Selling A House Process: Open Market

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Selling a property can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Whether it is your first time selling or your third, the process can be overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. Here at Property Press Online, we have put together our guide to the house selling process.

We have compiled our guide for everything you need to know about the process of selling a house, from how to find the best price for your property, to when to instruct an estate agent and our step-by-step guide to the house buying process.

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When Is The Best Time To Sell A House?

According to research done by The Advisory, spring is the best time of year to sell a home. This is thought to be because it doesn’t fall near any school holidays or public holidays, meaning that buyers have nothing to distract them from their house hunt.

Another reason why you should put your home on the market in spring can be more successful is that gardens are often in full bloom making them look much more appealing than they would in the cold winter months.

Would Renting A Property Be A Better Option?

The age-old question when it comes to selling a property is, would renting be a better option?

Whilst renting out a property at the same as you are buying and selling can add to the overall expense, it can end up saving you money in the long run.

By renting out a property after selling, you will be able to reduce the time pressure for buying a new home. You won’t feel the pressure to compromise on your sale price as you will not have to worry about an onward purchase. It will also mean that you are no longer part of a property chain, making you a more attractive buyer to sellers.

Do I Need An Estate Agent To Sell My Property?

If you are considering selling your property, then it is likely that this question has crossed your mind. Whilst you are able to sell your property yourself, it will require you taking on the role of not only home seller, but also of estate agent. Selling a house on your own will work best if you have previous experience selling properties, as you will not only need to find interested parties to view your home, but also arrange and host viewings yourself.

You will need to consider all of your options carefully, and whilst it will mean cutting down on estate agency fees, if you want to sell quickly, it may be worth cutting your losses and hiring the best estate agent for you.

Step-By-Step Guide To Selling Your Home

1. Is Now The Right Time To Sell?

The first thing you should do before you start your house selling journey is to decide if selling is the right choice for you. First of all, you should look at the reasons behind your decision to move. Is it because you need more space? If this is the case, you could maybe consider an extension or a loft conversion and price these up against selling up and moving. The cost of selling and buying can be hefty, so in the long run you may save money if an extension would suit your needs.

Another positive to an extension is that it would add value to your property in the long run. It may even be a case that you could be better of renting out your home rather than selling it.

It is important that you carefully consider all your options before fully committing to one. Buyers’ remorse is all too real and if you can avoid it is best to do so.

2.Sorting Out Your Finances

If you have decided that selling is the right move for you, then the next thing you will want to do is to sort out your finances. To do this you should first get a rough idea of how much your property is worth. By doing this you will be able to get a rough idea of how much will be left if you have an existing mortgage to pay off.

It is a good idea to dig out your mortgage paperwork or speak to your lender in order to see if you have any early repayment charges for switching your mortgage to another lender. It may also be worth seeing if you are able to move your current mortgage to a new property, this is called porting.

If the property that you wish to move into is more expensive than your current property, then you may be able to remortgage your property to a better deal.

As you are currently in the early stages of the house selling process, any figures will only be approximates. This is because you will not know much you are going to sell for at this point so you will only get a precise redemption (amount outstanding) figure for your mortgage once you have an agreed a completion date and agreed an exchange of contract date.

3.Choosing An Estate Agent To Sell Your Property

The next step is to decide how you would like to sell your property. There are many ways to sell, but the most popular are either selling the property yourself, or through a local estate agent or through an online estate agent.

It is important to know from the offset that selling a property yourself is a lot of hard work. You will need to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort into the house sale as it will be down to you to arrange viewings, sort out the marketing for your property as well as hosting the viewings yourself.

However, if done correctly, selling your house by yourself is a good way to cut down on estate agents fees.

Should you decide to sell through a local estate agent then you’ll need to conduct some research into the different local agents in your area, looking at what their average sale price is, what their reviews are like and how quickly they sell. An advantage to selling through an estate agent is that they are a property professional with the experience and knowledge but they also have access to online property portals that as a private seller you will not be able to list your property on.

Whilst an online estate agent may be cheaper, this does not always mean better. Before committing to any agent, it is a good idea to look at exactly what they offer and what their reviews say. It is a good idea to look around at several different review websites to make sure you are getting the full story.

Once you have decided on an agent, you will need to agree on a fee. As a good rule of thumb, you should aim for 1% plus VAT from a sole agent. You should always read any contract you receive carefully.

If you decide to sell through an estate agency, then you will need to instruct an agent. This happens when you sign a contract which lays out the terms under which they’ll sell your home.

4. Get Your Energy Performance Certificate

The next step in our guide is to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is a standardised document that ranks properties in terms of energy efficiency. If you wish to sell your property, then you will be required to provide an EPC to potential home buyers.

Before you can put your property on the market, you must have at least applied for an EPC.

5. Decide On An Asking Price

The most important decision of the house selling process is to decide how much you should sell your property for. It is important at this stage that you do your research and find out how much similar houses have been selling for in your area.

A good way to get an idea of your asking price is to invite three local estate agents to provide a valuation. Make sure that the agents that you pick have a track record of selling houses similar to yours in the area.

You should ask each estate agent how much they would set the price for your property, why they think your home is worth the amount that it is and ask for similar properties that have sold for that price in the local area.

