You’re the proud owner of a fine home, but the day has come to hand the keys over to someone who will give it the time and attention you once did. Now, it’s no easy task being rid of a house, both logistically and emotionally. There are several cogs in the moving machine and for the layman it’s difficult knowing where to begin.
While the advice of friends and family members may be sufficient, this is going to be the biggest sale of your life. You’ll want to know every single step and exactly what to do at each step. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We understand the stress and anxiety that comes with making a house sale – particularly if you’re new to the sport – which is why we’ve devised this comprehensive guide to selling your home. We’ve attempted to cover all bases in the selling process, so that you’re not left in the dark about anything.
Let’s sell your home!
Are you ready to sell?
Many homeowners see their property as a cash cow that is just waiting for it’s eventual butchering and sometimes jump head first into a sale without considering if they should have been selling in the first place. While the notion of ‘you’ being ready to sell is something that only ‘you’ will know, there are a few areas that you should consider.
Selling a home can put intense strain on other aspects in your life, it’s a stressful experience that requires large amounts of attention. As a result of this many home sellers have seen their careers put temporarily on hold.
- Relationships & Family
For dual homeowners, those in relationships living with their partners and families, there will always be several opinions in every decision making process. Being caught up in the lust of selling your home is easy, due to the potential financial reward, but is it what’s best for the loved ones living with you?
Several home sellers jump into house sales not seeing it as anything but a transaction, when it’s actually so much more. Selling your home is a dramatic change in your life, one which will be pivotal in hindsight. You’re moving from comfort to the unknown. Are you emotionally ready for such an adjustment?
From a completely monetary standpoint there are times when it is better to sell your home than others. Due to the perpetually fluctuating housing market, it’s imperative to sell your property during the most opportune seasons to get the most out of your investment.
A fairly formal yet overlooked ordeal. You cannot sell your home if your documents are not in order! Sellers are forever walking into estate agents offices with their arms swinging asking to sell their properties now. Here are the documents you will need.
A house sale is usually associated with gaining money. Little do some homeowners know, however, that there are several expenses that come with it. There are obviously estate agent and conveyancing fees (we’ll get to that later) but there are also couple others, which should encourage sellers to ensure their finances are in order before delving into such a venture.
An EPC is a certificate which shows how energy efficient your property is and usually costs up to £120. It is a legal requirement to have an EPC for your home before selling and you must have at least ordered one before putting your property on the market.
Someone else moving into your home means that you’re moving out and your things have to go with you. Seller’s usually forget about the hefty price that comes with removing all of the furniture from one property to another, depending on the size of the house and the amount of items this could see anywhere from a few hundred to over one thousand in costs.
If you’re still paying a mortgage, you’ll need to notify your mortgage lender that you intend on selling your home. This allows you to find out the balance outstanding on your mortgage and if this causes any early redemption penalties.
What is your property worth?
To gain a completely accurate property valuation by yourself is almost impossible. Yes you’ll be able to use the prices of homes sold in your area as a rough estimation but it won’t compare to the estimations of professionals. Your property value is the most important number in the entire process, so it’s crucial to get this right. Here a couple options for finding out what your property is worth.
- Online Valuation Tools
There are several online tools which allow you to simply input the information of your property and an instant quote on your house price appears. These algorithms use the information you’ve inputted along with other information in their database to produce a fairly accurate quote. Zoopla’s tool is an easy to use option.
- Bespoke estimates
If you’re not satisfied with the online estimate, you could opt for a precise valuation. There are several services available where property professionals of estate agents or other real estate services will personally create an house price quote for your property. While this can easily make a large dent in your wallet, there are some which offer this service completely free of charge.
Finding an estate agent
Unless you’re willing to attempt to sell your home without one, an estate agent is necessary to the home selling process. Finding the right estate agent for your sale can be tricky: you’ll have to visit several offices, ensure you gel with the agent, negotiate commissions, and several other monotonous chores. Which is why it is so much easier using an online estate agents (like us), who have created an alternative option, offering all of the traits of a traditional estate agent with a more comfortable platform.
Regardless of preference in estate agent, we urge you to research them meticulously. Enquire if they have sold properties in your area, similarly structured, and can accommodate your price point. It’s also not always best to go with the first deal you meet.
- What do estate agents do?
The estate agents job is essentially sell the house for you. They’re responsible for getting your property on the market, organising house viewings with prospective buyers, notifying you of any offers made, negotiating deals, and then eventually closing the sale. Online estate agents also do all of the above but with automation and without the hassle of visiting and calling offices.
- Costs of Estate agents
Traditional estate agents work on commission based model, meaning that if your property successfully sells they’ll take anywhere from 1 – 5% of that price. Most online estate agents however, offer a fixed price model where the homeowner pays a small upfront fee and nothing else.
Listing your property on the market
If you’ve opted to go the independent route of selling your home i.e without an estate agent, it’s going to be very difficult to gain the same traction that an estate agent can offer, as you’ll only have free listing sites such as Gumtree at your disposal.
Using an estate agent to list your home gives your property complete visibility, as it will be featured on online property portals such as RightMove and Zoopla (the go-to space for anyone looking to purchase a property). If your estate agent does not use the above sites, you should request them to do so.
