Guide to Selling a House

About this guide

There are a lot of factors to consider when selling a property, from deciding an asking price to finding an estate agent. Compare My Move’s team of property experts and writers have created this in-depth selling guide to ensure you’re fully prepared for each step of the house selling process. 

The most important step before you list your house with an estate agent is understanding how the process of selling a house works. You should take time to get your finances in place and contact your mortgage lender to learn your options. Our guide begins with a breakdown of the selling process, from having your property valued to negotiating an offer. 

Many people underestimate the costs involved with selling a house, often facing unexpected bills throughout. It costs £5,542 to sell an average 3-bedroom house costing £235,673. Throughout our selling guide, we explore the true costs of selling a house, from estate agents fees to EPC costs, we cover everything to help you create a budget. 

The timescale for selling a house can vary depending on a number of factors such as if you’re in a property chain or not, but normally takes 2-6 months for the average seller. From how to avoid any delays, to putting your house on the market, we will explore the average time it takes to sell a house.  

Once you have a clear idea of the selling process, your budget and timeline, now you can begin to look at how much your house is worth. Generally, sellers can expect to get between 95% and 99% of their asking price. We explore in-depth how to set the value of your home, from how accurate are online valuations to what happens if your house is worth less than expected. 

By having all the important information in one place, with a focus on the house selling process, the cost of selling, the time it takes to sell a house and how to value your house, you will be fully prepared. Once you’ve completed this guide, we hope you’ll feel confident about what to expect when selling a house. 

  • 1. The process of selling a house

    There are certain steps you must follow before, during and after the selling a house process. To sell your house you must find an estate agent, get a property valuation, set your asking price, hire a conveyancer and prepare your property for sale. The more you prepare beforehand, the easier and quicker you’ll be able to sell your house.

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  • 2. The cost of selling a house

    Selling your house will come with many costs, some that you have to pay upfront and some you will have to pay after the sale. The main costs included in selling your home are estate agent fees, conveyancing fees, conveyancing disbursements, surveying costs, mortgage fees, EPC costs and removal company costs. 

    Each seller will experience different costs depending on the size of your home, the value of your home and the location of your home.

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  • 3. Time it takes to sell a house

    Our research shows that it can take an average of 2-6 months to sell a house. However, there is a range of factors that can affect this timescale and even potentially delay the entire process. In this guide, Compare My Move will take you through the different stages of selling a house and explain the different elements that may affect their completion. 

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  • 4. How much is your house worth?

    Ultimately, every homeowner will want to sell their home for the current market value - and more than what they paid for it. However, as a general rule, sellers can expect between 95% and 99% of their asking price. 

    Consulting with an estate agent or independent valuer is recommended to get an accurate valuation on your property. This will also help you settle on an asking price. Your own research will also be useful, reviewing nearby similar properties which are for sale or have sold recently. 

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  • 5. When is the best time to sell your home?

    The best time to sell your house will depend on your location, property type and circumstances. When the market is ‘hot’ and demand outstrips supply, homes sell quickly - especially if they are competitively priced. If the market is ‘cold’ and supply is plentiful, homes take longer to sell…and some do not sell at all.

    Compare My Move work with property industry experts to bring you insightful and fact-checked articles on everything moving house. This guide offers a detailed look at the best time to sell a house in 2020, including each nations’ favourite month to move and the average days it takes to sell. 

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  • 6. How to Buy and Sell Your House at the Same Time?

    Unless you are a first-time buyer, it is common for homeowners to sell and buy at the same time, ensuring you become part of a property chain. From the various agreements and paperwork involved, to whether you should buy or sell first, there are many challenges you will face when it comes to buying and selling property at the same time. 

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  • 7. Preparing your property for a sale

    Now that you’ve decided to put your property on the market, it’s time to begin preparing your house for the sale. Your first step for a smooth process is to ensure that your property is as attractive to potential buyers as possible.

    You need to ensure your property is ready for selling. There are easy ways to prepare your property for sale, from decluttering your house to tidying up your garden. By taking the time to get your home ready for a sale, you’ll increase your chances of a successful sale.

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  • 8. Rightmove or Zoopla: Which one is best for you?

    Whether you’re selling your property or buying a new one, using an online property portal can be a great way to speed up the process - almost 95% of property searches begin on a portal. Instead of checking the local papers or high street estate agents, buyers can browse online and increase the amount of interest a property receives. 

    Rightmove and Zoopla are the most popular property portals, with newcomer OnTheMarket increasing competition. In this article, we will discuss the two most popular and well-known portals and the key tools they offer to aid you in the process.

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  • 9. Porting a mortgage

    Porting a mortgage is when you sell a property, repay your existing mortgage and then resume it on the same terms after you move to your next property. Many mortgages are portable but it’s worth discussing the process with your mortgage lender to see if it’s possible and if it’s the right decision for you. 

    Compare My Move works with experienced finance and property experts to provide quality content that will help you through the buying and selling process. In this article, we will discuss how porting a mortgage works and what factors to consider before deciding it’s the right thing for you.

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  • 10. How to choose an estate agent

    When it comes to selling your property, one of the most important steps in the process will be choosing the right estate agent. With the average price of selling a house sitting at £2,765 (based on the average UK house price of £234,790 as of January 2020), you will want to make sure your money is well spent. 

    The agent will be representing both you and your home so you will want to make sure you pick an estate agent who you feel will do this best, based on a combination of their accreditation, reputation, valuation, fees and marketing. 

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  • 11. Questions to ask your estate agent

    Ensuring you ask your estate agent the right questions before selling your home is vital. It’s important to know what your estate agent is offering and how much it’ll cost before you sign a contract with them. 

