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Surviving the Sale
 
...

GET YOURSELF

OUT THERE!

Want to sell your property on your own but nervous about the viewing? We show you how...In the current economic climate, many property owners are choosing to cut out the estate agent and go the SIY (Sell It Yourself) route.  SIY property sales result in property owners saving substantial amounts of money by eliminating the estate agents commission.   On a house valued at €550,000, a property owner can save on average €10,000 by selling privately.

Sellityourself.ie offers the same promotional services as estate agents (i.e. online listing, signboards, discounted newspaper advertising & sales advice) for a one time fee of only €150 and each property is listed until it’s sold.  The property owner conducts the property viewings and deals directly with potential buyers with regard to queries and offers.

The decision to sell property privately or through an estate agent often hinges on the property owners perception of property viewings.  Showing potential buyers around a property puts many people off selling on their own, so they choose to use an estate agent. They may feel daunted by the process, or simply don't have the time to devote to it. In most cases, though, a property owner has an advantage when showing their house, as they have expert knowledge of the property. In reality the process is very straight forward and the owner is best placed to show their home to potential buyers as they can provide full details on every aspect of the property, the neighbourhood, and facilities in the area. This information is extremely important to anyone buying a home.

Then asked about property viewings, Anne-Marie Doyle of Sellityourself.ie advises that you begin by preparing your house for sale.  “First impressions are so important. The initial impression your home makes is long lasting and very hard to erase.  You should make sure your home is at it’s very best before putting it on the market”, says Anne-Marie.

 

Preparing your house for sale (also known as Staging or House Doctoring) will give you greater confidence when guiding potential buyers through your home.    Firstly, take a look at each room in your house - try and picture it through a buyers eyes.  Is there a lot of clutter in the room?  Is there too much furniture in the room?  Rooms will appear larger if they are not overly cluttered.  Once the clutter has been cleared off countertops, lockers, desks etc., replace it with one or two decorative items e.g. photo frames, vases, plants.

Thoroughly clean your house inside out, including windows and doors.  If you haven't time (or ability!) to do this yourself, hire someone to do it.  Once cleaned, do your best to maintain it for as long as your house is on the market.  It is a good idea to set aside one morning or afternoon a week to do all the cleaning jobs that are required.  You can then try and schedule your weekly viewings to fit in with your cleaning schedule.  (Property sellers who use estate agents don't have this flexibility - their home must be ready for viewing at all times).

Revisit each room to see what can be done to enhance and complement the room.  Do the walls need to be repainted?  Rooms painted in neutral colours will appear bigger, and will allow buyers to visualise that room in their own style.  New bed linen or new curtains can make a huge difference and can help modernise a house.  Scatter cushions, throws and plants will complement any room and are inexpensive ways of adding that final touch.

Finally, take a look at the outside of your property and apply the same action plan.  Clear all unnecessary objects, toys, etc from the garden.  Clear weeds from gravel areas and flowerbeds.  Clean down walls, decks, patios and pavements (with a powerhouse where possible).  Pay particular attention to the front door and entrance porch. Finally enhance your garden, patio or deck with planted containers (or do some spring planting if sufficiently green-fingered).

Preparing your house for sale (also known as Staging or House Doctoring) will give you greater confidence when guiding potential buyers through your home.    Firstly, take a look at each room in your house - try and picture it through a buyers eyes.  Is there a lot of clutter in the room?  Is there too much furniture in the room?  Rooms will appear larger if they are not overly cluttered.  Once the clutter has been cleared off countertops, lockers, desks etc., replace it with one or two decorative items e.g. photo frames, vases, plants.

Thoroughly clean your house inside out, including windows and doors.  If you haven't time (or ability!) to do this yourself, hire someone to do it.  Once cleaned, do your best to maintain it for as long as your house is on the market.  It is a good idea to set aside one morning or afternoon a week to do all the cleaning jobs that are required.  You can then try and schedule your weekly viewings to fit in with your cleaning schedule.  (Property sellers who use estate agents don't have this flexibility - their home must be ready for viewing at all times)

Revisit each room to see what can be done to enhance and complement the room.  Do the walls need to be repainted?  Rooms painted in neutral colours will appear bigger, and will allow buyers to visualise that room in their own style.  New bed linen or new curtains can make a huge difference and can help modernise a house.  Scatter cushions, throws and plants will complement any room and are inexpensive ways of adding that final touch.

