Selling a House

Selling your home doesn’t have to be stressful. Our property law experts can help you complete a straightforward house sale.

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How to sell your house

When you decide that it’s time to sell your house, you can help make the process easier by taking a few actions.

  • Sort your finances

First, you should ensure you know the exact state of your finances. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration to work out if it’s the right idea to sell up. You’ll need to know if it’s really affordable for you, what the costs of selling will be and how much you’ll need to buy somewhere new. Our conveyancing calculator can give you an instant quote for your home move.

  • Spruce the place up

Next, get your house looking as good as possible. The cleaner, tidier and less cluttered a space is, the more appealing it will be. Create a list of priorities for any necessary improvements and highlight the property’s best features.

  • Do your research

You should then arrange some valuations. It’s a good idea to do some of your own research first. Some online listing sites have sold prices, so you can see what houses nearby went for. Once you have an idea of what you might be looking at, you should then get some estate agents to give you their opinion.

  • Get your home valued

Have at least three agents give their valuations. This can give you a more balanced view than having just one agent value the house. If they’re hugely different, you can go for an average figure. If you’ve already looked at local sale prices, you’ll have an idea of what’s achievable for your property.

  • Instruct your conveyancer

Once you have a value, you can decide whether you want to use an estate agent or market your home yourself. You should also then start thinking about instructing a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of your home sale. It’s advisable to do this quite early in the house selling process.

  • Get your EPC

You must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to buyers so they know how energy efficient your home is. You or your estate agent need to have it available within seven days of your home being put on the market.

Conveyancing process for sellers

You’ll be familiar with conveyancing solicitors from when you bought your house. They make sure all the legal work is completed so your sale is valid and binding.

When working for a seller, a conveyancer will first carry out the necessary identity checks, then send you the transaction forms. These are the property information form (TA6) and the fixtures and fittings form (TA10). If you own a leasehold property, you will also receive a leasehold information form (TA7).

They will also obtain the title deeds and, if it’s a leasehold property, request additional information from your leasehold management company. They will use the information you provided to draw up a draft contract, which they will send to your buyer’s conveyancer.

Your conveyancer will be there to answer any questions you have and keep you updated with the process. They will work with the other conveyancers in your chain to agree on a target completion date.

At completion, they make sure all the finances are taken care of, concluding the sale.

How long does conveyancing for sellers take?

Each property sale is different. There are many different factors to take into consideration, meaning the time it takes to sell your home will vary.

Your buyer’s searches will need to be completed and the results they turn up – for example, risk of flooding – could delay the process.

The type of property you own also affects how long conveyancing takes. For example, if you own a leasehold property, it typically makes selling more complicated than if it were a freehold. There is more information for your conveyancer to obtain and sort through, which will extend the process.

Knowing that there are numerous potential issues that could delay your house sale is what makes it so important to instruct the right legal team. Start your big move with First4Lawyers by getting an instant conveyancing quote.

What sellers need to know

There are some things you might not know about selling a house, particularly if you’re doing it for the first time. We’ve put together a few top tips for sellers to make the process run smoothly.

  • Negotiate fees

You can negotiate your estate agent’s fee. If you decide to use an agent, they largely expect to have their fee negotiated. So don’t assume you have to pay them what they initially request. And make sure you know what the fee comes to when VAT is taken into account.

  • Stay updated

It’s also possible for you to request to see your home’s performance report from various online listings platforms, including Rightmove. Your estate agent will have access to this and should provide it if you ask for it.

  • Set out what’s included

When you accept an offer, set out clearly what fixtures and fittings the buyer will be purchasing. Find out what they are expecting to buy and make sure they know what you’re willing to include in the sale.

  • Know your buyer

Make sure you know who you’re selling your house to. Understand whether your prospective buyer still has to sell their home and what their chain situation is. Find out whether they’re a cash buyer or, if not, if they have a mortgage arranged. You should also know when they expect to exchange and complete.

