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How to sell your home fast and ensure a speedy sale

Even when the process runs smoothly, selling a house can be a lengthy endeavour, but there are ways you can improve the value of your home and sell your house faster.

Property owners in the UK could sell their homes two times faster post-pandemic, with the average time to sell a house estimated at 27 days in 2021. Back in 2019, those looking to sell their home could expect their property to be on the market for an average of 69 days in total, compared with an average of 61 days in the four years prior.

Houses sold faster than usual during the pandemic due to pent-up demand, and the trend is set to continue until the end of the year, with demand outstripping supply in some areas.

Low mortgage rates coupled with the extension of the Stamp Duty holiday have impacted demand, as has the increased flexibility in location brought on by the increase in working from home and hybrid working.

According to MediaVison, searches for 'houses for sale' and 'property for sale' have seen double-digit gains since the start of the year, with online searches rising 31% and 27%, respectively.

Capitalise on potential for a fast house sale

Identifying and harnessing the unique potential in a property is crucial for helping to set it apart from the neighbouring competition. If there are two houses for sale on the same street in varying conditions, the home in need of modernisation will appear less valuable a prospect than the home upgraded to a contemporary style.

According to research, potential buyers find the following features very important when viewing a potential home from the outside:

  • Windows in good condition – 71%
  • No missing tiles on the roof – 68%
  • A tidy garden and trimmed hedges – 67%
  • A well maintained driveway or pathway – 56%
  • Well-maintained fences and walls – 56%
  • An attractive front door – 52%
  • Clear gutters – 50%
  • Hidden wheelie bins – 36%
  • Good lighting – 26%

Aside from external features, one of the most lucrative ways to capitalise on property value is to look for opportunities to maximise internal space.

In a terraced row of houses, for example, properties that have sought to open up interior passageways, remove interior walls, create basements, or extend garden space will be instantly more desirable to potential buyers.

Any obvious renovations that could help to maximise internal space should be considered a worthwhile investment when looking for a fast house sale. It is important to remember that buyers are generally happy to pay a premium for a finished house to a high standard, while many will pay more than the cost of works for the ease of convenience.

British homeowners spent around £2,608 on home improvements last year, with the highest investments going into kitchens and gardens.

According to research, potential buyers will happily go above the average asking price for homes with the following features:

  • Modern kitchen & bathroom
  • Loft conversion
  • Spare bedroom
  • New heating system or boiler
  • Modern windows
  • Garage conversion
  • Landscaped garden
  • Home office

"Capitalise on the thing that makes your house different". If there are easy improvements that can be made to your home, make them, then feature them in photographs and styling to really set your property ahead of the competition," says Edward Church, Head of Strutt & Parker Canterbury.

The question of price

Seemingly comparable houses on the same road may not have the same value for various reasons; perhaps some have south-facing gardens, while others are closer to a main road and suffer from noise pollution.

Property agents should offer detailed knowledge and understanding of the local market, providing homeowners with realistic, informed guidance on the price of their property. However, sellers should not be afraid to set a new record for their street.

While some estate agents may be adamant that houses never exceed a certain price on a particular road or area, it is important to remember that things move forward and streets can improve. It should also be noted that the nearest comparable property might not lie a couple of doors down; it might be one around the corner. Window shopping around the local area is the best tactic to get privately informed guidance on the true value of your home.

"In the current market, demand is high, but that still means remaining realistic on price. Set the guide price close to the amount you are likely to accept," says Paul Machell, Senior Associate Director, Strutt & Parker Chichester. "The aim is to draw in several potential buyers and create competition. Competitive pricing, particularly at the top end of the market, is key in any market."

The benefits of vacant possession

Vacant possession refers to the rights of a purchaser to have exclusive access to a property on completion of sale. The previous occupant vacates immediately once money has changed hands.

Making the buying process as smooth as possible for any interested party is essential for selling a property in any market. Still, it is even more critical when there is direct competition. Selling with vacant possession comes with obvious benefits from a buyer's perspective; it allows new owners to move into the property as soon as they've committed to buy. Not only that, it also benefits the seller, speeding up the overall sales process and cutting ongoing legal expenses.

"Vacant possession is a great way to make your property more appealing," says Machell. "Either make sure you've got your new home lined up or be prepared to move into rented accommodation after selling. You should also make sure your agent emphasises the vacant possession opportunity when doing viewings, as it might just seal the deal for anxious buyers."

Photographs and styling

Using a professional photographer can hugely impact initial interest and viewing requests when it comes to marketing visuals. Sellers should also consider the photographer's suitability to photograph and style their home, as some properties with particularly high-end interiors will suit more lifestyle and feature-led shots to reach the ideal buyer.

Homes that feature particularly good use of space and light may benefit from paying for a 'virtual viewing' tour to highlight these unique assets.

"At Strutt & Parker, we've been using a 3D tour facility and have seen a significant increase in both viewing numbers and telephone enquiries," says Machell. "Drone photography can also help with a property in a really special location. Both options were essential in lockdown, but even now viewings are back to being in person they can really make a difference."

Speak to us to find out how to get the most from your property for a fast house sale.

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