Step-by-step guide to selling your home

Selling your home should be an exciting time. It could represent the switch to a fresh new property, a chance to make a profit on a home you no longer need, or even the last thing you need to tackle before moving abroad.

Selling a property is no small feat, though. With potential tax to pay, conveyancing paperwork to wade through, and matters of any leftover mortgage payments to hash out with your lender, there can be a lot of steps to go through before your home moves into new hands.

What do I need to sell my house? A UK Checklist

Before taking the plunge into selling your home, it’s a good idea to sit down and make an outline of what you’ll need to consider.

This plan might include:

  • A timeline of where you need to be and when. If you need to sell your home in order to move into another one, there are other factors with the respective buyers and sellers forming the ‘chain’ that could impact how swiftly things move along for you.
  • Your current finances and if you need to borrow in order to sell. Though selling a home is usually profitable, it isn’t free. There’ll be fees and other costs to pay along the way, and preparing yourself for these can help you budget beforehand.
  • The state of your current mortgage and if you intend to move it. This is known as ‘porting’ a mortgage, and you’ll need to consult with your lender to ensure it can be done. It’s best to speak with your lender and fully explain what you intend so that they can explain what they need from you.
  • Deciding on the route you intend to take and whether it’s right for you. It’s not illegal to sell your own home privately, but it isn’t a path for the inexperienced. Estate agents can greatly help in the process of selling a home, and they know all the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Working with estate agents often means the valuation and marketing of your property is handled as standard, and means putting these important tasks into experienced hands. Professional photographs, listing on property websites, and a descriptive write up of the property’s selling points to attract prospective buyers are all just some of the things that an estate agent will see to properly.

What are the steps to selling a house?

Once you have at least a general idea of the overall shape of your house selling journey, you can begin to act on it and start putting things into motion.

Take stock of your finances

Whilst you likely expect to make a substantial profit on selling your home, you’ll still need good finances upfront in order to pay for the various fees involved in estate agent services, solicitors, and any extra costs that occur like necessary repairs or safety checks.

If you still have an existing mortgage on the property, you’ll need to speak to your lender to see if there are going to be any charges for moving to another lender before the end of your three or five-year fix. Alternatively, you might be looking to port your mortgage to the new place.

Whatever the case, it’s vital you speak to your lender and let them know your intentions.

In summary:

  • Count up your current funds, what you expect to be coming in soon and what will need to go out.
  • Thoroughly review your spending and ensure you know of any payments yet to be taken or cleared – you don’t need a sudden council tax charge wiping out the money you set aside for a surveyor.
  • If possible, give yourself wiggle room to allow for slight variations in projected numbers.

Meeting with your estate agent

If you do enlist the help of an estate agent, work out fees and expected services before committing to the act of selling your home. This will help to set expectations, give you the amounts you need to factor into your budget, and avoid disagreements that might arise down the line.

Typical estate agent fees for selling a home lie around 1% of the home’s sale price plus VAT, though do bear in mind that agents in London are likely to be more expensive. As part of the Property Ombudsman, agents must give their fees based on the asking price of the property, but the commission you pay will be based on the actual selling price agreed. There should also be no fees to punish you for withdrawing your property from the agent, and it’s a good idea to establish whether the agent operates on a ‘no sale, no fee’ basis.

Be wary of hidden costs and ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting as part of the agent’s services. An initial ‘good’ price can sour once you realise that you’re paying extra for various parts that should be included in the overall service.

In summary:

  • Ask questions. Estate agents should be open with what’s included in their fees and what you can expect for enlisting their help.
  • Understand what you’ll be expected to pay and how much the contract might vary, for instance if a selling price different to the asking price is agreed.
  • Obtain a good grasp of average prices; if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Obtain an Energy Performance Certificate

Before work can proceed, you’ll need to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Having one is a legal requirement in order to list your home for sale. The certificate is valid for ten years and will give your home a rating from A to G, A being the most energy efficient and G being the least.

If the property has a valid EPC, you won’t need to apply for one. The status of existing EPCs can easily be checked on the GOV website’s EPC register. If a new one is needed, your estate agent can normally handle applying for the certificate on your behalf. Chances are good that they’ll obtain this as standard, but it may be wise to just make sure this will be carried out.

The EPC gives buyers an idea of the property’s energy use and typical energy costs. For this reason, it must be ordered before the property is put to market and not simply left until later.

In summary:

  • Check whether your property has a valid EPC using the register. Previous owners might have already handled it.
  • The certificate lasts for ten years, after which point you need a new one. Estate agents can and often will handle this for you before listing the house.

Listing the home

Once all the groundwork has been done and everything is in order, it’s time to get the home listed and to wait for potential buyers to enquire. One essential question you will need to answer is how much you’re willing to sell for.

Valuations can give you some guidance in this, but ultimately you are the one who decides what the sale price should be, not the estate agent. Be wary that valuations are not always reflective of what people are willing to pay for a house in the area, nor do they convey the objective worth of a home.

To help you decide, it’s ideal to look at both the values and sale prices of nearby, similar homes in the area, and at the sale history of your home. Looking too far back will likely be pointless as fluctuations in the housing market have their own contexts and inflation makes it tricky to grasp different prices at different points in time, but collectively these should give you some idea of the trajectory of your home’s worth and where it may reasonably sit at the time you’re trying to sell it in.

And aside from talking it’s worth taking time to help make your home more attractive to buyers who will want to come and view it. De-weeding, cleaning, and decluttering will go a long way to increase a home’s ‘kerb appeal’.

In summary:

  • Decide how much you think your home should reasonably sell for using local knowledge and input from valuation. Bear in mind that you will likely get offers below the asking price.
  • Tidy your home and take little steps to make it presentable and appealing for viewings. Remember that prospective buyers will engage purely off what they can see before talking to you and asking questions about the home.
  • Remember that the listing price is yours to decide and it can be changed. If the asking price has little to no interest after a while, consider talking to the estate agent about lowering it.

Selling your home with Mistoria Estate Agents Worsley

Our experienced team can help you with every single aspect of selling your home, and we’ll always give you a fair and transparent price for our services. We’ll get your home on the market and represented to its very best so that both you and your buyer walk away happy.

To learn more about us and our work, contact us today.

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