Guide to Selling Your Property

The task of selling your home can feel as big as a house. Once you've decided to make the move there's a lot to consider, from which estate agent to choose - if you really need to use one - to knowing the best time to put the property on the market.

But we've got lots of info to help you through the process step-by-step:

1. Make your home the best it can be

Make sure your property is clean, tidy and free from clutter and that it looks good from the outside. Staging your home correctly is very important, as the photos in your advertisement determine how many buyers you’ll get through the door. Before your agent comes to take all their pictures, it’s a good idea to get your property looking its best.

Paint - Brighten up your rooms with a lick of paint. A pot of paint goes a long way to transforming your home and increase its desirability to would be buyers.

Odd Jobs – Are there jobs you keep meaning to do but don’t? Well now is the time to do them. Replace that broken window, door handle or toilet seat. Patch that plaster, replace that bulb.

Windows – Make your windows sparkle. Replace any double glazing units that have failed and misted. Buyers will love all that light coming in and looking out on to your outside space.

Staging the property for photos so maximising interest from buyers online will give you the best chance of a quick sale at a good price.

2. Get your finances in order

As a seller, you may worry that buyers will hold up the sale - but you should make sure there are no potential roadblocks on your side either. As you plan your move, find out how much you can borrow for your next property and which lender will offer you the best deal. Let your mortgage provider know that you’re considering selling and find out if there are any penalties for paying back your mortgage early. If you plan on purchasing a new home as well, think about the king of mortgage you’ll require for that transaction. Your mortgage provider should be able to give you information on the mortgages you’ll be eligible for.

3. Decide who's going to sell your home

Most people will use a traditional trusted high street estate agent to help them sell their home. Without an agent, you can’t advertise your property on online portals (like Rightmove), but an agent’s help goes beyond that. Your local property professional will know the area like the back of their hand and will be able to give you honest advice about what to expect.

4. Find a reliable Solicitor

Conveyancing is far from being the most exciting part of moving to a new house, but it's vitally important that you find someone reliable. Transferring ownership of a property is called conveyancing, and it must be done legally through a solicitor. They won’t officially come on board until you have accepted an offer on your property, but you should have them at the ready when you accept your offer. Most estate agents will have a preferred partner that they work with and can recommend. They may even have discounted rates they can offer you.

6. Pick a good buyer

If several prospective buyers are interested in your home, it's worth thinking about who's least likely to pull out and who can move at the same pace as you as well as the amount each buyer offers.

In order, the safest buyers to choose are buyers who’ve already sold and completed (or at least exchanged on) their sale, first-time buyers, buyers who have sold their home subject to contract, and buyers who have not yet sold their home.

7. Offers and what’s included

At this point, you’ll have had plenty of interest in your property, and people should be coming to your home for viewings. When you receive an offer, be sure to negotiate. Some buyers will offer less than they’re willing to pay for the home. Your estate agent should be able to advise if the offer is reasonable. Once you’ve accepted your offer, the sales progression officially begins.

After you've chosen a buyer, make sure they understand exactly what’s included in the price, including fixtures and fittings.

8. Agree on dates

Establish likely dates for exchange and completion - this will avoid arguments further down the line. You and the buyer will now have to decide how long will be allowed between exchange and completion, what fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale (and at what price) and whether any discounts will be added off the back of the survey conducted by the buyer’s mortgage provider.

9a. Fill out the relevant questionnaires

The buyer’s lawyer will now need to make some enquires so they have all the information they need to draw up the contracts. Your questionnaire will revolve around the boundaries of the property, what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale, and whether you’ve had any disputes or complaints with the neighbours. The council will focus on proposed developments, building works, sewerage, utilities, council tax and things of that nature.

9b. Exchange contracts

Once you’ve negotiated the terms of the contract, the final contract will be finalised and ‘exchanged’. You will pay your deposit, and the sale will be complete in a short time. At this point, both you and the seller are legally committed to the sale. If you choose not to move forward after this point, you could be sued and must return the buyer’s deposit. If the buyer pulls out, they will lose their deposit.

Once contracts have been exchanged you only have as long as was agreed before you must vacate the property. Time to start calling in favours to assorted family and friends. Keep communication going. Don't disappear on holiday for two weeks without informing all interested parties, including your conveyancer and your estate agent. Don’t ignore aspects about the purchase that you don’t understand - if in doubt, ask.

9c. Completion

This is when the property officially changes ownership. You will accept payment and hand over the keys. The bulk of the money and the deed will be transferred by each party’s respective solicitors and your solicitor will register the transfer of ownership with the land registry.

10. Payments to mortgage, solicitors and Agents

Your provider will have given you and your solicitor a precise redemption figure for your mortgage for completion day. Now the buyer has transferred the bulk of the money to your solicitor, your solicitor can pay off your mortgage for you – well, in a manner of speaking!

Now that everything is done and dusted, your solicitor will send you an account of all their costs, the sale price, redemption of the mortgage and invoice to the Estate Agents.

Your Property Is Our Privilege