Step By Step Guide To Selling Your Home
When it comes to selling your home, it is easy to fall prey to unnecessary stress. It is not an easy job but it doesn’t need to be chaotic or stressful if you give yourself enough time consider all that has to be done. Compare solicitor fees here
As with anything that needs doing properly, the key is preparation and organisation. We have put together all the info you could possible need when selling your houseIt is easy to follow and contains all the info you need to make your move run smoothly.
Energy Performance Certificates
If you’re planning on selling your home, you must provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) to potential buyers. An EPC gives information on the energy efficiency of a property using ratings of A to G, A being the most energy efficient and G the least. The certificate must be produced by an accredited domestic energy assessor.
You and anyone acting on your behalf, such as your estate agent, must try to ensure that an EPC is available within 7 days of the property being put on the market.
Since 9th January 2013, all sales advertisements for properties must show the EPC rating. Trading Standards can issue a notice with a penalty charge of £200 per dwelling, where an EPC is not provided.
Where there is a Green Deal plan on a property for which payments are still to be made, information about this must be included on the EPC.
A certificate is valid for ten years and can be used multiple times during this period.
Can I Sell My House Without An Estate Agent?
If you wish to sell your property you should consider whether to use an estate agent. Before making a decision, consider costs and how much time you have available.
If you use an estate agent, there will be fees but they will take responsibility for the advertising, showing potential buyers round, and negotiating a price for the house.
If you wish to find a buyer yourself, it will be cheaper but you will need the time to make all these arrangements and deal with any problems. And consider how you would advertise your home to potential buyers.
Selling The Home Yourself
If you wish to find a buyer yourself, you must decide what price you want to ask for the property. Many estate agents do free valuations so you could arrange for a couple of local estate agents to value your property. For a formal valuation, an estate agent can provide this for a fee.
You can find out about the cost of houses locally by looking at local papers, estate agents’ windows and similar houses in the area.
Before deciding on a price, you may wish to consider:-
- doing any repairs or decorating to make it easier to sell the house
- arranging a survey if you think there are any major problems that might affect the value of the house.
Decide in advance if you will include any extras in the sale suce as curtains and white goods. These are known as fittings. A price for these can be included in the asking price or a separate price can be asked.
There are some items that you must sell as part of the house unless you make it clear to the buyer that such items are not included in the sale. These are known as fixtures and include items as fireplaces and a central heating system. However, in some cases it is not always clear whether something is a fixture or fitting so you could draw up a list of things you intend to remove or are prepared to sell to avoid problems later.
It is normal practice for a potential buyer to offer a lower price for the house than the seller is asking. You might therefore want to allow for this by setting your price a little higher than the amount you would like to get.
Advertising Your Property
Find out how much the local papers charge for house advertisements and draft an advertisement on the basis of how much you want to spend. Maybe use existing ads as a guide to format and wording. You may be able to advertise very cheaply in shop windows.
Consider drawing up details of the house in a similar way to that of an estate agent, giving details of room sizes, community charge/council tax, local facilities and fixtures and fittings. These details can then be given to potential buyers, either before they call, or at the time they view. You could also consider advertising the property on the internet.
Selling Your Property Via An Estate Agent
You might consider the following when choosing an estate agent:
- Word Of Mouth
- Check Credentials – Estate agents must be members of The Property Ombudsman or The Surveyors Ombudsman Scheme.
Many will also be members of trade bodies. This means that they have to complywith a code of conduct This may indicate a higher level of professionalism. Trade bodies to look out for are:
- Guild of Professional Estate Agents (GPEA)
- National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
- Do Your Research – Visit your shortlisted estate agents as a potential buyer. You will more often than not get a feeling for their professionalism and a general sense of whether you would be happy doing business with them.
- Ask At Least 3 Agents To Value Your Home -You might be surprised at the variation in price and the credentials they base this valuation on. Do not necessarily be impressed most by the agent that values your property the highest. It is not a guarantee this is the most realistic asking price. You need an agent who is going to offer a realistic valuation, not one who is going to overvalue your property putting off potential buyers.
Estate Agents’ Fees
Most estate agents calculate their fees as a percentage of the final selling price of the property. This can vary from less than 1% to 3.5%. This is known as the rate of commission.
Ask them whether you have to pay extra or the following are included in this fee:
- advertising costs
- costs of preparing details of the house including photographs
- a ‘for sale’ board
If you decide to use an estate agent, the estate agent must confirm the charges and rate of commission that will be made. The estate agent must do this when they agree to act for you.
Types of Estate Agent Contracts
If you use one estate agent to handle the sale this is a ‘sole agency’ agreement; the agent has ‘sole selling rights’. A sole agency is still only using one agent, but if you find a buyer yourself you don’t have to pay commission to the estate agent. A sole agency agreement should be agreed for a specific period of time.
This is when you appoint two estate agents to act together in selling the property. This is where the estate agents involved share the commission when the property is sold regardless of which estate agent actually finds the buyer. The commission is usually higher for this type of arrangement.
If you appoint more than two estate agents on a ‘multiple agency’ basis, only the estate agent who sells the property will be entitled to the commission. Again, the rate of commission is usually higher than for a sole agency.
Receiving An Offer On Your Property
You can sell the house to whoever you want. This need not be the buyer who offers the most money. You may wish to take into account whether the potential buyer:
- is a first time buyer/cash buyer/without a chain
- has found a buyer for their own property. If so, is it part of a chain and how long is the chain
- is relying on getting a mortgage
- wants to move at the same time as you
If you are using an estate agent, they will negotiate with the potential buyer about the price. They should try and obtain the best possible price for you. If you are acting alone, you must negotiate yourself. You do not have to accept the first offer put to you and should not be rushed into making a decision quickly.
Accepting An Offer
Even if you have accepted an offer, there is nothing in law to prevent you from changing your mind and accepting a higher offer from someone else.
You should bear in mind that when an offer is made and accepted the potential buyer can also withdraw – for example, they may not get a mortgage, or the survey may show some structural problems.
If you are selling, it may be a good idea to keep the names and addresses of all potential buyers who make offers, in case the one you accept falls through.
Choosing A Conveyancer
Compare solicitor fees
Take a look HERE for all the information you need when choosing a conveyancer.
In England and Wales you can use a licensed conveyancer to do your conveyancing. Licensed conveyancers are not solicitors but are licensed by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
Compare Solicitor Fees
Before making a choice as to who will do the conveyancing, you should find out the potential cost. Compare solicitor fees or licensed conveyancer fees as there is no set scale for conveyancing. You should:-
- check whether the figure quoted is a fixed fee or will vary if more work is required
- check that the figure includes expenses and VAT and get a breakdown of these costs
- find out what charges, if any, will be made if the sale falls through before contracts are exchanged.
Exchange of contracts
Before exchange of contracts, neither side has a legal obligation to buy or sell the property. Either party can pull out without any penalty (except for any deposit on agreeing offers).
Both buyer and seller sign identical contracts but only when they are formally exchanged does the deal become legally binding. Between exchange of contracts and completion sizable penalties will be incurred if one party pulls out. However, it is rare for anyone to pull out after exchanging contracts. In practical terms, this is when you can relax and be fairly sure your sale/purchase will go through.
Completion on a property means that everything has been finalised – all the searches have come back, any outstanding queries have been answered, your property survey came back with no problems and your mortgage, if you have one, has been agreed and transferred. Take a look at all our information on completing on a property.
Compare solicitor fees – Our expert legal panel, made up of UK regulated solicitors and licensed conveyancers, can provide you with a fast efficient fixed fee online conveyancing service to help you to make your home buying or selling a simple and easy process.