Selling a house can be stressful and the process may seem complicated to those who are experiencing it for the first time. Our team of property experts have put together this helpful house selling checklist to guide you through the process and make it as plain-sailing as possible.
Many homeowners are eager to sell their properties before the end of the stamp duty holiday on 31 March 2021. If this is your goal, you’ll need to act fast. Despite fears of a property market crash after the first lockdown ended in May, the UK experienced a mini-boom with the number of house sales and property prices reaching record highs. This has resulted in a backlog of transactions as conveyancers and mortgage lenders struggle to keep up. And house sales are taking up to a month longer to complete.
Use our house selling checklist to sell your house as fast as possible and take advantage of the buoyant market and reduction in stamp duty land tax.
- Decide If It’s The Right Time to Sell
This may seem obvious, but before selling, you need to decide if it’s the right option for you at the current time. Does the housing market favour sellers? Can you achieve the extra space you need by adding an extension instead? Is renting your home out an option?
If you do decide to sell, think about how you want to go about doing so. Many people assume that the only option is to register with an estate agent, advertise on the open market and host viewings until the right buyer comes along. But there are other ways to sell your property and these alternatives can often be less stressful and result in a quicker sale. If you’re buying a new-build property, part-exchange could be an option — sell your existing home and buy the new property in one easy transaction. Or use a quick house sale company to sell your house for cash fast — you won’t have to endure endless viewings or months waiting for the property to sell. What’s more, there will be no estate agent or solicitor’s fees to pay.
- Get Your Property Valued
Before you can market your property you need to know how much it’s worth. Setting the right asking price is key to achieving a quick sale. According to Rightmove, a property is twice as likely to sell if the asking price does not change — if you price your home too high and then have to reduce it, selling is likely to take longer.
Many people reach out to an estate agent for a valuation, but it’s important to do your own research first. If you have a good understanding of recent sale prices for comparable properties in your area, you’ll be better placed to choose between estate agents’ valuations. Or, you could shun the agencies altogether and sell privately.
Take a look at how much properties similar to yours have sold for recently. Be sure to compare like with like — comparing the sale price of a two-bedroom terrace with a courtyard garden to that of a two-bedroom detached house with extensive grounds will not help you set a realistic asking price. Properties that have been on the market for some time without selling might be priced too high. Consider also the health of the market. Currently, in many areas of the UK, buyer demand is outstripping the number of houses coming on to the market, which puts sellers in a strong position.
Once you have a good idea of the local market, invite several estate agents to value your property. House Buyer Bureau can value your home entirely remotely using photographs, videos and desktop research, ensuring that everybody stays safe. If you do allow estate agents into your home to conduct a viewing, check that they will be adhering to COVID-safe practices beforehand. Getting three or four valuations will help you to set a realistic asking price. If the figure quoted by different estate agents varies wildly, use your knowledge of the market to choose the most accurate valuation. Resist the temptation to go with the agent who quotes the highest price — they could just be telling you what you want to hear in a bid to secure your business. An asking price that is too high for a property will deter buyers and you’ll probably end up reducing the price a few weeks down the line anyway, which can slow the sale process.
- Review Your Mortgage
Once you have an accurate valuation, you can calculate how much money you will be left with after paying off the mortgage. This will help you plan your next move and you’ll be prepared if the buyer wants to negotiate since you’ll know exactly how much wiggle room you have.
If you have an outstanding mortgage on the property, contact your lender to find out if it’s possible to port your existing mortgage to another house or if there will be early repayment fees for switching to a new provider. If your mortgage deal is coming to an end or you’re upgrading to a more expensive home, this could be a great time to find a better deal.
Assessing your finances early in the sale process will avoid delays further down the line. Selling to a chain-free cash buyer is the best way to sell your house fast. You can use the proceeds of the sale to pay off the mortgage and purchase a new home.
- Consider the Cost of Selling
The cost of selling a house on the open market can run into thousands of pounds. Make sure you factor these costs into your financial planning as these will eat into the proceeds of your sale.
Estate agent fees can vary from 1 per cent to 3.5 per cent. The fees due on a house that is sold for £256,000 — the average house price in England as of July 2020 — will range from £2,560 to £8,960. Conveyancing fees typically cost between £500 and £1000. You’ll also need to consider the cost of home improvements, mortgage payments until the property sells, removal company hire, early mortgage repayment fees and obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) — every seller must apply for this before marketing their property. If you own more than one property, you’ll probably have to pay capital gains tax (CGT).
