1. Get your finances in order
The first step to selling your property is getting your finances in order. 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.
2. Start selling before you buy
If you’re selling your property, chances are that you’re looking for another one. Make sure that you’ve started marketing the sale of your home before you start looking for a new home. Taking a look around the area that you’d like to move is one thing, but seeing your dream home and losing it because your house isn’t on the market yet is an avoidable heartbreak.
3. Get several valuations
It’s a good idea to have several valuations done on your home before you decide on an asking price. However, just because you pick one agent doesn’t mean that you have to sell your home at the price they gave at the valuation. It’s your home, and you can decide what you sell it for.
4. Find a trusted agent
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. Be especially careful about your agent’s communication skills, and make sure that they can communicate clearly and effectively.
5. Prepare your home
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. Maximising interest from buyers online will give you the best chance of a quick sale at a good price. For more on this, here’s one we did earlier…
6. Choose a Agent
Transferring ownership of a property is called conveyancing, and it must be done legally through a agent. 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.
7. Accept an offer
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.
8. Negotiate the draft contract
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.
Suppose the surveyor appointed by your buyer’s mortgage provider finds damp, they may ask that you drop the price of the property by however much the work to fix the damp is estimated to cost. You don’t have to do this, of course, but it may well be a deal breaker for your buyer if you don’t. Remember, neither party are legally committed until exchange, so they could still walk away.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Move out
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.
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 agent and your agent will register the transfer of ownership with the land registry.
13. Pay off the mortgage
Your provider will have given you and your agent a precise redemption figure for your mortgage for completion day. Now the buyer has transferred the bulk of the money to your agent, your agent can pay off your mortgage for you – well, in a manner of speaking!
14. Pay your Agent
Now that everything is done and dusted, your agent will send you an account of all their costs, the sale price and redemption of the mortgage.