FOR those who didn't manage to sell their homes in 2012, estate agents Strutt & Parker are advising how to plan ahead this year and ensure they clinch a sale.
With the market still clearly favouring buyers, say Strutt & Parker, those who didn't sell last year need to think about what steps they can take to make a positive start to the new year.
"In this kind of tentative market, buyers are prone to sitting on the fence and any minor hiccup can be enough to scupper a deal," said Oliver Custance Baker from Strutt & Parker's Exeter office.
"Choose your solicitor carefully and make sure they have all relevant paperwork in order before bringing the property to the market, so once a deal is agreed the sale can move forward swiftly," he added.
There are many factors that can contribute to why a home doesn't sell as anticipated: sellers' price expectations can differ with current realities; and savvy buyers are easily able to shop around for the best deals; with the internet and rising popularity of property websites, buyers can find out exactly what price similar houses in the local area have sold for at the click of a mouse.
"To identify what's happening in the market, we need to understand the relationship between current demand for property and supply, which differs between types of houses and postcodes. The key to understanding your own home is to get to grips with your local market – do your research into prices and find out how many properties are currently for sale, which will help you think about where your home fits in," added Mr Custance Baker.
Other factors that contribute to homes not selling include delays with solicitors not acting quickly enough and potential purchasers who say they are cash buyers or have their mortgage in place, when they don't.
"With the help of your agent, who can ask the more personal financial questions, find out who the active buyers are and avoid disappointment," said Mr Custance Baker.
"Underestimate the power of presentation at your peril.
"Make sure the house is aired and looking at its best, clean and tidy all the rooms and de-clutter. Don't spend too much on huge improvements as the new owners may want to change things anyway," he advised.