When getting ready to sell your home, there is a considerable amount of work to be done to get both yourself and your property ready. The process is not overly complex, but can seem a little daunting, especially if you haven't sold a property for quite some time. To help you prepare, here are the answers to some of the mot common questions we get asked as an estate agency.
How do I get started? – a good place to start is to read our 8-step guide to selling a property. You can also pop in to see us and have a coffee and chat about what’s involved in the process.
Should I use an agent – some people choose to try to sell their property themselves, however over 99% of residential properties in England and Wales and sold using an agent. There are lots of good reasons why using an agent makes sense.
How much does it cost – at Aspire Residential, we have three tiers of pricing to allow you to choose the level of services that you wish us to perform. Please contact us for further information.
When is the best time of year to sell? - like many things in life, the answer is “it depends”! Not very helpful – right? The reality is that most people don’t have the luxury of being able to pick an exact month they can sell. Other factors such as a need for more space, a change of job or change in personal circumstances tend to dictate when we sell our homes as opposed to a particular season. Our key piece of advice is that you should not feel pressurised or rushed into selling just because it’s a certain time of year. That said, if you do have the luxury of determining when to sell, then the data suggests there are some peak periods for property transactions – normally in the spring and the autumn.
Will I have to sign an agency agreement? – yes, when you engage us to sell your property we will ask you to sign an agreement to reflect the terms and conditions under which we will act for you. There a several different kinds of agency agreement. We will take the time to explain all aspects of each agreement to you.
There is a log of jargon involved, what does it all mean – we agree there is a lot of “property speak” involved in buying, selling and letting out property. Please refer to our “jargon busting” blog where we explain some of the terms you are likely to encounter when selling your property.
Do I need a “for sale” board – you don’t have to have a board and indeed, in some instances (such as leasehold flats) we might not be allowed to erect a board. However, our general advice is that, where allowed, you should put up a board. While most sales and viewings originate from on-line searches, you would be surprised at the number of enquiries that we still receive from people driving past properties and seeing for sale boards.
Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate – yes, to market and sell your home you will need to provide a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which gives a buyer information regarding the energy efficiency of your home and what the energy running costs are likely to be. If you do not have a current EPC we can arrange one for you.
How much should I sell my house for? – setting the right asking price for your home is probably the biggest decision that you will need to make. It’s important to strike a careful balance between achieving the maximum price and the time it takes to sell. If properties take too long to sell, then buyers can start to think that there is something wrong and might be more reluctant to view or make an offer.
Why have I received different values from agents? – valuing your house is not an exact science and each agent will have a slightly different perspective on its worth. Keep in mind however that some agents might under value your house to get a quick sale, while others might overvalue it just so you award them the listing. At Aspire Residential, we will give you a fair and realistic assessment of what we think your property is worth and then work with you to develop a marketing plan to achieve the best price possible.
How do you advertise my property? – we will develop a marketing plan for your property which involves a two-way process, as nobody knows your property better than you do. The key elements of our marketing strategy include determining the positive attributes of your property that should be proactively marketed, understanding any issues or concerns to be managed, identifying the target market(s) that the property is most likely to be attractive to, considering alternative properties that would be seen as competitive and then, based on all of this data, developing a specific marketing and advertising plan to reach as wide an audience, but also as specific an audience as possible. Using this approach, we can expect to achieve the best price for your property in the shortest period of time.
Do I need to use a solicitor? – yes, you will need to use a solicitor or conveyancing firm to complete the legal aspects of the sale on your behalf. Your buyer will also need to appoint their own solicitor or conveyancing firm.
What are title deeds? - title deeds provide proof of ownership of the property and are normally held by the mortgagor of a property. As part of the conveyancing, the title of the property will be transferred to the buyer and once complete, this will be registered at the Land Registry.
What are searches? - your buyer’s solicitor will undertake what is known as “searches”, which check for any potential developments near your property and also provide information on drainage, flooding and mining near the property.
What are “enquiries”? - the buyer’s solicitor might raise a number of enquiries/questions about the property based on the draft contact, search results, survey or any other matter. Ideally, all enquiries will be raised at one time, however practically, they tend to be raised sporadically as more information is received by the buyer’s solicitor. Your solicitor should answer the majority of the enquiries, however on occasion, they might need to refer the matter back to you for your input or decision.
Do I have to prepare my house for viewings? - there are some simple steps you can take to positively impact how your home is presented. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in “staging”, but there are some straightforward and cheap things that you can do to improve your home’s selling potential. The most critical point to remember is that “first impressions last”. People tend to make up their minds in the first 10 minutes about whether they like a property and whether they want to make an offer.
How long will it take to get an offer – this is a hard one to answer as it will depend on a number of factors such as current market conditions, the number of competing properties on the market, the condition of your property and ultimately, the price. Where a property is correctly priced taking into consideration all aspects and market conditions, we would hope to generate a degree of early interest in the first month and hopefully an offer in that period.
What are property information forms? - as the seller, you will need to complete a number of “property information forms” which provide the buyer with further information on the property, the fixtures and fittings to be included in the sale and, where relevant, details regarding leasehold property. You should aim to get these forms completed as quickly as possible and remember that all information provided in the property information forms should be correct. If it is determined that you have misled the buyer with the information you provide, you may be liable to legal action.
How long does it take to sell overall – Once you have received an offer on your property, there is a lot to do to progress the sale. This process is called “sales progression” and is further described below. We have to admit that the process is not “quick” as property searches, lending agreements etc all take a considerable amount of time to complete. You should expect sales progression to take 1-2 months and maybe a little longer if there are complications with the sale.
How can I check on the progress of the sale? – we will contact you frequently during the sales process to ensure that you are up to date with progress made. We are also available at any time to answer any questions that you might have. We know that selling a home can be stressful at times and communication is a critical part of our customer service.
Will there be a survey of my property – more than likely, however this will be a decision for the buyer and/or their lenders (if they are mortgaging the property). Most lenders require a valuation of the property which usually involves a superficial inspection. In addition to this, many buyers will engage a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a detailed home assessment and inspection.
What is sales progression? - the period between receipt of offer and completion of the sale is called sales progression. There are a number of parties involved including solicitors, surveyors, mortgage companies, the buyer and seller and of course, the agent. While much of the work performed during this period happens “behind the scenes”, it still requires a considerable degree of coordination to keep things moving along.
What does exchange of contract mean? - once all enquiries and outstanding matters have been dealt with and a formal mortgage offer received by the buyer’s solicitor, exchange of contracts can take place. Both the buyer and the seller will sign identical contracts and the “exchange” is undertaken between solicitors. On exchange, the buyer typically makes a “deposit” payment of 10% of the contract amount to the seller’s solicitor. The balance of the purchase price is paid on the completion date.
Can I pull out after exchange of contracts? - prior to exchange of contract, there is no obligation on either party to proceed, and either party may withdraw without penalty (other than paying the costs that they have incurred for solicitors, surveyors etc). However, an exchange of contract between solicitors creates a legally binding commitment on both buyer and seller to complete the transaction. If either party withdraws from the transaction after exchange, there will almost certainly be legal and financial consequences.
What is “completion”? - completion is the day that you will receive the funds from the sale of your property and the buyer will be handed the keys. Your solicitor or agent will notify you when completion takes place. Depending on the mortgage company, this normally takes place in the morning of the completion date, however where there is a long chain or there are banking delays, it can happen slightly later in the day.
How long will it be between exchange and completion? – on rare occasions, exchange and completion take place on the same day. However under normal circumstances there is normally a couple of weeks allowed so that the buyer, seller and lenders can get themselves ready for completion.