Finally, take a look at the outside of your property and apply the same action plan.  Clear all unnecessary objects, toys, etc from the garden.  Clear weeds from gravel areas and flowerbeds.  Clean down walls, decks, patios and pavements (with a powerhouse where possible).  Pay particular attention to the front door and entrance porch. Finally enhance your garden, patio or deck with planted containers (or do some spring planting if sufficiently green-fingered).

 

 

Dealing with enquiries

Sellityourself.ie Tips

  • Purchase a cheap pre-paid mobile to have a dedicated number and voicemail message for your property sale.
  • Keep a record of all people who phone, email and view your property.
  • Practice makes perfect – run through some dummy viewings with friends or family.
  • Do not take any negative comments personally.
  • Print brochures of your property to hand out to buyers

 

How that you have prepared your property, it’s time to prepare for the buyers!
Property buyers will either call or email you to ask questions about your property and to arrange a viewing.  If you are placing your phone number on a website or For Sale board, it may be a good idea to purchase a prepaid mobile phone.   Prepaid mobiles are very cheap and they allow you to have a dedicated phone number for dealing with your property sale.  You can also record a dedicated message on this phone, which buyers will hear if you are unavailable to take a call.  Prepaid mobiles also allow you to retain a certain level of anonymity.

 

In order to avoid time wasters, you should ask the buyer a few questions in the initial phone call before you arrange a property viewing.  You will soon tell by their answers if they are serious or not.  Sellityourself.ie advises that you always ask for the buyers name and phone number - in a friendly manner – before you answer any questions at all about your property.   After you have answered some of their questions, and before you arrange a viewing - ask if they have a property to sell themselves, if they are first time buyers or if they have finance already arranged.  If you feel that someone is not serious about purchasing your property, you are under no obligation to show them your house.  Simply tell them that you need to arrange your viewing schedule and you will contact them soon. Even if you feel the person is a bona fide buyer, you should still suggest calling them back with a time for viewing.  This is a safety precaution to ensure that the caller has given you correct contact details. 

Remember to keep track of all names and phone numbers of interested parties in an organized manner when you are answering calls about your property and arranging viewings.  Property viewing sheets can be downloaded from the Sellityourself.ie website.  They enable you to record the dates of phone calls, emails, names, phone numbers, date and times of viewings, buyers feedback and your comments.  These record sheets will be invaluable when it comes to organizing second viewings and deciding on any offers placed on your property.

Then arranging times for viewings, keep in mind that certain times of the day may be more advantageous than others for your particular property.  For example, try to choose times when traffic is light, when noise from nearby schools is at a minimum, or when the sun is in the garden.  However, you will also have to be flexible on times to facilitate the needs of the buyer.  One of the advantages of SIY property sales is that you can often arrange viewings at times which would never suit estate agents.

Conducting viewings

Before conducting your first viewing, it is advisable to do some ‘dummy’ viewings to make the experience less daunting.  Ask a friend or family member to step in as a substitute buyer and ask for their feedback on how you could improve your presentation.

During the viewing of your house, be friendly and welcoming but businesslike.  Do not engage the buyer in too much chit-chat or be overly familiar.  The buyer is there to view your property and is not necessarily interested in your life story.  According to Sellityourself.ie there are two general rules which should be followed when conducting property viewings :

1: Show the best rooms first and last. You will control the sequence of the viewing so decide on the best rooms in the house and show these rooms first in order to give the best first impression possible. In most cases the best rooms will be the kitchen or sitting room.  Show these rooms first and then follow a logical sequence throughout the house, returning to your key room to end the viewing.  In this way the buyer has a favourable first and last impression.  It goes without saying that your key room should be downstairs

2: Always allow the buyer to enter each room first.  You should open the room door and guide the buyer through before following them into the room.  By entering each room first, the buyer feels more in control of the viewing process. 

