Selling a home can be a daunting enough task without having to worry about forgetting an important step. It can be even more daunting if this is your first time putting your home on the market and you are unsure of the house selling process.
That’s where we come in. Welcome to The Property Selling Company’s official ‘Step By Step Guide To Selling A Home.’
We will talk you through the process of selling a house, tips to selling your house, and answer the all-important question, how do I sell my house?
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As a seller, it can be difficult to know whether you would benefit more from buying a new property straight away or renting for a while whilst you search.
Whilst selling your house and then renting a property will add to the overall expense of the process, it will help to reduce the time pressures that come with buying a new property.
You will not have to compromise with the price of the property and have to sell your property for less as you will not have the pressure to complete your onward purchase. You also won’t be forced to buy a house that is not suited to you because you have found a buyer for your current house.
It will also make you a more attractive buyer as you will be chain free.
The first step to selling your home is deciding if selling is the right move for you. You need to look at whether or not you can afford to sell up and move. If you choose to sell and you are still within your existing mortgage then you should check with your lender to see whether you will face any early repayment charges for breaking the deal.
Should you be ‘porting’ your mortgage you will also need to check with your lender what fees you will be taking with you to your new property. Porting is when you repay your current mortgage and then tasking the same terms with your existing provider. It basically means that you are taking out a new loan, but it will work to repay your current mortgage so you are starting again with a new house.
If you are aiming to move to a more expensive property then it is wise to see how much you will be able to borrow and which lender will give you the best deal. The best way to do this is by securing a mortgage in principle as it will give you a rough idea of the houses that you can afford.
Stamp duty and the other costs that come with selling a house can add up quickly so it is good to have an idea of how much everything will cost early on. You can do this by speaking to a mortgage broker who can help map out all of the costs for you as well as give you an idea of how much you can borrow.
Once you have decided that you want to sell your home, the next step in the house selling process is to spruce up the property so that is ready for house valuations and viewings.
The first step is to make sure that your property is clean and tidy and free from clutter. A would-be buyer is trying to imagine themselves living in your property, and the best way to do this is to leave them with a blank canvas.
If your home is looking a little worse for wear, you can consider some home improvements. A lick of fresh paint can go a long way, as can dusting and hoovering and just keeping the general appearance clean can do your property the world of good.
You should carefully consider all of your options before jumping in with major home renovations. They can be lengthy and expensive projects that they may not add that much value to your property.
If you are concerned about your property having major issues that may cause you to lose buyers, you could pay to have a home survey done so that you can have a third party confirm potential problems, their extent and the cost to fix them.
Kerb appeal is also a huge factor in the saleability of your home. In a survey done in 2019 by the Home Owners Alliance, they found that more than 68% of buyers considered kerb appeal to be an important factor in their choice of home.
Improving your kerb appeal is simple. Just by mowing the lawn, keeping the garden free of weeds and the driveway clear you can boost your kerb appeal.
The next step in our how to sell your house guide is to set your house price. Setting the price is one of the most crucial parts of the house selling process as if you set it too high you run the risk of putting people off. It is important to set a realistic price as the majority of home searches are done via property portals, if you price the property too high, it won’t appear in searches where potential buyer have applied a search cap.
On the other hand, if you price your property too low, you run the risk of selling the property for lower than it is worth.
One way that you can get a valuation for your property is by researching how much your house is worth by looking at recent local activity and inviting three local estate agents around to value your property. Make sure that the agents that you pick have a track record of selling houses similar to yours in the area.
You should ask each estate agent how much they would set the price for your property, why they think your home is worth the amount that it is and ask for similar properties that have sold for that price in the local area.
Whilst an estate agent can advise you and give you an idea for an asking price, it is ultimately up to you how much you price your house at.
If all three of the agents you asked give you a similar number you can be fairly confident that they are correct in their estimations and base your sale price on their recommendations.
However, if there are noticeable differences between the valuations that you received it can be hard to know what to do. Estate agents have been known to overvalue properties as a way of winning business. Whilst it can be tempting to choose a firm that is promising more money, setting an unrealistic asking price will do a lot more damage than good in the long run.
If this happens to you, you should set an asking price based on a combination of the valuations that you received as well as recent selling prices of similar properties in your area.
