There’s so much information available for a first-time buyer, but when it comes to selling your home, you don’t hear much unless you go looking for it. The process of selling your home for the first time is just as confusing (and often more expensive) than that of buying your first home. This guide will tell you everything you need to know as a first-time seller, help identify some common issues and pitfalls, and talk you through the process of selling your home successfully for the first time!
Things To Be Aware Of
Selling your home is all about timing. When it comes to the time of year you want to sell, or even the week or day you put your home on the market, you want to be looking for the best possible time, with a busy buyers market, but not too crowded from the seller’s side. Your estate agent should be able to advise you on the best time to get your home on the market for a quicker and more profitable sale.
Extra costs come part and parcel with buying or selling a home, so it’s important to be aware of how much extra you’re looking at. For many home sellers, the sale of the house will cover these, but it’s still important to be aware of the overall costs, so you know how much you’re getting at the end of the sale. Some of the most significant costs worth keeping an eye on are:
- Estate Agent fees – Estate Agency fees include all the work your estate agent does for you when trying to sell your home. Liaising with potential buyers, solicitors, conveyancers and other parties involved in the sale, creating a high-quality property listing, advertising your home, conducting viewings and advising you on the best course of action in any given situation. Most estate agency fees in the UK will be around 1-2% of the sale price of your home
- Home Reports (in Scotland), or an EPC (in England and Wales) – In Scotland, sellers need to provide buyers with a home report, which is a document containing a variety of relevant information about the home. Home Reports include a Property Questionnaire, a Single Survey and an Energy Report. In England and Wales, you don’t need to provide a home report, but it is your responsibility to provide potential buyers with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This document tells potential buyers how energy efficient your home is, using an alphabetised rating, with “A” being the most efficient and “G” being the least efficient.
- Mortgage exit fees – For some mortgage offerings, there may be a penalty for leaving your mortgage early, such as an exit fee or early repayment charge.
- Conveyancing fees – Conveyancing is something both buyers and sellers have to do when a home or property is changing hands. Your solicitor or a specialist legal conveyancer. The cost of conveyancing for first-time sellers will usually depend on the sale value of your property, however, they are usually much lower than conveyancing fees when you purchase a property.
- Removals costs – Something that plenty of people forget to factor in! Costs for removals will depend on the company you use, the amount you need to move, how far you need to move it and more!
- Buying costs – if you’re buying a new home at the same time as selling, you’ll have to factor in the costs associated with buying a new home, as well as selling!
The Process Of Selling Your Home
First things first – have your property valued. At Jordan & Halstead, we carry out free, in-depth valuations that are actually accurate. As local experts, we know what’s important to the property market in your area, and how to value your property accordingly. We’ll also speak to you about timescales and what you need from your sale.
Once you’ve chosen a solicitor, it’s time to prepare your home to be seen on the market. Jordan & Halstead provide professional photographers and videographers to ensure you get the best and most attractive property listings that really stand out on various online portals. We utilise portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as local portals and traditional property marketing techniques.
Next up – property viewings. We can carry out viewings for you, or you are welcome to show potential buyers around yourself. During viewings, we think it’s important to emphasise your personal favourite things about the house, and why you bought it in the first place, as it gives the home a bit more personality, and shows off the things that you can’t always see in a floorplan! At Jordan & Halstead, we regularly carry out open houses to help encourage offers to be made and get you the best possible price for your home.
When a buyer wants to make an offer on your home, they need to speak to the estate agent you have chosen to sell your property, either over the phone, in person or by email. Your estate agent must legally give you all the offers made in writing, as well as ensure that the potential buyer is actually in a position to deliver on the offer they have made. You don’t have to make a decision straight away, and you don’t have to accept the first offer that comes in! If the offer is lower than you would like, or the candidate isn’t desirable, then you can decline the offer outright or instruct your estate agent to negotiate on price if possible.
When you receive an offer you’re happy with, inform your estate agent and you can start to agree on completion and exchange dates, and take the property off the market. It’s best to get this in writing, as while nothing is legally binding at this point, it will help improve communication and make sure all parties are on the same page.
Now, your estate agent will start the process of negotiating through to completion. There are a lot of steps to take and hoops to jump through at this stage, but with the right estate agent on your side, it can be a smooth process without any stress. They are responsible for:
- Confirming the price and conditions of sale with all parties.
- Preparing a memorandum of sale.
- Confirming the details of all solicitors involved.
- Taking the property off the market.
- Agreeing on survey dates.
- Agreeing on the date to exchange contracts (Exchange date).
- Agreeing to the date for completing the sale (Completion date).
While your estate agent is hard at work, so is your solicitor. Your solicitor is responsible for drawing up and sending out a draft contract once everything included in the sale has been agreed, the buyer has a mortgage agreement and all parties are satisfied. Once this happens, the final contract is sent out, signed, and the sale is now legally binding!
Once the contract is signed by both the seller and the buyer, a deposit is paid or transferred to your solicitor by the buyer’s solicitor, who then holds this deposit until your completion date.
Just before completion, the rest of the purchase price will be transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor, and the contracts can be exchanged. This is the point you’ll need to move out if you haven’t already, ensure the property is in the state agreed to in your contract and make sure your estate agent has all the keys to the property. Ince the full balance has cleared, your solicitor will let you know, and will instruct the estate agent to release the keys. This is your completion date, and your home has been sold – Congratulations!