Selling your home can be complicated - here’s our 5 Minute Guide to making the process as smooth as possible from start to finish.
Valuing your property
It is crucial to make sure that you get an accurate valuation of your home. It can be a good idea to ask for valuations from several agents, as well as looking at the sale price of similar properties in your area - you can do this on property sites like Zoopla.co.uk.
Use an agent or go it alone?
This will be a decision you need to make early on in the process. Estate agents can help by doing some of the hard work for you - they can put the property on the market, advertise it, find buyers, arrange viewings and help with the legal side of things. However they will charge a fee: usually between 1-4% of the sale price. It is up to you to decide whether you are prepared to take on the extra work yourself, or pay the agent’s fees.
On your own:
If you decide not to use an agent, make sure you show off your home at its best you can, for example taking good quality photos have a look at photos on property sites for inspiration. If you know a photographer or friend with a good camera, you might want to call in a favour as excellent photos can make all the difference.
You will also need to think about how you can advertise in a way that suits your property. Property sites will often charge a set fee, but this can be less than an agency fee. You could also consider using social networks like Facebook to advertise your property. You will still need a solicitor to handle the legal side of the sale, so make sure you shop around for quotes and choose a solicitor with a good reputation.
With an agent:
When choosing an estate agent, make sure you get the best value that you can. It is a good idea to get quotes from several agents - and remember that they are often open to negotiation on the exact fee. Remember that they want your business, so don’t fall into the trap of simply choosing the agent who values your home the highest. Ask friends for recommendations, and think about which agents you’ve seen on the most “sold” signs in your area. It is also important to make sure that you choose an agent you can get along with well, as you’re going to be seeing a lot of them! When you’ve chosen your agent, make sure you get the best out of them. Look at good quality adverts and photos on property websites and demand the same level of quality for your home.
Show off your home
It may seem obvious, but the importance of making sure your home looks its best for viewings and photos can’t be overstated:
- The outside is the first thing prospective buyers will see, so make sure it’s kept tidy - no peeling paint or weeds in the garden!
- If there’s any decorating or minor work to be done, make sure you get it finished before you put your home on the market
- Emphasise natural light as much as you can; paint darker rooms in a lighter colour, and leave doors open where light can shine in
- If you’ve got pets (or teenagers!) try to eliminate any smells before prospective buyers visit. If you’ve got time, you could even bake a cake or a loaf of bread to make the house smell delicious and homely
Once you’ve had an offer you’re happy with, you can ask your solicitor to get the paperwork started. The sale is not final yet - both parties still have the chance to back out at this point. The buyer’s solicitor will usually send over a list of enquiries about the property, which you must answer honestly. At this point you will also arrange which fixtures and fittings, appliances etc. you will leave behind when you sell.
Your solicitor will then draw up a contract. Once you’ve exchanged contracts it’s time to agree on a moving date - remember that if you’re in a chain you will probably need to agree this date with your buyer as well as the seller of your new home.
When the sale has gone through, your solicitor will pass on the money from the sale to your mortgage lender to pay off the loan on your home, and transfer any extra money to you.