One final thing to bear in mind about asking prices: properties can sometimes be advertised for ‘offers in excess of (OIEO) or ‘offers over’ as opposed to just the asking price on its own. You can describe your asking price. It is up to you how you choose to describe your asking price but remember that a buyer can still offer less.
There are many different ways that you can sell your property. The most common ways of selling your property are through:
• High-Street Estate Agents
• Online Estate Agents
• Selling A House Privately
• Property Auctions
If you decide to sell through an estate agency you will sign a contract which lays out the terms under which they’ll sell your home – this is known as ‘instructing’.
After you have instructed an estate agent, they should send a photographer to your property to take professional photos.
Just like when you had the house valuated, it is critical that you make sure the property is clutter free and clean. Make sure all toilet lids are closed, beds are all made and keep flourishes simple, such as bowls of fruit or flowers.
Another task that your estate agent will undertake is to arrange for a floor plan to be created as well as writing a listing for your property online.
Rightmove is the biggest online property portal so it is important to use an agent who will list you on there, as well as their own website alongside other property portals like Zoopla.
It is vital that you get your paperwork sorted out early, it will help to move the sale along a lot faster. You will need to provide the following documents in order to sell your property:
When using an estate agent, they should offer to conduct house viewings on your behalf. This is a good offer to take them up on as conducting house viewings can be difficult if you have never done it before. Estate agents have the training to be able to sell your home in the best possible light and buyers may feel more comfortable to look at things in detail.
If you can, make sure that you are out of the house whilst viewings take place.
Should you decide to conduct the viewings yourself, you should carefully consider which order you want to show the rooms in as well as any additional features you would like to draw your buyer’s attention to.
It is a good idea to do a practice run with a friend first so that you can feel comfortable doing the viewing but also so that you can get feedback.
The next step in the process of selling a house is to start thinking about the conveyancing process. Whilst it is not time to start the conveyancing process yet, it is smart to think ahead. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one person to another and whilst may not be the most thrilling part of the house selling process, it is one of the most important.
It is a good idea to have a conveyancer or solicitor in place before you accept an offer as it can help speed up the process.
Another advantage of having a solicitor or conveyancer in place is that it shows the buyer that you are organised and committed to selling.
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It is your estate agent’s duty to inform you of any offers as soon as they are made. If your property receives multiple offers, you should get your estate agent to do some digging into each bidder’s situation as when it comes to accepting an offer there are plenty of factors to consider other than how much they are offering.
You should consider who is least likely to pull out, whether that is due to nerves, their own sale falling through, mortgage problems, and who can move at the same pace as you.
In order, the safest buyers to choose are generally:
1. Chain-free buyers are a safe choice to sell your home to. A chain-free buyer is someone who does not depend upon the sale of their property to be able to purchase yours. An example of a chain-free buyer is a buy-to-let investor, a genuine cash buyer, or someone who has already sold their home.
2. Home movers who have either sold and completed or have exchanged their sale.
3. First-time buyers are chain-free buyers however they do usually rely upon a large mortgage or buy-to-let investors using a mortgage in order to be able to fund the purchase.
4. Home movers who have sold their property subject to contract (SSTC). This means that they have accepted an offer but have not yet exchanged and can pay with either a small mortgage or 100% cash.
5. Homeowners who have SSTC but will need a big mortgage in order to be able to pay for your property.
6. Homeowners who have not yet sold their homes.
The next step in the process of selling a house is to accept an offer. When it comes to making an offer on a house, buyers will often offer less than the asking price.
This leaves you in a situation where you can decide whether it is worth negotiating, offering a compromise price, or refusing the offer in the hope that they increase the original price.
This process can feel as though you are in a game of house selling chicken, however, it is important to hold your nerve and think through the following factors before you make a decision.
Whilst it is worth setting up alerts on property portals and registering with estate agents before you’ve accepted an offer, the safest time for you to start house hunting is once your property is under offer or under SSTC.
By doing this you will put yourself in a better position if you find a home that multiple buyers are interested in. It is often the case that in very competitive markets that estate agents won’t show you properties until you have gone under offer.
Another advantage of selling this way is that you can avoid the heartache of having a house pulled away from you by a buyer who is ready to move.
An important part house selling process is that you need to keep the process moving along. It is crucial that you make sure that your buyer has an understanding of what is included in the price, including things like fixtures and fittings.
