Find out if your query is part of those received regularly by estate agents
When buying and selling property it’s inevitable there will be many questions swirling around during the buying and selling process.
Estate agents have heard many of the same questions crop up, so here’s the main ones:
Frequently asked questions - selling
Q. How should I prepare my property for sale?
A. This varies depending on what condition your home is in.
If you’re working with a property professional with expert local knowledge such as these they’ll help you determine what’s the best way to make your home more saleable. They’ll be able to offer advice as they know what’s worth while doing and what isn’t to help sell your property.
Basics such as decluttering, a lick of paint for certain rooms and tidying the garden may be all that’s required.
Q. How much will it cost to sell my home?
A. There are three basic costs involved:
• Estate agents fees - a percentage of the overall value realised for the sale
• Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) - you have to provide this for buyers and there is a cost
• Conveyancing - the process by which legal ownership of your property transfers to a new buyer; a solicitor handles this and so charges fees
Q. Who will conduct the viewings?
A. You or your estate can but many would advise you to let them do it as they know how to help match your property to the viewer’s requirements, and many people feel more at ease when the owners aren’t around.
Q. Is my acceptance of an offer legally binding?
A. No, not until contracts have been exchanged.
Q. How long will the sale take to complete?
A. This can vary depending on mainly two factors:
• How efficient conveyancing solicitors and surveyors are at getting their jobs done
• How involved the buyers’ chain may be
A rough guide is 12 weeks but it can and likely will vary.
Q. What’s ‘exchange of contracts’ exactly?
A. The point where yours and your buyers’ solicitors are happy all is in order; the completion date is agreed and both parties sign the contract. The buyer pays a ten percent deposit and now the sale is legally binding.
Q. What if the buyer suddenly pulled out at this stage?
A. They’d lose their deposit.
Frequently asked questions - buying
Q. How do I make an offer?
A. Talk to the seller’s estate agent and they’ll convey your offer to the buyer and inform you of the outcome. You can make another offer if the first is turned down.
Q. What happens if my offer is accepted?
A. You need to ensure funding is in place, so inform your lender (if applicable) you’re going ahead at a certain price (this is assuming you already have a mortgage offer in principle).
Next you should instruct a solicitor to start the conveyancing process.
Q. Am I committed once my offer is accepted?
A. No; you or the seller can pull out without cost up to exchange of contracts.
Q. Do I have to use a solicitor?
A. Yes - or someone qualified to conduct conveyancing. They act for you and liaise with the seller’s solicitor.
Q. How long will the purchase take?
A. See ‘how long will the sale take to complete?’ in seller’s FAQs above.
Q. How much will it cost me to make a purchase aside from the cost of the property?
A. Allow for the following:
• Mortgage costs - if you require mortgage funding, your lender will typically charge an arrangement fee, a valuation fee (their surveyor sent to assess the property) and maybe a mortgage indemnity fee
• Solicitor’s costs - their fees for the conveyancing; ask for a full quote before instructing anyone
• Stamp duty - this may be payable depending on the purchase price of the property
Q. Do I need a survey?
A. They’re not legally required and your mortgage lender (as discussed above) will have had one done as part of their valuation process.
You may choose to have one completed if there are concerns about condition, such as with older properties, or those requiring major renovations; this is known as a structural survey.
Q. What does exchange of contracts mean?
A. See ‘what’s exchange of contracts exactly?’ in ‘sellers FAQ’ above.
Q. What if I pull out at this stage?
A. You’ll lose your ten percent deposit.
Q. When is completion reached?
A. When funds for the sale in full are transferred to the seller’s solicitor. At this point your estate agent will inform you when the keys can be collected from their office.