Guide to Selling your Home: Everything you need to know, right here.
1. Should you sell?
It might sound absurd that we, as Estate Agents, would even suggest reasons not to sell. However, we pride ourselves on giving the best advice for our clients, not the best advice for us.
If you’re looking for more space, then an extension or attic conversion could be the answer. The costs of moving can mount up, and if the house you purchase is £125k or more you fall into the realm of paying stamp duty. See our stamp duty calculator here.
If you are looking at downsizing, there is a lot to consider and we have a guide that will help you.
What if your property is in negative equity, or if you are selling due to a separation or divorce, would you be better off renting your home than selling? All these questions need to be considered to make sure selling is the best decision for you.
2. Money money money: How are your finances?
Congratulations, you have decided to sell! Your first step should be to contact your mortgage provider, tell them of your intentions and find out if there are early redemption penalties on your existing home loan. You need to get a rough idea on the value of your property, and what you can afford so you know your budget for your next purchase.
We can help you get the most accurate home valuation for your property with a free visit from our in-house team, and our financial services specialists can talk you through your lending options.
If you are moving within the same location, we can help you find the right property at the same time we are marketing your property for sale.
Getting a mortgage in principle in place as soon as possible will help prevent you from being held up at a later date.
3. Buy or rent, what’s your exit strategy?
For most buyers and sellers, they will enter a chain of properties that require completing in order for properties to be released to the next buyer. You need to sell yours before you can buy another, and so on. Could renting be a better exit strategy?
Let’s say the house of your dreams comes onto the market. In order to secure the property you need to complete quickly. If you are still trying to sell your house one of two things may happen. You either have to offer over the asking price for your dream property in order to secure the sale whilst yours sells, or you have to reduce the value of your property to get a quick sale. Both options will see you out of pocket.
The flip side to this coin is that you may have a buyer for your property that wants to move quickly, meaning you might have to look for a property that isn’t exactly what you want in order to keep the sale going.
If your house is empty whilst you rent elsewhere, it means you can be the end of two property chains. One being your property and the other being you as an unencumbered buyer. It takes the pressure off you to sell below a price you’re happy with and it means you can move quickly when the right property comes up. Both of these aspects make you incredibly desirable in the housing market.
Choosing to rent temporarily until your house sells can increase your costs. But done right it can save you money and increase the sale value of your property. It’s something to consider, but we’d recommend talking through this with our staff in detail to find if it is the right step for you.
4. Who is going to sell your property?
You have three choices.
1. Do it yourself
2. Do it through an online agent
3. Do it with a traditional estate agent.
DIY - It’s completely achievable, but it’s definitely the option with the most risk. You wouldn’t try and operate on yourself if you had a medical issue, and you wouldn’t MOT your own car unless you were a mechanic. Using a specialist gets you the best result. Selling yourself can leave you severely out of pocket. You might save money in estate agents fees, but you will probably lose out on property value as you won’t be able to market as effectively. In order to expose your property to the largest audience you will need to be on Rightmove, Zoopla or onthemarket; none of which allow non-estate agents to list there.
Online Agent – You pay an upfront fee and the majority of your service is automated. Yes you will get your property listed on one of the major property portals (maybe more), but that is where a lot of promotion ends. If you don’t put your house on the market for the right price, it won’t get an offer during the crucial first ten-day period when interest is highest. Miss this window and it becomes increasingly difficult to sell without reducing the value of your property. Also, an automated service doesn’t have the personal touch of a dedicated negotiator that is picking up the phone and marketing your property to an existing database of receptive users. Where is the incentive for an online agent to sell your property for the best price when you’ve already paid them? Also, you will need to handle all your own viewings (accompanied viewings tend to cost extra). Many of the things you would take for granted from an Estate Agent are added extras with an online agent, which increases the cost. We’ve written a comparison between high street and online agents if you’d like more information.
Traditional Agent – They are experts in your area. They have probably sold houses on your street. They know the current market, the current planning applications, how prices vary in proximity to schools and amenities etc. None of this local knowledge can be replicated effectively by an automated system. A traditional estate agent will cost more, but the value they provide far outweighs this. If a traditional estate sells your property for more, you are still walking away with more in your back pocket, even if their fees are higher. They also take care of the property viewings.
Preston Baker are a traditional agent in the sense that we have branches, but that is where the similarity with other estate agents ends. We run our own unique trademarked Property Launch Service that is designed to market your property intensively for that initial ten-day window, leading to a single launch day event where all potential viewers see the property on the same day. We utilise the three major property portals, social media, adwords, algorithms, email marketing, telephone, automated emails, intelligence and most importantly we track our outcomes. We know that we sell on average 46 days quicker and £7,262 more using Property Launch vs traditional marketing which we tested on over 3,400 property sales.
