Should I Buy a House or a Flat?
The age-old debate between buying a flat (apartment) and a house continues to be somewhat of a dilemma for homeowners. Each option comes with...
Selling your house is a significant undertaking, and understanding the process is key to a successful and smooth sale. In this blog, we’ll take you through the step-by-step stages of selling your house, from making the decision to move to the exciting moving-in day. Decide that it is the right time for you to move […]
03 October 2023
Table of Contents
Selling your house is a significant undertaking, and understanding the process is key to a successful and smooth sale. In this blog, we’ll take you through the step-by-step stages of selling your house, from making the decision to move to the exciting moving-in day.
Table of Contents
The first and most important step in selling your house is determining whether it’s the right time for you to move. Ask yourself why you want to move, review your financial situation and the cost of selling, and think about your goals to ensure that selling is the best decision for you and your family. Remember, the running costs of your new home may differ from that of your current property, especially if it is a bigger or older house.
Before listing your property, research the market to understand the potential price you could get for your house. Look at recent sales of similar properties in your area, consider market trends, and consult online valuation tools to get an estimate.
To get an accurate valuation of your property, consider booking a professional valuation with an estate agent or even a surveyor. They will assess your home’s condition, location, and use their detailed knowledge of market conditions to provide a precise valuation. You can find more tips on researching the market in our blog on whether now is a good time to move house.
Selecting the right estate agent is crucial. Look for an experienced, reputable agent with a strong track record in your area. They will help market your property, find potential buyers, and negotiate on your behalf. Questions you can ask to see if the agent is right for you include what potential buyers they have on their list waiting for a property like yours and what similar properties they have sold in the area recently.
If you plan to buy another property, speak to a mortgage advisor early in the process to understand your affordability and financing options. Fully understanding your budget will help to guide your decisions. Some brokers charge a fee, and others are free, but most offer a free initial call.
Instructing a conveyancer or solicitor is essential to handle the legal aspects of the sale. They will handle contracts, property searches, and the transfer of ownership, ensuring a smooth and legally sound transaction. It is wise to get several quotes and find out about the fee structure for each company to fully understand what you will be charged up front and if there are likely to be any additional costs. To find out more about what to expect during the conveyancing process, read our blog on the stages of the conveyancing process.
Prepare your property for sale by addressing any necessary repairs, decluttering, and staging. Staging your home can not only increase the value of your property, but it can help you achieve a higher asking price by making your home more appealing to buyers. A well-presented home is more likely to attract more buyers and fetch a higher price by making potential buyers picture themselves living in your home.
Ensure you have an Energy Performance Certificate for your property, as it’s legally required for selling. An EPC needs renewing every 10 years, so it may be the case that you already have one, but it is always best to check. The EPC will rate your property in terms of energy efficiency, and the report will make suggestions on how to improve efficiency. Find out how much an EPC will cost in our costs of selling a house blog.
Before putting your home on the market, gather essential documents related to your property, including deeds, insurance records, and utility bills. If you have replaced windows and doors, dig out the FENSA certificate, and if you have had an extension, make sure you can locate the planning documentation as this will be needed further down the line.
Professional listing pictures are a must. High-quality photos highlight your property’s best features and create a positive first impression for potential buyers. Always ask to see proof of the pictures before they go live to make sure they present your property in the best way.
Once your property is ready, your estate agent will list it on property portals and their website, exposing it to a wide audience of potential buyers. They will also have a list of potential buyers to market to and modern versions of marketing include social media marketing, so it is worth checking with your agent about the level of marketing they will do.
Arrange viewings for interested buyers. Ensure your home is clean and well-presented for each viewing, make sure toys and pet beds are put away, and it is always a good idea to light a candle to have your home smell gorgeous and to create an ambient and costly setting. Also, if you are present at the viewing, be prepared to answer questions about the property. For an idea of what questions potential buyers might ask, check out our 25 must ask viewing questions blog. Examples of questions viewers might ask are:
When you receive offers, your estate agent will negotiate on your behalf. Consider factors like the offer amount, the buyer’s ability to proceed, and any conditions they may have. It is always worth considering early offers, but the goal is for an offer to be agreed that works for both yourself and the buyer. If a buyer offers slightly lower than the asking price but has a valid reason, remember other buyers may do the same further down the line. However, if, for example, the buyer makes a lower offer based on one reason, such as a roof that is in poor condition, make sure you get it agreed that you accept the offer on the basis that the same issue is not brought up again following a survey.
Once an offer is accepted, the sales progression stage begins. This involves coordinating various aspects of the sale, such as surveys, searches, and legal paperwork, to move the process forward. It is at this stage that communication tends to break down. Choose a conveyancer that communicates well with you and make regular contact with both your conveyancer and the estate agents for regular updates. This way, if any minor issues arise, they can be sorted easily and without and unnecessary delays. For more details on timelines, check out our how long it takes to sell a house blog.
The buyer may arrange a survey to assess the property’s condition. Any issues uncovered may lead to negotiations or further inspections. Depending on what comes back on the survey, you may need to negotiate with the seller on the price to be paid. However, this is not the only solution. You might also offer to have the work done or meet in the middle, and you knock some money off if they agree to get the work done. Always be ready to present solutions during this time of negotiations so resolutions can come easily and quickly.
Once all conditions are met, and both parties are satisfied, you’ll exchange contracts. This legally binds the sale, and both buyer and seller commit to the transaction. Contracts are exchanged with the buyer, and set a completion date for the sale, usually within 1-2 weeks. Always ensure your house insurance is still active during this time as the property is still your responsibility until completion.
The final stage is completion, where the remaining funds are transferred, and ownership is officially transferred to the buyer. Congratulations, you’ve successfully sold your house! Use packing tips and checklists to pack efficiently and safely. You can make your own or, if you want them already done for you, take a look at our moving checklist, essentials checklist, cleaning checklist, and address change checklist.
Selling your house can be a complex process, but with the right planning and guidance, you can navigate each stage effectively and achieve a successful sale.
From mortgages and insurance to viewings, offers, exchange and completion, our Buyers’ Guide will take you through everything, step by step, from start to finish.
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