How to sell a property

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How to sell a property

This guide will take you through the steps of selling a property.

Depending on how many buyers and sellers are in your chain, it is possible to complete the whole process within six weeks.  You must, however, expect the unexpected.  Buyers and sellers are not tied into any sale or purchase until each person in the chain exchanges contracts.

The key to getting this right is to remain calm, think logically, keep going and try not to get too stressed.  Make sure you keep an open dialogue with the buyer of your property so that they feel assured that all is going to plan.

You can find out when is the best time to sell here.

Documentation you may need

You will need a copy of the following to give to your Conveyancing Solicitor for the property you are selling:

You will need to give the following to your Estate Agent for the property you are selling:

  • Copy of your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).

To have success in selling your new home, you’ll want to make your property as attractive as possible to a buyer.

Improve Your Chances of Selling Your Property

Even if you have already put your property on the market, you should still look to improve your chances of selling it.

  • Agree on a realistic asking price
  • Prepare your house for sale i.e. declutter, clean up, tackle any DIY (click here for guidance)
  • Promote the neighbourhood i.e. good local schools or transport links
  • Find a good Estate Agent as they will ensure your property is shown to as many potential buyers as possible

If you already have an Estate Agent, they will be able to upload new photographs of your property if you make any changes to it.  If you have not had an offer yet, it may be because your house is just not buyer ready yet.  In any event, there is no harm in giving your property a helping hand to get it in tip-top shape to sell.

Click here for guidance on how to improve your chances of selling your property.

Follow Our Guide:

1. Get an Estimate/Valuation of your current Property’s worth

It is often worth getting a few estimates from different Estate Agents before you decide on an asking price for your property. If you’ve carried out any recent home improvements, make sure you update the Estate Agents so they can get an idea of the current value of your home.  Just because you pick one Estate Agent doesn’t mean that you have to sell your home at the price they stated when valuing your property. You can place your property for sale on as many Estate Agents websites as you want.  It’s your home so you can ultimately decide how much you sell it for.

Look around

Property sites can give a good indication of the current market prices.

2. Obtain an EPC for your current property

Obtain an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property you want to sell.  An EPC will advise a potential buyer about the properties energy performance.  To find a Domestic Energy Assessor click here.  To retrieve an Energy Performance Certificate click here.

3. Work out the Conveyancing Fee(s) and Estate Agents Fees

Conveyancing Fees:

When you sell a property you will need a Conveyancing Solicitor to handle the sale for you.  Fees can be over £700 so ensure that you have enough funds for this service.  Click here to get an instant quote in 3 easy steps from the UK’s largest Conveyancer with excellent ratings on Trustpilot.  To speed up the selling process you can instruct a Conveyancer Solicitor before you have received an offer on your property.  Giving a Conveyancer the heads up that you would like to use their services for a sale will give them advance notice to get all the necessary paperwork together.

Estate Agent Fees:

It is often worth getting a few estimates from different Estate Agents and negotiate the price down if you can.  You can place your property for sale on as many Estate Agents websites as you want.

If you want to use an online Estate AgentYopa provide a fixed fee service, a dedicated local estate agent, your property listing on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location, a for sale board and full support 24/7 until your property has been sold.

  • The average home on Yopa finds a buyer within 24 days and receives over 98% of their asking price.
  • Yopa charge a small flat fee from £889 instead of the usual percentage of the property’s sale price.  The average Yopacustomer, therefore, saves over £3,000 in estate agency fees.  Click here for more information.

4. Get a Buyer for Your Property

Once your property is ready to put on the market, instruct your Estate Agent to advertise it for you.  Ensure your Estate Agent advertises your property as quickly as possible on the following sites: Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location.  Check that your property is listed as you would like it (including how much is up for sale) and that you are happy with the fees and photographs of your property.

Ensure that the property is ready for each viewing and is kept as neat and tidy as possible in case you receive any last-minute viewings.

Once you have accepted an offer on your property, if you have not already done so, you should instruct your Conveyancing Solicitor to commence working on the relevant paperwork.

Your buyer may now request a Home Buyers Report or Building Survey to be carried out on your property.

Building Survey:

The buyer may arrange for a Surveyor (preferably registered with the RICS) to view your property to provide the buyer with a Building Survey/Home Buyers report.  The buyer should speak to you first before this is put in place as the Surveyor will require access to your property.  The report will confirm the value of the property and will pick up things like problems with electrics or whether the property will need a new roof etc.  Once the survey has been carried out, the buyer can liaise with you if any issues arise with the property.  If any structural issues are raised in this report and the property requires further investigation, the buyer can engage the services of a Structural Engineer if he or she wants to proceed with the purchase.  You also have the option of doing this yourself.

Structural Engineer:

If a Structural Engineer needs to assess the property, you are not obligated to pay for this service, however, if your house has potential problems, it is in your best interests to find out what is causing an issue.  This report will help the buyer to assess whatever alterations they may need to carry out on the property if they choose to buy it.  The buyer is not obligated to give you a copy of the report unless you have paid towards it.

Structural Engineer will then provide the buyer with a Building Inspection Report/Full Survey/Structural Survey.  Again the buyer will be able to use the report to negotiate the price of the property if it does indeed require more work.

Subsidence:

If the Building Inspection Report/Full Survey/Structural Survey picks up that the property has a history of subsidence or the property currently has subsidence, click here for more information.  If the property is affected by suspected tree subsidence, click here for more information.

5. Keep the chain together

At this point gather all the email addresses of each Buyer/Seller/ Conveyancing Solicitor and Estate Agent in the chain by asking the owner(s) of each property in the chain to give them to you.

