Co we understand and will explain to you who we think your target market is and who we feel will purchase your property. Together as a team we will then try to market your property to appeal to this demographic without putting off other groups that may still also be interested. A lot of success in selling a property is about how we can show that accommodation can be used in a flexible way. For example you may have a study but a couple with children may turn it back into a bedroom. So think about flexible accommodation.

Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring

Cubs, Brownies and the home guard know it’s well worth ‘being prepared’. We know its stressful having people into your inner sanctum but remember as my first boss said some 28 years ago ‘He who never vieweth, never buyeth.’ 

I’m sure this is not a Shakespearean quote but they were certainly wise words.

Do let us help you, we really love to accompany viewings, wherever possible, as we honestly know what we are doing and want to sell your home. If you prefer to have unaccompanied viewings or we cannot accompany then here are a few helpful hints and secrets.

Do allow the viewer to go into rooms first as it allows them a clear view of the size, this is especially important in smaller rooms. Try to always leave the ‘wow’ factor or your most impressive rooms until last as this is what creates an impression that stays with the viewer.

Please don’t  try to oversell your home or the area as desperation is not a good negotiation tool. Leave any negatives off the agenda as the neighbours having a rare party that kept you up late, may be a one off, but is not helpful to the selling process. Do discuss the positive points about your home and how you have improved it but try not to be become a DIY bore and over value works you have carried out.

Do discuss what helped you to make the decision to buy the property and don't forget the local amenities.

We will try, wherever possible, to attempt to organise viewings, in daylight. This can prove slightly harder during the darker winter months. It helps if you allow us to use a key but don’t  forget to give us your alarm details as we find that viewers and negotiators run like frightened rabbits when greeted by loud burglar alarm, man traps, or a helpful neighbour brandishing a pitch fork. It’s really helpful for you to inform us of the best times for viewers to arrange a convenient visit as there is nothing worse than not being able to park because the school finishes in the next road and the parents have parked everywhere. Also a home full of visitors is not the best plan as it can make your house seem smaller.

Get good old Roger to put up your for sale board up

Always ask to have a for sale board up, it’s all part of our service and will soon become a sold board with Cooke & Co. Our own employee Roger Forster will visit you and ask, whenever possible, where you would like the board positioned.  He will then carefully erect one of our eye catching Oval for sale boards.

Do also tell your neighbours you are moving.

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool  and one never knows who might see the board and who may have been waiting for a property to come to the market, they may either buy it themselves for family or children or ask friends or family to move closer to them.

Do those nagging odd jobs

Let’s get your property in order and get those nagging outstanding jobs done that you have not had time to do or have been putting off. Be practical as new kitchen or bathroom will cost a considerable sum and may not be to a new buyers taste. Everyone loves a fresh coat of neutral paint that brightens and cleans up a room. Consider replacing that worn carpet or ripped vinyl. Replace those old kitchen and bathroom fittings and clean up grouted tiles giving an older room fresh appeal. Ensure you've replaced things like broken light bulbs as a light home really makes a difference.  Oil squeaky doors and stubborn stiff locks and give that spare room or garage space a once over as this is essential storage and may have extension potential. Peeling paint , damp stains and minor repairs are worth attending to as otherwise it suggests that major works needs to be done on the property . This will have a bearing on what you are offered.

Treat your garden like another room

Gardens are a real selling point so treat them more like an additional room. It is important to make a garden feel like a great space for relaxing, entertaining and safe for children and the family pets. So it’s time to get rid of rusting trampolines and old inflatable swimming pools with acrid green water lurking within. They take up a lot of space and ask yourself are they adding to the feel of the garden. It’s also worth replacing any worn turf where the dog has been digging again. Also make sure if you have a pet that any mess is cleared up as a viewer treading in dogs mess is certainly not going to be lucky for you.

It’s raining cats and dogs

It’s raining cats and dogs and other pets

We love pets at Cooke & Co with our team all loving their dogs, cats, and even some more exotic pets.  We know over approximately 40% of Thanet homeowners own a little four-legged friend, so it might be hard to believe that someone may worry when a property is pet friendly.

Some clients are not fond of your dog or cat (or other beloved pet) and some home buyers look at properties with pets negatively. 

So if you are a property and pet owner, selling your home is not an issue if you follow our advice.

We know it's hard to find a place for your pet to stay every time there’s viewing but t might be necessary if potential buyers are scared or concerned about animals.Also, remember your pets home as well and they may react badly to a stranger coming into it.

Viewers might feel uncomfortable around your pet. While you might think little your little pet friend bouncing around the house is cute, others may not share your levels of enthusiasm.

Better not to have to utter the words 'She's never done that before' As the viewer limps away with a dog attached to their leg. I doubt they will be offering on your home from casualty.

People tend to be polite but ’Shep’ grabbing the viewer’s leg is not really the best way to make a good impression.

Potential buyers could also bring young children with them to viewings. It might not be a suitable atmosphere to have your pet around younger children, especially if it’s a larger animal or it is nervous.

If you can’t arrange to be out with your pet let us know and we will check with the viewer.

Make any Repairs

Pets can cause damage around the home.  The damage might not be major, but it all adds up when a viewer is looking round

Carpets, hardwood flooring, walls, and even grass could end up having some form of pet damage. If you’re trying to sell your home, you’ll want it to look as presentable as possible. It is a great idea to repair any damage caused by your pets. It may only be the odd bit of decorating around your house, but it’s well worth the investment. Having someone look at your property only to see scratch marks or evidence of pet damage.

