How to sell your property online

How to ensure that your property sells online.

Nowadays, almost anyone that is looking to buy a property will firstly browse the internet. It is therefore vitally important that your estate agent will advertise your home on as many of the major property websites as possible.

Once listed the secret is ensure that your property stands out from the crowd, and potential viewers actually click on your listing to find out more information. Once there, if they like what they see, and the description matches your criteria then you have a better chance of gaining a viewing.

So how can you ensure that your property is clicked on rather than somebody elses?

Price

You need to ensure that the price is achievable. There is no point trying to ask for too much money, you simply won’t generate any viewings. Ask your agent to provide you with a “Best Price Guide” so you can gauge whether your asking price is competitive. If it isn’t then potential buyers will simply bypass your listing for one that is.

Presentation

Your property needs to be presented in the best possible light and this needs to be communicated with photographs to potential purchasers. Ensure that before your estate agent visits that your home is immaculately clean and tidy, not only inside but also externally. You are planning to move house anyway, so ensure that all clutter and oversized furniture are removed. Its all about first impressions, if the photographs look appealing the click-through rate will increase.

Property Listing

Ensure that your property is listed on the top property websites, if it isn’t you will be missing out on potential hits. The cheapest way to do this will be to employ an online estate agent.

Summary

Get your price right, get the presentation right, list your property where it will gain the most exposure.

Zoopla Ask Me Q&A


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We are pleased to break though as one of the top ten UK housing experts on zoopla.co.uk.

As a leading online estate agents we have been sharing our expert knowledge with the public on the AskMe! Q&A section of Zoopla.co.uk.

Zoopla.co.uk is the UK’s most comprehensive property website, focused on empowering consumers with the resources they need to make better-informed property decisions. They help users make sense of the residential property market by combining property listings with market value data, local information and community tools.

Richard Tuck, Director of turtlehomes.co.uk said that “it is a monumental achievement reaching top 10 AskMe! Q&A experts in the UK, with our regular contributions and the amount of advice that we offer we aim to break into the top 5 by the end of 2011”.

AskMe! Q&A is a property community where you can get advice from locals and professionals and share your property knowledge.

To view the turtlehomes.co.uk expert public profile please click here.

 

How to use the internet to help you buy a house

It is incredible how much information is now available on the internet, an illustration of this is the new Police crime website which generated so many hits upon launch that it actually crashed! 

Websites like this demonstrate how many online tools are available to buyers when searching for a property without even venturing outside of their front door.  The days of estate agents being custodians of the market are over. 

You may think that the internet gives you the opportunity to ditch estate agents all together but unfortunately this isn’t the case.  Most of the big property portals will not display your property if you decide to go it alone.  The cheapest option is to employ an online estate agent such as turtlehomes.co.uk. 

There are many websites you can use, including those which help you work out what your house may be worth. 

You can check your credit rating on Experian and use a mortgage calculator to work out roughly what you can borrow. 

Websites such as Nestoria and UpMyStreet show local neighbourhood information such as schools, council tax bands and crime statistics.  The Environment Agency website has publically available maps highlighting in blue areas which are liable to flood.  Local councils also publish online all planning applications which could have future impact on a property you are planning to purchase. 

You can even view any property that you may be interested in thanks to google earth and google street view. 

There is now no need to rely on an Estate Agent to tell you what a house sold for.  The Land Registry records the actual sale price of most transactions in England and Wales.  Sites such as Zoopla will show you not only what the house sold for but a current valuation guide. 

You also don’t need an Estate Agent to tell you what houses are for sale within your search criteria.  You can simply log onto a property portal such as rightmove or globrix, type in your preferences and it will display a list of suitable property. 

In essence all the information that you need to buy a house is at your fingertips, the only thing you need an estate agent for is to arrange the viewing and act as the middle man for any price negotiations.

As the role of the modern estate agent decreases watch out for the new kid in town – the Online Estate Agent.

Which? tells sellers to choose cheapest online estate agents

Consumer watchdog Which?, a persistent critic of estate agents, has advised home sellers to shop around for the smallest fees and to save money by using an online estate agent.

Which? said that estate agent fees are a major cost in moving home and can be as high as £4,800 on a £200,000 home.

However, it said this morning, using an online estate agent (such as turtlehomes.co.uk) could cost as little as £455.

It also advised home sellers to shop around for an Energy Performance Certificate, saying charges vary from £35 to £120.

Altogether, said Which?, consumers can knock £6,000 off the ‘expensive extras’ of moving home simply by shopping around and finding the cheapest services.

It said that the average bill for selling a £200,000 property now comes to £7,400 and that the cost of moving has ‘never been more difficult’.

But Which? did say that whilst vendors could save on estate agency fees, it was important not to scrimp on areas that could protect their interests, such as surveys and legal fees.

Understanding Mortgages


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Choosing a mortgage is about more than just finding a good rate. It’s a decision that should take into account you finances, your lifestyle, your attitude towards risk, and a bit of crystal ball gazing too.

Below is a run through of the basics: different repayment methods, different loan types, some special cases, and some pitfalls to avoid.

Mortgage Advice

Paying it back: Repayment or Interest Only

At the most basic level, the first choice you have to make is whether or not you take out a repayment mortgage, where you pay off some of the money you have borrowed each month, plus the interest owing.

Or you could opt to fort an interest only mortgage, where you pay off no capital. Your monthly outgoings will be reduced, but you do need to find some way of repaying the amount borrowed, such as an investment ISA, or a pension scheme.

It is also possible to go the interest only route for the first few years of your mortgage and then switch back to a repayment loan. This can be useful for first-time buyers who think their income will rise – but be prepared for the higher monthly costs when you switch to the repayment deal.

