Liam Croke: Top tips when buying or selling a property

This is the time of the year when typically the property market starts to see a lot more activity from both buyers and sellers.

This is the time of the year when typically the property market starts to see a lot more activity from both buyers and sellers.

Let’s start with those who are looking at selling their property and what they should do to make it more attractive to buyers.

It is well known that when people are looking at buying a property, whether they are first time buyers or trading up, if a house does not “feel” right then they will not purchase it.

But what exactly is this “feeling” buyers talk about and how can you create the good and lasting impression that will leave potential buyers in a positive frame of mind after they have viewed your house?

As a homeowner you can play a very important part in the sale of your property and getting that “feel” from your house, can be influenced by a number of different factors. I am going to give you a few hints now on how to make your house a “home” to prospective buyers and not just bricks and mortar.

1. First Impressions Last

A well manicured lawn and clutter-free house welcomes prospective buyers, so does a lick of paint inside and outside. The fewer obstacles for buyers to see will emphasise the true appeal and potential of your house.

2. Make Room For Space

Be aware that potential buyers are looking for more than a comfortable living space, they take that for granted. They are also looking for storage space so make sure all of your rooms are clean and free of unnecessary items.

3. Sparkle That Bathroom

Bathrooms can sell houses so make sure they shine. Display your best towels and mats and have that shower in pristine condition.

4.Use Brighter Light Bulbs

Switching everything to, say, a 100 watt light bulb or larger will make rooms appear brighter, larger and warmer.

5.Scenting Secret

Vanilla scenting is a very pleasing aroma to smell when viewing a home. Do not use a lot of air fresheners, some people find them off putting.

6.Watch Your Pets

Do everyone a favour and keep your dogs or cats outside or at least out of the way as they have a talent for getting in the way. Ask family or friends to mind them if possible when viewings are scheduled.


Clean your ceilings and fix any cracks or imperfections. It is common and right for people to look in places they would not normally when viewing a home. If a buyer sees a water stain they will assume there is a problem with the roof even if you tell them it has been repaired.

8. Dreamy Bedrooms

Get rid of excessive furniture in the bedroom. Colourful bedspreads and fresh curtins are best.

9. Tell Your Solicitor you are Selling

Nothing puts off a buyer more than a delay with the sale because of unprepared paperwork. Advise your solicitor from the outset of your intentions so they can prepare the necessary paperwork well in advance.

10.Trust in experience, expertise and honesty

Only deal with reputable, qualified professionals. You too will get that “feeling” when you first speak or meet with the auctioneer you are trusting to sell your property. If in doubt consult with friends, work colleagues, family members and ask them for a recommendation.

Now let’s look at things from a buyer’s perspective. Buyers whether they are first timers or trading up (or down) have an idea of where they would like to live. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do your homework and research the areas in which you are considering buying.

How many “for sale” signs are there in the area? How many “sale agreed” signs? They can tell you a lot about the area whether it is in a fast moving, static or falling market.

Probably the most important, along with being the most difficult thing to have in place, is having your mortgage approved.

If you are lucky enough to have an approval in place, please be comfortable with the amount you are going to be borrowing. Be realistic with what you can afford and don’t take on a mortgage that will stretch you each month.

Think long term when it comes to borrowing money – how would your circumstances change if you had a child or more children, if you lost your job etc?

Maybe consider buying in a cheaper location; this may not be the ideal solution but if you simply cannot afford a home in your preferred location then consider purchasing somewhere else.

A big issue for people selling and then buying a property at the same time is trying to combine both and obviously one is dependent on the other and this makes for a tense juggling act.

You might be able to overcome this if you are willing to sell your existing property and then move into a rented property.

Finally, be opened minded about the type of property you are going to purchase. You might prefer a brand new property but don’t rule out a second hand one that might need some work. You might get one for a lot cheaper simply because it needs some structural and cosmetic “surgery” but given the cost of employing a builder has reduced greatly it might be a great financial move for you and of course it gives you the opportunity to put your stamp on the property as well. If you are married to a “handyman” (or woman) then all the better – unfortunately Roseann is just married to a man!

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