Make your home clean and fresh 

Even if your home is relatively damaged free from your pets, it’s a good idea to do a thorough clean and remove all pet evidence. Make sure that the kitty litter and dog bowls are out of sight to avoid lingering smells. Remove any toys, especially the ones that have a tendency to squeak when you stand on them. 

Don’t forget to vacuum up all of those pet hairs, which from personal experience is a nightmare.

Finally, the garden, if you own a dog that spends a lot of time outside check that it is dropping free and if you can cover or treat any yellow stains on the lawn. Pet droppings are not nice even for those who love pets, so ensure everything is clean and tidy.

Use air freshener.

Once you’ve had a good clean and tidy it’s well worth airing out your home.  Pets tend to leave that “pet smell” around the house, as the advert says, you can go 'nose blind'  so you might not smell anything but viewers might? You can use air fresheners or perhaps scented candles. Some of these can be unpleasant , overpowering and some people have allergies to fragrance products. 

Alternatively, it might be worth having the carpets and flooring professionally cleaned. This is probably the best option as it will remove the smells and makes the whole house fresh and clean, rather than simply mask it.

Right time to sell?

We find that the popular times of year for selling traditionally are from February when the Christmas tree becomes a distant memory to mid-July when holidays start and again from September when the children go back to school to November when traditionally Christmas preparations start. Often demand outstrips supply and therefore prices are usually at their most buoyant during these periods.

Seasonal tips

In winter, have lights on during the day time. There is nothing worse than dark dull rooms when a viewing is taking place. Also don’t leave curtains drawn as natural light gives a clean, bright and fresh feel. Also its important to make sure windows are clean. If you have a fireplace, have the fire blazing. There is nothing better that a flaming hearth to sell a property. Also when putting the house on the market in January try to get the Christmas decorations stored neatly back in the loft.

Selling a vacant property?

Try to air properties as damp smells are a real no. If you have power on at the property make use of plug in air fresheners as these can bring in the smell of a summer meadow which is better than wet dog. If you are selling a vacant property its well worth leaving some furniture behind to give the property a lived in feeling.

Instruct a legal beagle straight away

It is really worth contacting your solicitor/conveyancer now so they can obtain all the necessary documents required to create a draft contact. Its well worth looking through your own paperwork to find any guarantees for work you have had done. This can include FENSA certificates for double glazed windows and door, any planning permission granted with  plans and documentary evidence, building control permissions for major changes to your home, damp certificates, NHBC building guarantee documents to name but a few. This will help speed the transaction along and also save you money. If the solicitor has to apply for these it will take longer and usually cost you more in fees. If something cannot be found tell the solicitor straight away as there usually is an indemnity insurance that can be taken out to cover missing documents or covenants on the title deeds that are now unenforceable but are still valid.

The magic of holding a sale together

This is where choosing Cooke & Co really is the right choice. It is so important to have an experienced agent who can really show what they are worth. I have always said that any fool can sell a property but getting it through to exchange and completion is the hard bit where most agents fail their customers.

Once the property sells the hard work starts , do remember that the longer it takes to reach an exchange of contracts, the higher the chance of the sale falling through or your buyer renegotiating the price.

It is imperative that you have chosen a good solicitor. The cheapest is not the best option and we are happy to advise you about who we can work well with and have open communication. They must be happy to contact you regularly giving you help and advice as we will do. You need to know where within the conveyance process your sale is and always ask how your buyer is acting. Everybody has their own problems and stresses at this time.

We will always tell you honestly how the buyer is feeling and also tell you how motivated they are as these are signs that will help you to know if you are still on course to exchange or perhaps they are getting cold feet. We pride ourselves in honest communication with you and your solicitor as this is vital.

Remember you are going to pay your solicitors fees if your home sale is successful or if is not. We  get nothing if the property does not go through to a successful exchange of contacts.

We hope these tips are helpful as they have certainly helped numerous Cooke & Co sellers. They for part of our knowledge and experience of the Thanet house market collected since 1992. We have plenty more helpful tips and advice to give you, as required, if you use us.

No obligation free market appraisal

Cooke & Co would be happy to help or give you completely independent advice on any property matters and would be pleased to offer you a second opinion that is completely free and with no obligation.

We don't get chosen first every time

Don't be embarrassed, we don't get our feelings hurt if you don't choose us first time as long as you use us this time. We know there are a lots of good agents to choose from but we hope, after over 25 years of working hard for our customers we are better than any other. The reasons, we feel, are that we stick to our founding principles of honesty, integrity and accountability and combine these with easy to use and helpful technology and most importunately, mature, valued and experienced staff. This is what makes us different. We don't like gimmicks, playing the numbers game or just having the most pages in the local paper or lots of boards up on overvalued property.

You may have already had your property on the market with no success. Perhaps you are unsure about your current sale price?

We are here to give you some honest help and advice. Then why not let us visit you and answer your questions confidentially without any pressure. We won’t force or cajole you into giving us your business in a hard sell fashion like some agents or that quickie valuation, that results 30 minutes later in you signing your life away for 20 weeks sole agency without realising it! 

We always hope our advice helps and just hope you would point anyone considering moving in our direction and perhaps consider using Cooke & Co yourself next time you look to move.

We would love to meet you and help sell your home for the best price so why not give your local office a call today to experience a refreshingly different approach?