Standard Variable Rates & Other Deals

Next you will have to decide which type of mortgage product suits your circumstances the best.

Lenders have a basic rate, called their Standard Variable Rate, which tracks, but is usually higher than, the Bank of England’s Base Rate.

However, lenders also offer special mortgage deals for specific time periods – when the deal expires you go onto the Standard Variable Rate. At this point you can choose another deal or remortgage with another company.

Here are some classic deals offered by lenders:

Fixed Rates

The favourite for borrowers on a tight budget, a fixed-rate mortgage guarantees you the same monthly payment for the lifetime of the product. The rate of interest may be slightly higher, but the ability to fix your payments for in between one and ten years can be worth it for peace of mind.

Although there is often talk of 25-year fixed-rate mortgages, a period of two to five years is more usual, with the interest rate increasing with the length of the product.

Discounted Rates

With a discounted mortgage you benefit from a low interest rate for any given period, usually a few percent off the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) for a year or two. This may offer a cheap headline rate, but is more risky proposition. Any changes in your lender’s SVR will affect your monthly payments so you need to know you can cope with a rise.

Stepped Rates

These are similar to discounted in that you start off on a low initial rate, which then ‘steps up’ to a higher rate after a period of time, but both rates are fixed in advance. The general rule is the lower the rate, the higher the stepped rate.

Tracker Mortgages

A tracker is much like a discounted mortgage, but it shadows the Bank of England base rate for an agreed period of time, e.g. 0.02 percent above base rate for two years. This can be the cheapest mortgage on the market, but it carries the risk of higher monthly outgoings if the bank base rate rises.

Capped Mortgages

With advantages of both the fixed and variable rate mortgages, a capped mortgage insures you against interest rises over an agreed level, but if the interest rates fall significantly your monthly payments can come down too.

Of course, for such a good option, you will often pay a higher interest rate.

Flexible Mortgages

Designed to suit the needs of borrowers, rather than lenders, a flexible mortgage allows you to make overpayments, and take payment holidays as your finances fluctuate.

However, flexibility comes at a price, as you may find that the higher rate is not worth it when many more conventional mortgages are now offering similar features.

Cash-back Mortgages

The idea of a cash-back mortgage is that on completion the lender gives you a lump sum, either a fixed amount, or a percentage of your loan, to spend on whatever you want. But, for your cash handout you will have to put up with a higher interest rate, and you will be tied into the deal for a set period, so make sure you wouldn’t be better off getting your lump sum elsewhere.

Offset Mortgages

Strictly for those with substantial savings, an offset mortgage uses your funds to offset the mortgage. So, if you have a £100,000 mortgage and £25,000 savings, you will only pay interest of the £75,000 difference. It’s a good way to make use of your savings, it’s tax efficient if you pay a higher rate tax, and it means that you can pay off your mortgage quicker, but you may pay a higher rate.

Working out whether or not an offset mortgage will save you money can be complicated, and it is probably worth taking advice from a mortgage adviser.

Self Certification Deals

If you are self employed and don’t fulfil the lenders’ usual requirements you may be able to get a self-certification mortgage. Obviously, if you aren’t in secure employment you pose a bigger risk to lenders, so you can expect this to be reflected in the interest rate, although the bigger the deposit you can put down, the better rates you can find.

Self-certification mortgages are available as all the usual types of product – fixed rates, capped rates, discount rates tracker rates and buy-to-let.

Buy-to-let

If you want to invest in a rental property you will need a buy-to-let mortgage.

You will typically have to put down 20-25 percent of the property’s value as a deposit. The final decision on whether to lend you the money is usually based on either a combination of your income and the rental potential, or solely on the rental potential of the property.

Because there are so many mortgage options available why not contact online estate agents turtle homes and we’ll put you in touch with a whole market mortgage broker.

How much can you afford?

Finding the ideal property

How to get the most from viewings

Making an offer

Conveyancing

Getting Ready

The Big Day!

What happens if I struggle to sell my house online?

At turtlehomes.co.uk we regularly analyse all of our housing stock to make sure that they are marketed in the best light to maximise the chance of selling.  There are various factors in particular that we look at, I’m going to focus on these in further detail.

Are you advertising in the right places? 

Over 80% of house hunters find their property online with most of those visiting the main five property portals.  Find out which websites your agent advertises on, if you are not on all five then your property is not receiving the exposure that it deserves.  An online estate agent will list on literally hundreds of websites.  If you are on these websites but still not receiving the number of leads that you expect then the first thing you should check is the Click Through Rate. 

Click Through Rate 

The Click Through Rate is the number of times a home-hunter chooses to click through from seeing a property’s summary details on the search results page of a website, to view more information about the property on its own details page.  Basically the higher the Click Through Rate then the more people viewing the property then the greater the chance of leads.  Ask your agent what your CTR is, if it falls below 5% then something is wrong either with your asking price or the presentation of the property. 

Presentation 

The presentation of a property is the best way of attracting leads.  On the summary page it is important to offer the best reasons possible for a prospective buyer to click through to your property.  The main photograph is critical; it needs to show the property in the best light.  It is also advisable to change the image to an internal photo or simply use a front shot from a different angle.  Research shows that houses hunters regularly trawl websites and by swapping and updating the property images you are more likely to be noticed. 

Price 

If improving and changing the property presentation doesn’t improve the click through rate then the only answer will be to reduce your asking price.  Your estate agent should be able to provide you with valuation reports which will show you how much similar houses in your area are being marketed for. 

Author – Richard Tuck B.Sc – online estate agents – turtlehomes.co.uk