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Top Tips for Selling

House selling stats (that may surprise you)

  1. 51.8% = Percentage of home sellers that fail to sell within 10 months.
  2. 1.42% = Average estate agency commission (sole agency / no sale, no fee).
  3. 30% = Percentage of transactions that collapse before exchange of contracts. £2,899 = Average amount a home mover will lose through having a transaction collapse.
  4. 35% = Percentage of homes currently for sale (England & Wales) that are ‘price reduced’
  5. 1.42% = Average estate agency commission (sole agency / no sale, no fee). 
  6. 30% = Percentage of transactions that collapse before exchange of contracts. £2,899 = Average amount a home mover will lose through having a transaction collapse.

Steps to selling your home

Step 1 – Check your PropCast™ to find out how hot the markets you will be buying and selling in are so you can: a) Strategically plan your move to increase your chances of success. b) Intelligently price your house to achieve the most successful outcome given the prevailing market conditions. c) Identify estate agents with integrity through their provision of accurate and truthful advice. d) Identify estate agents that will put your best interests first & protect the value of your asset. Action: Check your PropCast™ [free tool]

Step 2 – Check out your competition Selling your home IS a competition. Fundamentally, homebuyers are engaged in what amounts to a massive comparison-shopping exercise. Because of this, it is crucial to correctly position your house in the market (against the other homes they could buy). Action: Use Rightmove and/or Zoopla to see (in your local area and price range): What has recently come on for sale Very recently sold Currently struggling to sell

Step 3 – Change your Zoopla valuation Check your Zoopla valuation and if it is lower than what you feel is fair market value, change it. Do this before you get estate agents round. Content Lock: How to change your Zoopla valuation [step-by-step]

Step 4 – Research & shortlist estate agents Your goal here is to shortlist the agents that: Have the most appropriate database of (and relationship with) potential serious buyers of your property. Can generate the most viewings / offers from that database (and from direct interest generated through portal and off-line advertising). Can demonstrate integrity, experience and deep knowledge of how your local market works (and the buyers active within it).

Step 5 – Choose & instruct a solicitor (or licensed conveyancer) Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal ownership of a property from one party to another. It is dull but essential work. You can do conveyancing yourself but there is a steep learning curve, and the cost saving is minimal. Most buyers and sellers opt to use a licensed conveyancer or solicitor (either is fine). Your estate agent will probably recommend a conveyancer, but you are free to choose your own and we would actively encourage you to steer clear of most conveyancing services recommended by corporate estate agency chains. We would also steer clear of excessively cheap services because case handlers tend to be overworked, and you stand a far greater chance of moving home if your conveyancer is easily contactable and on the ball. Top Tip: Most property sellers wait until they find a buyer before they find and instruct a conveyancer. With the new breed of ‘no-move, no-fee’ conveyancing services, it costs you nothing to instruct your conveyancer earlier than this. Doing this will shave a good few week off the time it takes to process your transaction. This is especially true when selling a leasehold property as it can takes weeks to get hold of the Management Information Pack. Our advice is to find a good (not too cheap) conveyancing solicitor now and instruct them to: Arrange for your title deeds to be recovered. Have a draft contract prepared. Issue you with the seller property information questionnaires (TA10 / TA6). Get the Management Information Pack (for leasehold property)

Step 6 – Get your paperwork together Your conveyancer will issue you with a fittings and contents form (TA10) & a property information form (TA6) You will be expected to be able to produce FNSEA certificates, building regulation certificates & planning permission certificates (for any work you have done to the property). You will also need to quickly be able to put your hands-on utility bills, building & contents insurance documents and anything relating to your mortgage. Read: Conveyancing process explained when selling a house

Step 7 – Workout your finances and research mortgages Contact your mortgage lender to find out your outstanding mortgage balance and the cost of any early redemption penalties (if applicable). Familiarise yourself with all the major costs (and hidden costs) involved in buying and/or selling. Research mortgage products and possible contingencies like bridging loans and let to buy. Remember, only once you’ve a realistic idea of your likely sale price will you be able to calculate your true buying power. And only when you have a firm offer on your old home will you truly know what you can offer on a new one. Read: How much does it really cost to sell a house? Read: Simple guide to mortgages when moving home

Step 8 – Prepare your home for sale Clean, tidy, neutral colours, clutter-free – you know all this! Do not feel you need to replace kitchen cabinets or bathroom suite if they are in working order. Read: How to prepare your home for sale Read: Room by room home staging guide

Step 9 – Invite shortlisted estate agents round Contact 3 local estate agents and invite them round to pitch for your business and present market appraisals. Do not choose the estate agent you dislike the least or the one that gives you the highest valuation or the lowest fee. Choose the estate agent that clearly justifies their pricing advice and can demonstrate how they are able to reach above average numbers of buyers active in your price range.

