Guide To Selling Your Home - Times Money Mentor - The Times

Summary

Selling your home can be as daunting a move as when you first bought it. Selling and buying another property at the same time can be even more stressful and complicated.

But help is at hand in our step-by-step guide.

Selling your home can be as daunting a move as when you first bought it. Selling and buying another property at the same time can be even more stressful and complicated.

But help is at hand in our step-by-step guide.

This article covers:

Step by step guide to selling your home

Figure out your finances

Work out at a rough estimate of the value of your home. Check your mortgage paperwork or speak to your lender to see if you will have to fork out for any early-repayment charges for switching to another lender, or whether “porting” is possible – when you take your mortgage with you to a new property. Times Money Mentor can help you choose a mortgage with this comparison tool.

Consider the merits of renting, rather than buying

If you decide to sell your home and rent for a while, that can add to the overall expense – rental costs may be higher and there will be two sets of removal costs – but you won’t end up homeless or be rushed into buying if your old home sells quickly. You won’t have to compromise on your sale price and you’ll be chain-free – therefore a more attractive buyer. If you are still thinking of buying a home, and you are on furlough, you can apply for a mortgage, though choice is limited.

Choose an estate agent to sell your house

You can decide to sell your home yourself, use a local estate agent or opt for an online estate agent. If you plan to use a local agent, do some research into which one to choose first. Seek recommendations about high-street estate agents and compare them on how quickly they sell the properties they list. If you decide to go it alone, then you’ll need to be organised.

Get an energy performance certificate (EPC)

You must have at least applied for an energy performance certificate before you put your home on the market. If you leave it to your estate agent to arrange, they will probably charge commission.

Decide how much to sell your home for

Do your research, get to know the local market and ask estate agents to do valuations. Buyers may try to negotiate a discount, so consider adding 5%-10% to what you are prepared to accept.

Prepare your home for sale

Tidying up, applying a fresh lick of paint and strategically placing vases of flowers and plants can do wonders. Our article on home improvements has more about “kerb appeal” and adding value on a budget.

Hire a conveyancing solicitor

To reduce delays, choose a conveyancing solicitor when you choose the estate agent. You can only instruct them to handle the legal work after you have agreed an offer, but get organised; if you have to go in a hurry with one recommended by your estate agent, there may be a hefty referral fee.

Accept an offer

Once you are happy with an offer, you need to formally accept it – while remembering that accepting an offer is not legally binding.

Fill out the relevant questionnaires

There are a variety of forms and questionnaires provided to you by your conveyancer giving the buyer all the information about the property, and the sale. You must fill them out to the best of your knowledge that includes “noisy neighbours”.

Negotiate the contract, exchange contracts and move out

After negotiating details, there’s the exchange of contracts with the buyer, legally committing you to selling the property – and them 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 sued.

Find out more: Should I buy or rent a house?

How much does it cost to sell a house?

There are a number of different fees to factor in at various stages of a property sale. You need to work out whether you can truly afford to sell your house and move at this particular time.

You may have to pay a redemption or exit fee to leave your current mortgage Could be between £50 and £300 Unless on a standard variable rate (SVR), there will likely to face early repayment charges as a percentage of the outstanding mortgage debt to pay For example, on a 5-year fixed deal, the charge could be 5% in year one, 4% in year two, 3% in year three and so on. A 3% fee on a £250,000 mortgage means a £7,500 bill. To avoid this, you could: wait until your mortgage deal finishes and you roll on to the SVR. Or you could transfer your mortgage to the next property, which is known as “porting a mortgage”. You will still need to reapply to your lender and to meet its criteria. Find out more: Different types of mortgages, which one is right for you?

The estate agent fee Around 1.3% of the selling price Online estate agents offer a cheaper alternative, usually a flat fee of between £400 and £1,000.

Legal costs Typically come in at £500-£1,500 A solicitor or licensed conveyancer will deal with the legal aspects of selling your property They’ll either charge you a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the property.

An Energy Performance Certificate This is a legal requirement for selling a property Gives information about the energy efficiency of a property Costs between £50 and £120 Valid for 10 years

The costs of buying Stamp duty Solicitor and land registry fees Removals etc…

Top tip: check the pros and cons of porting your mortgage. It might seem like the simplest option, but look to see whether other lenders have better deals. A good offer might make it worth paying an early repayment fee. Do the maths early on – or get expert advice from an independent mortgage broker.

Find out the hidden costs of buying a house

How much is my property worth?

Deciding the price when selling your property is one of the most important decisions you will make.

Too low and you’ll risk selling for less than you could have got

Too high and you’ll put people off

It’ll also give your property a bad look: the longer a home is on the market, the more buyers will suspect something’s wrong.

