Selling your home can be a daunting process, there's so much to think about, from valuations, preparing your house for viewings, right through to finding the right solicitor and arranging home movers.
Before engaging with any agent we recommend you do some of your own research, check out the local area on your preferred property portal, compare your house to others locally and check the internet for house price trends.
The Homeowners Alliance is often a great place to start, where you will find lots of unbiased advice and up to date market data - https://hoa.org.uk/
After this it’s time to really get started, give us a call and let us work with you to find out the true value of your home.
The 10 Steps to selling your home:
Step One - Choosing an estate agent
It's the obvious first step and is often tricky to choose, you need to feel reassured that you choose the right agent for the job, this shouldn't just come down to the valuation price or the agent's fee.
The smart owner will do their research before they start, they will know their local agents, have checked their website and maybe even have called them to see how a buyer would experience speaking to them.
They will check out the agents' marketing photos, check the quality of their videos and descriptions and most importantly, looked at reviews and testimonials of the business and its staff.
Typically most clients speak to two or three agents before making a decision, however often if you feel the right connection to the agent, you might only need one.
The important thing for us, is you take the time to make the right choice, which agents are truly the most excited about your house? Which one do you think we make potential buyers most welcome and leave them with a good experience. Ultimately, these kinds of things are key to making sure you get the best possible price for your most valuable possession.
Step Two - Preparing your home for sale
It's important to remember that all feedback is good feedback. We see many homes and sometimes it's the hard conversations that might put you off an agent that are the most important. If we tell you the house needs de-cluttering, its probably something you already know, but if it isn't, please know it's not to offend, it's just important we make your house the most attractive to buyers we can.
We are here to help, when photos are done, we will suggest things to move, help plump up the cushions and ensure your home is presented as the best possible version of itself. The importance of crisp cleaning marketing can’t be underestimated.
A good agent will spend as long as it takes taking photos, getting to know you as individuals and your home, making sure they can put the best possible content together to show off your property.
Step Three - Instruction Solicitors and getting and EPC
It's a common misconception that you should engage with a solicitor once you sell and not before, however the wise homeowner knows better!
Once you make a decision to move, it is a good idea to get everything in order from the off, then once we find a buyer you're ready to go.
It takes the average seller at least a few hours to fill out paperwork to sell a house, and there's lots of paperwork and information to provide, on the house, but also on yourself (ID, proof of address etc). If you prepare this information upfront then the pressure is off when we find a buyer, your solicitor will already have all the information and is ready to provide it to the buyers. This can save 2-3 weeks on the average property sale.
We also need an energy performance certificate - we can organise these (they are valid for 10 years) but make sure you check first to see if your home already has one - www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate
Step Four - Arranging Viewings
Depending on which agency you go with this will depend who books and carries out the viewings. We think the best approach is to use an agent that does this for you, we also think the same about making sure an agent does the viewings.
We can arrange viewings 24/7 using our online booking system and our sales staff are available 6 days a week. Unless you're at home all the time or want additional work, then leave the viewing arrangements to us. We also make sure all applicants are pre-qualified and ready to buy.
The same goes for viewings, unless you insist on doing them, then WE insist. Our staff are experienced and specifically trained on how to conduct a viewing, they know how to sell your home. They know what questions to ask and how to tackle objections and manage feedback. As we have mentioned before, negative feedback is often the most useful and with a seller around, giving negative feedback is often hard, as people don't want to offend when you invite them into your home.
Open Days - This isn't so much of a step, but it's definitely something to consider. We sell lots of our houses via open days, it's a great opportunity for getting the best possible price, buyers seeing other buyers helps to re-affirm their feelings on the price and can often lead to offers well in excess of owners expectations.
Step Five - Negotiating Offers
It's really important to make the most of offers, lower or higher than you are looking for, all offers should be looked at constructively. If you have lots of lower offers then its worth reflecting on the price your asking for, it might be time to make some changes.
If you're fortunate enough to get lots of high offers, then this is a great opportunity to really see what someone will pay for your home, we usually look to go to what we call “best and finals” which gives people a chance to bid what they feel the home is worth to them without being directly pitted against other buyers.
There's a well known supermarket with the slogan “every little helps” that applies here more than you might think. We understand that an extra £250-£500 can feel very little in terms of the house price, but to an owner, that's their moving costs covered.
Step Six - After accepting an offer
It's a sad reality that even the best laid plans don't always come off, and that's no exception with the sales process, on average in England, over 30% of sales fall through. That's why we like to describe it as “50% of the job done” when we reach an agreement on price.
It's important here to keep in communication with your agent and solicitor. The road from sale agreed to exchange and completion isn't a straight line and often there's plenty of conversations untaken with gritted teeth. The thing to remember is that it's all normal, answer the questions the solicitors ask you to the best of your ability and in a timely manner and wait for the rest to fall into place.
Often there can be multiple parties involved in a sale, we call this “a sale with a chain” this means there's a series of transactions that all rely on each other, maybe your buyer has sold their home and needs the money to buy yours, or your buying another house and so is the owner of that house. A sale with a chain can be complicated and there's lots more potential for things to go wrong. It's vital that you understand who's doing what and when, the devil really is in the details here, and knowing what everyone is doing can help reduce the stress of the unknown!
Any good agent will really earn their fee between sale and completion. It can be with small things such as trying to make sure the buyer chooses a good solicitor, or it could be anything above and beyond, like meeting surveyors, negotiating new prices due to survey issues or even hand delivering paperwork to various parties to ensure nothing is held up!
Step Seven - Exchange and completion
Exchange of contracts is the last step in a sale and is when you “sign on the dotted line” so to speak, after this point there's no going back without a considerable penalty. It's often a good idea to agree to potential exchange dates as early as possible in order to have a timeframe to aim for.
Once you have exchanged, it's often recommended to have a couple of weeks before “completion” (to reduce stress!) This gives you time to arrange removals, sign rental leases, buy new furniture and book in the friends and family to be helpers on the day of the move.
Please remember never to make financial commitments before you exchange, or you're going to risk losing money if something goes wrong!
Quick tips - Remember all the “boring” things that need doing when you move, arrange insurance, inform utility providers, transfer broadband contracts - these can all be done once you have exchanged.
Step Eight - The Move
It's the day you have been waiting for! The completion will normally take place late morning or early afternoon, especially if the exchange was a few weeks before (as mortgage funds will have been pre-ordered by the solicitors). The keys will need dropping off to your agents once completion has happened, or very shortly after - Remember the buyers might need to move into the house on the same day!
When you drop the keys off, if you have used us, we will be expecting a few things from you, assuming everything has gone well, we would love to have a 5-star google review and a short video testimonial. It will hopefully make others want to use us too, and will help make us look great when they are following “step one” of the guide you have just read!