  • Ask your Conveyancing Solicitor what they are working on/what they are waiting for in the chain.
  • Generate one email with everyone copied in advising who you are, what property you are selling in the chain and what you have been advised by your Conveyancing Solicitor.
  • This should encourage each buyer/seller in the chain to respond so that everyone knows what is happening.  Do this twice a week to ensure that the chain moves quickly.

This is THE best way of making sure everyone in the chain knows who or what is holding things up.

It is quite an unusual way of making sure the chain pulls together to make everything go through on time but it does work, I speak from direct experience.  The Conveyancing Solicitors may not directly respond in the chain, but the buyers and seller will and the Conveyancing Solicitors will see those responses.  The Conveyancing Solicitors may advise you to stop emailing them, but you must keep doing it to keep the chain moving quickly.

There will be no more “it is with the seller’s solicitors” or “we are just waiting on something from this buyer/seller” etc.  Everyone in the chain will now know exactly where the problem lies and any hold-ups.  This will make the transition go much more smoothly.

6. Your Buyer May Enquire about your property boundaries, party wall agreements/schedule of condition, Regularisation certificates and window replacement documentation

Boundary:

If your property has any boundary issues, you may be asked to disclose this information by the Conveyancing Solicitor.  The buyer may also request that the boundary measurements of the property are carried out before the purchase.

Party Wall Agreements/Schedule of Condition:

You may be asked by the Conveyancing Solicitor to provide details of any Party Wall Agreements/Schedule of Condition documents.  These are important documents and copies of them should be with the Land Registry.  They confirm that neighbours agree with any works that have been carried out on or near the party wall(s) of the property.

Regularisation Certificates:

If you have had any major or minor works carried out, you should have Building Control Regularisation Certificates.  If these are not in place, you should speak to your Conveyancing Solicitor to confirm how you will be able to move ahead without these in place and what effects they can have on the property.  If building works carried out by you do not have a regularisation certificate from Building Control, you should request that your Conveyancing Solicitor places an Indemnity Agreement between you and the buyer.  An Indemnity Agreement ensures that the buyer would be indemnified from any costs associated with poor works carried out in the property by you.  This agreement would mean that the seller would be legally obligated to deal with the issue after he/she has moved.  The Seller is obligated to pay for the cost of the Indemnity Agreement.

Window Replacement:

If any windows, Velux, Dorma or patio/bi-fold doors have been installed in the property you are selling, you should have either window replacement certificates from the company who installed them, Fensa Certificates or building control regularisation of the installation.  If a Certificate is not in place, you should speak to your Conveyancing Solicitor.  You can also contact the Local Authority to apply for retrospective Building Regulation approval.  The buyer can request that your Conveyancing Solicitor places an Indemnity Agreement between you and the buyer.  An Indemnity Agreement ensures that the buyer would be indemnified from any costs associated with poor works carried out in the property by you (the seller).  This agreement would mean that the seller would be legally obligated to deal with the issue after he/she has moved.  The Seller is obligated to pay for the cost of the Indemnity Agreement.

If all the relevant paperwork is in place, boundaries are set out in writing, you are ready now ready to exchange contracts with your buyer.

If at any time before you exchange contracts you feel that this is not right for you, your financial situation changes or have decided not to sell, you can always pull out of the chain.  This can be a heartbreaking time for other people in the chain, but you must do what is right for you.  It is not uncommon to find yourself or someone in the chain in this position, but the most frustrating thing to do is to not inform the people in your chain straight away and your Conveyancing Solicitor.  So please make sure you let the chain know as soon as you make that decision.

7. Exchange of Contracts

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will be able to finalise everything and exchange contracts between you and your buyer.  Upon the exchange, both you and the buyer are legally committed to the sale.  If you change your mind after this point, you could face legal action and your deposit may well be forfeit.  It is at this point that a date is set for completion.  It is possible to exchange and complete on the same day.  If you would like to do this, you should contact your Conveyancing Solicitor and email the chain.   You can set the date that works for you.

8. Organising Your Move

Once contracts have been exchanged, you only have as long as was agreed before you must vacate the property.  If you are moving to a rented property, you’ll need to arrange for the supply of electricity, gas, water and telephone service well in advance of your moving date (at least one month).  Click here for a handy list of who to contact.

If you have a lot of furniture, you may wish to hire a removals company to pack up your property and help with the move.  Similarly, if you need to buy any essentials for where you are moving to like a sofadining room table or larger items (i.e. fridge/freezer/washing machinecookergarden furniture etc.), there’s the option to get everything delivered to your new property on the day of your move, or a day or 2 after you move in.  This will save you on removal costs.

9. Completion Date/Moving day

This is when the money is moved between Conveyancing Solicitors and they confirm that the keys can be released to your buyer.  The Conveyancing Solicitors will also register the transfers of ownership with the Land Registry.

On the day of completion (or sometimes before), you physically move out of the property.  Ensure you are packed and ready to leave the property at the set time otherwise, you will hold up everyone else in the chain.  If any issues arise, Conveyancing Solicitor straight away and let them know.

It’s a good idea to take a photograph of gas, electric and water meters of the property you’re about to leave on moving day.  That way you can submit them to each utility provider a day or two after moving day.

10. Congratulations on your sale!

If you are moving to a rented property, ensure that you take a photograph of the meters when you arrive.

What happens now

Your Conveyancing Solicitor will register the property in the Buyers name with the Land Registry for properties in England and Wales.

You should look into updating your Will to reflect any changes.

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