How To Sell A House In A Bad Neighbourhood
Any time you try to sell a house, you face a time-consuming, stressful process. This fact is only more true if you’re working to sell your home and it’s in an undesirable neighbourhood. It makes the entire process more challenging no matter what the property market as a whole is like. Is there anything you can do if you need to sell your house quickly, but you’ve located in a neighbourhood most people aren’t interested in? Absolutely. There are several ways to boost the chances of getting someone to buy your home, and this guide can help you understand all of them.
Your Asking Price Really Matters
Research has shown that homes that are fairly priced tend to do better on the market and sell quicker. The first few weeks of any property sale are absolutely the most important, and maximising interest means pricing it right. If you price your home too high, some people won’t even come and look at the property. If you price it too low, though, you may be walking away from possibilities. What can you do to price your property correctly? Stay realistic and do your research. Start by looking at comparable sales in your area. The Land Registry website should have a list of comparable sales in the area in recent days. You’ll want to look at sales over the last six months. Once you know what homes of your size have gone for over that time period, look at the current homes for sale in your area too. Sites like Zoopla are absolutely invaluable in this setting. It will help you see what other homes are listed right now. Finally, once you have those numbers in hand, talk to an estate agent to see how they might price your home.
Your Estate Agent May be the Key to the Process
Pricing it right may depend on the estate agent, and if you’re looking to sell a property in a neighbourhood that not very many people find desirable, one thing you can do is select the right estate agent to help. There are many different ways you can connect with the ideal estate agent. Begin by thinking about whether you’d rather work with a single agent or multiple agents. A single agent is typically cheaper. Working with multiple agents, though, means more people see your property at any given time. You really have three options in this category – a sole agency agreement, a joint sole agency agreement, or a multiple agency agreement. In general, the more agents who work for you, the more potential buyers you will reach, which is key when you’re concerned about the neighbourhood surrounding your home. Keep in mind, though, that it’s costly. If you aren’t quite sure that you’ll be able to move your home on and off the market, working with several agents is the best choice. Expect to pay about 3% of your home’s purchase price, and expect to give keys to each agent and have a fairly intrusive viewing process, but in the long run, your home will benefit from the added exposure.
Once you know how many agents you wish to work with, create a shortlist. Get recommendations from family, friends, and even colleagues to better understand who works best. If you can, consider comparing agents based on how quickly the sell properties and how close they come to achieving their asking prices. These statistics are usually public knowledge. You’ll also want to find out each agent’s standard terms and conditions, as well as investigate their viewing policy. You want to work with agents who will accompany potential buyers in case you are out. Once you have a fairly short list, interview each agent to learn more about them. Ask about how your home will be marketed and whether they’re comfortable in a multiple agency agreement. Make sure, too, that the lines of communication will be staying open throughout the process of selling your home. Once you’re ready, carefully read their contracts, and sign with the right agents to get the job done as quickly as possible.
Address Your Kerb Appeal
If you’re unfamiliar with the term kerb appeal, it’s how your home appears to potential buyers when they pull up on the street. Essentially, it’s how nice the brickwork or cladding looks, how attractive your front garden is, and generally the impression the exterior of your home leaves on potential buyers. There are many things you can do to improve your home’s kerb appeal. Initially, you’ll want to take a closer look at your front door. It’s a focal point for potential buyers, so make sure it creates a fairly positive first impression. If you have a wood front door, consider a fresh coat of paint. If it’s a plastic door, you can clean it with special products available at a local shop. Be sure you polish the mailbox, house number, and door-knocker, too.
If you have a concrete driveway, it’s a good idea to have it cleaned too with a jet washer. If you don’t have a jet washer, you can typically rent one or find a professional to handle the cleaning for you. You’ll also want to jet wash your patio and deck, as well.
Improving your boundary lines can help quite a bit too. You want buyers to clearly see where your property boundary lines begin and end, so make them obvious and as attractive as possible. If you have a fence, give it a new coat of varnish or paint. You should also check the gate to be sure it functions properly. Trim your hedges, too, and prune plantings.
Address your front garden as well. You’ll want to add as much colour as possible. Consider some potted flowers or just a few blooms in the planters around your home. If you have a lawn, you’ll certainly want to mow it regularly while your home is on the market. Sweep away any fallen leaves as well, and stay on top of the weeding. Be sure you give the window a good cleaning, too, as they will let more light inside your home if they’re clean.
Don’t neglect the exterior lighting. If a potential buyer drives by the property, you want it to be well-lit and look beautiful any time day or night.
Prepare the Inside of Your Home Carefully
Paying close attention to kerb appeal is important, but after you get potential buyers in the door, you’ll want to do what you can keep them inside your house. That starts with a solid cleaning and decluttering. Take a good look at the things inside your home. You want to portray the spaciousness of your property, so sort through absolutely everything. Get rid of anything you don’t need, and properly store those items you do need. From there, you should give your house a deep cleaning. It’s easy to overlook spaces in this process, so you may want to invest in the help of professional cleaning service to ensure your house is absolutely the cleanest it has ever been. Once that’s done, you still have a bit of work to do. Address any obvious problems like dents or dings in the flooring or problems with the woodwork. You’ll also want to give everything a fresh coat of paint.
