So you have decided you want to sell your house or flat. And you want to sell your property quickly and for the best price? Stephen James provides a step by step guide to help you through the process of selling your residential property.
1.) Your own personal financial situation
It’s important to consider your own financial circumstances when considering whether to sell your home. Do you have a mortgage? Are you looking to downsize or upsize and what will we be the implications for your existing mortgage? Will there be any redemption charges?
Are you planning on renting for a period of time or moving straight into a new property you purchase? This has a big implication on navigating the sale of a residential property.
There could be tax implications from council tax for empty properties through to stamp duty on your new purchase. It’s key to have good advice from a mortgage adviser, accountant and solicitor so you can plan your finances.
2.) Take an objective view of your residential property
It’s human nature to think your residential property is better and more wonderful than other properties. We all have tendency to be biased and of course every homeowner wants to sell their property for the best price. However being able to be calm and objective is a valuable trait in the house selling process.
It’s best if you can put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and how they may view the property. Being objective and even critical at the start can help identify any issues which could be remedied to help maximise the sales price.
Being honest and objective at the start will set realistic goals which can ultimately save a lot of time and stress with the home selling process.
3.) Make your home look its best
Exterior of your property
First impressions and kerb appeal matter!
- Can damage to the front of the property be repaired?
- Can the exterior and windows be cleaned so it’s presentable?
- Perhaps flaking paintwork can be repainted?
- Is there outside space being used as a dumping ground?
An experienced estate agent like Stephen James can advise on any home improvements before you spend unnecessary money.
Interior of your property
The key with interiors of residential property is ensuring the area is clean and tidy. Decluttering allows a buyer to imagine how they may shape the space.
Clean bathrooms and kitchens are important and it always pays off to ensure these areas are clean and fresh.
Damage and wear and tear will make buyers wonder if the property has been maintained and looked after. If you can ensure any damage or wear and tear is attended to it will help.
If you’re showing around a potential buyer in winter try and make sure the heating is on. A cold house will only make the prospective buyer feel unwelcome and associate bad feeling with the property.
All of these things together can create a positive impression and help sell your home. Buyers feeling positive about a property are more likely to put forward offers!
Outside space and gardens can really help sell a house or flat. As a minimum the lawn should be cut, neat and free of weeds. If you have time adding hanging baskets, flowers and bedding plants can have a dramatic impact for minimal sums of money. Creating a welcoming garden can really add a pulling factor to selling a home.
4.) Get a valuation from an estate agent
In order to sell your home you will need a valuation in order to set the right asking price.
There is a lot of publicly available data out there for you to check what other properties have sold for in the area. An experienced local estate agent can provide a valuation for your property and back it up with evidence to justify the reason for the valuation. An active local estate agent like Stephen James will be aware of the market sentiment and type of buyers in the market to give bespoke advice.
5.) State an asking price for your residential property
Setting a price of a residential property is a matter of judgement. Just because you set a price doesn’t mean you will sell for that price (or more or less). However setting an appropriate price will ensure your property attracts potential buyers and sells in a timely manner.
It can be tempting to set the highest possible asking price, but if this price is well out of kilter with the market then it will only deter potential buyers. Setting an appropriate asking price ensures you maximise the sales proceeds.
There is a wealth of data available out there, so there should be no excuse to get the asking price completely out of line. An experienced estate agent can advise on the strategy of setting an asking price.
6.) Use an estate agent to sell your home
Ok, so we’re an estate agent so we will be biased and recommend that you use a local estate agent when you sell your home!
Whenever you consider selling a residential property is important to consider selling via the most appropriate channel. If your residential property is in very bad condition, very unusual or with development potential it could be more suited to auction. For many standard traditional houses which will appeal to first time buyers, families and the mass market then the high street estate agent remains the best place to sell your home.
A local estate agent should know the market, the area and the people well, which will give you the best chance of completing a sale and maximising what you get for it!
Online agents have come into fashion in recent years, but the service level can be patchy and you will never get the support, knowledge and service you would do from an established local estate agent.