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  • 12. How much are estate agent fees?

    The average estate agent fee for selling a house is 1.18% of the final sale price of your home. The typical fee for a high-street estate agent is usually between 1-3% whilst online estate agents will charge a fixed fee. Our experts review the full costs that come with selling your home with estate agents.

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  • 13. Selling your house online

    In recent years, the majority of buyers start their property search by looking online. As of the fourth quarter of 2019, online agents had a market share of 7.9% of exchanges in the United Kingdom.

    Not only is the process cheaper online than via a high street agent, but it can also be more convenient. With the internet accessible 24/7, the likelihood of your property being considered by a prospective buyer increases. This could mean a faster sale and many offers from buyers. 

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  • 14. Selling a house after a divorce

    A divorce or separation will often lead to a number of difficult choices and discussions, including what to do with the house you both share. You will need to discuss how the property and its contents will be divided as well as how to handle the mortgage repayments going forward. There will be a variety of paths you can choose so it’s vital you know all your options before making the decision.

    Compare My Move work with a number of property and finance experts to create insightful, informative guides that will help you through the process of buying or selling a property. In this article, we will discuss some of the factors you’ll need to consider when selling a house after a divorce.

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  • 15. What is a Memorandum of Sale?

    A memorandum of sale is written confirmation detailing the essential aspects of a property transaction. It is used to record that a sale of a residential property has been agreed between a seller and a buyer subject to contract.

    Whilst it is not a legally binding document, it is still an important step in the buying and selling process. Every house sale requires a memorandum of sale.

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  • 16. Energy performance certificates

    An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is an energy efficiency rating for a property and is required by law on all properties for sale or being rented. 

    With a rise in awareness of the environmental impact of energy efficiency, the government has introduced a scheme where all domestic and commercial buildings in the UK that are up for sale or rent must have an EPC. This will ensure that the home is meeting the efficiency target, in addition to showing the homeowners and potential buyers where they could improve of efficiency and save on bills. 

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  • 17. What is a FENSA certificate?

    FENSA stands for ‘Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme’. It is a type of ‘Competent Person Scheme’ that proves installers are experienced and competent enough to carry out work that complies with Building Regulations. A FENSA certificate is a common way for these installers to prove that their work and products are up to standard. It’s typically issued by construction companies who install windows and doors. 

    Compare My Move collaborates with well-known property experts to create accurate and insightful guides that will help you through the moving process. In this article, we will explain what a FENSA certificate is, why you need one and what to do if you’ve lost yours.

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  • 18. Why isn't my house selling?

    There may be many factors why your house isn't selling, from the price tag to the online marketing. Compare My Move's experts have put together this guide to highlight the reasons why your house may not be getting noticed. 

    Take the time to go through your options before deciding your next steps. Some houses won’t sell easily and the length of time it takes will vary. On average, it takes around four to seven months to sell a property in the UK. 

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  • 19. Selling your house quickly

    If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, you may be tempted to use a quick house sale company or cash house buyer. The company will offer to purchase your property at a discounted price and claim to make a quicker sale compared to traditional methods. However, not all companies are reputable and there are ways homeowners can be misled. 

    Using a quick sale company does not always guarantee a quick sale and many homeowners lose out financially during this method. There are benefits to consider before deciding, but choosing the right company is vital in ensuring a successful sale. In this article, we will discuss what a quick house sale company is, why you may be tempted to use them and how important it is to ensure they’re a reputable firm.

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  • 20. Selling your house at auction

    Before committing to selling at auction, you will want to have a solid idea of what the process entails. From deciding whether your home is suitable for an auction house, to reviewing the process and fees.

    Selling at auction is often a good route if your property is in bad condition or needs some TLC. Many auction-bidders, such as developers or builders, are on the lookout for a “fixer-upper”. This is ideal if your property is considered “unmortgageable” due to its condition. On average the auctioneer will take 2.5% of the sale price.

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  • 21. Selling a Probate Property

    When a person dies, the legal process under which their estate is managed is known as probate. Selling a probate property is a slightly more complicated process than a regular property sale. There will be a number of legal factors and additional costs to consider, from the probate application to empty house insurance. 

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  • 22. Negotiating the house price

    Your estate agent will be responsible for negotiating offers when you sell a property, but ultimately you will have the final say. Take time to research similar properties to yours and their selling price to get a good idea of what is a good and bad offer. 

    Be prepared to negotiate with the buyer when selling your house. Negotiating an offer doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. Be confident in your response and carefully consider the counteroffer you’re presenting. 

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  • 23. Considering and accepting an offer on my house

    Receiving an offer on your house is exciting, but it can be difficult to know whether or not you should accept it. Many buyers will first offer between 5% - 10% below the asking price, opening it up for negotiation. Last year, many sellers sold their homes for 3.9% below the asking price, so it’s important to be realistic with your prices. 

    Compare My Move go through the vital questions you should ask yourself before accepting an offer, allowing you to consider and re-evaluate your ideal house price before starting the negotiation. 

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  • 24. What is 'Sold STC'?

    Sold STC stands for Sold Subject to Contract and means that an offer has been agreed between the buyer and seller, but the contracts haven’t been signed or exchanged. If a property you want to make an offer on is Sold STC, you can still make an offer, but this will be classed as gazumping.

    Sold STC is common across the country but in Scotland, however, this stage does not exist as a contract is legally binding once an offer has been agreed upon by both parties. 

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  • 25. What is gazundering?

    The term "gazundering" occurs when a buyer lowers their offer just before contracts are exchanged. Conscious of having to begin the process all over again if they reject the offer, sellers often feel pressured into accepting the lower offer. 

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