Selling Your Home

Guide - Selling Your Home - PDF Download 

Step 1 – You’ve decided to sell

There are many reasons for selling a property. Maybe you’re disposing of an asset or just wanting to move house and whatever the reason, good preparation on your part will help your property sell faster and minimise hitches along the way.

Once you have decided to sell, there are some things that are best handled before you actually put your house on the market:

Think about what you want to include in the sale. Normally, fixtures and fittings such as fitted storage heaters are included in the price but some moveable things can be up for negotiation.

If you need to rid of items you no longer need, do now – the less clutter you have, the faster your house will sell. Ribble Valley and Blackburn with Darwen will take away large items for a small fee.

Gather relevant information about your home:

  • Gas and electrical certificate checks.
  • Building regulations certificates.
  • Council tax, utility, buildings and contents insurance bills – so potential buyers can estimate running costs.
  • Service charges and ground rent bills (for flats).
  • Environmental Searches. These provide useful information such as the flood risk, radon levels or if there are local mines in the area
  • A Home Condition Report – provides more information about the condition of your property, although your buyer will probably still need to get their own survey done.

Step 2 – How much is your property worth?

There are several ways to help you determine how much you should put your house on the market for:

  • Book a free market appraisal with Athertons – call us on 01254 828810 (Whalley) or 01254 682470 (Blackburn).
  • Use the House Price section on Rightmove to check out average sold house prices in your area.
  • Get an accurate picture of trends in your area, as well as national changes from the Rightmove House Price Index. Produced monthly, it analyses asking prices of properties that have just come on the market, breaking them down into regional averages.
  • Search for similar properties for sale in your area and see what they are currently being marketed for.

Step 3 – How to sell your property?

It is possible to sell your property privately, but there are significant risks attached. For most people, selling a home is the biggest and most important transaction they will ever make. Using professionals for each part of the process provides you with expert knowledge and legal protection.

Besides, selling on your own can be expensive and time consuming.

If you sell privately you will be responsible for the whole process, from setting the price, marketing, viewing, negotiating and dealing with solicitors and conveyancers.

Most people looking for a house to buy will start with Rightmove and if you advertise privately, you cannot list your property with Rightmove as they do not accept property advertisements from private sellers or private landlords. All the property featured on the Rightmove site must comply with the requirements of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

So, with this in mind we recommend using a local expert agent who can apply their expertise, local knowledge and marketing power to add real value to your sale.

Step 4 – Making every viewing count.

It’s worth spending some time and energy to get your home ready for viewings and give your house the best chance of selling. First impressions are so important, so put yourself in the buyers’ shoes and think about how you can enhance your property’s appeal.

The outside of your house is first thing potential buyers will see – can you smarten up the front?

Some ideas:

  • Neat and tidy front garden.
  • Freshly painted front door.
  • Clean windows!
  • Inside the front door – Here are some ideas are from Rightmove, to enhance the appeal of your property, without major expense.
  • Keep it clean and tidy. De-clutter and use sensible storage. Potential buyers will want to visualise how they can fill the space
  • Undertake any minor repairs that need doing so buyers will need to really try hard to find any negatives
  • If you want to re-decorate, go for neutral tones, which will appeal to a wider audience
  • Make your house comfortable, cool on hot sunny days and warm if it’s winter
  • Banish smoke or pet odours. Open the windows, brew some fresh coffee and add finishing touches such as fresh flowers, to brighten the place up
  • Bring out the best features such as fireplaces and use mirrors to increase the sense of space.

Step 5. Negotiating offers

  • Once you have received an offer, be prepared to negotiate. But remember, you don’t have to sell to the highest bidder. A lower bidder might be better if they:
  • Are paying cash (so don’t have to wait for mortgage approval)
  • Already have a mortgage “agreed in principle”
  • Don’t have to sell a property first (they could be first-time buyers or investors) or are in a short chain
  • Can fit in with your timescales better than other buyers
  • If you are buying from a developer, see if they will offer a part exchange to buy your property from you.

Gazumping and Gazundering

A term used to denote a situation where the seller has accepted an offer but subsequently accepts a higher offer from another purchaser. This is legal and ensuring the property is taken off the market is one way of reducing this risk. Gazumping happens most frequently in a seller’s market. Gazundering is the term for when a buyer reduces their offer just before the contracts are exchanged in the hope of forcing the seller to accept less for the property. Again this is considered legal.

Once you have accepted an offer you will probably be asked to take it off the market. It’s your decision, but if you do, tell your agent that if the sale has not progressed after two weeks you’ll want it back on the market.

What to do if your property isn’t selling…

  • Ask your agent why they think it’s not selling. What’s the feedback from viewings?
  • Can your estate agent ‘freshen up’ your property details on Rightmove with better photos and a more engaging description?
  • Was the exterior photo clearly taken a long time ago in a different season? If so, ask the agent to take a new one
  • Do you need to reduce the price?
  • If a survey revealed a problem that led a buyer to renegotiate or pull out, consider getting repairs done.

Step 6 – Ensuring the sale goes smoothly

Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of property or land from one person to another. This needs the services of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer.

We can recommend reliable and experienced conveyancers or you can choose your own. Make sure you are clear and comfortable about the process they will follow and the costs involved. The conveyance will ask for the following information:

  • Basic information to get started such as your mortgage roll number – so they can check you own the property and proof of your ID
  • A detailed questionnaire on the property, covering things like who owns the boundaries and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours. It is a legal requirement to answer truthfully
  •  A form showing what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale
  • Remember to answer any conveyancing queries as soon as you can. Use registered post or deliver documents by hand.

Exchanging Contracts

In England and Wales, Exchange of Contracts is the last stage of the legal process after which a buyer cannot pull out (without losing their deposit).

The Completion Date is usually set for at least two weeks after the date of Exchange of Contracts, which gives time to arrange your removals.

Once the buyer’s money arrives, the conveyance will let your agent know and they can then give the keys to the new owners. Check the conveyancer’s completion statement carefully to ensure it reflects the original quotation.

Step 7- Preparing to move out

Moving out of the home you’ve lived in for a while can be stressful, but it’s also a great opportunity to make a new start. Getting organised and planning ahead will minimise your stress levels and make it easier to move on.

Here are some tips from Rightmove to make the day you move out as painless as possible:

  • Ask your friends to recommend a professional removal firm – your belongings are precious so ask for references, membership of the British Association of Removers
  • Think about moving out and in on separate days so you don’t have to squeeze everything into the same day.
  • Leaving a few days before moving in will free up time to get essential work to your new home completed without needing to work around piles of boxes. It’s a great time for carpet cleaning, decorating or any DIY projects that might be dusty like sanding woodwork or floorboards, replastering etc.
  • If you can, avoid moving on a Monday or Friday: they are the busiest days for moving as well as for traffic on the roads.
  • Remember to take meter readings on both properties on the day(s) of the move.
  • Set up your post to be redirected a few weeks before you move with the Royal Mail – a good precaution against identity theft.
  • While you still have an internet connection (it could be a few weeks before your new property is connected), download any instruction manuals from the manufacturer’s website for your new appliances.
  • Prepare a note for the new owners explaining how things work and where they can find useful items such as the boiler switches, aerial sockets and alarm codes. A few kind thoughts will go a long way when it comes to mail redirection and injects some humanity into the whole process.
  • Print out and work your way through our Rightmove’s Key Contacts checklist to ensure you notify everyone of your move.

And most importantly, enjoy your new home!