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"Don't Turn Your Home-Selling Journey Into a Horror Story" Top Mistakes You Absolutely Must Avoid!

Selling a property and moving house can be quite stressful, with tons of decisions to make. Over our 30 years of helping people move, We have witnessed people making costly mistakes and poor decisions, resulting in wasted time and thousands of pounds down the line. So, here are our top 5 mistakes to avoid when selling a house.


Mistake 1: Pricing too high

Why: Selling a house can be tricky, right? We all want to get the highest price, and that's totally understandable. But here's the thing... sometimes the lowest priced properties actually sell for the highest price. And the ones with the highest price? Well, they tend to sell for less. Crazy, huh?!

Let us explain. When a property looks like a great deal, everyone wants a piece of it. That means more competition and the price shoots up to its true market value. Think of it like an auction or even eBay. On the other hand, if you've done your research and you choose to price your property higher than it's worth, it can backfire. Potential buyers may pass it by, thinking it's too expensive compared to similar options. And if your property sits on the market for too long, people start wondering what is wrong with it. It becomes less desirable.

Guess what happens next? You'll have to lower the price. But going from £1,000,000 to £975,000 might not cut it. Now your house is seen as stale, and you've missed out on the prime time for attracting competing offers. So you end up having to go even lower, maybe £960,000 or £950,000, just to breathe some life back into the marketing and catch the attention of potential buyers who missed it the first time. It all started with the thought of aiming a bit higher, but it could end up costing you £30,000 or £40,000, plus two months of wasted time.

Remember, it's hard to under-price a property (unless you choose to sell to the first viewer!), but it's quite easy to over-price it and lose out on crucial early interest. So be careful!

According to Which?, sellers lose £4,300,000,000 a year to overvaluing and homes with a 5% price cut take 2 months longer to sell.

Mistake 2: Choosing the cheapest estate agent.

Why? So, what's the difference between an estate agent and a great estate agent, you ask? Well, let us tell you. It's a sweet little sum of 2% of your asking price. No kidding. According to some fancy research, the average estate agency manages to achieve only 97% of the asking price, while those great agents can go for a stunning 99-100%. Now, if we take a £1,000,000 house, that 2% difference amounts to a whopping £20,000 more in your pocket. That's a whole lot of money. So, can we agree that choosing a fantastic estate agent is of utmost importance?

Now, when it comes to quality service, you know the drill. It might cost you a bit more, but it's better value overall. How many times have you gone for the cheaper option, only to end up regretting it and having to go back to the better option at a later date? As they say, buy cheap, buy twice. Estate agents are just the same. You've got the good, the bad, the ugly, and the remarkable. It's a bit like dealing with surgeons. Some have done countless procedures and have all the experience and knowledge, while others are just starting out and may not be as reliable. The same goes for estate agents and their negotiation skills.

Now picture this: You've got a house you want to sell for £1,000,000. Agent 1 offers to sell it for just 1%, but their track record shows they typically achieve 98% of the asking price. On the other hand, Agent 2 charges 2%, but their track record boasts 100% achievement. So, which agent is cheaper, you ask? Well, surprise, surprise, it's Agent 2! They're more likely to bring in an extra £20,000 for your house, while only charging you an additional £10,000. That means you're £10,000 better off in the end. And that's the name of the game— the final amount of money in your pocket.

So, here's the moral of the story. Don't choose an estate agent solely based on their highest valuation quote or the lowest fee. Do your research. Find that agent who's a top performer, because trust us, they'll have the best marketing, an awesome viewing strategy, killer negotiation skills, heaps of experience, and the ability to keep a sale together once it's agreed. After all, on average, a whopping 34% of sales fall through after they've been agreed. So, choose wisely and make the most of your sale!

Mistake 3: Thinking your house will sell itself

So, we came across this comment on Facebook the other day where someone said "Houses sell themselves"... and it really stung... Because let's be real, that's just not true! If it were, then I guess we've been ripping people off for over previous decades without even realising it!

