Moving house tops the list of “most stressful life events” time and again. For sellers, there’s a lot to think about — how much should I set as the asking price? Which estate agent should I choose? Should I use a solicitor or a conveyancer? How much will it cost to sell my house?
Our team of property experts at House Buyer Bureau have shared their top “selling your house” tips to make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible. As soon as you decide to sell, start researching, planning and preparing. The more effort you put into getting things right from the start, the fewer delays and the less stress you’ll have further along the sales process.
- Do Your Research into Property Values
Don’t rely on an estate agent to value your home. The internet is awash with information that can help you determine a realistic asking price that will help your property sell fast. Look at local properties that are similar to yours — for how much did the fastest moving properties sell? Have those with a high asking price remained on the market, unsold, for a long time? Was there a big difference between the asking price and the final sale price? Many of the online property portals make this information freely available.
Once you’re armed with a good knowledge of the market, invite three or four estate agents to value your property and use your research to select the most realistic price. Opting for the highest valuation could backfire because properties that are incorrectly priced then subsequently reduced generally take longer to sell. And of course, there’s no need to use an estate agent at all. Once you have a realistic idea about how much your house is worth, you can opt to sell privately and avoid expensive agencies fees.
- Consider How You Want to Sell Your House
Research the different options available for selling your home: A traditional on-market sale with an estate agent, a private sale without an estate agent, a part-exchange scheme (if you are selling to buy a new-build property), an auction or a quick house sale company that can buy your home for cash in as little as seven days. Pick the one that suits your time scale, goals and budget.
- Choose Reliable and Proactive Professionals to Help You
Estate agents, solicitors and conveyancers are not all created equal.
According to research by The Advisory, 50 per cent of all estate agencies in the UK — there are nearly 26,000 — deliver an “average” service, 25 per cent are “great”, and 25 per cent are “bad”. If your estate agent isn’t working hard enough, your home will take longer to sell. When choosing an agency, don’t focus solely on price. Consider what services they are offering for their fee — will they manage viewings? Do they have excellent knowledge of the local market? Can they provide online viewings?
Sellers can choose from high street, online or hybrid agencies. Each has a different offer and pricing structure. Shop around, ask for recommendations from friends and if you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to switch to another agency — avoid any that insist you lock into a contract for an extended period or who want to claim exclusive rights to selling your house.
Solicitors and conveyancers are both qualified to manage the legal paperwork involved in selling your home. As with estate agents, it’s a good idea to ask around for recommendations from people you know and get several quotes before instructing a legal professional. Your solicitor or conveyancer will not begin completing the paperwork until you accept an offer, but it’s a good idea to instruct one early in the house sale process to avoid delays and stress later on.
There is no legal requirement to use an estate agent to sell your property, but you must instruct a suitably qualified legal professional to manage the transaction.
- Prepare for Viewings or Skip Them Altogether!
Having strangers enter your home and appraise it — often verbally — can be one of the most stressful aspects of selling a house, especially if you are selling for difficult reasons such as a death in the family, ill health or the breakdown of a relationship.
Minimise the stress by giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for viewings. Tidy up clutter, clean surfaces and stage your home to look its best, for example, by placing fresh flowers in the lounge or lighting scented candles. If you have young children or pets, try to arrange for them to be taken care of elsewhere.
Since COVID landed on our shores in January 2020, online or “virtual” viewings have become more popular, and these can be less stressful for both buyers and sellers who are worried about keeping themselves and their families safe.
If you choose to sell to a house cash buying company, there will be no viewings to endure. House Buyer Bureau can complete the whole house sale process, from valuation to completion, remotely.
- Keep in Touch
Establish good communication with the professionals involved in the sale of your home — estate agents, conveyancers, builders. One of the most stressful things about house selling can be the feeling of being left “out of the loop” and the consequent uncertainty about how things are progressing.
Reliable professionals who are committed to delivering exceptional customer service should put in the effort to keep you updated on the progress of your house sale. If they don’t, you are well within your rights to request updates or to switch to another provider.
- Select a Removals Company as Early as Possible
It may feel premature to start shopping for a removals company before you’ve even had an offer, but it can take time to find someone you feel comfortable with who can meet your needs. The more jobs you can tick off the lengthy “moving house to-do list” early on, the less stressful the process will be.
Check out customer reviews, ask for recommendations from friends and compare quotes. You won’t be able to get an exact price and confirm a booking until you have a completion date, but this research will give you an idea of what to expect when the time comes. If you have specific items that require specialist expertise to transport safely, such as a piano, make sure you ask each company if they can accommodate your needs. Many companies will charge lower rates if you can move on less popular days of the week — most house sales complete on a Friday. If this is the case, you can negotiate for completion mid-week when you know prices will be more affordable.
If you have the budget, many companies now offer a full service that includes packing your belongings before collection and unloading everything in your new home — the ultimate stress-free option!
- Get Organised by Writing Lists
Aside from the main steps in the house selling process — choosing a solicitor, hosting viewings, accepting an offer, negotiating, exchange and completion — there are lots of jobs to check off before you’re settling in your new home. The best way to keep track of all of them and to chart your progress is to write lists.
We suggest the following lists may be helpful:
- Organisations and people to change your registered address with
- Packing — what to pack, in what order and what to put in storage
- Documents to find or apply for and submit to your solicitor
- Utilities to cancel — don’t forget to take final meter readings
- Selling house costs — payments to make and when
- Contacts — removals company, solicitor, estate agent etc.
- Essentials for when you first move — you’ll want ready access to certain items, such as the kettle before you have fully unpacked
Lists can help you to feel more in control and less stressed. Plus, seeing the number of checked off tasks grow will be immensely satisfying.
- Save Annual Leave for Moving and Book Child/Pet Care
If you move on a Friday, the most popular day to complete on a house sale, booking just one day of leave will give you a three day weekend to move in. Doing this will make the process much less stressful than trying to do everything in one day. To reduce your stress levels even further, book child and pet care so that you can focus fully on the move and get as much done as possible in the time you have available.
Many people will want to do a thorough clean of their new home before moving furniture in, so be sure to factor in time for this when making plans.
Selling to House Buyer Bureau is quick and easy. All we need is a little information about the property you want to sell to get the ball rolling. We can complete the whole process remotely in as little as 7 days.