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Step by Step Guide to Selling Your Home

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
3rd August 2017 (Last updated on Monday 17th September 2018)

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. Talk to your mortgage lender to find out the amount of your outstanding mortgage, and to let them know you plan to sell. When you get an estimate of your house price, you will then know the money left for you 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 property 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 your 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, 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.

It's a difficult decision to make when you’re selling a home: how much to sell it for? Through 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 range of valuations from different estate agents. Make sure not to just go with the top valuation, as estate agents often have their own agendas. Keep in mind, buyers may expect to haggle you down on price,  so add between 5% and 10% to the baseline amount you will 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, 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, get a solicitor to do the legal administration 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 agent has to show you all the offers on your house by legal requirement, 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 something better to come along, or even negotiate a better one. Remember, it is not legally binding to accept an offer if you haven't signed a contract, so you can still accept higher prices or have a change of mind.

The Negotiations

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

  • The time between the exchange and the completion. This is usually between a week and a month after the contract exchange.
  • Which fittings and fixtures will remain in the house, and what will the buyer pay.
  • 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 legally to selling your house at this stage.

WARNING! Pulling out of the contract after this point may be messy: the buyer will receive their deposit back and there is a chance you could be sued. So make sure you're smart and be sure.

Time to Move Out

Vacate the house whenever you prefer, just as long as you've moved before 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 70% on your removal costs. At completion, the house must be the exact condition the buyer expects and was agreed on in your contract (which includes the fittings and fixtures as discussed).

Completing the Sale

Woop! Completion of the sale happens when the house is now legally the buyer’s, you give them they keys and receive payment at the correct time and date. Now it’s actually happening. On the actual completion day, the deeds and the money for the house are transferred through both side's solicitors... Job. Done.

Pay your Mortgage

More of the boring admin stuff still to sort out - The mortgage company on day of completion will give yourself and your solicitor an accurate figure for the mortgage. Your solicitor will pay your mortgage off after receiving payment from the buyer.

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 an account with all disbursements and costs, the house sale price, and the mortgage redemption.

They will also ensure correct change of house ownership is properly registered on 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!