For first-time buyers, getting on the property ladder can be a steep learning curve. But what if you’ve already bought your first house and you’re now looking to sell for the first time?

Just like buying a first home, the experience of being a first-time seller can also have its unexpected twists and turns.

How to sell a house

So, what do you need to know? As the housing market prepares for the spring selling season to get under way, we asked Sam Mitchell, chief executive of online estate agent Strike, for tips on the common questions first-time sellers may have…

Is there a ‘best time’ to put my property on the market?

first time selling a house
(iStock/PA)

Selling a property is all about timing – but it’s not as simple as what time of year. As a rule of thumb, there are certain times that you might want to avoid if you can. For example, the festive period and summer when there can be a dip in activity with school holidays.

However, in this digital world it’s not only about what season you sell in but also what day of the week and even what time you list your property. Strike suggests those who launch their property on a Sunday evening when the portal traffic is at its peak may receive a particularly good response.

Should I wait to sell my current property before I look to buy?

Many sellers won’t even consider a buyer’s offer unless they are in a position to go ahead. Consider whether you have the cash to buy if your current property doesn’t fly off the shelf.

If you are in a comfortable position to cover the deposit on your new home, you may want to look now to allow you to move quickly the moment your home sale is agreed. If you receive an offer on your property but haven’t found a house yet, there may be options such as renting for a while.

Are there any renovations to prioritise which might increase the value of my property?

First time selling a house do some decorating

From installing real wood flooring, to investing in high-end work surfaces or timeless colours and fabrics, interior updates can transform your home to give it the greatest impact when you sell. A survey by Strike found buyers put the importance of a good living room above that of either the kitchen or bathroom.

The top priority for 27% of buyers was the amount of storage. Consider how you can make the most of your storage space, and show off your living room in its best light with a fresh lick of paint.

Also think about first impressions of the property from the outside – as some buyers can make up their minds in seconds. Spending time and money on your home’s exterior too will go a long way in increasing your property’s appeal. Think about repainting fences, mowing the lawn, planting some bright flowers, emptying bins, and giving your drive a hose down.

What do I need to do before a home viewing?

Staging your home when selling a houseA little staging can make a huge difference. Clear out the clutter and leave room for the buyer to imagine their life there. If you’re going to be present at your house viewings, make sure you are prepared to answer any questions that may arise.

Strike a balance between being friendly and over-sociable, so once you’ve guided them around leave them to have a tour for themselves.

How much is it going to cost me to sell?

Estate agents’ fees can vary. Also, make sure you understand any penalties if selling your home means repaying your mortgage early.

Each lender has a different way of calculating the early repayment charges (ERCs) but they will often amount to a percentage of the amount that you repay during the fixed-rate period.

Factor in removal costs too – whether you want a firm to pack and move for you, or you just want to hire a van and do it yourself.

How do I decide what an acceptable offer would be?

Find out how much similar properties in your area have sold for and look at what’s currently on the market. It is important to understand your competition.

The quality of any offer is also important. For example: Have they sold? Can they move quickly? What are their time frames? Consider whether the answers to these questions align with your own moving plans.

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