Plan and execute this stressful process carefully and with expert help
Selling or buying a house - or both - are known to be one of the most stressful processes you’ll ever take on. With good planning and help from a property expert such as a trusted estate agent, you can make the process as smooth as possible.
Take a structured approach and don’t cut corners:
Ask yourself if selling is viable
It’s easy to get seduced by rising property prices; if your home has increased in value significantly since you bought, it you may be tempted to move but remember the house you’re buying will have increased in value too.
Do the sums work out?
If you’re hoping to move as in upsizing, find out how much extra you can borrow and ensure you’re being quoted the best deal.
Get a feel for moving and buying costs; stamp duty, legal fees and other costs can really add up so budget carefully.
Prepare your home for sale
Kerb appeal - a key factor; it’s the first impression created when someone first pulls up outside.
Attend to the basics such as ensuring the garden is tidy, exterior paintwork is in good order and the roof shows no signs of wear such as broken or loose tiles or slates.
Declutter and clean – inside, make sure everywhere is clean and decluttered; viewers want to be able to imagine themselves living there, and this is difficult if a sea of personal memorabilia fills every nook and cranny.
Repairs and renovations - there’s a balance to be struck between sprucing up your property with perhaps a little expenditure and more expense attending to larger repairs.
These may not be cost effective, so one option is to have a house survey done so an independent report of any issues and costings can be prepared. You can then decide whether to repair things or instead factor in these costs in your asking price.
Have your property valued using the services of an estate agent with good knowledge of the local market; for example, if you live in north west Kent then an established would be able to provide an accurate market valuation.
Don’t fall into the trap of simply choosing the estate agent who gives the highest valuation - some do this just to win your business; ask the agent how they arrived at their valuation and set your asking price with their advice.
Appoint your estate agent
Establish how they’ll market your property, whether they’ll conduct all or some of the viewings or if you’ll handle them all and clarify their fees.
Help your agent to help you; ensure your home is neat and tidy when they send the photographer round and heed advice, they may offer to enhance your property’s sale chances.
Plan for viewings
If your estate agent is conducting the viewings, they’ll be aware of how to show your property to best effect. If you’ll be doing some or all of them, ensure you can conduct them effectively - maybe ask your agent for some tips or even do a practice run with a friend first.
You’ll need a solicitor for conveyancing - the legal process of transferring property from one person to another.
You may have a solicitor you know and trust; if not ensure you find one sooner rather than leaving it until late in the process. It helps to have one lined up before you accept an offer.
As and when you receive offers, your estate agent is very important here as they can help you assess what offers are the best.
It’s not just price as you need to know how able your buyer is to proceed:
• Have they a mortgage offer?
• Are they in a chain?
• Have they already sold and completed on their sale?
• Are they sold SSTC (sold subject to contract) - that is only if they’ve accepted an offer but the sale isn’t completed yet
You may, for example, prefer to take a slightly lower offer from a buyer with no chain who either doesn’t require a mortgage or has a confirmed offer.
Your estate agent can help sift through buyers’ offers and advise.
Clarify the following:
• Likely dates for exchange and completion
• Confirm exactly what you’re including in the price regarding fixtures and fittings
• Let everyone know if you’re not contactable during any time while the sale is progressing
Exchanging contracts is when you know you’ve finally sold your property; the buyer pays a deposit and the sale becomes legally binding.
Completion day is the latest you should have moved totally out of your home and leave the keys with your estate agent ready for your buyer to collect.