- Choose an Estate Agent
There are many options to consider when choosing an estate agent. Traditional high street estate agents are often more expensive but they offer the local knowledge that could help you to sell your property fast. They will typically charge a percentage of the sale price as their commission.
Online estate agents often quote a fixed fee, which can work out cheaper, but this must be paid upfront and you may not get the same services — such as hosted property viewings — as you would with a high street agent.
Hybrid estate agents fall somewhere in between, offering both online services and a physical presence.
You can also sell your house without an estate agent. This will require more time and effort on your part but will save you thousands of pounds in commission fees. Alternatively, you can avoid estate agent fees and the hassle of marketing a property privately by using a house cash buying company.
- Make Your Home Look Its Best
A well-cared-for, presentable property is much more likely to sell fast and for a good price than one that is unkempt and filled with clutter.
If you have the time and money, some home improvements can dramatically increase the value of a home. Fixing structural issues, installing a new heating system or adding a new kitchen will make your home more appealing to buyers, some of whom will be reluctant to take on such big-budget home improvements themselves. Even small changes such as redecorating in neutral colours, adding extra plug sockets and installing a shed can add value to your property. Tap into current buyer trends by making the most of popular features such as gardens and home offices — these are much in demand since the end of the first lockdown.
Don’t forget to neaten up the exterior of your home. First impressions count and a few simple actions, such as mowing the front lawn or painting tatty window frames can boost a property’s kerb appeal significantly.
Finally, tidy up and stage your home ahead of viewings — remove clutter, make sure potential buyers can view all parts of your property, add fresh bowls of fruit and vases of flowers, and light scented candles. It’s also important to follow government guidance on COVID-safe selling — leave doors open to minimise contact with surfaces, keep the number of people present at a viewing to a minimum and wear a face mask.
If this all sounds like too much work, contact our team of house cash buyers today. We have the funds to buy any type of property in any condition in as little as 7 days!
- Appoint a Conveyancer or Solicitor
However you decide to sell your home, you’ll need to choose a qualified legal professional to manage the paperwork. Ask for recommendations from friends and relatives and get a few quotes. Conveyancers often charge less than solicitors although they provide the same service.
It’s a good idea to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer when you start marketing your property, although they will only complete the legal paperwork when an offer is accepted. Checking this task off the list early on in the process will avoid delays later on in the process of selling.
House Buyer Bureau customers can use the services of our solicitors at no extra cost to them.
- Accept an Offer
If you’re lucky enough to receive multiple offers, consider them carefully. A higher offer from a buyer who has yet to secure a mortgage could be less appealing than a slightly lower offer from a cash buyer who is ready to go.
Once you have chosen an offer you’re happy with, formally accept it and take the property off the market. The agreement does not become legally binding until you exchange contracts.
If the buyer’s survey shows up any significant problems with the property, they may want to negotiate the agreed price. Negotiations will be undertaken by your solicitor and your buyer’s solicitor who will act on instructions from each party. The seller is under no obligation to reduce the sale price — you can withdraw from the agreement and put the property back on the market. However, the same issue will likely arise with subsequent sellers.
Even if all goes well with the survey and the buyer is happy to proceed with the purchase at the agreed selling price, there will be several matters to negotiate — the completion date, the amount of time between exchange and completion and what fixtures and fittings will be included in the sale or purchased for an extra fee.
The negotiation stage can be lengthy if there are a lot of matters to discuss or disagreement between the two parties.
- Exchange and Complete
Exchanging contracts makes the agreement legally binding and neither the buyer nor the seller can withdraw from the sale without consequences. On the day of exchange — the date will be agreed between the two parties — both the seller and the buyer sign identical contracts which are exchanged by their solicitors. The buyer’s deposit — typically 10 per cent of the agreed sale price — is transferred to the seller.
Completion of the sale typically occurs one to two weeks after the exchange of contracts. On the agreed date, the buyer’s solicitor transfers the payment to the seller’s bank account and registers details of the new owner with the Land Registry. Most sellers complete and move out on the same day. If you have the option to move out sooner, this may be less stressful. On the day of completion, the property must be vacant — generally by 12 pm — and left in the condition agreed in the contracts exchanged. At this point, you hand over the keys and your property is sold!
House Buyer Bureau can offer completion in as little as 7 days. We will work at a speed that suits you and fit around your plans.
Contact our team of house cash buyers today. We are here to answer your questions and provide a fair cash offer for your home. We are set up to work entirely remotely — sell your home from the comfort of your sofa in as little as 7 days! Avoid the hassle and delays involved in selling on the open market, save on estate agent and solicitors fees and complete the sale ahead of the stamp duty holiday deadline.