We’re sure you love your Beckenham home, but in the current market, with demand for the right properties still high, maybe you’ve decided it’s time to move on?
If you’ve never sold a home before, or it’s been a while, you need a checklist. Selling a house is a complex business – made all the more tricky, if you’re buying too.
To keep on top of the process, it’s worth being clear about the steps involved in selling a house, and what happens when. We’ve nailed down the stages of selling a house to12 clear steps, to help make your move go like a dream.
1. Do your sums and make some decisions
The first thing you should do before you put your home on the market is a bit of research. Find out the going rate for properties like yours, by looking at the property portals and local sales data. Knowing how much your home is worth will help you set a budget for the place you want to buy.
According to Rightmove, properties in Beckenham had an overall average price of £571,405 over the last year – 8% up on the previous year and 7% up on the 2017 peak of £533,411.
If you want to move mortgage lenders or increase your loan, start your investigations now too, so you know how much you will be able to borrow and the pros and cons of porting your loan.
2. Get your home shipshape
Now start the process of staging your home to sell. Begin by decluttering, getting rid of all the belongings you no longer want or need. Go through the home room by room looking at all the DIY jobs – the mouldy sealant, cracked tiles or paint chips, that you need to attend to. Giving the whole place a new coat of paint in a neutral shade might be a good idea. Also think about whether you need to put some of your furniture in storage to maximise space or move things around to demonstrate how your buyer could make the most of each room. Remember, home offices or workspaces are pretty much essential these days.
3. Consider a survey
You’re under no obligation or expectation to commission a survey of the house you’re selling but it could be a good move. A survey will highlight issues which you can put right, making your home more appealing and speeding things up later on. You may not need to commission a full homebuyers report. It’s worth considering survey if you suspect an issue such as damp, subsidence or Japanese knotweed.
4. Pull together all your paperwork
Get ready to act when you have a buyer by getting all of your paperwork in order from the start. Get all guarantees for work on your property, gas and electrical safety certificates and mortgage documentation ready before your solicitor needs it. If work was done on the property by a previous owner, you will need proof of planning permission and building approval too.
5. Choose an estate agent
Do some research into local estate agents, ask around for recommendations and look at online reviews. Ask plenty of questions about homes they’ve sold, like yours in the area. If you’re buying and selling, focus on how they manage property chains.
Then invite three agents to give you a valuation. Be wary of anyone quoting figures which are higher than you expect from your research – they may be over-valuing to get your business.
Before you sign up it is important to understand what you are agreeing to, and what will happen if things don’t go as well as you’d hoped. The crucial thing is to read the contract carefully and ask about anything which is unclear.
Sole agency agreements are the most common type of contract. This means that the estate agent is the only agent with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract. However, if you find a buyer without them, you won’t pay the fee.
6. Name your price
Once you have appointed an agent, you need to set an asking price. One of the key reasons properties don’t sell is overpricing so, while you want to get the right amount for your home in the current market, make sure your asking price is realistic and appeals to buyers.
How much you ask will also depend upon how important a quick sale is to you – if you’re buying at the same time, for example.
Remember that buyers will usually try to negotiate a discount of around 5% to 10% – particularly now that the stamp duty holiday has ended.
7. Choose a solicitor or licensed conveyancer
A proactive conveyancer can make or break a smooth and speedy house sale, so do your research before you appoint yours. Get quotes, but don’t necessarily go with the cheapest. Look at online reviews, but even better, get personal recommendations from people who’ve bought and sold in your area. Make sure your conveyancer is around as much as possible during the sale process – check that they, and you, don’t have holidays booked.
8. Accept an offer
If you’re lucky enough to have lots of interest in your property, remember that not all buyers are the same. While you might be tempted to go with the highest bidder, a cash buyer will most likely result in a smoother transaction because they aren’t dependent on a house sale or a mortgage offer. A first-time buyer, or one without a place to sell, is an attractive proposition too because they won’t extend your chain.
If you don’t have a cash buyer, look at one with a mortgage agreement in principle. And when it comes to chains, one where the buyers are already committed, with solicitors appointed and surveys underway, is a better proposition than one where no financial commitment has been made.
Your estate agent will be advising you about the pros and cons of different buyers, but it’s worth understanding the hierarchy yourself, just in case.
9. The conveyancing stage
Stay in touch with your conveyancer and estate agent during the process, returning their calls promptly. It’s worth checking in regularly, especially if you haven’t heard anything for a week or so. The quicker things progress, the less chance there is for buyers in the chain to have a change of heart.
10. Exchange of contracts
Exchange is the last stage of the legal house buying process, which happens when both sides are happy with the contract, and sign final copies and send them to each other and a deposit is paid by the buyer.
Once you have exchanged, you are legally committed to selling and the buyer is legally committed to buying from you. No one can then pull out without paying compensation.
Completion date will be set at this stage too – usually be two weeks after exchange.
11. Organising the move
There’s a lot to do on moving day so get organised well in advance, with a comprehensive checklist of all your key tasks. Get quotes from removal companies at an early stage and decide what level of service you’ll need. Don’t leave packing to the last minute, you will need to vacate the property on time, leaving it clean tidy and empty of all your belongings.
12. Completion day
Completion is when the property changes ownership to your buyer. As part of this process, the balance of the house purchase will be is transferred to you from the buyer, and the legal documents of ownership are given to buyer – along with the keys.
If you’ve read this, and are keen to get things moving on the sale of your Beckenham home, we’d be delighted to offer you a no-obligation valuation, so please, contact us today.
You may also be interested in...
01 Mar 2022
Spring Sales – March property market expected to blossom
For homeowners looking to sell their property, spring could be the right time to do this as usually there are…