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Step by Step Guide to Selling Your Home

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
3rd August 2017

Putting your house on the market can be a daunting task, to put it gently… It can actually be the kind of task that can bring with it anxiety, stress, tears and mild to severe palpitations. Stop, relax, breathe. You’ve come to the right place. Compare My Move are about to give you a breakdown on ‘How to Sell your Home’. From the moment that the thought enters your head to the day you hand the keys over and head off to your new home, we’ve got you covered.

This article will cover the following points

Thinking About Selling The Estate Agent The Price The Staging The Solicitors The Offer The Negotiations The Contracts The Moving The Completion The Mortgage The Settle The End

The thought cometh…

OK, so you are thinking about selling your house and moving. Is it worth it, do I really want to, can I be bothered? So many questions to ask yourself and so much to ponder. Now, although we can’t exactly control your thoughts, we can help you manage them and apply some good old fashioned logic so that you don’t drown in the bottomless pool of variables that need considering:

  • What is the outstanding balance on my mortgage?
  • Is moving house right for me and my family?
  • Can I afford to move house?
  • What is the estimated cost of my home?

Some of these are the things you just need to allow yourself the time to think about and consider while others require action. You will need to notify your mortgage lender that you are planning to sell your home and find out how big your outstanding mortgage is. Once you have an estimate of how much your house is worth, you can then calculate how much money you will have left after paying off your mortgage.

Consider removal company costs as well as other costs of moving house. You can find a comprehensive breakdown of the cost of moving house here.

Moving house can be a big upheaval for you and for your family. It is always worth sitting with your family as a whole (kids and all) and making lists of the pros and cons of moving, using this to help you make your decision.

And so it begins…

You’ve done all your thinking; the decision is made. It is now time to begin the process of selling your house.

The Estate Agent

While it’s possible to sell your home yourself, most first-time sellers lack the knowledge and experience to do so. Hiring a good estate agent will make the process much easier. Finding a compatible estate agent is akin to finding the right life partner!... OK, that’s an exaggeration, but finding the right estate agent is important… Don’t just hook up with the first one you come across. Ask your family and friends for recommendations, search online for reviews and forums for the best agencies and agents in the area. When you meet with an estate agent, make sure you discuss their commission and underline that you want a ‘no sale, no fee’ agreement, and that the commission rate is 1% - 2%.

TIP! - Before you sign with the estate agent, make sure you’re allowed to move to another agent or agency if you aren’t happy with their service, as well as how much notice they require if you want to change.

The Price is Right

Your house is so much more than a house. It’s your home, your safety, your security and it is the place where so many important memories are made. This may seem priceless to you, but, to prospective buyers, it is just bricks and mortar and will be priced at face value. One of the most difficult decisions to make when you’re selling your home is how much to sell it for. Do your research, find out everything you can about your local property market and see what properties similar to yours have sold for. In general, sites like Zoopla and Mouseprice are useful for finding out how much houses have sold for and how much they are on the market for. Also, get a number of estate agents to do valuations, but make sure not to just go for the highest one, as estate agents can have their own agendas. Keep in mind, buyers will expect to or try to negotiate a discount, so add between 5% and 10% of what you are prepared to accept.

Put on a Show

If you want to get the maximum value for your home then it’s worth dolling her up, putting her glad rags on and bringing out her best. Making sure your house is presentable for viewings will increase the chances of a sale. Tidy up, get rid of clutter, give the walls a fresh coat of paint and deal with any maintenance issues. You’d be amazed what a quick spruce will do for the place. Remember that staging your home can make your house sell faster, and even increase its value.

The Solicitors

When you’re in the process of selling your house, you need to hire a solicitor to do the legal work and transfer the ownership of your property. Deciding on a solicitor before selling your house will speed things up when it comes to agreeing on an offer and hiring them. You shouldn’t necessarily use a solicitor suggested by an estate agent, as again they often have their own agendas. Sneaky aye?

The Offer

Your estate agent is legally required to pass on all the offers on your house, no matter how ridiculous some of them might be. If you aren’t happy with an offer you receive, don’t be afraid to reject it and wait for a better offer to come along, or even try to negotiate a better offer. Remember, accepting an offer is not legally binding if you haven’t signed a contract, so you can change your mind or accept a higher offer.

The Negotiations

Once you have accepted an offer from a buyer, you both need to decide:

  • The length of time between the exchange and completion, which is usually between 7 and 28 days after the exchange of contracts.
  • Which fixtures and fittings will be included and how much the buyer will pay for them.
  • Discounts the buyer will receive as a result of any problems that come up.

The Contracts

Exchanging contracts is serious business… It’s when things get real so you’d better be ready! It is legally binding so you will be committed to selling your house at this stage.

WARNING! If you pull out of the contract after this point, the buyer will receive their deposit back and there is a chance you could be sued. It’s messy business so be smart and be sure.

Time to Move Out

You can move out of the house whenever you prefer up until the date of completion. Of course, it will be easier to organise this ahead of time, so make sure you book a reputable removal company – our partners can save you up to £500 on your removals! At the time of completion, the property must be in the condition the buyer expects and was agreed on in the contract, including all of the fixtures and fittings discussed.

Completing the Sale

Woop! Completion of the sale happens when the property is now legally the buyer’s, you accept payment and hand over the keys on the agreed date and time. Now it’s actually happening. On the day of completion, the money and the deeds of the property are transferred between each side’s solicitors… Job. Done.

Pay your Mortgage

More of the boring admin stuff still to sort out - The mortgage company will give you and your solicitor an accurate redemption figure for your mortgage on the day of completion, and when the buyer has transferred the payment to your solicitor, they will pay off the mortgage for you.

Settle with Your Solicitor and Estate Agent

And we are on to the final stretch - The last part of selling your home is settling with your solicitor and your estate agent. Once the sale is completed, your solicitor will send you an account with all their costs and disbursements, the sale price of the house and the redemption of the mortgage. They will also ensure the change of ownership is registered with the land registry.

Go Sell Your House!

And there you have it... It’s not so bad hey? If you are planning on selling your first home, it’s normal to feel out of your depth. However, this step-by-step guide simplifies the whole process and makes it much easier for you. That’s the plan anyway. Happy selling!

Last updated on Thursday 16th November 2017