The autumn is traditionally a wonderful time to bring your house to market. The holiday season is long over and the shortening of the days tends to bring added focus to our plans for the future. There is still enough daylight to show a house at its resplendent best and buyers are very active in the market at this time of year.
Here are some top tips to help you to find a buyer and avoid many of the pitfalls that can befall an inexperienced vendor.
1 BER (Building Energy Rating)
It is a legal requirement to have a current Building Energy Rating Certificate for your home prior to advertising it for sale. The BER cert expires after 10 years and you will need an up-to-date one to sell your house. Most houses have undergone some form of energy upgrade over the last decade and these improvements will have an impact on the buyer’s perceptions. Investments in Insulation, stoves, boiler upgrades, porches, heating controls, solar panels, heat pumps etc. will all help you to climb the energy rating scale. Buyers are increasingly becoming more aware of the energy performance of houses and this will have a big impact on their projected running and upgrade costs. As a rule of thumb anything below a ‘C’ rating would cause an issue for the astute buyer and they will know investment will be required to bring the house up to modern comfort levels. The cost of a new BER will be just over €200 and is well worth it, particularly if you have made any energy upgrades to your home.
Prior to going to market it is best to ensure that your home is in compliance regarding planning and building regulations.
All boundaries should be checked to ensure that they are correct and correspond to planning documents. This can be done visually online by checking the planning maps. Where discrepancies emerge you will need the help of a professional. All extensions over 40 square meters/ 430 square feet will need to have planning permission in place- if required it is best to have the retention in place prior to going to market as such delays will cause your sale to fall through. You may also need certificates of compliance for any additional building work that was carried out.
3 Engineers Report
Most buyers will have an engineer’s report carried out prior to purchase. The trend in the industry over the last three or four years is for these reports to have become more demanding on the vendor. The bar seems to have been raised in terms of the level of detail that the engineers are looking at. In the past often the thrust of the report was to ensure a building was structurally sound, whereas now there seems to be a much higher reporting of non structural issues. This can be off putting for buyers who lack the expertise to see beyond what may be easily rectifiable issues. Prior to going to market any sign of internal water damage/stains should be investigated, remedied and freshly painted. All gutters and downpipes should be cleaned and in good working order. Any loose slates on the roof should be replaced and the chimney should be checked to ensure there is no damage to flashings etc. You must also ensure that you have a service cert for your boiler dated within the last 6 month.
4 Preparing your House for Sale
A fresh paint job always offers a good return on investment. On trend contemporary external paint will make your house stand out from the crowd and will also deal with any unsightly settlement cracks. Internally neutral colours are best. You should consider painting any knotty pine wood on stairs, doors and skirling/architrave. Remove all clutter from the house and the external spaces. Power wash down the yard. Introduce good natural scents into your home. Every house has a unique aroma- unfortunately sometimes this can be as a result of poor ventilation. Air the house as much as possible. House hunters will often buy with their nose!
Now is one of best times ever to sell your house. House prices have almost fully recovered the ground lost during the last housing crash. Demand is at an all time high. If you are a mover the tricky part is not the selling- but finding your new home. Have a firm idea of what and where you want and how much you want to spend.
It is a good idea to have an accurate value placed on your home. Fair Deal Property can carry out a free market valuation for you. And we can help you to develop a buying strategy for your new home.
It is best not to hold back on selling until you have found the perfect new home, the chances are it will have passed you by by the time you bring your own home to market. Selling your home will take several months to process on the legal side of things- so put yourself in a position to have power in the market.
Have your house sale agreed- if you get to this stage you will be taken very seriously by the estate agent who is selling the house you want. Having a buyer lined up for your property will give you the credibility you need to become a preferred bidder. If you are trading down and have a significant amount of equity in your home then finance will not be an issue. Most people however, will need access to finance when moving home. The best advice we can give you is to always use a mortgage broker and never to go to the banks directly. The mortgage broker will get you the best available interest rate and they are paid a commission by the bank and so they are essentially providing a free independent service for the mortgage applicant. The mortgage broker can help a lot with your approach and can correct any potential errors before information is presented to the lender. This will greatly improve your chances of securing the approval that you need. Above all work out exactly what you want and be decisive and ready to commit when the right move comes along.
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