The decision to put your house on the market raises several pressing questions. How much do we ask for it? How best to present it? What documentation do we have to provide? How best to market it? How long will it take to sell? And what happens when we accept an offer? There is no black and white answer to any of these questions, but based on our own experience of the property market in Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, Casas247.net is pleased to offer the following advice:
How much do we ask for it?
Valuing a house in Spain is notoriously difficult as, once you get out of the larger towns and cities, every property is so different – in terms of style, facilities and condition. It is also extremely hard to put an objective value on your own home. The best advice we can give is to ask us to provide your local property consultant – for your area - to value your property and visit our properties for sale section to compare what similar properties are selling for in your area. Then, using your own common sense, choose what you believe to be a sensible price within that range.
Bear in mind that if a “high street estate agent” values your house you must check whether the price they suggest to you includes their fee or not. Their fee could represent up to around 7% of the on-the-market price of a property and so is a substantial amount to have unexpectedly deducted from the price you have decided upon.
Note also that when you sell a house using an estate agent, the agent must, by law, ask you to sign a mandate allowing them to market and sell the property. By signing a mandate you are entering into a contract with the estate agent. That agent my require you to be “exclusive” to them for a period of 6-12 months, this is highly limiting and my decrease your chances of a sale.
How best to present it?
Our vast experience of valuing Spanish property across every region for both; Estate Agents and Banks points to the following:
- Once you have decided to sell your house there is little point in doing further renovations (other than tidying up things you are part way through). Almost invariably what you do to the house will not be what the buyer would have done – and they will not want to pay for work they are going to undo.
- There are two exceptions – a coat of neutral paint (usually white) works wonders if somewhere is particularly scruffy inside the house, and fresh gravel and/or a weed killed driveway makes a good first impression.
- Take care over photographs – you know best which your house’s best angle is and where the sun falls at any given time of day. If you are going to put your house on the market in early spring try and have some summer shots available. Swimming pools and sunshine grab attention much better than rain and grey skies. Take the trouble to choose a good ‘hook shot’. This is the picture which will front any brochure or appear on a web site. It has to show your property in its best light. It is acceptable to use Picasa or Photoshop to straighten or crop a photograph or to improve the exposure, but do not tell lies. Minimise clutter in photographs – take away the toothpaste, face cloth and shampoo in the bathroom, for example.
- Make your descriptions accurate. If you can’t be accurate then don’t refer to it in an advert or information sheet. It is better to omit than mislead.
When you have a visit with a potential buyer there are a few golden rules:
- If you have a dog, keep it out of the way. Remove washing from the line, put on occasional lighting around the house and open all curtains and window shutters - Tidy up – clutter makes a house seem much less spacious
- If you can bear to do it, then de-personalise the house. Put excess books, ornaments, photographs etc away in a box ready for when you move. It helps a potential buyer picture themselves as the inhabitants rather than you.
- Ensure that your house smells good.
- Plan your viewing in advance – which of you will conduct the viewing? Which door will you go into the house through? In what order will you view the rooms? Where will you linger with your buyers?
What documentation do we have to provide?
In Spain you must provide a EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) before you can market a house. This is part of the overall documentation which is necessary once you have a buyer. Our Local Property Consultant can organise one for you if required. A copy of your title deed can be uploaded to your client login area along with your recent utility bills and local authority rates bill. Once again, our Local property Consultant will be able to help with anything you may find too difficult to do yourself.
How best to market it?
As a general rule we would suggest that you keep your options open and do not sign an exclusive mandate with one agency (which will tie you down to using only them).
If you decide to go down the estate agency route at all, then chose complementary rather than competing agencies – for example a traditional Spanish Agent, one with a local clientele and good local knowledge, a specialist agency if your property merits it (for example a company who specializes in country, coastal or resort property if that is what you are selling). By using Casas247.net as well as - or instead of will not only give you huge marketing exposure, but will also save you on average 8,000€ (on a 160,000€ property) simply because you do more of the leg work, we can save you a lot of money at the end of the day.
How long will it take to sell?
A difficult question to answer. The Spanish property market is slower than the British, for example, and having a property on the market for 3/6/9 or 12 months is not unusual, even in a strong market. The four factors which help a house sell are:
A sensible price, which takes into account any local nuisance factor
Well maintained and in good condition, unless of course you are selling a renovation project, which is a different issue.
Being in a popular sector of the market. At the present time, property prices between 50,000€ and 250,000€ make up almost 70% of sales. Above those prices, it is a little more difficult to attract a buyer, however, our Local Property Consultant can discuss with you our VIP/signature property package to target that particular segment of the market.
What happens when we accept an offer?
Allow a minimum 4 to 8 weeks to complete on your house sale from the moment the offer is accepted. It can be slightly more than that if your buyer requires a mortgage or if your property has an inheritance or disputed build/land issue. If your buyer requires a mortgage there can be a delay while the mortgage is agreed/authorized and if they are turned down for a mortgage the sale can fall through with no recompense to you.
We highly recommend using our local lawyer network to represent you in your property sale. They will provide competitive fees and give clients referred by casas247.net a superior service.
As soon as you agree to proceed with your sale, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to engage a lawyer to oversee all the legal and financial aspects of your sale.
When do we get paid?
You will receive the proceeds of the sale – minus your obligatory expenses immediately after the completion. You can instruct your lawyer to accept your deposit/reserve and full balance of funds into their client account on your behalf. Your lawyer will provide a breakdown of your funds several days prior to the completion.