Whilst it is the estate agents’ job to advise you, how much you set your asking price is completely down to you. You should take note of what the agents tell you, if all three of them give you a similar answer you can be fairly confident that they are correct in their estimations and base your sale price on their recommendations.

If there is a notable difference between the valuations, however, you can base your price on a combination of the valuations that you received as well as recent selling prices of similar properties in your area.

Estate agents have been known to overvalue properties as a way of winning business. Whilst it can be tempting to choose a firm that is promising more money, setting an unrealistic asking price will do a lot more damage than good in the long run.

6.Prepare Your Home For Sale

The next step of the process is to stage your home ready for the viewings. If you do this correctly and stage your home well, then you will not only help it to sell faster, but you may also increase its value.

You can do this by tidying up your property and getting rid of any excess clutter you may have around the house. Make sure it is clean and don’t be afraid of adding a fresh coat of paint in order to brighten things up.

It is important not to underestimate the power of curb appeal. A study done by the Homeowners Organisation found that 68% potential buyers was important in their choice of home. The factors that carried the most weight were windows in a good condition, a well-maintained home and a tidy front garden.

7.Hire A Conveyancing Solicitor

Once you have staged your home for the sale and had excited potential buyers through the door, it is time to instruct a conveyancer. A conveyancing solicitor or licensed conveyancer is a professional who will handle the legal work involved in the property sale.

It is a good idea to decide which conveyancing firm you wish to use before you agree to the sale of your property. You will only be able to formally instruct once you have agreed to an offer, however having your ducks in a line now will mean you will be more likely to achieve a quick sale.

Similarly, to looking for an estate agent, you should shop around before committing to one firm. Weigh up which company is the best value, has the best reviews and can complete the quickest. You will rely on your conveyancer throughout the selling process, so it is important to choose a firm who can get the job done.

Whilst it may seem like a good idea to just use your estate agent’s conveyancer, however they are not always the best value for money and often come with a hefty referral fee.

8. Sort Out Questionnaires

As the seller, you will have a variety of forms and documents that will need filling out ready to give the buyer all of the information about the property and the sale itself.

9. Accept The Offer

Congratulations! At this stage in the process, you have agreed to a purchase price and accepted an offer on your home! Your estate agent is legally required to pass on all house price offers to you, so you don’t need to worry about missing one!

Before you rush into anything, you should carefully consider all offer you receive and look into the different types of buyers.

If you receive an offer that you are unhappy with, you can either reject it outwards, wait for a better offer or just reject it outright.

Once you receive an offer that you are happy with, you will need to formally accept it. It is worth keeping in mind that accepting an offer is not legally binding. At this point in the process, you are still free to pull out if you change your mind or wish to accept a higher offer (gazumping).

10. Negotiate Your Draft Contract

Now that you have accepted an offer, it will be up to you and the buyer to decide:

  • The length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts)
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale – and how much they will pay for them
  • Any discounts due to problems flagged up by the survey

11.Exchange Contracts

This is the point at which the sale becomes legally binding. Neither you nor the buyer can now pull out without legal consequences. If you pull out without good reason, then the buyer’s deposit will be returned, and you could be sued.

It is also worth keeping in mind that when you sell a house, you are still responsible for looking after it until the sale is complete, so make sure that you keep your building and contents insurance cover until the sale is complete.

12. Move Out

When you mover out is completely down to you. You can move out on completion day, but it is much less stressful to move out before.

When it is time to move out, the property must be in the condition that it was agreed to in the contract, this includes all the fittings and fixtures.

The estate agent and buyer may come round in between your moving out and the completion day to ensure that everything is in place.

13. Complete The Sale

Completion is the point in which the property changes ownership, you accept the payment, and you hand over the keys to the property.

On the completion day, any deeds for the property and the money are transferred between the buyers and seller’s conveyancer.

14. Pay Off The Mortgage

At this point in the house selling process, the mortgage company will have given you and your conveyancer a precise redemption figure for your mortgage on the day of completion. The buyer will have now transferred the money to your solicitor, and this will be used to pay off the mortgage for you.

15. Settle Your Debts

The final stage of the house selling process is to settle up with both the conveyancing solicitor and the estate agent. After completion has taken place, your conveyancing solicitor will send you the final bill. This will cover all their costs and disbursements, as well as the sale price of the house and the redemption of the mortgage.

If you are buying a property and selling at the same time then your conveyancer will be able to settle up for both of the transactions at the same time, this includes paying any stamp duty you may have to pay depending upon the price.

Your conveyancing solicitor will also make sure that the change of ownership is registered with the Land Registry, finishing of the house selling process.

Can You Sell Your House Within 6 Months Of Buying it?

You can sell a property within six months, although you may struggle. The majority of lenders will need a property to be registered for six months before you can find a buyer and have it issued for a new mortgage.

This covers everything you need to know about the selling a house process. If you have any questions, queries, or insight into the matter, please feel free to get in touch.

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photo of Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market. Read more about Alexandra here.

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About Alexandra Ventress 91 Articles
Alexandra is a junior content producer who enjoys writing articles and finding out more about the property market. Read more about Alexandra here.

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