All set to sell your home?

All set to sell your home?


Find out how much your home is worth

Ask a selection of estate agents to value your property, and look in your local paper’s property section and online to find out the asking price of similar homes. Remember that the final selling price will not necessarily be as much as the asking price, if you want to find out how much local properties have been fetching; you can use online resources.

Decide whether to use an estate agent

Nearly all of us trying to sell our homes do so through an agency. Estate agents bring properties on to the market and introduce buyers. However, you can market the property yourself to avoid agent’s fees, which can be between 1.5% and 4% of the sale price of the property. If you do opt to use an agent, don’t just choose the one that gives the highest valuation. Think about which one you got on with best, what you’ve heard from other people, and which one you’ve seen the most ‘Sold’ signs for.

Prepare the paperwork

It is important that all documents are in place, and your paperwork is complete.

Prepare your home

Make sure your home looks its best for any viewings. Tidy any mess and clear unwanted clutter to maximise space. If you have time, you may wish to try to make the decoration as neutral as possible to attract buyers, and make any minor repairs such as fixing leaking taps.

Also, have all your household bills on hand for prospective buyers to view.

Wait for offers

The estate agent will get in touch with you when an offer has been made on your property; he or she must tell you about every offer that is made, regardless of whether you are likely to accept it. Your agent should be able to advise you whether it is a good offer, but the final decision is up to you.

Accept an offer

When you are happy with an offer you can accept it “subject to survey and contract”. Your estate agent will then write to you, the buyer and both sets of solicitors to confirm the property sale, and requesting that the solicitors draw up a draft contract. At this point, you do not legally have to take the property off the market, but your buyer may ask you to do so, and if the offer is good there is not much point leaving the For sale sign up.

Instruct a solicitor

You may have to seek the advice of a solicitor to do the legal work involved in the sale. They will, for example, release details of the deeds to your buyer’s solicitors and draw up a contract of sale.

Be prepared to let the buyer's surveyor into your home

This will usually happen a few days after the offer has been made and will be organised through your estate agent, if you are using one. The agent should let you know when the surveyor is coming round, and should be able to hand over the keys so you don’t have to be in.

Renegotiate the price if necessary

If the buyer’s survey reveals lots of work that needs doing on the property, he or she may want to renegotiate the offer. This will be done through your solicitors. Be realistic when discussing the price. If you know work needs doing it might be fair to reduce the price accordingly. If, however, you cannot reach a compromise with the buyer, you are within your rights to pull out of the sale. Be aware that you may actually lose money by starting the selling process again.

Exchange contracts and decide on a completion date

This is when you become legally committed to the sale. You need to sign the contract and your solicitor will do the rest. At this point the buyer should pay a deposit, usually at least 5% of the sale price, to your solicitor.

Organise your move

You will have to move out of the property on the day the sale completes, so it’s time to book a removal van and start packing.

Complete

This is where you hand over the keys and say a final farewell to your old home.

The Guardian

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