Selling a home can be a long and complex process, but there are certain steps you can take to make it as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Decide if you will use an estate agent or sell the property yourself
If you use an estate agent, it will be more expensive, but the estate agent will take responsibility for advertising, showing potential buyers round, and negotiating a price for the house. If choosing an estate agent consider their opening hours and when they will be available to conduct viewings. Look at their high street presence and what kind of marketing your property will receive. These are critical to obtaining the maximum exposure and price for your property.
If you wish to find a buyer yourself, it will be cheaper but you will need the time to make all these arrangements and deal with any problems.
Step 2: Accurate valuation
If you are using an estate agent, the agent will negotiate the selling price with the potential buyer(s). The estate agent should try and obtain the best possible price for you. If you are acting alone, you must negotiate yourself. You do not have to accept the first offer put to you, and you should not be rushed into making a decision quickly.
Step 3: Obtain your Energy Performance Certificate
An EPC gives information on the energy efficiency of a property using A to G ratings, with A being the most energy efficient and G the least efficient. An accredited domestic energy assessor produces the certificate.
From 9 January 2013, all sales advertisements for properties, for example, on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines, or written material about the property, should show the EPC rating.
A certificate is valid for ten years and can be used multiple times during this period.
Step 4: Hire a solicitor or conveyance
The successful sale of your property can depend on the instruction of an efficient and experienced solicitor. You need to choose a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal work to transfer ownership of the property. If you are also buying a new home, it is a lot easier and cheaper to use the same conveyancer or solicitor to do both transactions.
Step 5: Presenting your property
First impressions count, meaning the presentation of your property iscritical to a successful sale. Consider any DIY jobs you have been meaning to get done - add a fresh coat of paint where necessary and try to de-clutter to make rooms appear larger.
Step 6: Marketing your property
To find your perfect buyer you need to give your property maximum exposure across a wide range of media e.g. online sites, magazines and newspapers.
Step 7: Accept an offer
Once you are happy with an offer, you need to formally accept it. Remember that accepting an offer is not legally binding, and you can legally change your mind or accept a higher offer later (gazumping) – but remember, this can be pretty distressing to the buyer
Step 8: Negotiate the draft contract
You and the buyer will have to decide the length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts) and negotiate any discounts if problems are flagged up by the survey.
Step 9: Exchange contracts
When you exchange contracts with the buyer you become legally committed to selling the property – and they are legally committed to buying it from you. If you pull out after this without due reason, the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them and you may be sued.
Step 10: Complete the sale
Completion is when the property changes ownership - you accept payment, and hand over the keys. On the day of completion, the money is transferred and the deeds of the property are transferred between each side’s solicitor or conveyance. Your solicitor/conveyancer will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry.