Step-by-step guide to selling your home.
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The prospect of selling your home can be daunting – all the more so if you are looking for another property to buy at the same time. The decisions you make along the way could save you – or cost you – many thousands of pounds. Here’s our step by step guide
Figure out your finances
- You should notify your mortgage lender that you are planning to sell your home
- You need to find out how big your outstanding mortgage is, and if there are any early redemption penalties
- You need to get a rough idea of how much your house is worth, then you can calculate how much money you will be left with after you have paid off the mortgage
- If you are also buying a new home, you should obviously consider what size mortgage you will need for that. You should get an idea from mortgage lenders how much they would be willing to offer you
- At the early stages, the figures will be approximate only – you don’t know how much you will sell your house for, and you will only get a precise redemption figure for your mortgage once you have an agreed completion date when you have exchange contracts (see below)
Decide who will sell the property
- You can sell your home yourself, use a traditional estate agent, or an online estate agent
- If you use an estate agent, you will need to do some research into which one to choose.
- You will also need to decide whether to use a sole agent, or multiple agents.
- More recently, online estate agents have become more popular our fees start at £299.00.
Decide what price to sell it for
- One of the most agonizing decisions when selling your home is what price to put it on for
- Do your research and get to know the local market inside out
- Get a number of estate agents to do valuations, but don’t necessarily go for the highest
- Remember that buyers will probably try to negotiate a discount, so add 5% to 10% to what you are prepared to accept
- Keep in mind the stamp duty thresholds
Ready your home
- If you “stage” your home, well you are not only more likely to sell your home faster, but you might make it more valuable too
- Tidy up, and get rid of excess clutter; give it a fresh lick of light coloured paint; fix those little snagging things; keep it clean
- Light a fire; bake bread; put up a mirror; get rid of bad odour
Hire a solicitor or conveyancer
- You need to choose a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal work to transfer ownership of the property
- To ensure as few delays as possible, you should decide which one you want to use before you agree the sale of your house – but you can obviously only instruct them after you have agreed an offer.
- You can stay traditional and choose a local solicitor, or go for the cheaper option of online conveyancing.
- If you are also buying a new home, it is a lot easier and cheaper to use the same conveyancer or solicitor to do both transactions
Fill out the relevant questionnaires
- You will have a variety of forms and questionnaires to fill out, to give the buyer all the information about the property, and about the sale.
Accept an offer
- You’ve been made an offer! The estate agent is legally required to pass all offers on to you, however ridiculous
- If you are not happy with it, you can either reject it outright, wait to see if a better offer comes along, or tell the estate agent to try to negotiate it upwards
- Once you are happy with an offer, you need to formally accept it. You should then instruct the estate agent to take the property off the market
Negotiate the draft contract
- You and the buyer will have to decide:
- the length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts)
- what fixtures and fittings will be included – and how much will they pay for them
- any discounts due to problems flagged up by the survey
- When you exchange contracts with the buyer you become legally committed to selling the property – and they are legally committed to buying it from you
- If you pull out after this without due reason, the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them and you may be sue
- You can move out whenever you like, even up until the day of completion.
- It is less stressful to move out beforehand, if that is possible
- At the time of completion, the property has to be in the condition agreed in the contract – including all the fixtures and fittings
- The buyer and estate agent may come round between your moving out and completion to ensure that everything is in place
Complete the sale
- Completion is when the property changes ownership, you accept payment, and hand over the keys
- A little like a duel, it takes place on a previously agreed date and usually at midday
- On the day of completion, the money is transferred and the deeds of the property are transferred between each side’s solicitor or conveyancer
- Your solicitor/conveyancer will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry
Pay off the mortgage
- The mortgage company will have given you and your conveyancer/solicitor a precise redemption figure for your mortgage for the day of completion
- Now the buyer has transferred the money to your solicitor or conveyancer, they will pay off the mortgage for you
Settle up with the solicitor/conveyancer and estate agent
- After completion, your solicitor/conveyancer will send you an account, covering all their costs and disbursements, as well as the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage
- If you are buying and selling at the same time, the solicitor/conveyancer can settle up for both transactions at the same time, including paying stamp duty for the house you are buying
- Your solicitor/conveyancer will ensure that the change of ownership is registered with the land registry.