Selling a property can be a stressful process. There’s a lot to remember, including sorting your finances and marketing your home in the best possible light to potential buyers.
Our handy guide to moving house explains the whole process, step-by-step…
Review your finances
If you already own a mortgaged home, you’ll need to find out whether your current mortgage is portable – which means you can take it to your new property. However, your lender will still need to be satisfied with the price of your new house and make sure that you pass all of the usual affordability tests.
If this isn’t possible, there may be some early repayment changes if you need to exit the deal before the end of the term. These are usually around 1-5% of the remainder of the mortgage debt.
If you’ve almost reached the end of your current mortgage term, you’ll be approaching your lender’s Standard Variable Rate (the rate your mortgage switches to when a deal ends).
As part of one of the UK’s largest award-winning group of mortgage advisors, Mortgage Advice Bureau, we’re able to offer advice from thousands of mortgages across 90+ lenders through our sister company dot financial services.
You’ll also need to remember the other usual fees that come with moving home, such as conveyancing (solicitor), surveying, removal and estate agency costs.
Get your home in order
Remember that first impressions count. Decluttering your home and removing any personal items will help potential buyers picture themselves living in your property. Repair any snags and give tired rooms a fresh coat of paint. Mow any lawns, make sure your windows/ doors get a good clean and hang mirrors to create a light and airy feel.
It’s always best to try and view your house from the buyer’s perspective. If you have any pets, tidy away their things and place a light air freshener in the house. Arrange some fresh flowers on the days when your house is being viewed.
Remember not to spend too much on your property at this stage by avoiding any major work. If in doubt, speak to one of our property experts in branch to find out how to add value to your house before putting it on the market.
Have your property valued
Make sure your home is in order before an estate agent attends for a formal valuation. Conduct your own research online and compare similar sized properties in your area using property portals such as Rightmove.
Our estate agency experts have an in-depth knowledge of London and its surrounding areas, so will also be able to advise on recently sold prices.
When coming up with an asking price for your home, remember to be realistic. Although you’ll want the best deal, buyers will expect to negotiate. If your property is priced too high this may put off any initial interest and leave your house on the market for a longer time. It’s best to attract a number of interested buyers and let some healthy competition drive up its value.
Instruct an agent
Next, you’ll need to instruct an agent to sell your house. Stirling Ackroyd has been operating in your area for over 30 years. We’re embedded within our communities and bring the expert knowledge needed for a quick and efficient sale.
We’ll also arrange the necessary marketing material, such as an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and professional photography/ floorplans. Your property will also be advertised on all major property portals to reach the widest pool of buyers, including Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. In addition, our own property website receives 20,000 page views per week. We’ll also arrange an eye-catching ‘For Sale’ sign and advertise your property within our local network of branches.
It’s important to ensure your investment is sound, so our team will also arrange surveying services through our RICS regulated partners Tyser Greenwood Chartered Surveyors.
Your estate agent should show your home in the best possible light. It’s always best to be out of the house during appointments so potential buyers feel free to view the house in their own time. Your agent may arrange multiple viewings back-to-back to encourage more than one offer.
Make sure your agent updates you after each viewing, so you can make any tweaks to the house in time for the next round. They will notify you of any offers immediately and negotiate the best price on your behalf.
When considering an offer, think about the individual circumstances of the buyer. Do they have their own property to sell? Are they a first-time or cash buyer? Ideally, you’ll want to accept an offer from a buyer who isn’t part of an ongoing chain – but this may not always be possible. Your agent should always make sure your sale runs smoothly from start to finish.
Hire a conveyancer
The legal process of selling a house requires specialist knowledge. Although more general solicitors are qualified to manage the legal sale of your property, it’s best to instruct an expert conveyancer as they will be best placed to handle the transaction. An inefficient solicitor can slow down the process and create unnecessary frustrations.
Conveyancing fees vary but expect to pay in the region of £500-£1500 for legal fees alone. You should also have to put funds aside for the title deeds, transferring ownership, money laundering checks and searches. These can cost in the region of £500-£1000.
Read more about our cost-effective conveyancing services here, which includes a no completion no legal fee policy.
Accept an offer
Your agent is legally required to pass on all offers. You can choose to reject any of these outright, but it can be worth negotiating if the offer has come from a buyer with favourable circumstances. Your agent will also be able to negotiate any finer details, such as whether any furniture or appliances can be sold with the property.
There are a number of factors to consider when thinking about an offer. How long has your property been for sale? Have you already reduced your asking price? How quickly would you like to move? Are there any other interested buyers? Your agent will be able to advise the best course of action, but you’ll be most familiar with your reasons for moving home.
Once you’re happy with an offer, the next step is to formally accept it. At this point, your agent will mark your property as ‘sold subject to contract’.
Exchange and complete
Although accepting an offer will usually take your house off the market, an offer is not legally binding (in England) and either party can choose to pull out before exchange of contracts. After this point, you are legally committed to selling your property.
It can be helpful to agree on target exchange and completion dates so you can plan ahead. Make sure you have a removal company booked in and have buildings insurance for your new property set up from this date.
Finally, drop the house keys at your estate agent and move into your new home!
If you’re looking to move in 2019, contact your local property expert at Stirling Ackroyd for a free no-obligation market appraisal of your home to find out its current market value.