Home sellers guide

Introduction: To sell or not to sell?

Selling a home can be a very expensive, stressful and time consuming process. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the different stages and processes involved, and the costs the average seller is likely to incur.

Sadly, not all property sales are conducted willingly by the owner of the property, as there can be circumstances when an owner is forced to sell. This article deals only with scenarios where the owner is able to sell at a time of their own choosing.

Be Aware of the market

Before deciding to sell, it is advisable to be aware of the market. There are two things to take into consideration here:

i) Is it a good time to sell?

Check that you are selling at a good time of year. Times of year to avoid are immediately after the Christmas period and during the summer holidays. Also, ideally, the market will be generally strong and demand high, to enable you to secure the best price.

ii) Is it a good time to borrow?

Prospective buyers will know whether there is a glut of property on the market, and therefore whether they can bargain effectively. They will also probably be sensitive to interest rates. If interest rates are low, and expected to stay low, then borrowers will be able to stretch a little bit further in price.

Ideally, you would be selling at a time when demand is high and interest rates are low. Make sure you research the market well before putting your house on the market, and beginning the selling process.

What method should I use to sell my home?

Here is an outline of the three most common ways of selling your property.

Advantages Disadvantages Costs (Time and Financial)
Estate Agent Trained negotiators who are well acquainted with the market. May suggest an asking price to win an instruction, then quickly drop the price to ensure a quick sale. Most agents charge between 0.5% and 5% commission. Should save you time.
Private Sale No one can market your property as well as you. May receive less interest since you will probably find yourself unable to market yourself as widely as through an agent. Time consuming
Auction Dependent on the day- could get a very good price Dependent on the day- could get a very low price or no sale at all, but still have to pay the fees. Auction house fee.

Estate Agents:

Most people opt to sell their home through estate agents. For more information please see the National Association of Estate Agents here www.naea.co.uk.

Private Sales:

Private house sales are common in instances where… We have a step by step guide available here www.private-house-sales.info

Auctions:

Auctions often take place where more unusual properties are concerned and there is a more specialised market for them. If you choose to sell your home via auction, it is still commonplace to appoint an estate agent to deal with the sale.

See our guide to <buying and selling at auction>

Sale by Tender- Sale of Tender works on a similar principle to an auction. Potential buyers offer a sealed bid, with their 10% deposit in a sealed envelope.

How much will it cost me to sell my home?

Costs every seller can assume they will pay regardless of sales method:

Cost: Paid to: Approximate amount:
Mortgage Redemption Costs Lender (if due) Depends on terms of mortgage
Solicitors Fees Solicitor
Stamp Duty
Home Information Pack HIP provider See article (link below)
Land Registry fee?

Cost of sale calculator here:

How should I value my home?

If you are selling your home through an estate agent, they will give you an initial valuation when keen to win the instruction. It is possible that they will over value the property in order to win the instruction. Because of this, it is always advisable to get a second valuation from an independent source.

There are a number of different ways in which you can value your property:

  1. Chartered Surveyor
  2. Automated Valuation Model
  3. Review of comparable properties

For a full review of the different ways you can value your property, please see our article on <valuation methods>.

When setting your sale price it is important to be sure what you would like to include in the price, such as carpets or appliances. This will avoid unnecessary confusion later on.

How should I prepare my home for viewing?

If selling your home privately, you will need to give marketing and publicity a great deal more thought, time and care than if you are working with an estate agent. If you decide to use an estate agent, be sure about what exactly the role of the agent is to include. For instance, clarify details, such as who is showing the potential buyers around the property. Also, you may wish to visit the Estate Agent’s premises to ensure that your property is being given due prominence in their window display and marketing literature.

There are different ways in which you may wish to structure viewings,

You can have them all arranged via appointment (again, discuss with your agent whose responsibility it is to arrange the viewings),

Alternatively, open house viewings are growing in popularity. They are regarded as easier, as it requires opening your home up on a given day rather than disrupting every evening with different viewers. If the viewing shows a good response, it also gives home viewers a sense of the competition and may encourage higher offers. Of course, the inverse is also possible. Similarly, on the downside, mass viewing does not provide such a personal service, or allow potential buyers to ask questions, therefore possibly not showing the home in the best light.

Negotiation and accepting offers.

What offer you accept will depend on your priorities- if you wish to ensure a quick sale, you may be willing to accept a lower offer, however, for a higher price, time consuming negotiations may be necessary.

The Legal Aspect and Conveyancing

The term conveyancing basically refers to the legal work regarding transferring the ownership of your property from you to your chosen buyer. Their solicitor/ legal conveyancer will do the following:

Preparation:

  • Check the title deeds of the property to ensure it really belongs to the you;
  • Establishing the property’s legal boundaries;
  • Put together a list of fixtures, fittings and contents to establish what is to be included in the sale;
  • Prepare an enquiry form for the you to fill in concerning material or structural defects you may be are aware of;
  • Survey local authority plans for details on upcoming developments that could influence the property’s value;
  • Negotiate with you to change the offer if substantial repairs are needed;
  • Edit the draft contract for sale prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.

Exchange of contracts:

  • Arrange the date for the completion and the exchange of contracts;
  • Hand over the deposit;
  • Sign the mortgage deed;
  • Perform final searches.

Completion:

  • Hand over the keys and title deeds;
  • Pay stamp fees;
  • Record the transfer at HM Land Registry for certification.

Your representative should liaise with the buyers representative to ensure that all of this happens on a timely basis.