Find out how to sell your home effectively, efficiently and quickly with this easy beginners guide to selling your home.
Selling your home can be a breeze, or it can be a bit stressful. Usually, the more preparation you do the better. But, sometimes how things go is in the hands of the people you choose to hire – the estate agent and the solicitors. That is why exchanges can happen on the same day, and speedy house moves sometimes have to occur. Hopefully your house sale won’t be stressful. We can help you a little with this handy beginners guide to selling your home.
When you consider putting your house up for sale you need to think really really carefully about whether or not you should sell. Think hard about why you want to sell. Do you want more space? Could you extend your current property instead? The cost of selling can be expensive. It might be cheaper just to stay put and extend.
Have you considered how the housing market might affect your ability to sell at this time? House prices might be dropping so much you won’t get the money you need to sell. You may need to wait it out until the property market recovers. You might also struggle to buy a house if property prices have risen a lot.
If your reason for selling is downsizing, then it is worth considering all the different aspects of doing so because there are some downsides. Negative equity, inability to move back up the property size ladder if you need to, dealing with unwanted items.
You might also be selling because of separation or divorce, in which case selling the house isn’t the only option. You might both wish to rent the property out and split the money it makes, keeping the property rising in value until a time when you perhaps do want to sell it.
There is a lot to think about and you do need to think really hard about whether or not you should sell your current home. There could be downsides you will regret, and making an informed decision is the best thing you can do for your future, before making that big step to sell.
When you do choose to sell you have to tell your mortgage lender that you intend to sell the house. This will enable you to find out how much your mortgage is and if there are any penalties for leaving the mortgage arrangement at this stage.
You should also get a few estate agents to come round and do a valuation for you to find out your property worth. This enables you to figure out how much money you will have left over after the mortgage is paid off. If you are moving on to purchase a new property you will need to know how big the mortgage can be for it. In some instances, you can move the existing mortgage over to your new house.
Of course, nothing will be certain until the house is sold. You cannot predict if the house will go for more or less than you put it up for. What you can know is the least you can accept for mortgage purposes.
As well as the larger financial planning involved in selling you should account for additional costs as well such as stamp duty, moving costs, solicitors costs and any DIY costs you need to account for. These extra costs might seem minor. In reality though they make a big difference to the cost of selling if you’re not flush with extra cash.
It is worth considering if you want to sell and buy or sell and rent. Renting for a long time does add up and can seem like a waste of money. But, it could be worth doing short term to enable you the time to pick the right property. Alternatively, you could move home with parents or friends and store your belongings with cheap self storage and save up enough money to buy the property of your dreams.
Choosing an estate agent is a huge decision. They will be in charge of letting potential buyers know about your property, marketing it and also upselling it during viewings. You can sell your home yourself or with an online agent. But most people choose to use an estate agent because it is the easiest choice. When you consider local estate agents, ask friends and family for recommendations. If people have had good experiences they will want to tell you about it. Although, there are usually conflicting opinions on most estate agents as houses and finances are heavily emotive subjects and people’s experiences can differ greatly. You can also look up feedback about different estate agents online to help you get a broader idea of who to choose.
You will want an estate agent that sells quickly, that achieves the asking price (or as close as possible) and who you like. Usually people choose three to come around and value the house. This helps you get a rough middle valuation, and a good idea of what the company is like.
In some instances, sellers use several agents but alot of estate agents don’t like you to use more than one company at a time.
The asking price is so tricky because so much depends on it. Put it on for too little and you cheat yourself out of money. Too much and you alienate buyers and price yourself out of your target market. Once you get into the realm of reduced prices the property appears as tainted goods because it will look like you can’t sell it and that something is wrong with it (even if it is perfectly fine).
Before you even get valuations, have a look online at property sites to see how much properties local to you and similar to your house have sold for.
The ideal price is a similar rate to similar properties locally, but with about 5% on top for offers. In all instances, never accept how much the estate agents tell you just because it is highest, or because they tell you it is right. You need to do your own research for the most informed decision.
Preparing your house for sale is very, very important and needs to happen before the pictures of it get taken for listings. You don’t necessarily need to stage your home, but preparing it properly will make a big difference and could get you a lot more money.
Clutter is a sellers worst enemy. It makes the house look messy and it also stops the seller seeing the space in its best light. Consider cheap self storage to house items you want to take on to your new house or that you want to sell at a future date. Donate and chuck what you no longer want or need and be brutal. There’s a good opportunity for harnessing that feng shui vibe when you move house.
Ideally, you will also paint up the house and give it a really good clean and tidy. Think spring clean x 100. Get that garden cleared, fix those large floor tiles, paint everything. Most importantly, rid yourself of any super-personalised areas. Brightly coloured rooms, childrens room decorations, personal accessories and ornaments. They all scream about your tastes and your preferences which is not ideal for selling. Buyers want to see their potential life in your home when they come and view, not the life you have lived and enjoyed there.
People think that kerb appeal isn’t a thing any more but it is still very much a thing. When you see a house listed for sale, you drive past it first to check out the area and the external property. That can be all it takes to put a potential buyer from going and viewing a property. Tidy up any lawns or bushes at the front of the house, paint the gate and fence, clean the windows and garage door, and fix any broken path large tiles.
Preparing your home for sale is really important if you want to appeal to as many potential sellers as possible.
Your target buyer could be a young family, a retired couple, a professional couple, or even a group of friends. Figuring out who will want your property is a really important part of selling. Itt means you can be specific in your house staging. A young couple might favour the spare room being a home office. Whereas a family might want the garden to look as big as possible. Identify your target buyers for a more efficient selling process.
Preparing for viewings is really important. You should be ready to get viewings as soon as the house is up for sale as keen buyers will want to get a look in first. The house should always be tidy. Try to avoid cooking anything like fish or garlicky dishes when a viewing is due. Freshly baked bread or cake, however, is definitely going to make your home smell lovely and inviting to potential buyers. Fresh flowers and reed diffusers are also a good idea as they smell nice but don’t smell like you’re covering up a bad smell, like chemical air fresheners can. Remember to also have clean tea towels, a clean toilet and things like dirty washing and pots out of the way in time for viewings.
There will be a lot of forms to fill out along the way which give your buyer information about your property. The more information the better. Expect questions about the when the window was done, about the boiler, electrics – anything you can think of. Buyers want to know everything so they can make an informed decision to buy before paying out for a surveyor.
Most solicitors tend to be the same, handling the legal side of selling a property for you. Choosing somebody who was recommended to you is a good idea. You should also compare the prices and ratings of local solicitors in the area.
This is the exciting bit, accepting the offer you are happy with. Your estate agent will give you all offers, including the lowest ones. You can reject them straight away, wait to see if you get a better offer, say a counter offer you will be happy to accept, or tell the estate agent that you are looking for a bit more and let them try to get more. Who the offer comes from is important. Clearly cash buyers with no chain are ideal. Then buyers with a mortgage in place and no chain are next for preference. Then come buyers with a chain. Once you get an offer you are happy with you formally accept it. However, this is not legally binding. You can change your mind still for a better offer much later down the line until the exchange of contracts. But even then you can pull out but you will lose a percentage of the cost of the house, plus your solicitors fees. Completion is the final part where the house is sold and you get the money. How long everything takes between exchange and completion is down to the solicitors, surveys and other complications. The minimum time is usually 8 weeks, but the process can drag on for months and months because of complications.
Selling a house isn’t easy if you have never done it before. Luckily there are plenty of places to get all the information you need to make an informed decision. Online, from friends and family and from solicitors and estate agents to name just a few. Take your time and get the advice you need to ensure you make the right decision for you and your family.