5. Decide what price to sell it for
You will find advice online recommending you decide what price you want for your property, and then add 5-10% onto the value so you can be “knocked down” when someone makes an offer.
DO NOT DO THIS: it will cost you money in the long run. We have written an article on Property Valuations here. Read it. It’s important. We know your area we know the price to set your property that will generate the most interest and maximise the chances of selling quickly, and getting multiple interested parties (which is how to get more money for your property).
6. Staging your home
A well-presented home gets better offers it’s a fact. A house that you can imagine moving into, without needing to do anything, will get higher offers.
We have an in-depth guide here. But in essence, declutter, light paint, keep it clean, smelling nice, light a fire, open windows for fresh air, bake bread or warm vanilla essence, use mirrors to extend sight lines.
The best thing about a Preston Baker sale is that we do all your viewings at the Property Launch Event, meaning you only have to go through this process once, instead of multiple times. Saving you time and stress.
7. Get it listed and on the market
You will need high quality photos as a bare minimum. But what about brochures, what about videos, what about a well written listing. All these are taken care of with Preston Baker. We organise the photos, videos, brochures, floor plan, description, and identify what sets your property apart so we can market the differences and not the similarities.
You will also need to get an Energy Performance Certificate done for your property. It’s illegal to sell a property without one.
8. Hire a solicitor / conveyancer
You need to choose a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal work to transfer ownership of the property to you. We have a trusted panel of solicitors we would recommend, but there are many out there. Do your research or get a referral from us, or friends and family. Not all solicitors and conveyancers are created equal, some are significantly better than others. You need to have them ready before you get an offer on your property, but it is only at that stage that they start acting for you.
9. Fill out all the forms!
Your conveyancer / solicitor will ask you to fill out a number of forms, detailing what you’re including in the sale, any boundary issues, planning applications, how you will hand over keys, how you will ensure the property is free from mortgage at the point of exchange...the list goes on and on. Fill these forms out to the best of your knowledge and honestly. Failure to do so can result in the sale falling through, which is a costly inconvenience. We have a dedicated after sales team that act for you and help progression between the various parties involved.
10. Accept an offer
We will notify you of all offers (even the ridiculous ones, we have to by law). You can reject it, accept it, or hold off for a better offer. We will tell you which is the best option for you in our opinion. If you want more, we will negotiate with the buyer to try and get a higher offer.
Once you have accepted an offer, we will take the property off the market whilst all the necessary legal transfers and agreements are drafted / take place.
11. Negotiating the draft contract
Between you and the buyer you will need to decide when to exchange contracts and when to complete. There is usually a 7 to 28 day period between the two. You will also need to agree on what fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale, and whether these will be included in the price, or if there will be an additional payment made by the buyer. Your buyer will also have a survey done on the property. Prepare for an offer to be reduced should the survey flag something that needs rectifying. Many sellers, get their own survey carried out to flag potential problems before they bring the house to market; it can save money in the long run.
12. Exchange contracts
Exchanging contracts is a legally recognised commitment between you selling your property and the buyer purchasing it from you. If you pull out after this stage (without due cause) you will have to return their deposit and you may be sued. So ensure you are 100% committed to going through with the sale before you exchange contracts.
You should ensure you still have valid building and contents insurance for the property up until the day of completion. That includes the period after exchange of contracts.
13. Moving Day
You can move out whenever you like, even on the day of completion, but obviously it is less stressful to move before the completion day if that’s an option and there isn’t an onward chain to consider
You must leave the property in the condition agreed to in the contract including any fixtures and fixtures promised.
We have a moving house checklist that may help you with this step.
14. Completion and Paying off the existing mortgage
Completion is when the property changes ownership, you accept payment, and hand over the keys
This date will be set in your exchange contract. On the agreed day, the solicitors handle the transfer of funds and any deeds, and they will register the ownership transfer on the land registry. Once you have received the sale proceeds, your solicitor will agree to pay your mortgage company the agreed redemption figure to settle the debt.
15. Pay your fees
After completion, your solicitor/conveyancer will send you a breakdown of their fees and disbursements. They will provide a summary of the sale price of the house and the redemption of the mortgage showing how much money you will receive from the sale. Assuming you are buying another property, this balance will usually be your deposit for your onward mortgage. Your solicitor will also handle any stamp duty payment that is needed should you be purchasing another property valued over £125k.
At this stage you will pay your estate agent (if you have one) their agreed fee, for a job well done, and for helping make the whole process as stress free as possible.