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The Process of Selling a House Explained

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The process of selling a house can be a tricky one, especially if you’ve never done it before. Staying organised, proactive and communicative is key. Let’s explore the different steps, and share some tips, to help things go as smoothly as possible.

#1 How long is the process of selling a house?

The time it takes to sell a house varies depending on a number of factors, such as how many of you are in the property chain. Usually, you’re looking at around 4-6 months from listing to completion, though it can be faster or slower.

For example, if buyer demand is high, selling your home could well be quicker than the average. However, even if it is, the process can hit unexpected bumps along the way, so be prepared.

How can you speed up the process?

  • Sell to a cash buyer 
  • Sell to a chain-free buyer (e.g. a first-time buyer)
  • Get organised early on
  • Ensure your estate agent is marketing your home well
  • Micromanage the sale from start to finish
    • Who is doing what? What needs to happen when?
  • Find a good, proactive solicitor or conveyancer
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#2 – How much is your home worth? 

Knowing how much your home is worth can be tricky; get three or four valuations, evaluate them and ensure you feel confident with the suggested asking price, based on what the local market is doing. 

Be aware of overly inflated asking price suggestions, it has been known to be used by some agents to try and win your business.

Look at other sold prices for similar properties in the area as a guide. Also consider what makes your property unique, and ensure any special features are shouted about. 

It’s essential to get the asking price right, as this can impact the amount of interest your property gets, and therefore how long it is or isn’t  on the market. The longer your home is on the market, the more likely you may be more likely to need to reduce your asking price. 

What should you do?

Invite 2/3 estate agents to view and value your property, after doing your own research, and compare their prices. It’s always a good idea to befriend local estate agents; they’re the ones with their ear to the ground and will be working in your favour. 

Remember though, it’s in their interest too for the sale price to be as high as possible. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to keep in mind.

#3 – Get your head around the finances

From estate agent fees to solicitors, the cost of selling a house adds up. If you’ve decided to sell, you need to ensure you can afford it. From estate agent fees to solicitors, make sure you’ve got your head around it all. Bear in mind you have options when it comes to selling a house with a mortgage, so do your research and find out what’s best for you.

#4 – Is the timing right?

Knowing whether it’s a good time to sell a house is a very personal decision. Don’t be pressured by talks of high house prices or buyer demand, knowing whether now’s the time depends on your individual circumstances. 

Selling Podcast – Tune In

#5 – Provide an EPC

Sellers must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property, which provides your home with an energy efficiency rating. This should be done before you start marketing or selling your property. 

#6 – List your property for sale

Your listing creates the first impression of your home: make it a good one. Ensure:

  • There are plenty of photos
  • All photos are of a high-quality
  • The description is attention grabbing and accurate
  • All key features are highlighted
  • You are confident in the asking price 

Wrong price or wrong agent are two of the most common reasons why a house won’t sell, so make sure yours is being marketed well and at the right price. 

#7 – Find a solicitor 

A solicitor will be integral to ensuring the sale progresses efficiently; they’ll deal with multiple tasks during the conveyancing process, from deposit transfer to liaising with mortgage lenders, to registering property ownership with the land registry. 

It’s a good idea to instruct one early on, before you’re under offer, around the time you find your estate agent.

We can connect you with professionals who work on a no sale, no fee basis. Get a conveyancing quote below.

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#8 – Get ready for viewings

Did you know…? The best buyers are likely to walk through your door in the first two weeks! It’s a good idea to duck out of the first viewing if you can, and let the agent do their job, taking any children or pets with you. 

Other tips for selling your home include:

  • Decluttering – but not depersonalising 
  • Removing any odours (e.g. pets and their beds) 
  • Ensuring your home is clean and gleaming
  • Making it look as spacious as possible

The average number of viewings to sell your house is 10, but it can be longer if your house isn’t presented well. But, it can be quicker if you make a good impression!

Should you renovate first?