Online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla offer free valuation tools based on property sales on your street to give you some idea as to how much your sale price should be.

Invite three high street estate agents to value your property. Ask each one why they think your home is worth what they’ve suggested.

It can be tempting to choose the agent who claims they can get you much more for your home, but be realistic – price sensibly.

When choosing an agent, consider how much time you have. If you’re time-poor, you’ll be better off paying more for a traditional high street agency, which should host viewings as standard, market the property and help you get the best deal.

If you’re happy doing most of the work yourself, online estate agents are cheaper, but you have to pay the fixed fee regardless of whether the property sells or not

A property sale without any agent is the cheapest option – search social networks and use local press and online forums

How can I increase my chances of selling my house?

Getting your house ready for potential buyers is the fun part. Find your inner interior designer and start decluttering if you want prospective buyers to imagine themselves in your home.

Remove family photographs and other really personal affects

Redecorate and fix damp patches

Replace tatty carpets

Weed the garden, mow the lawn, clean the windows and consider repainting the exterior

Invest in a bunch of flowers and a designer room spray – especially if you’re a smoker or a dog owner.

Ask for feedback from the agent who hosted the viewing for advice on how it went. You need to know if there might be a problem with the way your property is being presented.

Read our guide to property investment

What sells a house fast?

A tidy driveway and front garden

A clutter-free hallway

A deep clean on the entire property

Cleared storage spaces

No drastic renovations – often potential buyers will want to make their own changes to a property and may not share your taste

Clever lighting can make a space look more homely

A different photo for the online listing’s main image

Lowering your price or taking your home off the market and wait for market conditions to improve

A hardworking estate agent

A few well-placed sidelights rather than a full on centre light should be considered

What should you not say when selling a house?

Your house has been on the market for a long time. You are selling your home because you’re going through difficult times, e.g. lost your job or getting a divorce, as some potential buyers may attempt to take advantage of the situation. Avoid saying anything about the area. Saying you want to move to a quiet area could suggest there’s a problem with your neighbours or your street in general. You don’t know what a home buyer wants so it’s better to avoid. Don’t disclose that an offer for your next home depends on you selling this one. The same applies if you’ve already purchased your next home. It may signal to potential buyers that you need to sell quickly and prompt them to offer a lower price. You haven’t received any offers yet. If asked, your best answer should be: We’ve had a lot of interest.

We list seven tips to help you get a mortgage

When should I accept an offer?

Your estate agent should inform you as soon as any offers are made. Also remember that accepting an offer is not legally binding. If you receive multiple offers, don’t assume price is the only thing that matters; think about:

who’s least likely to pull out

who can move at the same pace as you

The safest buyers to choose are generally chain-free and paying cash – e.g. someone who has already sold their previous home and doesn’t need a mortgage to buy yours.

Less safe but still attractive are:

home movers who have at least exchanged on their sale

first-time buyers who are reliant on a large mortgage but not part of a chain

Buy-to-let investors relying on a mortgage

Buyers often offer less than the asking price so do you negotiate? You can refuse the offer in the hope that they will increase it, or suggest a compromise price.

TIP: It can feel like a game but stick to being realistic: is the offer enough for you to be able to afford your next property? Is it close to your estate agent’s valuation?

Negotiations often depend on circumstances:

How quickly do you need to sell?

Have you already reduced your price?

Are house prices set to slide?

Tell the agent exactly what you want to get out of the exchange of contracts when selling your home. And if your property has been on the market for a while and you haven’t received any offers talk to your agent. You may need to:

lower your asking price

change the main photo for the online listing

take your home off the market and wait for better times

change your estate agent – most contracts include a set notice period if you want to switch to a different agent

I’ve accepted an offer on my house – what happens next?

An accepted offer is not legally binding but will usually be “subject to contract”. This means that as long as the searches or survey don’t throw up any surprises, the buyer is likely to complete the sale.

If the survey does throw up hidden problems, such as structural issues, then the buyer may want to re-negotiate and reduce their offer.

Don’t forget that, as the seller, you can change your mind or accept a higher offer, known as gazumping. While there is nothing to stop you from doing this, it’s frowned upon.

After the offer has been accepted, you and the buyer will negotiate the draft contract. This involves:

What fixtures and fittings will be included

Any discounts due to issues flagged up by the survey

Deciding the date for the exchange of contracts and completion

You will need to complete several questionnaires about the property:

TA6 form – covers information on boundaries, disputes and complaints, known proposed developments – like motorways or railways – council tax, utilities and sewerage

– covers information on boundaries, disputes and complaints, known proposed developments – like motorways or railways – council tax, utilities and sewerage If you do not own the freehold, you should give more information on either the leasehold – form TA7 – or the commonhold – TA9 form

– or the commonhold – TA10 form provides details of which fittings and fixtures you would like to include with the property

provides details of which fittings and fixtures you would like to include with the property TA13 form includes arrangements to hand over the keys, how and where you will complete, and confirmation that the house is free of all mortgages and liability claims

Your solicitor or conveyancer will use the questionnaire information to draw up a draft contract. This is sent to the buyer for approval.