  • Get permission

Even if you don’t intend to convert your loft into a bedroom or add an extension to the side of your home, getting the necessary planning permission can be helpful when selling. If buyers have dreams of turning your property into their dream home, knowing it’s legally possible can give your home an advantage.

Buying and selling together

Property professionals have conflicting ideas about whether buying and selling at the same time is a good idea. Some say that you should have sold your house before looking for a new one, while others think doing both together saves time and makes the process more efficient.

As you’ll know from your own experience selling your house, the most attractive buyers are first-time buyers and buyers who have sold their home already. Because they are chain-free, they present less risk of things falling apart and they can work to the seller’s schedule.

This may mean that you consider selling your home before you look for a new one. Although the costs of renting will add up, you won’t face any time pressures. Being forced to adhere to a deadline can cause you to accepting a lower offer on your home than you would otherwise.

If you do decide to do both, tell your solicitor that you’re buying and selling at the same time. They can then work to arrange completions for the same time on both transactions. It’s also important to make sure you work with your conveyancer, responding promptly to any requests they have.

For the best legal help when you’re selling – and potentially buying too – get in touch with First4Lawyers. We work with expert conveyancers, who will guide you through the sale process and get you to completion day efficiently.

What to do when your house isn't selling

When your house isn’t selling, it can feel like all your plans are on hold. But there are some things you could consider to give your home a boost in the market and put you on your way to securing that home sale.

  • Keep it clean

We all know it, but it’s easy to forget at busy and stressful times. During viewings, make sure everything is tidied away and the house is spotless. Keep pets out of the house and make sure there are no lingering smells. Ask your agent to check on that.

Don’t leave anything out that should be stored away or buyers will think there’s a lack of storage. Even if there is, they shouldn’t realise it. Make a checklist of things to tidy in each room and tick them off before every viewing.

  • New photos

If you’re not getting the viewings you thought you would, consider new photos. A sharper camera, flattering angles and at least two images of each room and external spaces could attract more attention. And tell your agent you want to approve the photos before they’re posted online.

And make sure you’re photographing every room. Some house hunters will immediately discount a home they see online if they can’t see every room, but may have gone to see it if the photos had been available. People usually just want to know what they’re getting themselves into.

  • Redecorate

If your home looks a bit dated – red carpets, dark brown furniture, kitsch wallpaper – you might want to think about redecorating. Some buyers can struggle to envision what a home would look like with their stamp on it so try to make things easier for them by keeping colours neutral.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to freshen things up. Time might be your biggest investment if you’re just moving some furniture out of the house temporarily. But whatever you do spend will be worth it if it helps sell your house.

  • Try another valuation

You don’t have to take on the services of another estate agent, but it could be worth getting another valuation to see if your home is priced appropriately.

If it’s priced too high, prospective buyers might filter it out during their online searches. So marketing it at the right price is one of the most important things you can do when trying to sell your house.

  • Video walk-through

They’re becoming more popular, but not every home sale features a video walk-through. Most buyers start their house hunt online so photos and video footage are the first impression they get of your home.

If your listing doesn’t have one, tell your agent you’d like one. If they’re resistant, just remember that you’re paying them for their service and you’re entitled to their best effort.

  • Work with a new agent

If you think your agent is the problem, you can usually start to work with another agent. But make sure you have the option to do that by checking your contract.

Properties are often marketed by two or three agents at the same time. It gives you more than appearing on Rightmove twice – it allows you to access different agents’ contacts and their lists of potential buyers.

  • Last resort: Consider other avenues

It might not be something you want to do, but selling your home through an auction may be necessary when nothing else is working. As long as your home is priced well, it should sell in an auction.

And if you need to sell urgently and no other channels have worked out, you could consider selling to a company that guarantees to buy your home. It will generally be for a lower-than-market value, so it's something to consider carefully.

To find out how we can help, just give us a call, request a call back at a more convenient time or enquire online.

How to guides

Learn about this area of law and what you need to know:

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