The 7 Things West Hampstead Home Sellers Should (and Shouldn’t) Do in 2022
Did you know 1,963 West Hampstead (NW6) homeowners are considering selling their West Hampstead home between now and the summer of 2023?
Reports in the press suggest 1 in 5 homeowners are considering moving home in the next 18 months.
This will change the dynamics of selling your home in West Hampstead, meaning there are certain matters that you, as a West Hampstead homeowner, should do before placing your property on the market to ensure you get the best price, reduce the hassle and even more importantly, when you do sell, ensure the move actually takes place. Why is this important?
1 in 3 West Hampstead house sales fall through between sale agreed and the keys being handed over
Also, nationally, the average length of time a property is taking from sale agreed to key hand-over is 19 weeks ... and the longer the sale takes, the greater the propensity for the sale to fall through.
So, if you are thinking of selling your West Hampstead home, here are 7 things you should consider (plus some tips for those West Hampstead homeowners currently on the market)…
1. Get your ducks in a row
Although it may seem apparent, having everything in place for the time you come onto the West Hampstead housing market can really take weeks off the time between sale agreed and key handover and even avert the house sale collapsing.
For example, if you have had any building works done on your house, ensure you have the relevant paperwork now. That could be ensuring you have the Completion Certificate from the local authority for that extension you had a few years ago. Yes, you had planning permission, but are you aware you need a Completion Certificate from Camden London Borough Council as well?
If you haven’t got the required building regulations or planning consent for any work (including changing your windows), that can really harm the price you achieve for your West Hampstead home, or it could even finish the deal altogether.
Also, if your West Hampstead home is old (say 150 years plus) or even listed, you should think about spending a few hundred pounds and get a survey done on your own house, especially if you have been in the house for more than 10 years.
This will highlight any issues that need to be rectified (and be shown to potential buyers) in case they start to nit-pick. If you need recommendation of a good West Hampstead chartered surveyor – drop me a line.
2. Carpet ‘photo’ bombing
First impressions are everything, and you only get to make a first impression twice.
Yes, I said twice, once with the photographs and the second time when the potential buyers view your West Hampstead home.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so ensure your agent photographs the best rooms from the best angles. The most important photograph is the front shot of your West Hampstead home, so always ask to see the photographs before your property goes live on to the market to make sure they show your property in the best light possible.
The second ‘first impression’ is when viewers view your home. Often the thing that lets the side down here is your carpets. If your carpets are more than 10 years old, then seriously consider replacing them with something inexpensive with some decent underlay or give them a good professional clean.
In this Facebook world, your West Hampstead home needs to look as good as it can to appeal to as many West Hampstead buyers as possible.
3. Make it a potential home for your buyer, not a shrine to you
There was a house in the East Midlands called “Disaldu” (as in “This will Do”) that had been on the market for four years with six estate agents. As soon as it changed its name, it sold in a week. Be careful about over personalising your West Hampstead property as that could be off-putting to possible home buyers.
Try not to be too daring with styles and colour schemes in your bathroom and kitchens, as your buyer won’t want to spend another £25,000 changing your neon pink kitchen units to something a bit more mainstream.
West Hampstead homebuyers often hate to change something which has just been finished but is not to their personal taste. Now I am not talking about magnolia everywhere as there is room for some flare, yet be aware it’s a fine balance between your personal tastes and making your home attractive and selling it in the largest mainstream market possible.
Finally in this section, is your West Hampstead home cluttered or untidy? Many people won’t be able to see past the jumbled house and overflowing bookcases. If you are unsure, drop me a message and I can pop round your West Hampstead home when I am passing for 5 minutes if you want an impartial opinion.
4. Highlight the potential of your West Hampstead home – but not too much
If you were considering extending your West Hampstead home with a garden room, loft conversion or extension, then getting a local architect technician to draw you up some outline plans to demonstrate the development potential of your West Hampstead property could be worth spending a few hundred pounds on.
Yet at the same time, be careful not to extend to make your West Hampstead house more sellable. I have seen a handful of West Hampstead homes be over-developed (i.e. almost over extended), making the house too big for its plot. It’s all about balancing the house with the size of the plot. Again, if you are uncertain in any way, drop me a line and I can give you some impartial advice (even if you aren’t moving for another 12/18 months).
5. Don’t let your garden grow on you
Since the lockdown began in spring 2020, our gardens have become one of our most cherished features. West Hampstead homes with decent sized gardens have attracted a premium. However,
over-fussy and poorly planned gardens can also be detrimental to the value of your West Hampstead home, rather than add value to it.
6. Offices, offices, offices
Working from home could be here to stay for a few years. With this new age of home-working, even if you don’t work from home, maybe set up a study area. It might even be worth investing in one of those office pods for your garden.
7. Make sure the price is right
The bottom line is, if a West Hampstead property isn’t selling it probably means the asking price is too high. Yes, even in a market such as this….
48.1% of West Hampstead properties have been on the market more than 3 months
Putting your West Hampstead home up for sale at too high an asking price is one of the most harmful things you can do as a seller. This approach regularly costs homeowners between 3% and 5% of their potential price agreed.
If you decrease your asking price at a later date in order to achieve a sale on your West Hampstead house, you probably won’t get what you might have done if it had been realistically priced from the beginning.
I am aware of a bay fronted terraced house in the Priory Park area which, in the summer just gone, began with an asking price of £1.4m yet ended up selling for just over £1m. It should have achieved £1.15m with a £1.2m initial asking price (even worse, they missed out on the property of their dreams because that one, being realistically priced, sold before they dropped their own price).
The sturdiest and most important property market response is always in the first couple of weeks of exposure. Many West Hampstead homeowners waste this optimum sales time by being too hopeful on their asking price.
If you are on the market in West Hampstead and believe you should reduce your asking price, be courageous with your reduction. Make one substantial change of at least 5%, not a series of salami price changes of a 1% here or 2% there.
So, if you are currently on the market and feel you aren’t getting anywhere and think it could be your asking price, then again, drop me a line.