Presentation is key
A good estate agent will give you detailed advice on what may need to be done to present your property in its best light. (You may not need to do anything.)
These are an example of some of the things that are important:
• Outside – the front of your house is on show 24 hours a day and should therefore be presented accordingly, gardens well maintained, windows cleaned, bins out of sight
• Internally Declutter – consider putting some of your stuff in storage, tidy and clean, neutralise animal smells. You want to make it as easy as possible for your potential buyer to imagine themselves living there
• Finish any DIY projects that you have been meaning to do – that fresh coat of paint or fixing that cupboard door
First impressions are important!
Buyers are inquisitive and very often, they will drive past your house to get an idea if they want to view the property, make sure that outside is presented in its best light throughout the selling process.
In preparation for viewings your estate agent should have given you advice on how to present your home.
Your estate agent will ring you to discuss a suitable viewing appointment time.
When your viewer gets to the property they should be accompanied by the estate agent’s representative. Ideally you should have vacated for the duration of the viewing. If not, try not to be involved and follow them throughout your home – it may put them off. The estate agent should know enough about your property to explain different features, if they don’t they can ask you at the end of the viewing.
The role of the estate agent is to follow up that viewing and deliver any constructive feedback that might help with the selling process.
Receiving and responding to offers
As soon as an offer is received the estate agent will notify you both verbally and in writing. Any special conditions of the offer will also be stated in writing and the estate agent should check the buyer’s ability to proceed before you decide whether to accept the offer.
Time is important at the offer stage. Try not to delay too long (ideally within 24 hours) in responding to an offer as the buyer may lose interest and question your commitment to selling. If the offer is below your expectations consider why they have offered this lower price– they might be just testing the boundaries, establish those boundaries through the estate agent and make it clear what is included in the house price.
Be aware of your position in the market place. If your property has been on the market for two days and you have an attractive property in a popular area, you may want to hold out for a better offer.
When you accept an offer is it usual for the purchaser to request that the house is taken off the market as they will then start to incur fees involved with purchasing. Legally the estate agent must tell you of any further offers right up to the point of exchange of contracts.
Ultimately, you must work out what you want from selling your property. Do you need a certain amount to buy another home? Will you make enough money to cover legal fees? Will this buyer enable you to move quickly?
Accepting an offer
Once you accept an offer an estate agent will do the following:
• Ask you to confirm your solicitor’s details
• Prepare a memorandum of sale
• Write to all parties to confirm the agreed price
Your solicitor will then send you a sellers pack which they will require you to complete and return to them. This pack will include terms of engagement, property information forms, fixtures and fittings list and any other information they require. As soon as this paperwork is returned to your solicitor they will then be able to commence proceedings to send out a draft contract to the buyer’s solicitors.
A good estate agent will advise you and negotiate on your behalf throughout this process, keeping you informed every step of the way.
There are no legal obligations until contracts are signed and exchanged.
Choosing who is to do the legal work
When you have accepted an offer you, or the estate agent, need to inform whoever is doing the legal work. You can do the legal work yourself although this can be complicated and we would advise against it, or you could:-
• use a solicitor; or
• in England and Wales only, use a licensed conveyancer.
Ask your friends, family and estate agent for recommendations.
Using a solicitor
Most firms of solicitors offer a conveyancing service. Although all solicitors can legally do conveyancing, it is advisable to choose a solicitor who has experience of this work.
Using a licensed conveyancer
You can use a licensed conveyancer to do your conveyancing. Licensed conveyancers are not solicitors but are licensed by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
If you want to find out if a local conveyancer is licensed you can write to the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.
Remember: the successful sale of your property can be reliant on the instruction of an efficient and experienced solicitor.
There are a couple of things that you will need to consider when it comes to your mortgage.
Early Repayment Fees
You may incur early repayment fees if you are on a current mortgage deal which involved discounts or fixed interest rates. Occasionally, you may be able to persuade them to waive the fee, especially if you intend to take out a new mortgage with them.
If you are re-mortgaging with a new lender your old lender could charge you a standard redemption fee to vacate your old mortgage and transfer the deeds.
Work with your lender or instruct a mortgage broker to act on your behalf. Read more about mortgages from our mortgage broker partner, Affinity
Getting a Good Survey
On-going maintenance of your home should have gone some way to prevent problems occuring on a surveyor’s report.
It is likely your buyer will require or request a survey of your property. Surveys are usually one of three levels, mortgage valuation, home buyers report or full structural survey. The level of survey will dictate how much time the surveyor spends at your property and how much detail they go into. In each case they will state their valuation of the property, which may differ from the sale price. If any problems are highlighted or there is a question against its value, your estate agent should advise you of the best course of action and will act as a mediator. The estate agent should be able to provide comparable evidence with regard to down valuation of property.
Exchange of contracts
Upon exchange of contracts, and before completion, the buyer may wish to visit the house, for example, to measure up for carpets or to get an estimate for building work. However, you should not allow any work to be done by the buyer before completion.
You should inform your utility companies that you are leaving and ask for final readings to be made of the meters on the day of completion. It is also a good idea to inform the council so they might calculate your outstanding amount or rebate for council tax.
Exchange of contracts occurs when the following have been confirmed and agreed:
• Preliminary enquiries following receipt of draft contract
• Evidence of a good title
• Specific issues highlighted in the Lease, if applicable
• Local search queries
• Fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale
• The buyer’s mortgage offer
Once the contracts has been signed by both parties the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) will be telegraphically transferred or paid in the form of a banker’s draft by the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor. The completion date is then set by mutual agreement.
Completion is when the residual monies (usually 90%) are transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor’s account.
You must arrange to leave the house empty by the completion day and hand over all of the keys. Your solicitor will conclude all outstanding matters and any remaining monies will be paid by your solicitor to a nominated bank account.
Your solicitor will call you when the money has cleared in their account and will inform the estate agent to release the keys.
Congratulations, your property is now sold!
With many years experience in selling property, Laurence Tremayne can help you through the selling process.
Call us now to book your property valuation on: 01327 311222