There is plenty of guidance and support for first-time buyers, but what about first-time house sellers? The process can be daunting and stressful for beginners, especially for those who need to sell one property and buy another at the same time.
If you’re keen to sell up and move on, our beginner’s guide, “How Do I Sell My House?” will provide all the essential information you need to make the process as smooth and cost-effective as possible.
Is It the Right Time to Sell My House?
House prices have risen dramatically over the past year, driven by a surge in demand from buyers after the first COVID-19 lockdown ended in May 2020. More people are working from home, and many are eager to continue spending more time with family than they did before the pandemic started. As a result, larger homes are selling the fastest and for the highest prices.
It’s a great time to sell if you have a property that buyers want — flats are much less in demand than three-bedroomed houses.
However, there are signs that the market will slow towards the end of the year. When the government’s job retention scheme and the stamp duty holiday end on 30 September 2021, buyer demand is expected to drop.
Is it a good time to sell a house? That all depends on your priorities and needs. If you need a quick house sale, whether because of divorce, financial difficulties or some other reason, you can’t afford to wait no matter what’s happening with the housing market.
What Home Improvements Will Add Value?
If your property is run-down or in need of updating, it might be worth spending a little time and money making improvements before putting it on the market. But not all changes will add value to your home nor help it to sell more quickly.
Review your budget and decide if you have the money and motivation to make major improvements or only low-budget ones. And don’t forget to consider the current market. Current buying trends show that gardens, fast wi-fi and plenty of space are top of the wish list for many buyers. Tap into these trends, for example, by landscaping a scruffy garden or decluttering to make your property appear more spacious.
Check out our blog on “What Adds the Most Value to Your Home?” for more tips or get your free House Buyer Bureau cash offer. We buy properties in any condition, so there’s no need to do any work at all!
Can I Sell My House without an Estate Agent?
Yes! There is no requirement for a seller to hire an estate agent. Alternatives include:
- A private house sale
- Selling at auction
- Selling to a cash house buying company.
There are many benefits of selling a house without an estate agent. You’ll remain in complete control of your house sale and avoid agency fees, which can run into thousands of pounds. Furthermore, selling via the above routes is typically much faster than selling on the open market, which takes on average three to four months (and often longer for low-demand types of property in unpopular locations).
What Documents Do I Need to Sell My House?
Start to gather all the relevant documentation as soon as you decide to sell. This will help you to avoid delays further on in the sale process. Your solicitor or conveyancer will be able to advise you what they need, but they’ll need you to provide the following:
- Proof of identity and address
- Property title deeds
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Fittings and content form
- Property information or “TA6” form
- Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
- FENSA or CERTAS certificates for windows and doors
- Proof of planning permission for major work completed
- Replacement boiler documentation
- Your outstanding mortgage balance
- Details of any other loans secured against the property.
Additional documentation may be required depending on your particular property, and your solicitor or conveyancer will let you know what to provide.
How Do I Sell My House Fast?
If time is of the essence and you need a quick house sale, a quick house sale company can buy your property in as little as seven days. There are ways to speed up the on-market sales process, for example completing home improvements, switching to a more efficient estate agent and staging your home with care, but this route is likely to take a lot longer than selling your house for cash.
Auctions are generally faster than selling via an estate agent, but there is no guarantee of a sale, and beginners often make mistakes that result in a much lower sale price than they were hoping for.
Download our guide on “10 Ways to Sell Your House Fast in 2021”.
How Do I Sell My House? A Step-by-Step Guide
- Get Your Finances in Order
Have your house valued, check the outstanding balance on the mortgage, find out if there will be early repayment fees to pay to the mortgage lender and explore new mortgage deals. You need to assess your finances to get an idea of what you can afford to buy next and how much you need to sell your current property for.
- Make Home Improvements
If you are selling on the open market, make sure that your home is looking its best to attract more potential buyers. If you’re selling at an auction or using a quick house sale company, skip this step.
- Choose an Estate Agent
An inefficient or non-communicative estate agent is one of the top reasons why a property is slow to sell. Shop around, ask for personal recommendations and compare pricing structures before committing to one agency. You can hire multiple agents, but this is likely to cost more. Alternatively, sell your house without an estate agent and move on to step four.
- Set the Asking Price
This is one of the most important steps, and it’s a good idea to get a valuation from several estate agents — even if you don’t plan to use one for the sale. Setting an asking price that is too high is the top reason why homeowners struggle to sell a property. Do your own research to get an idea of what’s realistic. Look at recently sold local properties similar to yours and see how much they went for and how long they took to sell. This will give you a good idea of how much to set the asking price at.
- Get Your Documents in Order
Every homeowner is legally required to have a current EPC before selling their property. Search the EPC register to see if there is a valid certificate for your property. If you need to order an EPC, contact an accredited domestic energy assessor to help you. Make sure that you’ve gathered all the other essential sale documents early in the process.
- Hire a Conveyancer or Solicitor
Don’t leave this until the last minute. It can take time to do your research and find a legal representative that you are happy with. You will also need to complete the relevant questionnaires, for example, the TA6 property information form, which provides the buyer with all the information they need about your property, such as boundary disputes.
- Host or Accommodate Viewings
If you are working with an estate agent, they can host viewings on your behalf. Otherwise, you will have to manage them yourself. Make sure that the house is well presented before every viewing and be prepared to sacrifice evenings and weekends to accommodate the needs of working people. If you’re selling to a cash house buying company, viewings aren’t necessary.
- Accept an Offer
If you’re lucky enough to receive multiple offers, take your time to weigh up the pros and cons of each; the highest offer is not always the best one. Consider the buyer’s situation — are they in a property chain or a chain-free cash buyer? The latter is a dream buyer because there is no risk of the sale falling through due to house chain problems which are a common occurrence. It only takes one person to have problems buying or selling for an impact to be felt throughout the chain. Once you have an offer you’re happy with, you’ll need to formally accept it, although the transaction is not legally binding on either party until contracts are exchanged.
If the survey throws up something unexpected, the buyer may insist on renegotiating the sale price. Your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf with the buyer’s solicitor, but it’s up to you to decide what is and isn’t acceptable. Even if there is no renegotiation on price, you and the buyer will need to agree on a date to exchange contracts and completion.
- Exchange and Complete
Once contracts have been exchanged between the buyer and the seller, the transaction is legally binding and neither of you can back out without consequences. The exchange and completion of the sale typically occur about a week apart, but this can be longer if it suits both parties or if there are other considerations. For example, if the buyer uses funds from a Help to Buy ISA, it will take longer between the two events to allow for the necessary bank transfers and admin.
If you want to sell your house fast, contact the friendly team at House Buyer Bureau for your free cash offer. We can take all the stress out of selling your house, and there are no fees to pay! Read more about how it works and find out what we pay.