Selling your Rural Property?

Imagine this – you are selling your rural property, your estate agent has arranged plenty of viewings and you have received an offer which you are delighted to accept. Fantastic, excitement all round and you can start making plans now that you have found a willing buyer.

However, there is still a long way to go before reaching the golden certainty of exchanging contracts and as we all know there is many a slip twixt cup and lip.


Stage two is where the conveyancing process kicks in and over a sometimes lengthy period any problems are rooted out by the purchaser’s solicitor – and this is crucial because we have come across plenty of examples where sales are bogged down or even terminally delayed by complications that could so easily have been sorted out before marketing even commenced. Common examples of these include problems with Title, making sure that boundaries are registered correctly and indeed if the property is not registered then sorting out the first registration; easements (rights of way); planning consents, listed building consents and building control approval if alterations have been carried out during the property’s history; a discharge permit for the septic tank if there is one and it’s not exempt; restrictive covenants in favour of a neighbour; the list goes on and while some buyers may take a view on a few glitches, others will be hesitant to do so and mortgage lenders certainly won’t.

As Agents we always strongly suggest to our clients that they iron out the creases prior to marketing, and while we understand that when selling a house they have already moved on emotionally, the practicalities remain.

Information on your home

A few years ago we had to endure the imposition of Home Information Packs which covered this very process, and more. They were unpopular and unworkable for a variety of reasons, but the principal was spot-on, that relevant and up to date information would be immediately available to the buyer so that an exchange of contracts should not be delayed. Here in South Wiltshire we face another delaying factor with the time that local authority searches are taking to be returned, but that’s another well publicised gripe which we have covered before now.

Our advice, therefore, is simple – if you want a stress-free move speak to your solicitor before you go to market and make absolutely sure that what you are selling has no grey areas which will delay or even scupper a sale. It will no doubt cost you a bit of money, but if you are a motivated seller then you will be more incentivised to do it and your solicitor will have to spend valuable time ironing out the creases anyway.

After careful consideration you have selected the right estate agent to market your home, they have produced a lovely brochure with lots of well taken photographs and a floor plan, advertised it in the local press and displayed it on a wide variety of websites. Now comes the key part in selling your property, the viewings!

Although ultimately the house should sell itself, when it comes to viewings get it right and you can hook a buyer, get it wrong and they can be put off irretrievably. To succeed, there are a number of points to consider.

Firstly, before the phone starts ringing off the hook with appointment requests, take a look around your home with a critical eye and put yourself in the shoes of a prospective purchaser, is there anything that would obviously put you off buying it? Seek advice from your agent and ask yourself whether it needs de-cluttering, have you done those routine maintenance jobs that you have been meaning to do since last autumn or is granny’s old disused caravan with the mouldy green roof still languishing in the drive?

A fresh lick of paint here and there using light, neutral colours can help to brighten up a home and make it more welcoming particularly in dark rooms such as Suzie’s bedroom when she was going through her maroon phase before heading off to uni. It is important however to know when to say stop and sometimes new decoration in one area can emphasise how dowdy another might be. I also would not advocate spending a fortune on titivating your home, the new kitchen cliché comes to mind and sometimes one has to accept that a new owner will see your home as a project.

Prior to a viewing, it is only fair to expect a reasonable amount of notice to have time to tidy up, make the beds, put the washing away and mow the lawn etc. before visitors arrive. Although this can involve a couple of hours of hard work, it will help to create a good first impression but do remember that it is still your ‘home’ and that most buyers do not necessarily expect to see five star hotel standards.

There are a few basic ‘tricks’ that you can employ. Although it is not necessary to go to the lengths of baking bread or percolating coffee, make sure there are no unpleasant odours by opening windows before the viewing whilst scented candles or reed diffusers are to be encouraged. What lights to have on really comes down to the individual property, time of day and the weather. Avoid having every light blazing away but a few strategically placed lamps, particularly in dark corners can be helpful.

Turn off televisions, radios and Motorhead playing on the music system. Quiet classical music in the background is fine but the best sound if one lives in the country is simply birdsong in thegarden. Make sure the house is neither too hot nor too cold, just pleasantly warm. We may be a nation of dog lovers but our furry friends can get in the way or jump up so it is normally best if they are taken out.

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