If there is anything which causes more anxiety, frustration and sleepless nights than buying a house it is selling one.
If you have already been in that situation before you will know what we mean. Selling a house can be a long, complex, and tiring process. However, there is a lot you can do to ease your worries and make the path to your door as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
Therefore, we would like to share with you our step-by-step guide designed to simplify the procedure for you as much as possible and steer you to a successful and rewarding outcome.
It goes without saying that the first thing you need to do is put a figure on how much your property is worth, and for this you have to turn to the estate agents. Do not rely on just one. Contact several, because their valuations may differ. In addition, scour the property section in your local newspaper and go online to get some idea of the asking price for similar homes in your vicinity. Don’t jump in with both feet. Take your time. It will be worth it in the long term Always bear in mind that the final selling price may not necessarily be as much as the asking price. You may have to reach a compromise.
You do not have to use an estate agent you know. Or maybe you didn’t know. The truth of the matter is that you can market the property yourself and therefore cut out the estate agent’s fees, which can be considerable – up to four per cent of the sale price. The choice is yours.
If you do decide to use an estate agent you are well advised not to go for the one giving the highest valuation without giving serious thought to other considerations. A recommendation from someone who has dealt with that particular agent before is as good a guide as any, or sometimes you may simply feel that you can trust the people with whom you are dealing. The number of ‘sold’ stickers on an estate agent’s sign is another plus point.
It may seem a very minor matter, but give your property a bit of TLC before you invite potential purchasers to come and view. Tidy the garden, maybe freshen up the interior with a coat of paint here and there, do those little repair jobs that you’ve been putting off. In other words, make your property as attractive as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of those who come to view and look at your property from their perspective. They might also want to know how much you pay on average for gas, electricity, water rates, council tax etc, so have such bills to hand. Every little helps in this situation.
Then you have to be patient. All you can do is wait until the estate agent contacts you to say that an offer has been made. Sooner rather than later, as far as you are concerned; but there is nothing you can do to speed matters up.
An estate agent must, incidentally, tell you about every offer, even if you are unlikely to accept it. The final decision is up to you, although your estate agent can, of course, give you advice on whether or not they think that it is a good offer.
Another tip: don’t take your property off the market as soon as you agree a sale. Accept the offer ‘subject to contract’. Wait until a draft contract has been drawn up by both sets of solicitors. Once that is completed then you can happily take down that ‘For Sale’ notice. We mentioned solicitors there, and you do need to appoint a solicitor to do all the legal work.
It is almost certain that the buyer will want to have his own survey done of the property and that will be done through your estate agent, who will advise you of such a visit so that you can make the necessary arrangements for the surveyor to make his inspection. You do not necessarily have to be present.
So, you are probably thinking, what if the buyer’s surveyor says that there is quite a lot of work that needs doing in the property? In that case it may well be that the buyer will be keen to try to renegotiate the offer through your solicitors.
If this happens, try to be fair-minded and realistic. If you are aware that work needs doing in certain aspects then it would seem reasonable to reduce the price accordingly, but if you cannot reach a compromise you are well within your rights to pull out of the sale yourself. However, that may mean that you will lose money, as well as time, by having to start the selling process all over again.
If, however, everything goes smoothly and the buyer’s surveyor is satisfied, then it is time for the exchange of contracts leading up to that long-awaited completion date. It is then that you are legally committed to the sale. You sign the contract and your solicitor takes it from there. It is at this point that the buyer pays a deposit to your solicitor, which is usually at least 5% of the sale price.
Now you are almost there. Or perhaps we should say almost away from there. The time for you to move out of the property is the day that the sale is completed. Packing done, removal firm booked, a last, lingering look at the place you have called home. And then off you go.
Hand over the keys and begin a new chapter in your life.