Selling a home can be a long and complex process, but there are certain steps you can follow to make it as smooth as possible.
Find out how much your home is worth
Ask a reputable estate agent to value your property, and look in your local paper’s property section and online to find out the asking price of similar homes. Alternatively, you can get an online estimate from a site like Rightmove or Zoopla. Always be aware that some agents may overvalue just to get the listing remember that the final price it sells for will not necessarily be as much as the asking price.
Decide whether to use an estate agent
Nearly all of us trying to sell our homes do so through an agency. Estate agents bring properties on to the market and introduce buyers. A good agent will have various means to advertise your property. Always try to negotiate a selling fee normally agents will start at the high end. On average you should not be paying more that 1% to 2.5% depending on the property and area.
Prepare your home
Make sure your home looks its best for any viewings. Tidy any mess and clear unwanted clutter to maximise space. If you have time, you may wish to try to make the decoration as neutral as possible to attract buyers, and make any minor repairs.
Wait for offers
The estate agent will get in touch with you when an offer has been made on your property – he or she must tell you about every offer that is made, regardless of whether you are likely to accept it. Your agent should be able to advise you whether it is a good offer, but the final decision is up to you.
Accept an offer
When you are happy with an offer you can accept it “subject to survey and contract”. Your estate agent will then write to you, the buyer and both sets of solicitors to confirm the property sale, and request that the solicitors draw up a draft contract. At this point, you do not legally have to take the property off the market, but your buyer may ask you to do so.
Instruct a solicitor
You need to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer who will do the legal work involved in the sale. They will, for example, release details of the deeds to your buyer’s solicitors and draw up a contract of sale.
Be prepared to let the buyer’s surveyor into your home
This will usually happen a few days after the offer has been made and will be organised through your estate agent, if you are using one. The agent should let you know when the surveyor is coming round, and should be able to hand over the keys so you don’t have to be in.
Renegotiate the price if necessary
If the buyer’s survey reveals lots of work that needs doing on the property, he or she may want to renegotiate the offer. This will be done through your solicitors. Be realistic when discussing the price – if you know work needs doing it might be fair to reduce the price accordingly. Ask your buyer to show you quotes for the work needed from at least two contractors and consider whether you could carry out the repairs yourself. If, however, you cannot reach a compromise with the buyer, you are within your rights to pull out of the sale. Be aware that you may actually lose money by starting the selling process again
Exchange contracts and decide on a completion date
This is when you become legally committed to the sale. You need to sign the contract and your solicitor will do the rest. At this point the buyer should pay a deposit, usually around 10% of the sale price, to your solicitor.
Organise your move
You will have to move out of the property on the day the sale completes, so it’s time to book a removal van and start packing.
This is where you hand over the keys and say a final farewell to your old home.