Preparing your home for viewings
As I’m hoping that you’ll want to receive at least close to your asking price on the sale of your home, you’ll have to ensure your home looks it absolute best for viewings. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your home for viewings;
Declutter – Remove any unwanted items or furniture from all rooms. The buyers want to see that the house is spacious and tidy.
Clean & polish – Get to work on those kitchen countertops and surfaces; they should be sparkling.
Clear the bathroom – Get rid of any and all toiletries in the bathroom seem to take up space.
Cut grass and weed – Buyers want to see a tidy front and back garden.
Move pets – We’re sure your animals are great, but not everyone may think so. Have a neighbour or friend look after your pets during the visit.
- Getting the most out of the viewings
You want the buyer going home with a spark of intrigue, not feeling considerably underwhelmed. Greet the visitors at the door, smile, welcome them in and be willing to answer any and all questions. You’d be surprised how much of a factor YOU play in the buyer’s decision making process.
Depending on how you’re selling your property you’ll receive your offers differently, however the negotiation procedure is still the same. Once a buyer has submitted their first offer, unless it’s your asking price do not accept it, the negotiation doors have just been opened. Tips for negotiating offers;
Stay calm! – They buyer needs you more than you need them. Be yourself and be honest.
Do not accept any offer too quickly – Let the offer marinate for a day or two, this will make the buyer worry that their offer may be inadequate.
Let the property sell itself – They’ve made you an offer on your home because they like it, use that! Discuss all the benefits the buyer would be getting by purchasing the home.
Do not mention any deadlines – With a mention of deadlines the buyer will start to apply pressure as they know you need the house sold.
Do not make it personal – When you become very friendly with the buyer, emotions come into play which could sway your judgement.(This is not an excuse to be mean!)
Selecting the Right Buyer
After you’ve received a pool of offers which you think stand at a fair price, it’s time to select one lucky contestant. Of course if the offers vary in price it would be logical to take the highest. If they don’t, however, a buyer at your discretion must be chosen. The obvious factor to consider here is the demeanor of the buyer, you’ll want someone who is going to treat your property with the respect that it deserves.
If a buyer has been selected, it looks like you’re moving out, which means that you now need somewhere to live. Most of you will have already organised your future accommodation, however it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of selling a property. Have a date in mind of when you’ll be ready to leave the premises, as this is information that would need to be shared with the buyer.
Hiring a Conveyancer or Solicitor
Unfortunately, the actual transaction between the buyer and seller cannot just be done between the two parties, a solicitor or conveyancer will need to called to officiate the operation.
- Where to find them?
There isn’t much difference in using either solicitor or conveyancer in this situation as it’s a fairly straightforward job. Estate agents will often recommend a service for you to use, however it’s probably best you find your own non affiliated official. From a quick Google search you’ll be able to find solicitors and conveyancers in your local area; take the reviews left for them into consideration. We recommend interviewing at least 3 for the role as a form of comparison.
When hiring the solicitor or conveyancer it’s best to go with a firm that offers a fixed fee payment method as opposed to pay by the hour. This will give the specialist incentive to get the job done as efficiently as possible. The conveyancing process will cost £500 to £1500 depending on the property.
Accepting an Offer
Once decided on a specific buyer, your estate agent can then contact the buyer with the good news and arrange for the deal to be finalised. Following this, a meeting with your solicitor or conveyancer will occur where you will be prompted to fill in several lengthy questionnaires and draft the contracts for the buyer.
Finalising the deal
You did it! It may have been a long and drawn out process, but the day has finally come where your house is being officially sold. This involves a meeting with your solicitor and the buyer to discuss the following points;
A date of completion must be decided within which time the buyer is obliged to pay the deposit required. The dates of the seller vacating the property would also be discussed.
- What will be included
This is already mentioned within the contract, but you will go over again what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale of the property.
- Exchanging contracts
One of the final steps in the entire process, the buyer and seller exchanging contracts signifies the completion of the sale. The seller must then pay the buyer’s deposit before the completion date to finalise the sale.
Now that the property has been sold, it’s time to get moving. All pieces of furniture, electronics, other items and especially yourself must be removed from the premises before the agreed date.
Paying off the Mortgage
After the sale, your mortgage lender will supply your conveyancer or solicitor with a redemption figure with the date of payment being completion day. As the buyer pays the deposit this day, this allows the solicitor or conveyancer to transfer the funds for you.
With selling a home, as with all other transactions, taxes apply. However, the taxes that you pay are very dependant on your circumstances. If you head over to the Gov tax page, you’ll be able to see which taxes you are required to pay.
Settling with the Conveyancer/Solicitor & Estate Agents
Now that the two hired bodies during the process have completed their roles, you have to settle up. At the end of the transaction the solicitor/conveyancer will send you an account detailing all the costs of theirs that have occurred as well, the sale price of the house, redemption of mortgage, and estate agents fees.
Keep in touch!
When buying any product it gives a peace of mind knowing that you can speak to the vendor you bought it from. Though this is not legally required, out of courtesy it’s appreciated to stay in contact with the buyers for the first few weeks.