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Guide to Selling a Property in Six Steps

Selling your home can feel like a daunting task, and the decisions you make along the way could end up costing or saving you thousands. To make your property selling journey as stress free as possible, and to help you achieve the best price, we’ve put together this informative guide to explain the key steps in selling your home.

Before you start the sales process, you should consider whether you should actually sell your house at all. Consider your reasons for selling - if you’re after more space, would an extension be a more cost effective solution than moving? If you’re having to relocate, are you better off renting out your existing property rather than selling?

A local estate agent can help you answer these questions. Another thing to consider before you sell your property is the term left on your current mortgage deal, as some come with penalties for exiting early.

If after considering the above proceeding with selling your property is the best solution to your needs, here are the six main steps in the selling process:

1. Assess the Finances

The first step is to find out roughly how much your property is worth. This will give you an idea of how much money you’ll have left over after you’ve paid off the mortgage, which will influence whatever onward property purchase plans you may have. The Home Owners’ Alliance have a free Instant Valuation tool to help you do this, but remember this is just a guide and the final sale price of your property will depend on a variety of factors. A local estate agent can give you a more accurate price.

2. Spruce up Your Home

The condition of your property will likely have an impact on the level of the offers you receive, so it’s often worth investing a relatively small amount of time and money on smartening up your home ahead of photos and viewings. This applies to both outdoors and indoors.

The first impression a potential buyer gets of your home is very important, so it’s worth ensuring that the front of your house looks tidy. Make sure your roof and windows are in good condition, jet wash your driveway, and place some attractive pot plants about. An attractively painted front door will make a house look welcoming and well cared for, and if you have any garden areas, ensure they look neat and tidy.

Now consider the inside of your property. Does the decor look a little tired or dated? If so, redecorating in a neutral colour scheme will make it easier for potential buyers to envisage themselves living there with their own furniture and decor preferences. Be sure to declutter ahead of any estate agent photos being taken - not only will this make your home look more spacious, but it also presents an opportunity for a clear-out before you move.

If you’ve been putting off any DIY jobs, now is the time to do them, as any small issues like damp patches, superficial cracks and broken tiles can put doubt in the mind of a potential buyer. Finally, if you have any small or dark rooms in your house, make use of mirrors or cleverly placed lamps to bounce light around and give the illusion of a larger space.

3. Put Your Property on the Market

It’s worth getting several valuations done on your home before you decide on an asking price, so you can get an accurate idea of what you might sell for. Whichever estate agent you choose to instruct, you’re not obliged to advertise at the price they recommend, but be wary of overpricing as this may end up costing you in the long run due to buyers being put off by a property that’s been on the market for a long time.

If you choose to sell your property privately, you can’t advertise it on online portals like Zoopla and Rightmove, so using a traditional estate agent will help your property get more exposure to potential buyers.

What’s more, they are local property experts who know the area very well, and will therefore be able to give you professional advice that could mean you sell for thousands more than you could yourself.

4. Find a Conveyancing Solicitor

It’s worth having a solicitor lined up as soon as you put your home on the market, so you can be ready to move quickly on an offer you’d like to accept. Conveyancing is the legal process whereby ownership of a property is transferred from one person to another, and is done by a solicitor or a licensed conveyor. They will handle the legal paperwork, the Land Registry and council searches, draft the contract and oversee the exchange of money.

Your estate agent can often recommend a conveyancer (for which they may receive commission), or you can research conveyancing solicitors yourself online or through your personal network.

5. Accept an Offer and Complete Paperwork

Your estate agent can help you negotiate the best price for your home, as buyers frequently offer less than they are actually prepared to pay for a property. Once you have received an offer that you are happy with you will need to formally accept it, but you are not legally bound to sell the property at this stage.

Next you will need to negotiate (via your solicitor) the length of time between exchanging and completing the sale, what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale, and any reductions based on the outcome of surveys.

Once you have exchanged contracts, you are legally obliged to sell the property.

6. Move Out and Complete the Sale

You will need to have left your property before or on the day of completion, so be sure that your removal plans fit in with this timescale. The buyer may wish to visit the property between you moving out and the sale being completed to ensure that everything is as was agreed in the contract. On completion day, the buyer takes ownership of the property.

To start your property selling journey, contact Forum Sales & Lettings today.

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