Finally, address any potentially dim areas of your home. You want everything to look fresh, clean, bright, and new. If you have light fixtures that just aren’t letting enough light shine through, replace them. You may also want to replace any room darkening window treatments with a lighter choice like sheers. If you still have areas that seem dark, consider adding mirrors and lamps to help enhance the light coming into the property.
Make Sure Your Marketing Highlights the Benefits of Your Property
You want to work with your estate agent to highlight the real benefits your property has to offer over others. For example, whilst you may not be in the best neighbourhood, perhaps you do have some top features buyers want like a large garden, a great driveway, or a reliable clear mobile signal. Maybe you’ve recently made some big upgrades to improve the property’s overall energy efficiency rating. All of those options should be highlighted in the marketing materials themselves to ensure potential buyers see just how valuable the property is, even if the neighbourhood isn’t quite what it should be.
Work to Connect with First-Time Buyers
Those who are entering the property market for the first time are far more willing to buy a home in an undesirable neighbourhood than those who are looking to upgrade their home. Work with your estate agent to ensure first-time buyers are the target market for your home. There are many different government schemes to help first-time buyers enter the property market, so be sure your agent is able to talk about all of them to help those who might be interested learn more about how they can buy your home.
Prepare to Incentivise the sale
If you have issues with your neighbourhood, you already know that you may have trouble selling your home. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help incentivise the sale if you get a buyer who is interested but reluctant thanks to the location of your home. Consider offering an incentive to help seal things for them. Perhaps you could offer to cover the costs of the stamp duty or to add an extra allowance for certain improvements they’d like to make like upgraded flooring or changes to the back garden. You can typically uncover anything they’d like to have done during negotiations, so be sure to keep the lines of communication as open as possible.
Consider Having the Neighbours Over During a Showing
If you know you have a buyer who is interested in the property but is concerned about the area, consider having the neighbours come in for a quick Q and A session during a showing. That will help put your potential buyers at ease about the area. Imagine, for example, you’re on quite good terms with the neighbours, and your potential buyers are concerned about the proximity of your home to a noisy pub. Having the neighbours over could help ease their concerns as they can share their personal experiences with the potential buyers.
Consider an Open House
Many estate agents may suggest you have an open house to help show off your property, and this is a particularly good idea if you live in a neighbourhood where a home sale might prove difficult. Open house events are a great way to create a bit of competition among buyers. To have a successful open house, be sure you schedule it on a Saturday. It’s often the day people have a bit of extra time in their schedules to shop for a home. Market your open house well. You may want to ask your estate agent to really push your property listing on their site and in the newspaper so people know the open house is coming. The golden viewing time is usually from ten a.m. to two p.m. On the day of your open house, don’t forget to give your house one final clean. Be sure to turn all of the lights on to help buyers see how bright your property is, then make certain you air it out for a bit before your open house actually starts. That will help eliminate any potential pet or cooking odours you may have accidentally created in your home. Finally, talk to your estate agent so the two of you can be on the same page about how any offers during the open house will actually be handled. Remember that you don’t want to lose any potential offers if you’re in a situation where you’re concerned about the neighbourhood, so planning things well in advance with your estate agent is absolutely key.
Create a Careful Viewings Schedule
If you live in a neighbourhood where problems occur regularly, you’ll want to carefully plan your viewings. You should be absolutely open and honest with potential buyers about any problems your home may have or the area might have, but it’s not wrong to book the initial showing during a time of the best first impressions. Say, for example, that every evening when your neighbours get home from work, the music gets very loud. In situations like this, you may want to book your initial showing very early during the day. Talk with your estate agent should you decide to craft a strategy like this one.
Willingness to Negotiate is a Must
If you’re having trouble because your property isn’t in the best possible location, you need to be willing to negotiate on your price. Keep in mind that your wanted asking price may simply not be possible because of the neighbourhood and your surroundings. If you aren’t willing to negotiate, you may not be able to sell the home at all. Help your estate agent understand both what you want for the property and what you absolutely must have to get out from under the property. You may have to drop your asking price or agree to specific terms like making certain repairs or improvements by a certain date to actually sell your home.
You may also have to look into alternative methods of selling your home to actually make it happen. An off-market house sale may become your only option. You can certainly look into a home auction to ensure your property sells. A home auction means you’ll need to get your marketing materials together early before the auction. On auction day, a buyer will pay cash for your home, but it may be as low as 50% of the home’s value, and you need to be prepared for that possibility. Additionally, the auctioneer will take a 3% cut of the value of the sale of your home. While an auction isn’t always the best way to sell your home, if it’s in a bad neighbourhood, it may be your fastest option.
You could also work with a cash for homes company to help sell your property quickly. These property professionals typically buy homes for up to 80% of the market value price, and they can usually close on the sale within just a few weeks. All it takes is a simple phone call to get an initial conversation started about how much your home might be worth. While you likely won’t get what you would on the open market, you also won’t have to make any repairs or explain the situation you have with your neighbourhood, either. Instead after a professional survey, you can be sure your home is ready to sell and that you’re ready to move.
Selling a house in a bad neighbourhood isn’t always easy, but it is possible.