7.) Market your residential property comprehensively
Once you have decided how you choose to sell your residential property and you have found an estate agent then the marketing can commence:
- This can start with good quality photos of your home (potentially with a professional photographer)
- Marketing materials which provide clear information on the property
- Use of a for sale sign to ensure passing traffic and pedestrians are aware that the property is on the market
- Online advertising such as Rightmove (the most important residential property portal)
- Floorplans and video tours can also help
8.) Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork!
In order to minimise any unwanted surprises later down the line during a residential sale it’s important to get your paperwork up to speed straight away. Prepare early and it will cause less stress down the line. If you leave it later, all you will be doing is to risk delaying the sale. Do you have the following information on your property?
- Title deeds or land registry records relating to your property
- Historic property details when you purchased the property
- Energy Perfomance Certficate (EPC)
- Building regulations certificates
- Planning permission history
- Electrical and Gas installations certification
- Utility bills
- Buildings insurance
- Contents insurance
- Mortgage details (if relevant)
- Lease (if it’s a leasehold property)
- Any new build warranty if within 10 years of build
9.) Showing prospective buyers around – Viewings
In order to sell your house or flat means you need to get round prospective buyers to view.
If you are using an high street estate agent it would be customary for the agent to undertake the viewings on your behalf. We recommend this is as it puts buyers and sellers at ease. The buyer can ask questions and comment in freedom and equally the seller can remain in the distance and unknown providing instructions to their agent.
There isn’t a specific number of viewings you need to do in order to sell a home. It’s more important potential viewing parties are appropriately filtered and qualified before viewing. It’s better to have two serious and qualified viewing parties, than twenty scatter gun viewers who are are not appropriate.
10.) Solicitor or conveyancer to act on your behalf
In order to progress the sale of your home you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer who is capable of dealing with residential property.
It’s best to make contact with your solicitor at the time of considering a sale as your solicitor can check title and raise any issues which may have a detrimental impact on the sale. Again if you prepare early it will make a sale easier! Also once you accept an offer you can instruct a solicitor progress the sale quickly if the preparatory work has been done.
11.) Dealing with offers on your property
Your estate agent has a legal duty to refer all offers to you as soon as possible. Once an offer has been received you have three main options:
- You could accept the offer (subject to contract) and proceed to legals.
- You could reject the offer (for whatever reason that may be).
- Or you could try and negotiate the offer.
If you are in the fortunate position of receiving numerous offers for your home then it would down to the estate agent to assess the credibility of offers. Some offers may be cash offers or a combination of cash and a mortgage. Some buyers will be in a chain and have to sell in order to complete on buying your property.
The highest offer may not necessarily be the strongest and best offer. If a cash buyer with no chain is bidding £1,000 less than a buyer with a large mortgage and property to sell, most vendors would regard the cash offer as the stronger offer.
Also it’s important to note many buyers will often offer less than the asking price (at least initially). Sometimes it’s best to wait, stay calm and let the market work it’s course. Your circumstances as a seller matter too of course.
Knowing the market in your area is key to making the best decision (can you achieve a higher price level? Are there many other credible buyers in the market? How long should it take to sell this kind of property?). An experienced estate agent like Stephen James can guide you through the process and give you a valuable advice to make sure you make the right decision for you at the right time.
12.) Agree terms of the deal
Once you agreed a deal it’s important the terms of the deal are documented in a sales memorandum. This will document:
- The buyer and seller details
- The sales price
- The inclusion of any fixtures and fittings
- Title information
- Exchange and completion dates
- Any other conditions related to the sale
The sales memorandum should be sent to respective solicitors so the legal work can commence.
13.) Exchange and completion
Exchange and completion is what it’s all about!
Exchange and completion are key legal milestones with the exchange being the date a buyer pays the deposit. The buyer will then have an obligation to complete.
Completion date is when the property is sold and your solicitor should be in funds. As a vendor you will have to ensure you have moved out of the property and the keys are with your estate agent for the buyer.
Do you have a residential property you need to sell? Stephen James can help today! Please get in touch or call us for further assistance with any property matters you may have on 07768585551.