At easyProperty, we know that selling your house for the first time can be hugely daunting and overwhelming but undoubtedly something to remember.
While it may not always be straight-forward, we have created a step-by-step guide for first time sellers, to help you know what to expect when you start your property selling journey.
1. Work out your finances
Firstly, dig out your mortgage paperwork or speak to your lender to check if you will have to pay any early repayment charges for switching to another lender or whether it is possible to port and take it with you to a new property. You may even have the opportunity to re-mortgage onto a better deal if you’re planning to move to a more expensive property or if your mortgage deal is coming to an end, but this is something that needs to be discussed before going any further.
2. Consider your next step after selling
One of the key decisions in your selling process is deciding what you will do after selling your current property. Will you buy and sell at the same time? Will you rent? The decision is yours, but there will always be pros and cons for each, so we would advise doing your research and weighing up your current situation.
If you decide to buy and sell simultaneously, you could become part of chain and while it’s not the end of the world, this could slow down the process. Alternatively, if you decide to rent for a period while you sell, you won’t have to contend with the complications of being in a chain, but it could be more costly. There is no right or wrong decision, just one that is personal to your situation and should be thought about before your property is on the market.
3. Prepare your home for sale
Preparing your home well, will not only make your home more likely to sell faster, but it could also make it more valuable too – and there are a few ways of doing it. Ensuring the exterior of your property is the most appealing it could be is very important. The curb side appeal of your house can be a deal breaker. So, tidying your driveway, cleaning windows etc. will instantly boost the impression of your property.
Preparing your home for sale is not just about the aesthetics, it is important to ensure that if building work has ever been carried out on your home by previous owners the appropriate permission has been gained. Similarly, if you have had any work carried out while living in the property, e.g. an extension, make sure you have the correct proof of planning permission and building regulations. You’ll also need to disclose if your property has anything that could impact the sale such as Japanese Knotweed, you should also have a plan in place to contain this, or if there are any trees on your property effected by a TPO (Tree Protection Order).
4. Get an Energy Performance Certificate
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a standardised document which ranks properties in terms of energy efficiency, and you must have at least applied for an Energy Performance Certificate before you put your home on the market.
5. Decide how much you want to put your home on the market for
The next step is to consider how much you would like to sell your home for. This can be challenging as a first-time seller but here are a few things to help gather a rough figure.
One thing you could do is look at existing market trends. This is an easily accessible way to look at similar properties to your own and work out a figure as a starting point. For a more accurate idea, you could get a few valuations from different agents, we would usually recommend three. This will be specific to your property and will allow you to compare each one for a more accurate a realistic price or to gather an average.
Once you have a rough figure, you should take into consideration the buyers possible attempt to negotiate a discount and ensure your price will still be suitable if they do.
6. Choose the right agent
Choosing the right estate agent is important, whilst it may be tempting to go for the estate agent who gives you the highest valuation you also need to make your choice based on good service, and select someone who you feel is going to be able to work with you to get you the best possible price for your property as well as being trustworthy and reliable. Also, having a valuation from an estate agent does not mean that you are then tied to them, you are free to choose your own agent.
7. Accept an offer
If you are not happy with the offer you receive, you can either reject it and wait to see if a better offer comes along or tell the estate agent to try to negotiate it closer to your ideal offer. Once you receive an offer you are happy with, you will need to formally accept it.
8. Hiring a conveyancing solicitor
You then need to choose a solicitor to handle the legal work involved in selling a property, often called conveyancing. Once you have your solicitor, you need to complete paperwork about the property and the sale – this will involve the sale price, property boundaries, fixtures and fittings, planning restrictions, services to the property (such as drainage and gas) and when the sale will complete.
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. This will only happen once both sides are happy with the contract, sign final copies and send them to each other.
It’s important that before you reach the point of exchange you have secured buildings and contents insurance; it needs to start from the day that you exchange contracts. This is because as soon as you exchange you are legally bound to buy the property, so if something was to happen such as the house caught fire or flooded and you weren’t insured you wouldn’t be covered. If you are buying a new build property, the insurance doesn’t come into effect until the day that you complete on the property.
10. Move out
You can move out anytime, up to the day of completion although of course you will need somewhere to move to. Often people will move out of their property the day they complete on their new property.
When it comes to removals be sure to shop around for quotes for removals firms, considering the suitable size of van (or vans) you need, the distance you are moving, the time of year you move and even whether the firm does the packing or whether you do it yourself. You’ll also want to double check if the removals company can accommodate your completion date.
11. Complete the sale
Completion is when the property changes ownership. As part of this process, money is transferred from the buyer to the seller, and the legal documents needed to transfer ownership are then handed to the buyer. At this stage, your property must be in the state agreed in the contract – including the fixtures and fittings.
12. Pay off the mortgage
Your mortgage lender will have given you and your solicitor an outstanding figure for your mortgage for the day of completion. Once your buyer’s solicitor has transferred funds to your solicitor, they will then pay off any outstanding mortgage fees you may have.
13. Settle with the conveyancing solicitor and estate agent
After completion, your conveyancing solicitor will send you an invoice, covering all their costs as well as the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage, and any additional costings such as Stamp Duty.
Your conveyancing solicitor will also ensure that the change of ownership is registered with the Land Registry.
Now time to celebrate – you have sold your first house!
We hope this makes selling your first home easy! If you’re looking for anything else or would like additional help and advice get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org