How to sell your house – our guide to moving home
Selling a property can be a stressful process. There’s a lot to bear in mind, including getting your finances in order and marketing your home in the best possible light to potential buyers.
Our guide to selling your property explains the whole process, step-by-step…
Review your finances
If the property you want to sell has a mortgage, you’ll need to find out whether it is portable. This means you can take your current agreement to your new home. However, your lender will still need to be satisfied with the price of your new house and certain that you pass all of the usual affordability tests.
If this isn’t possible, there may be some early repayment changes if you need to exit the deal before the end of the agreement. These are usually around 1-5% of the remainder of the mortgage debt.
If you’ve almost reached the end of your current mortgage term, you’ll be approaching your lender’s Standard Variable Rate (the rate your mortgage reverts to when a deal ends).
We offer advice from thousands of mortgages across 90+ lenders through our partner brand, dot financial services, which is part of the one of the UK’s largest award-winning group of advisors, Mortgage Advice Bureau.
You’ll also need to factor in the other usual fees that come with moving home, such as conveyancing (solicitor), surveying, removal and estate agency costs.
Get your home in order
Remember that first impressions count. Decluttering your home and removing any personal items will help potential buyers picture themselves living in your property. Repair any snags and give tired rooms a fresh coat of paint. Mow any lawns, make sure your windows/ doors get a good clean and hang mirrors to create a light and airy feel.
It’s always best to try and view your house from the buyer’s perspective. If you have any pets, tidy away their items and place some pleasant scents around the house. Arrange some fresh flowers on the days when you have viewings.
Be mindful not to spend too much on your property at this stage by avoiding any major work. If in doubt, speak to one of our property experts to find out how to add value to your house before putting it on the market.
Have your property valued
Ensure your home is in order before consulting an estate agent for a formal valuation. Conduct your own research online and compare similar sized properties in your area using Rightmove or similar property portals.
Our property experts have an in-depth knowledge of your local area and will also be able to advise on recently sold prices.
When considering an asking price for your home, remember to be realistic. Although you’ll want the highest price, buyers will expect to negotiate. If your property is priced too high this may put off any initial interest and leave your house on the market for a longer time. It’s best to attract a number of interested buyers and let some healthy competition drive up its value.
Instruct an agent
Next, you’ll need to instruct an agent to sell your property. Our partner brands, Townends Estate Agents and Stirling Ackroyd have been operating for over 25 years and our embedded within thier communities and bring the expert knowledge needed for a quick and efficient sale.
They will also arrange the necessary marketing material, such as an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and professional photography/ floorplans. Your property will also be advertised on all major property portals to reach the widest pool of home buyers, including Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. In addition, our own property website receives 20,000 page views per week (Google Analytics, Jan-Dec 2018). We’ll also arrange an eye-catching ‘For Sale’ sign and advertise your property within our local network of branches.
In order to ensure your investment is a sound one, we recommend getting a RICS regulated property survey from our team of chartered surveyors. Find out more about our services today.
Your estate agent should show your property in the best possible light. It’s a good idea to be out of the house during appointments so potential buyers feel free to view the house in their own time. Your agent may arrange numerous viewings during a single day to encourage more than one offer.
Make sure your agent provides you with feedback following each viewing, so you can make any tweaks to the house for the next showing. They will notify you of any offers immediately and negotiate the best price on your behalf.
When considering an offer, factor in the individual circumstances of the buyer. Do they have their own property to sell? Are they a first-time or cash buyer? Ideally, you’ll want to accept an offer from a buyer who isn’t part of an ongoing chain – but this may not always be possible. Your agent should be fully aware of your buyer’s circumstances and be able to manage your sale to completion.
Hire a conveyancer
The legal process of selling a house requires specialist knowledge. Although more general solicitors are qualified to manage the legal sale of your property, it’s best to instruct an expert conveyancer as they will be best placed to handle the transaction. An inefficient solicitor can slow down the process and create unnecessary frustrations.
Conveyancing fees vary greatly but expect to pay in the region of £500-£1500 for legal fees alone. You should also have to set funds aside for the title deeds, transferring ownership, money laundering checks and searches. These can total around £500-£1000.
Our dedicated conveyancing services include a no completion no legal fee policy, read more about our cost-effective solution here.
Accept an offer
Your agent is legally required to pass on all offers. You can choose to reject any of these outright, but it can be worth negotiating, especially if the offer has come from an attractive buyer who doesn’t have a property to sell. Your agent will also be able to negotiate any finer details, such as whether any furniture or appliances can be sold with the property.
There are a number of factors to consider when thinking about an offer. How long has your property been on the market for? How quickly would you like to move? Have you already reduced your asking price? Your agent will be able to advise the best course of action, but you’ll be most familiar with your own motivations for moving home.
Once you’re happy with an offer, you’ll be able to formally accept it. At this point, your agent will take the property off the market and identify it as ‘sold subject to contract’.
Exchange and complete
Although your house is no longer listed for sale, an offer is not legally binding (in England) and either party can choose to pull out before exchange. After this point, you are legally committed to selling your property.
It can be helpful to agree on target exchange and completion dates so you can plan ahead. Ensure a removal company is booked in and that buildings insurance for your new property is set up from this date.
Finally, drop the house keys at your estate agent and move into your new home!