It can be a good idea to add value to your home before you sell. Even small changes can go a long way; you’d be surprised at what a fresh lick of paint or new carpet can do. 

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#9 – Get feedback

Potential buyers will all be looking for different things, but it’s important your agent gives you thorough feedback after every viewing.

#10 – Find a buyer

How do you know when a good offer is on the table? It’s not all about money here, consider the buyer’s position too. Finding the right buyer means asking yourself:

  • How prepared are they?
    • Do they have a mortgage in principle? 
  • Are they in a chain? If so, how many are in the chain?
    • Is their home under offer?
  • How much interest have they expressed in your property?
  • Are they organised and communicative?
  • What are their timescales?
    • What are yours?

#11 – Accept an offer

If you think you’ve found the right buyer, it’s time to accept their offer – ensure you get it in writing. Remember though, accepting an offer doesn’t mean you’re on the home straight just yet, no house sale is guaranteed to go through.

Gazundering is legal in England and Wales (where the buyer lowers their offer after it’s been accepted).

Reduce your risk of this by building a relationship with the buyer if you can, at the very least make sure you and your solicitor are proactive and communicative at every step.

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Both solicitors will confirm the sale is agreed, subject to contract. 

#12 – Surveys & checks

From mortgage valuations to getting a property survey, a number of checks will need to be arranged on your home to ensure the sale can go through.

Sometimes, an offer might be lowered for legitimate reasons, such as survey findings that will be costly to fix. The main issues include subsidence, damp or problems with the roof.

#13 – Contract drafting

If you have them, give the title deeds to your solicitor, who will then draw up a contract to be sent to the buyer’s solicitor. 

This is also the stage where you’ll need to confirm certain details, such as boundaries. The buyer’s solicitor will also carry out a number of searches, including Local Authority information. They’ll also look at things like planning history and any planned developments in the area.

#14 – Sign the contract 

Now it’s time to sign on the dotted line! Your solicitor will lead this process and tell you when to do what.

#15 – Agree moving dates 

Agreeing a date for the exchange of contracts and completion (move-out day) can require some compromise from both sides, and will be agreed by both solicitors. 

#14 – Exchange 

Up until the exchange of contracts, either party can pull out of the sale. But, if all goes to plan, this is the point where the sale becomes legally binding. 

A lot needs to happen between exchange and completion, including deposit transfer. It’s also the moment the buyer should take out insurance.

#15 – Get a removals quote

Time to start getting prepared for moving day! While the cost of moving house can add up, it’s recommended to use a professional removals company if you can. 

This can help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible, and your possessions may only be covered by your insurance if you use a professional service. 

Get a removals quote below – it’s free!

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#16 – Complete

This is the moment where you hand over the keys and payment is made – you can finally celebrate!

#17 – Tie up loose ends

From banks to your employer, you should notify a number of parties of your change of address. It’s also a good idea to:

What’s the process of selling and buying a house?

If you’re buying and selling, as many are, you’ll also need to pull together a deposit and get a mortgage

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You should only start the hunt for your new home after you’ve found an interested buyer and your home is under offer. Until then, you’re not in an attractive position; you’re not seen as an ‘active buyer’ to the seller, meaning you could lose out to others.

Also, ensure you get a property survey on the home you’re looking to buy, to avoid nasty surprises later down the line. 

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How to sell a house top tips

Here’s some general advice when it comes to selling a house:

  1. Add kerb appeal – get the outside looking smart
  2. Consider the buyer’s position at all times: would you buy your property? If not, how can you increase its appeal?
  3. Get clever with lighting – it can make rooms look more spacious
  4. Use professional photography
  5. Time your sale right
    1. Figure out your finances 
    2. Consider buyer demand
    3. Look at house prices
  6. Invest in minor repairs
  7. Apply for planning permission (it increases house value even if you don’t build on it)
  8. Get a good solicitor 

Finding the right solicitor is key. We can take the hassle out of the process, connecting you with experts. It’s free to enquire and takes seconds!

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Last Updated: November 3rd, 2021