In order to avoid arguments further down the line, it is always a good idea to establish dates for exchange and completion.
It is worth drawing up an agreed note of your plans with the buyer. Whilst this deal will not be legally binding, it may make buyers less likely to delay or to pull out of the offer.
You should always keep communicating throughout this period. If you are going away on holiday, it is vital that you let the other people involved in your property chain know, including your conveyancing solicitor and estate agent. If you don’t understand certain aspects of the sale then ask your conveyancer, that is what you are paying them for.
The final step of the process of selling a house is here. The exchange of contracts is a key part of the journey as it is when your buyer will pay a deposit and the process becomes legally binding.
Should you be buying another property, make sure that you have building insurance sorted from this day onwards.
Completion day is the day that the whole house selling process has been leading towards. Once you have reached it you will have successfully sold your home.
You will now need to move all of your possessions out of the property and drop your keys off at the estate agents.
If you are buying and selling, it will be easier for you to complete your purchase on the same day that you complete your sale then you can move your possessions from one house to another without having to put them into storage.
If you find that your property has been on the market for a while and you have not received any offers then it is a good idea to talk to your estate agent and get their opinion on why they think there have been no offers.
It could be a case of lowering the price or maybe using different photos, or perhaps it is not the right time to sell and you may need to take your home off the market and wait for conditions to improve.
It may also be a case of your estate agent not working hard enough. The majority of estate agents’ contracts include a set notice period, so if you wish to switch agents you need to act fast to avoid your property sitting on the market for several extra weeks before another firm can start to relist it.
As previously mentioned, there are many routes that you can take when putting up your home for sale. You can do this through an estate agent, a cash buying company, or through a property sale auction. Each of these methods has its own pros and cons that come along with them.
An estate agent is the most common way for people to sell their properties.
An estate agent will undertake all of the responsibilities that come with selling your property for a cut of the final profit, called a commission.
One of the biggest advantages to selling through an estate agent is that they will do all of the hard work behind the sale for you, including creating a listing for your property and advertising it for you.
An estate agent may also conduct viewings for you if you do not wish to conduct them yourself.
However, the downside is that finding a buyer on the open market can be difficult and time-consuming, sometimes taking months. If you are looking to move, waiting around may not be something that you can afford to do.
Another downside to selling through an estate agent is that it can be very time-consuming. You will need to book house viewings at your home for potential buyers, which can be a lengthy and inconvenient process. It will involve taking time off from work, making sure that if there are any issues in the house that they are taken care of and at the end of the viewing you still may not even have a buyer.
It also means that after you have paid the estate agents fees and taken time off work for viewings, you will still have other fees to pay such as legal fees and removal costs. These extra costs add up and can eat away at the final profit considerably.
Another route you can go down for selling your property is to go through an auction. This is an option that has traditionally not been explored as much but over recent years has surged in popularity in recent years.
The way a property auction works is that you put it up for sale at a housing auction, agree on a minimum reserve price and if that price reserve is met then the property is sold to the highest bidder over the reserve price.
A positive to selling through this way is that buyers are often very serious about purchasing as they will lose their deposit and incur fees if they back out of the sale. This means that the chance of your sale falling through is much lower than if you were to sell through an estate agent.
Another positive is that there is no limit on the possible price you can get from the sale. As bidders can just keep bidding until the reserve price is met, it means that there is the potential for extra earnings.
However, the biggest downside to selling through an auction is the time aspect. If you are looking for a quick sale, then a property auction may not be for you.
Once you have listed your property for sale, you will have to wait for the next auction which could be weeks or months away. Even after the auction is complete, you will still need to wait for the paperwork to go through which can add an additional month or more to the process.
Furthermore, selling at an auction is not without cost. Auctioneers, like estate agents, charge a commission to cover the costs of marketing and selling your home.
The third option for selling property is through a genuine cash buyer.
A cash buyer is a good way to get a quick sale on your property. A genuine cash buyer will have the funds to buy your property so you will be able to exchange and complete much faster.
A benefit of selling through a cash buyer is that the sale is guaranteed in a timescale that suits you.
However, if you are selling with a cash buyer then you need to be aware that you will be receiving less than market value for your home. If you are looking to walk away with full profits and the best price possible for your property then selling through a cash buyer will not be for you.
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