Whether you're a fan or not, estate agents are a necessary part of the equation. Houses definitely do not sell themselves, and here's why:

First off, houses don't value themselves, the wrong pricing strategy can result in less interest and a lower price as an end result. They also don't always take the best photos or write captivating descriptions that entice potential buyers to come and take a look.

Plus, they can't market themselves effectively, missing out on opportunities to reach the right audience. And when it comes to objections from buyers, they don't always do a great job addressing them and turning those viewings into offers.

But hey, it's not all doom and gloom! An experienced estate agent who's truly dedicated to their craft can make a world of difference. They'll know how to create that sense of competition and urgency, arrange viewings strategically, and follow up to address any concerns and start the negotiation process.

When it comes down to it, they're the ones who can get you the best price (on average, 4% more than the initial offer) and keep the sale moving smoothly. Because let's face it, there are always problems along the way – from collapsed chains to survey issues and slow solicitors – and you'll need someone in your corner who knows how to handle them.

So, yes, houses definitely don't sell themselves, but with the right estate agent by your side, you'll be in good hands.

Mistake 4: Refusing an early offer because it’s an early offer

Okay, so here's the thing. I'm not saying you have to accept every early offer that comes your way. But don't dismiss them just because they come in early. Let us tell you, we have seen sellers turn down fantastic offers right at the beginning of the marketing phase, only to end up settling for less later on. Trust us, it's a mistake you want to avoid.

Remember: According to, 70% of interest in a house for sale, comes in the first 3 weeks of marketing. This is your premium price opportunity.

Statistically, you have a better chance of getting a higher offer early on in the marketing. You can use that as leverage against the buyer to push them up. For example, you can say to the buyer, "Since it's so early in the marketing, your offer will need to be X." This creates a fear of missing out, and in 9 out of 10 cases, you'll be able to agree on a deal.

But remember, each offer needs to be assessed based on its own merits. Consider the offer amount, the buyer's position (whether they're in a chain or not, if they're a first-time buyer or paying in cash), their financial situation (like the amount of mortgage deposit), and, most importantly, their motivation. If they've been waiting for a house in your road for 6 months, that's like finding gold dust. The chances of that sale completing, even with some minor issues in a survey, are probably around 90%, compared to a national average of 66%. On the other hand, if a buyer has made offers on 3 houses over the weekend, yours being one of them, then you have to question their motivation and most likely not agree to a sale.

Remember, only when you have all the facts can you make an informed decision to move forward.

Mistake 5: Taking the view ‘I’m in no rush’

12 days is the optimum time for a house to achieve it’s maximum selling price, according to analysis by the HomeOwners Alliance.

Agents with an average selling time of 12 days achieved 100.89% of their stated price, compared to those with a selling time of four weeks which achieve 98% of the original asking price, according to the research.

So, what does that tell you? Whether you're in a rush or not, here's the thing: the longer your house sits on the market, the lower the chances of getting the best price. You might think, "I'll just wait for the perfect buyer to show up." And hey, that might sound like a solid plan. But here's the reality: when that buyer finally comes along, it could be months down the line. And by then, guess what? Your property has been on the market for ages, giving them all the leverage to negotiate a lower offer.

The smarter approach would be to think about when you want to be in your new house and work backward. Let's say you're aiming to move in September and we know the legal process usually takes around 3 months. Plus, you need to allow about 4 weeks to find a buyer. That means you should aim to have your property live on the market by April, or at the latest, beginning of May. And remember, that's not even considering potential setbacks like chains collapsing or banks down-valuing.

So instead of rushing to put your house on the market in January with an inflated price just because you're not in a hurry, hold off and price it competitively (avoiding mistake 1 mentioned earlier). Launch with the goal of securing the best buyer at the best possible price within 4 weeks. That way, you'll increase your chances of a successful sale and a smooth transition to your new home.

So, to recap...

Don’t put it on for too much

Don’t be concerned about paying an agent too much.

Don’t think it will sell itself.

Don’t hold out for a price than may never materialise

Don’t put it on until you’re ready.

Follow this advice and don’t make the mistakes to avoid when selling a house and we assure you, you will have a smoother, less-stressful sale and house move. For advice specific to your circumstances, please get in touch with us at Bartlett & Partners.


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