From valuing your property and preparing it for viewings, right through to exchanging contracts and completion; this Handy House Selling Checklist will walk you through the many processes associated with selling a home, and provide you with tips on how to execute them successfully.
VALUE YOUR PROPERTY
Start off by brushing up on your knowledge of the local property market, and specifically your own property, so you are not taken down a path that could potentially lead to disappointment. Valuing a property is about understanding your competition and buyer demand, so it’s important to investigate the prices of similar houses in your area, and how much they are selling for, as this will help to guide your own valuation.
The next step is to contact some local estate agents or online valuation companies, and ask them to provide a free property assessment and valuation. It’s important to obtain three or four valuations from different experts, to ensure that you are receiving similar estimates. If you find that the valuations differ, use your own knowledge of the property and local area to work out which is the most accurate price, and go with that.
An expert valuation will give you a guide and recommended price point, but ultimately the price that the property is marketed for, is your own decision. If the valuation is too high you will deter potential buyers, and if it’s too low you could risk losing out financially – so decide on a price in the middle which you feel honestly reflects the property’s true market value.
REVIEW YOUR FINANCES
Once you have valued the property, you should let your mortgage lender know that you are planning to sell your home, and discuss next steps with them.
If you are not planning to buy another home, you will need to calculate how much of your mortgage is left to pay off, and whether there are any early redemption penalties or repayments to be settled.
If you are planning to re-buy, you will need to let the mortgage lender know what size mortgage you would like for your next property, and ask if they are able to meet this figure.
PICK YOUR PROPERTY EXPERT
Once you have all your finances in place, the next step is to decide how you are going to sell the property. You can choose from the following options:
MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK PRESENTABLE
The condition of your home’s interior and exterior is extremely important when it comes to buyer appeal. If you ‘stage’ your home well, you are not only more likely to sell your home faster, but you might make it more valuable too.
So, before your property is photographed for marketing materials, or you invite potential buyers to view your property, be sure to give it a thorough clean and de-clutter. Below is a list of ‘tidy tasks’ which, if followed, will ensure that your property is looking its best for buyers.
• Touch up the paint on doors, window frames and fences
• Mow the lawn and add fertilizer if necessary
• Cut back overgrown shrubbery
• Add some seasonal flowers or plants
• Replace and clean gutters
• Inspect the roof for any visible broken tiles
• Sweep outside to clear away leaves or debris
• Clean the windows
• Vacuum carpets and rugs
• Dust away cobwebs
• Touch up paint on the walls
• Clean around the hearth of the fireplace
• Put out of season clothes and shoes in storage
• Store away objects that look out of place or clutter areas
• Deep clean the following areas:
-Wooden or tiled floors
-Bathroom and kitchen appliances
-Sinks and drains
-Toilets, showers, and bathtubs
-Windows, mirrors, and glassware
LAST MINUTE STAGING
• Open all drapes and blinds to let in light
• Add fresh, clean towels to the bathrooms
• Light candles or diffusers to create a pleasant odour
• Turn on lamps to brighten dark rooms
• Add some colourful flowers or indoor plants
HIRE A SOLICITOR
While the property is being marketed, you can start looking for a solicitor. Solicitors can be costly, but they have a vital part to play in the selling process. You will need to hire a solicitor to handle all the legal paper work and, once an offer has been accepted, to transfer the ownership of the property from you to the buyer. A solicitor’s experience in buying and selling property can also help to take away the stress and pressure associated with the selling process – especially if you have never sold a property before.
If you are not already in touch with a solicitor, carry out some research into the best solicitors available in your area, and ask your friends and family for their recommendations. You should decide which solicitor you want to use before you agree the sale of your house, however, there’s no need to instruct them until an offer has been accepted.
EVALUATE OFFERS CAREFULLY
When a buyer is interested in purchasing your home, they will send you an ‘Offer to Purchase’. Take some time to evaluate this offer, and don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms of the agreement if there is something that doesn’t sit comfortably.
If you’re happy with the offer, you can formally accept it and take the property off the market. Although the property is no longer being marketed, you do not have a legal obligation to sell the property until contracts have been officially signed and exchanged.
NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT
Once you have accepted an offer, you’ll need to work with your solicitor to decide on some finer details regarding the sale of the property. Such as:
The length of the contract negotiation stage will depend on how many queries or concerns the buyers have regarding the property.
An ‘exchange’ occurs when both the seller and the buyer sign identical contracts, which are then exchanged by their solicitors to make the deal legally binding. When you exchange contracts with the buyer you become legally committed to selling the property – and they are legally committed to buying it from you.
COMPLETE THE SALE
During the contract negotiation stage, you would have agreed on a ‘completion date’ with the buyer. Completion is when you receive payment for the property and your solicitor registers the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry.
You will need to be packed up and moved out by the completion date – and the property must be in the same condition as agreed within the contact. So, once you’ve moved out and the keys have been handed over, all that’s left to do is celebrate!