Phil seems to still live in a time when people only sellÂ houses in the spring. These days the peak property market lasts a lot longer,Â so that the only months property doesnâ€™t change hands are December and January.
Step 1: De-clutter and De-personalise
This has to be the most important step in getting your home ready to go on the market. As he rightly says:
â€œBuyers need to be able to visualise themselves in your home, so it could beÂ worthÂ going one stage further and putting away personal effects such as ornaments, photographs and your kidsâ€™ drawings. â€œ
You are not just selling a house,Â youâ€™re selling a lifestyle. Buyers need to be able to imagine themselves â€“ and their stuff â€“ in your home. If itâ€™s full of someone elseâ€™s clutter, thereâ€™s no room for their imagination to inhabit it!
So do what Phil and everyone else says:Â ditch the junk, tidy the place up â€“ and youâ€™ll find it easier to pack it all up when youâ€™re moving to your new home!
Step 2:Â Spruce up the Decor
This goes along with de-cluttering, so this should really be Step 1a. If youâ€™re decluttering youâ€™ll expose those once-hidden nooks and crannies where your shabby paint and broken fittings have been hiding.
â€œWhen your home is as empty as it can be, give it a fresh coat of neutral paint and get any dirty tiling re-grouted.â€
It should go without saying that a blank canvas will assist buyersâ€™ imaginations! We would also go one step further and suggest making sure that there are plenty of clean and shiny mirrors around so they can literally see themselves living there.
Step 3:Â Deep Clean
OK, Phil, I think this is the 3rd time youâ€™ve said this. Obviously, you should clean your home. And you donâ€™t need to hire a â€œprofessional cleaning companyâ€ to do the job for you. Unless you really canâ€™t be bothered â€“ didnâ€™t you clean when you were de-cluttering and sprucing up the decor?
And youâ€™re selling a house, not an oven.
Step 4:Â Donâ€™t forget the garden
Of course, you shouldnâ€™t ignore your green areas â€“ though it depends on what time of year you are selling. A spring / summer garden may be a selling point, but itâ€™ll need more work to make the flowers flower and the lawn mown.
â€œAnd position a table and chairs in aÂ spot whereÂ buyers could imagine having a morning coffee.â€
If buyers do see the garden as another room in the house, it works if they can sit in it and let their imaginations transport them to a warm sunny day!
Step 5: Â Sacrifice your parking space
This can take a little ingenuity: but itâ€™s worth it. In a world overrun with cars, your prospective buyer is going to want to have somewhere to put theirs â€“ and if when they arrive they canâ€™t park, theyâ€™ll imagine the worst.
â€œIf your home comes with an allocated parking space, leave it free for prospective buyers to use.â€
We are in total agreement with Phil here: in fact if your home doesÂ notÂ have its own parking space, do what you can to ensure that one is available when they arrive. Park your car in a judicious spot, then drive away just before they arrive.
Allâ€™s fair in love and selling property, isnâ€™t it?
Step 6: Hire the Right Estate Agent
There are mixed opinions on this one â€“ obviously Phil needs to keep on the right side of the agents, else heâ€™d have to change the format of his TV programmes! There is increasing evidence that you donâ€™t always need an estate agent to make the right sale, but it can speed things up dramatically if you do use one.
â€œItâ€™s cheaper to sell sole-agency rather than multi-agency, so I recommend staying with one agent for the first four weeks. This will give them opportunity and motivation to sell your property fast. Then, if youâ€™re not happy, you can move onto other agents.
â€œAlways try to negotiate on agentsâ€™ fees and have the final fee agreed in writing.â€
The fact is that whether you can save on estate agentsâ€™ fees and market your property yourself depends on two things: how much of a hurry you are in, and how easy you find it to show other people around your home. Â If you can wait and are a good salesperson, give it a go!
You will need an online agent, though, to get your property listed on RightMove. Something that Phil would rather not discuss.
Step 7: Get On Top of Your Paperwork
We couldnâ€™t agree more. And not just because we are a firm of conveyancing solicitors!
â€œInstruct a solicitor to kick off the conveyancing process early. Ask them to break down and fully explain all costsâ€
If you get the legal side ready while you are finding a buyer and looking for a new place yourself, you wonâ€™t be held up with the legal formalities. Make sure you have already spoken to your solicitor and agreed all the costs before you get too busy with other aspects of your move.
We would also recommend making sure that your solicitor knows who you are and is available for phone conversations to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
And you should never, ever, ever conduct all your legal work by email, orÂ work with a solicitor who is happy to do so.
Step 8: Be Smart on Viewings
Viewings are important, and when they start you realise that not all agents are created equal. If youâ€™re there at the time, you can hear what the agentâ€™s talking about, and youâ€™ll know whether you agree with Philâ€™s point number 8:
â€œWhen it comes to viewings on your home,Â itâ€™s always best to get an agent to do it â€“ they know their job.â€
So itâ€™s your call.Â It might be better to sit quietly in one room while an agent shows viewers over the rest of your home, after all you know more about your home than anyone!
Philâ€™sÂ Missing Step: Get The Photos Right!
And so we come to something that no-one talks about, though it is a vital part of both attracting viewers and encouraging them to buy. Photos.
Every estate agent will offer photography, but they often do not budget enough time to get the right photos.
And if you think about it, itâ€™s the photos that get people to come and view a property, and itâ€™s the photos they show friends and family when theyâ€™ve come back from a viewing. The opinions of trusted friends and family can be crucial in securing that second viewing.
Do not be scared of commissioning some of your own photos to add to the brochure / listing. Your estate agent will be delighted that youâ€™ve managed to get a shot that they missed!
Cunningtonsâ€™ OwnÂ Guide to Selling Your Home!
You will not be surprised to learn that we have our own guide â€“ it covers some of Philâ€™s Steps, but it goes a bit further.
We compared a number of free guides including those by Phil Spencer, Kirsty Allsop, Sarah Beeny and others, and compare them with the experience of one of our own clients when they sold their flat in Hove.
They followed all the steps in our guide, and sold their flat in December 2014.
They sold it so successfully that despite house price rises no other property in their postcode has beaten their selling price since.Â
Want to know what they did? Download the guide for free and see for yourself!