The prospect of selling your home can be daunting – even more so if you are looking for another property to buy at the same time. But if you understand what you need to do and the process you need to follow then it makes the entire process a lot simpler to follow.
Before you go any further, take a look at our step-by-step guide to selling your home, which explains to you exactly what challenges lay ahead and how you can expect the process to unfold.
Following the steps correctly could save you many sleepless nights panicking about selling your home. At Open House Leicester, we’re here to help you!
1. How much is your home worth?
The first step to selling your home is to find out what your property is worth, and for this you may ask several local estate agents to provide you with a market valuation. You must remember that there is no guarantee your home will sell for the full asking price, so it’s important to consider the local market conditions along with your expectations. An estate agent will provide you with a valuation on your home taking into consideration the current local property market.
Different estate agents are likely to provide you with different valuations, so it’s important to remember that the highest price is not always the best to go with. If you put your home on the market with a price that is greater than the local market expects, then less people are likely to view your property or even put an offer in.
If you price your property competitively, you will receive interest from multiple buyers, which can result in the possibility of exceeding the asking price. Plus, a competitively priced house means that you are in a great position for purchasing your next home.
2. Selecting your estate agent
When selecting an estate agent to sell your home, you need to choose someone that you feel comfortable dealing with and seems to take a real interest in your property. It is important to have an estate agent who is knowledgeable about the local area, has a great track record and is enthusiastic in your home, after all they’ll be doing all the leg work. Avoid selecting an estate agent based on the fees they charge.
An estate agent is responsible for showing prospective buyers around your home, advertising your property both locally and online and managing the completion of your sale. Plus, a good estate agent should already have a portfolio of prospective buyers who are actively seeking properties similar to your home.
3. Prepare your home
Remember that first impressions count, so make sure that you present your home well. This is important for both the photography and viewings. Assess your home with a critical eye, work your way through your property as if you were a potential purchaser and don’t forget about the outside including gardens.
It is often worth tackling those minor maintenance jobs you have put off for a rainy day before viewings start to make it more appealing to prospective buyers. Plus, a fresh lick of paint can make a big difference to the way people remark on your property. Make the property, light, bright and spacious, as that’s what most people are looking for. Get rid of your clutter, even if it means hiding it all in a cupboard!
You don’t have to go as far as lighting a fire or baking a loaf of bread, however, make sure you give everywhere a thorough clean.
4. Play the waiting game
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how quickly your home will sell or the number of viewings you will need. It is important to keep your home in great condition and be in regular contact with your estate agent to see what they are doing about marketing your home. Plus, it can also be beneficial to have a realistic figure in your mind that you would accept for your property, so that you are ready to respond when an offer arises.
An estate agent is legally bound to tell you about and confirm in writing every offer that is made, regardless of its amount. While they will be happy to advise you on how good an offer is, it is your decision on whether to accept it and not there’s.
When a potential buyer makes an offer, the estate agent will take on the role of managing the negotiations and acting on your behalf if needs be, to encourage buyers to increase their offers to a price you are willing to accept. It is always worth considering an offer on your home as it may help you buy a property you are interested in. Buying a property for most people is not possible without an offer on their current home.
5. Say yes!
Hooray! You have received an offer on your home that you wish to formally accept. At this point, you can instruct your estate agent to move on to the next stage of the sale, subject to survey and contract. There is no legal reason for you to take the property off the market at this point, but it is common for the buyer to request you do so.
Remember that accepting an offer is not legally binding, and you can legally change your mind or accept a higher offer later– but remember, this can be pretty distressing to the buyer.
6. Hire a solicitor
A conveyancing solicitor is the person who must complete all the legal aspects of selling your home. They’re more important in your house sale than you initially anticipate. A solicitor is tasked with carrying out all the conveyancing and legal work associated with the process, this includes drawing up the contract of the sale and releasing the necessary details to the buyer’s solicitor.
If you are buying another property related to the sale, then you should use the same solicitor for both transactions. Each party within the chain will have their own solicitor and only the estate agents can speak to all involved. So the agent can often make the difference in ensuring the sale reaches completion as they are able to ensure that you are kept up to date with and chase up outstanding paperwork or information.
7. Exchange of contracts
At the point of exchanging contracts, you become legally committed to the sale, as does your purchaser. In other words, you could face legal action if you go back on your decision to sell after this point. A completion date is agreed between you and your buyer, and they will hand over their deposit to their solicitor. You now need to start planning your move, so booking a removal van is likely to be the number one priority.
From here you can move out whenever you like, even up until the day of completion.
This is the final stage of the process; on the day of completion the purchase money is transferred to your solicitor and you will receive a phone call from both your solicitor and the agent to confirm when these have been received. At that point you will need to have moved all your belongings out of the property and hand over the keys to the new buyers – usually through the agents.