Step 10 – Negotiate estate agency contracts terms & fee An estate agent’s fee and contract can (and should) be negotiated. Never sign any contract before you have satisfactory answers to the following questions: How long is the tie-in period on your contract? – Get this down to no longer than 12 weeks in a cold market and 6 weeks in a hot market. Agents will long tie-in periods are to be treated with suspicion. Agents with short tie-in periods are to be applauded. How many weeks’ notice do I have to give? – Have this changed if you feel it is unfair (2-4 weeks is fair in our opinion). Is your agency agreement ‘sole agency’ or ‘sole selling rights’? – Make sure they explain the difference to you. Is there a ‘ready, willing and able’ clause within your Terms of Business? – Get it removed if the agent is claiming their service is ‘no sale no fee’. What are your fees inclusive of VAT? Are there any additional costs or withdrawal fees? – Negotiate on these if you feel they are unfair. When are fees (and any additional costs) due and when are they payable? – Fees should be due on exchange payable on completion. What redress scheme are you a member of? – All agents must belong to one. Top Tips: If you do not understand anything in the contract do not sign it. Instead, start asking a lot of questions and do not give-up until you get satisfactory answers. Cross out or change any clauses you find unacceptable. Remember the estate agent works for you, not the other way round. Contracts are negotiable and nothing is written in stone. Read: Estate Agent Fees: A guide for savvy sellers

Step 11 – Decide on your pricing strategy Get yourself a copy of the free strategy blueprint that accompanies PropCast™. It contains pricing advice that will be specific to your property and market condition. Action: Check your PropCast™ and get your free strategy blueprint

Step 12 – Instruct your chosen estate agent(s) Make sure your estate agent is clear on what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale. Give you estate agent chapter and verse on all the benefits there are to living in your home & area. Ask to have the agency negotiators (negs) tour your property. Sign the estate agency contract (in your home) and return. Give the estate agent a set of keys so they can conduct viewings.

Step 13 – Instruct DEA to conduct EPC By law you need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you can market your property. Have your estate agent take care of this or organise yourself.

Step 14 – Check (& sign off) draft marketing particulars Make sure you are happy with the photos and the description. Are all your properties main USP’s (unique selling points) on show and adequately described? Is there a floor plan? It is essential to have one in our opinion. If you are unhappy with anything do not hesitate to have the estate agent redo it.

Step 15 – Decide if now is the time to start making offers (if also buying) Do you offer now on new home or wait? If your selling in a hot market, now may be the right time to start making offers. If it is a cold market, it is probably best to wait until your property is firmly under offer. Read: Should I sell my home before buying a new one? Action: Check your PropCast™ to see how hot (or cold) your market is

Step 16 – Set your property live in the market Check your property advert on the property portals to make sure it is displaying correctly. Is it showing up for the kind of buyer searches you would expect? Has the agent got the right number of bedrooms?

Step 17 – Handle viewings We recommend letting the trained professionals take care of this. Try to be as accommodating to viewing requests as possible. It is a pain but you really should make sure the house is tidy and clean for every viewing.

Step 18 – Get progress report from estate agents Hopefully, you should already be getting these once a week. Ask to see your Rightmove property performance report and have the estate agent translate it. If you have had 10 viewings but no offers that could signal there’s a problem. If it has been two weeks and you are not getting any viewings, then there is almost certainly a problem. Read: How long should it take to sell your home?

Step 19 – Receive offers Under the Estate Agents Act 1979, estate agents have a legal duty to pass on all offers in writing. You are under no obligation to accept any offer. If it is too low, do not get upset, counteroffer. If your estate agent is of low integrity, you will need to be wary of undue pressure from them (on you) to accept an under-negotiated offer. A good estate agent will not just pass on offers and ask you what you want to do.