There may be negotiations over this draft contract.

Property chain problems

It can take a little while to sell your home if there is a property chain – a line of potential buyers and sellers linked together because each is selling and buying a home from one of the others.

There are dozens of other people associated with the chain, such as estate agents, surveyors and mortgage lenders.

The biggest risk is someone forgetting to sign a document, changing their mind or having mortgage problems. The whole chain could then slow down or even collapse.

If you want a quick sale or just wary of being caught in a chain, there are steps you can take to dodge them:

If you’re a seller with multiple offers on the table, choose a buyer who isn’t in a chain themselves

If you’re buying, seek out properties where the upward chain is short or non-existent – for example, it’s a new-build or a previous owner has died

Consider whether to sell your property and rent for the short term so you’ll be chain free and more attractive to a seller

A property chain a bit like the conga line – it will only progress at the pace of the slowest person. And if someone stops, you all stop!

How can you avoid being the conga killer yourself? Keep the communication going – make sure everyone knows if you’re going away, and if things go silent, reach out for an update. Keep the conga line moving, and minimise any mis-steps.

Exchanging of contracts and completion

Before you can exchange contracts, you need to request a redemption figure from your mortgage company (unless you are porting it, that is).

The mortgage won’t be paid off at this point, it will be paid upon completion of the sale.

Find out more in our guide to paying off your mortgage early

Exchange of contracts deposit

Once terms of the contract are agreed – woohoo! – a date to exchange will be set and a 10% deposit is due to the seller when contracts are exchanged. This is when things become legally binding.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will exchange contracts for you on the agreed date. This is usually done by both solicitors or conveyancers making sure the contracts are identical, and then immediately sending them to one another in the post.

What happens on completion day?

The day you complete is when the rest of the money is transferred and you have finally sold your home. You will need to:

Move all your belongings, fixtures and fittings Drop your keys off at the estate agent, for them to give to the buyer Pay your solicitor/conveyancer and the estate agent

If you’re buying a property too, it’s easiest if you complete on the same day as your sale so you can move all your things straight into your new home.

Make sure your champagne flutes are easy to find in your removal boxes to toast the sale of your property!

What is the average profit when selling a house?

It was reported in the Times that the average household selling up in London in 2019 made a profit of £250,040, generally selling after ten years of ownership.

It is difficult to estimate what, if any, profit you will make but remember your home is somewhere to live first, and an investment second.

Find out more on how to make your house a good investment.

Guide To Selling Your Home - Times Money Mentor - The Times
Photo Credit: The Times

Recent Selling Online News Articles

‘Selling Sunset’ star Chrishell Stause dishes on how to build an online brand: 'Everything that I’m putting out there is a window into my life' - Yahoo Eurosport UK

Chrishell Stause isn’t just everybody’s favorite real estate agent on Selling Sunset — the reality star and LGBTQ icon is helping small-business owners level up their brands. How …

Read more here
‘Selling Sunset’ star Chrishell Stause dishes on how to build an online brand: 'Everything that I’m putting out there is a window into my life' - Yahoo Eurosport UK

Mohamed Salah told to ignore "threat" from potential Liverpool replacement - The Mirror

Mohamed Salah has recently signed a new three-year contract at Anfield and the Egypt international can do more than just score goals for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp in the new seaso …

Read more here
Mohamed Salah told to ignore "threat" from potential Liverpool replacement - The Mirror

Amazon faces investigation by UKs watchdog over anti-competitive concerns - Business Standard

Britain's watchdog is investigating whether is harming and hurting consumers by giving an unfair advantage to merchants that pay for extra services. The and Markets Authority's fo …

Read more here
Amazon faces investigation by UKs watchdog over anti-competitive concerns - Business Standard

Undertaker admits selling corpses for cash while telling relatives they'd been cremated - The Mirror

Megan Hess, the owner of a funeral home in Colorado, US, has admitted to swiping dead bodies to resell their harvested heads, spines, arms and legs to surgical training companies …

Read more here
Undertaker admits selling corpses for cash while telling relatives they'd been cremated - The Mirror

Video Of A "Passionate" Fruit Seller Goes Viral, Internet in Splits - NDTV

The fruit seller performed a variety of acts to attract customers. A video of a man selling fruits with funny gestures is going viral on the internet. Uploaded on Reddit, the vide …

Read more here
Video Of A "Passionate" Fruit Seller Goes Viral, Internet in Splits - NDTV