What we learnt from selling our home

First off I want to prefix this post with the acknowledgment that I know we are SO fortunate to be in a position to own our own home. I know that its something many people are striving towards and that house prices are so mad these days its not a possibility for most.

In fact I don't come from a family that have ever owned their own home, my parents rent as do all my siblings so the whole 'home owner' thing is a little new to me. I was born (but not bred) in Bristol although I have lived here now for a decade. I think its so rubbish that lots of people born here won't be able to ever buy here but thats a post for another day or I'm going to get a little side tracked!

As I said above, buying property wasn't really ever a goal for me or even something I aspired to do. The house we have lived in for 8 years was bought by Tom when we were 24 and 27 respectively. We had only been dating for a year and a half (and living together for a year) and buying a home was something he very much wanted to do. At the time he had been given the opportunity to cover his boss's maternity leave that put him on a higher pay grade for a limited time and a better chance of getting a mortgage. As I had some loans and debts to pay off we decided it was better if that was something he did by himself. Our home was bought for a little over 100k in the summer of 2010.

If you've followed me on here for a while you'll know the house needed a LOT of work and over the years we accomplished a lot, some major work and some aesthetic. The first few years were slow as we had no money to work with but we got there eventually and I'm proud of the house and home it became.

Roll on six years later, marriage and two kids down the line we felt like it was time to move on, to a different area, a bigger house and a new project. We decided to put our house on the market the first time round in Spring of 2017 but it actually didn't sell, (which for Bristol is really crazy).
After checking out three local estate agents finally went with the one that had been in our area the longest, had the lowest commission and we got the best vibe from.. saying that we actually didn't get great impression from any of them!

The first was really smarmy, quoted us the lowest and said there was no point even taking pictures or putting online as he had someone lined up to buy it. We found out from friends that this was generally the tactic for this agent, sell lower but quicker. It makes sense I guess from their point of view as the difference of 20k for them is around £200 commission but obviously is a lot of difference for the seller!

The second was professional but had charged a non negotiable 3% commission which was 2% higher than the other quotes we'd had and does make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

The third had a school teacher vibe, an older company who hadn't really caught up with modern times (they didn't see the point in floor plans for example) didn't have mobile numbers and generally felt a bit old fashioned. We went with them as they felt like the best of a bad bunch and at this point I just wanted to put it on with someone and get it started.

The whole experience of trying to sell our home initially was awful. We wanted an open day but they couldn't find enough people so over the next six weeks we were called up randomly to fit people in at odd times and never received any offers. I found it really hard to keep up with work, two kids (and at the time no childcare) and making the house presentable. It was the business time of year for me work wise so we decided after a good think to take it off the market and instead focus on Tom quitting work and us working together.

It's funny how life works as we were so disappointed at the time not to be able to sell our house and start somewhere new. It made me feel trapped especially as Tom leaving his job would mean buying in the future would be down to my wage alone (you need three years tax returns if you are self employed to be able to get a mortgage). I guess we took a gamble that by the next year (and my third tax return) I would have made enough for us to get a mortgage somewhere and that we'd be able to sell our home.

So our second and most recent attempt at selling our home was completely different!

After our bad experience with selling first time round we decided to go a bit more modern and chose a non traditional estate agent. We went with Purple Bricks and I can't recommend them enough! We chose the service where the agent also does all the viewings and the total cost for all of this was just over a thousand pounds. If we had chosen just them marketing it and not doing the viewings it would have been around £800 but I really think it made such a difference to have someone who knew what he was doing selling our home for us.

Our agent (Nathanial) arranged an open day and I think we had about 12 couples in total turn up. Within hours of the it closing we had already received 6 offers over asking! One viewer hadn't been able to bring his girlfriend and so contacted me through the Purple Bricks messaging platform to ask if they could come back the next day. I have to say that I almost didn't bother as we already had so many offers but as the house was still so tidy I thought why not? These guys actually ended up buying the couple that eventually bought it. By the time the weekend was over we had 9 offers over asking which was such a turn around from our first experience.

As we were selling at the same time as last time (spring) I can only imagine that having a good agent made such a difference. He also took amazing pictures with a good quality camera (no phone snaps here) and just brought a more modern approach to the process. He was also contactable at all times (weekends, evenings ect) and went above and beyond to get us the best deal. In the end our buyers had to drop their price a little bit due to not being able to get the mortgage they thought they would, which tied them in with the second highest bid but we kept informed all the time by our agent and he actually managed to get them to go a little higher than they had come back with so that we could buy our new home.

I had been worried that paying a one off fee would mean there was no incentive to get us the best deal (and therefore the best commission) but I feel like he just wanted us to be 100% happy with the service and for that we're so pleased and grateful. Especially as the fee was a lot less than any commission would have been.

I was constantly surprised at how out the way he went negotiating and keeping contact with us both when solicitors were being slow and both parties felt a little in the dark (as our sale dragged on 5 months in the end). He also acted like a traditional agent in the sense that he met our buyers with the key, and kept in contact all the way to the end even though really he didn't really need to!

We were so pleased with how it all went this time round and I wanted to write this post incase anyone is about to sell theirs, I can't recommend Purple Bricks enough.

I hope this post has been helpful to any of you guys looking to be in this situation. Do let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer any you might have!

(This post isn't in any way sponsored or gifted, we paid ourselves and just wanted to pass on a good recommendation!)

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