As you guide the buyer through the house, point out all the positive aspects of each room.  Answer any questions as thoroughly as you can and always give the extra little details that make your house a home – the details that no estate agent would ever have knowledge of.  There is no need to draw attention to any negative aspects of your home. However, if asked any awkward questions, you must give an honest answer so try to anticipate all questions in advance so that you can give as positive an answer as possible.  If any negative comments are made about your property, do not take them personally – remember interested buyers will often work to lower the price of your home.  Experienced property buyers will rarely offer praise.

Be aware that some buyers are very canny and their questions may be asked in order to ‘gather ammunition’ for making a lower offer.  The classic example is in cases where a couple are separating – if asked why you are selling there is no need to divulge the exact reason, a general statement such as ‘we’ve outgrown this house’ will suffice.

Don’t rush the viewing. Stand back and allow the buyers time to talk to each other. If you think they have overlooked any particular aspects of the property, do point them out.  Observe the buyers as they view your property – remember what features of your house appeal to them and what they seem particularly impressed by.  You can then bring these features into the conversation later as you sum up the advantages of your property.

To end the viewing, hand the buyer a printed brochure of your property (you can automatically create and print brochures from your Sellityourself.ie listing).  Advise them that they can call you at any time if they have any more questions or if they wish to arrange a second viewing.  Lead the buyers to the door and say goodbye at the door – again in a friendly but business-like manner.

Questions Buyers Ask:

Have you had many viewings?
Have you had any offers?
How long has the property been on the market?
Why are you selling?
Have you found a new home yet?
How much did you pay for the property?
What fixtures and fittings are included with the property?
Why does this seem to be such a bargain?
Have you had any work carried out on the property?
Are there any structural problems that you know of?
Does the property have an energy rating?
Can you hear the main road or motorway?
Is there a mobile phone mast nearby?
Are there any developments planned for the area?
Have there been any problems with neighbours?
Has the property, or neighbouring properties, ever been burgled?
Has your car ever been stolen from outside the property?

Your Questions

Q Should I let buyers view my property on their own?

A According to Sellityourself.ie, there is no reason not to let buyers view your property on their own – after all, most estate agents will give buyers time to wander around on their own.  However do ensure that you have completed the initial viewing with them. By first showing the buyer your property, you will be in a position to point out all the positive aspects of the house. If they then wish to look around on their own, by all means let them. This will allow them to take their time and if they are viewing with another person, they can discuss the good and bad points of the property. It also gives buyers confidence that you're not hiding anything.

As with any property viewing – either by the owner or an estate agent – always remove valuables from sight when conducting viewings.

Q How many times should I let someone view my property?

A When a prospective buyer requests a second viewing of your property, it is a very good sign as they are obviously interested in purchasing your property.  You should let a buyer view a property as many times as they require. Very few buyers will make an offer on a property unless they had seen it at least twice. Some buyers may also wish to show the property to a friend or family member before they finally make an offer, so multiple viewings may be necessary

Q What is the best way of conducting a second viewing?

A During a second viewing, the buyer is genuinely interested in your property so you may be more relaxed and chattier.  Show them around the house again – pointing out the main features of the property.  Rather than going in to full detail again, try and give a brief summary of each rooms features and allow them more time to view the property on their own.  At the end of the viewing offer a cup of tea so you can have a chat.  During the conversation try and elicit a little bit of information about their on situation. Are they first time buyers? Are they selling their own property? Where is the property and how long has it been on the market?  These questions should allow you to gauge the persons ability to make a property purchase in the near future.

Q Is it a good idea to arrange open house viewings?

A Open house viewings are a good way of getting quite a lot of people through your house in a short space of time and in attracting buyers to travel from further afield. However, the downside of open house viewings is that you get to spend very little time with each buyer and “open houses”, similar to show houses, tend to attract the ‘looker’ who has no intention of purchasing. Also, as all the buyers are viewing on the one day it can be a very tiring experience.  Sellityourself.ie would advise grouping your viewings together on one day and spacing them approximately 20 minutes apart.  That way you get to spend time with each buyer and buyers become aware that there is other interest in the property.  If you are grouping your viewings together like this, it is a good idea to  have someone else with you who can chat to a buyer if the viewings overlap.

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