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FAQs

 

 

 

 

What if I am already using an estate agent?

You can normally still sell privately as well as using an agent. Using both should incentivise the agent to work harder whilst still giving you the opportunity to save money by selling your property yourself.

Check your contract however. A 'Multi Agency' agreement should not cause any problems although we recommend that you let your agent know that you will be trying to sell the property yourself.

Under a 'Sole agency' contract, you still have the option of selling privately at the same time. However, the estate agent you've already appointed is the only estate agent with the right to sell your property.  So if the website you pick happens to be an online estate agent - as opposed to simply listing your property - you existing estate agent could claim commission if the buyer is introduced by the online agent during the sole agency period (and that period could be several months long).

The one to avoid at all costs - and which is thankfully very rare - is a  'Sole Selling' agreement means that your agent can claim a commission regardless even if you sell privately to your Mum.

It’s still important to read the contract wording to make sure – and ask your agent to amend it if need be. If using an Internet Property Retailer (IPR) to sell your house, be particularly careful to check that your contract does not contain a clause which prevents you from using other IPRs at the same time as using the services of the estate agent.

 

 

 

 

 

Where do I start ? The process of selling a house doesn't have to be complicated. Cutting out the estate agent you could even speed things up and avoid misunderstandings as you can negotiate directly with your buyer without going through a third party. In a nutshell, here's what to do:-

 

  1. Buy a good quality guide book to explain each step in the private sale process

  2. Register with suitable online listings sites, advertising sites and estate agents and upload your property details and pay any one-off fee

  3. When someone is interested in your property they will contact you directly

  4. Arrange and conduct your own viewings and negotiate a price directly with the buyer

  5. Once a sale is agreed, swap solicitor/conveyancer details with your buyer

  6. Your solicitor should handle the rest of the process and will confirm to you when exchange is imminent and when you have been paid for your property and when you have to hand over the keys and vacate

  7. If you are buying another property, your solicitor or conveyancer will integrate the purchase so the whole process runs smoothly

 

Negotiating a price is probably the point that will concern most private sellers so it's important that you have in your mind the price you are prepared to accept and you stick to it.

 

Selling your property in a falling market

If you need to sell your home in a slow or falling market, there are several ways to help ensure your property sells.

Hints and tips for  selling in a slow market

  • Present your property well, making sure it has good ‘kerb appeal’ and is clean, tidy and clutter free.
  • Price your property realistically. Trying to get the ‘top price’ for your property could mean you don’t sell for months and then have to drop your property price even further.
  • Use price points or offers to attract buyers. For example if your property is priced at £265,000, offer to pay the additional 2% stamp duty, or make sure that your property is the best value for its kind in your location.
  • Even if you receive a low offer, consider accepting if it allows you to move into your next home.
  • Consider buying a new home from a reputable company that will offer to ‘part exchange’ yours.
  • Have an RICS surveyor survey your home, so you can show people it's worth what you are asking and that there is nothing to do on the property. If work needs doing, get it done to a good standard, or price the property accordingly.

Seller beware!

There are some companies offering to buy your property for ‘cash’ and others that will buy your property from you and then rent it back. Some of these companies offer fair schemes but others offer a much lower price than it’s really worth. Some agree that you can rent the property for as long as you want, but then serve notice for you to move out within months of buying your property.

Never sell to these companies unless:

  • you have an independent survey from a surveyor (or an estate agent that has a surveying practice)
  • you use your own legal company (not the one recommended by the cash buyer), so that you gain independent advice on the deal

For more information on what affects a property's value, getting on to the property ladder, valuing a property and making an offer, and how to prepare and value your own property, buy the Haynes Home Buying & Selling Manual.

 

 

 

 

Is it worth the effort?

Of course this is up to you, but we think that selling your own home isn't so difficult and the money you will save by not paying an estate agent more than makes it worth while.

An estate agent's fee will most likely depend upon how much your house sells for and what percentage commission they charge; and that's likely to equate to many thousands of pounds. How many weeks would you have to work to earn the same amount? Yet for just a few hours work you could keep that money and spend it something you really want...a new kitchen, a holiday, a second car...

 

 

 


 

 

Useful links

www.theadvisory.co.uk

www.owner-sales.co.uk

www.propertysigns.co.uk

www.naea.co.uk

www.suzylamplugh.org

Mortgage Calculator

Property Search

UK Region Ratings

 

Home-extension.co.uk

Loft-rooms.com

Victorian-house.co.uk

Rightsurvey.co.uk

Home-Moving.co.uk

ThirtiesHouse.co.uk


 

 

 

 

8 Easy Steps to Selling a Home Yourself

Actually, it should be 9 steps because before you start, it's essential to arm yourself with a good quality, comprehensive guide book, such as the Haynes Home Buying & Selling Manual.  Remember you're about to enter a strange world inhabited by some high powered property professionals, such as solicitors, mortgages providers and surveyors - and it helps if you  speak the same language!

Understanding each step in the sales process, including all the conveyancing jargon, will give you the best chance of a success. With a little guidance, you can do it!

Step 1. Preparing your home to sell - make it look great

Presentation is everything! Home buyers are attracted to clean, spacious and attractive houses. Your goal is to dazzle buyers. Brighten-up the house and remove all clutter from counter tops, tables and rooms. Scrub-down your house from top to bottom. Make it sparkle. Simple aesthetic improvements such as trimming trees, planting flowers, fixing squeaking steps, broken tiles, shampooing rugs and even re-painting a faded bedroom will greatly enhance its appeal. Also, make sure your property smells good. So be sure to banish smelly dogs, clean out the cat tray and light mildly scented candles.

Invite a neighbour over to walk through your house like a buyer would. Get their opinion on how it "shows." The stuffed crocodile in the lounge may have to go to the garage for a while.

 

 

Step 2. Pricing your home effectively

Do not over price your home. Over-pricing when you sell a home reduces buyer interest, makes competing homes look  better value, and can lead to mortgage rejections once the mortgage valuation is done. Over-pricing is the single biggest reason why some "for sale by owner" home sellers struggle to sell  successfully. Remember: the property market dictates the price (not what you think it should be worth).

 Get at least three price quotes from local estate agents, and then compare prices in your street and be brutally honest about the condition of your property. Don’t be tempted to increase the price just because you like your house – you’re making your job of selling harder.

One of the best ways to correctly price your house when selling is to find out how much other properties, similar to your own, recently sold for in your neighborhood. Check out   sites sucvh as www.rightmove.co.uk  and www.nethouseprices.co.uk .

When deciding what price to put your house on for, remember estate agents don’t give a valuation but rather suggest an asking price – sure they know the market but it’s hardly an exact science. Research the market yourself and be flexible. It’s tempting to overprice a house but it’s better to ask a realistic, if lower price, than leave it languishing on the market for months then dropping the price. And remember, if there are two or more parties interested in your home, the resulting bidding war could push the agreed price above the asking price anyway.

In a normal market, if you set the price of your home at say 5 percent above the true market price, you are likely to end up with an offer close to your home's true value. But in a slow 'buyers' market' this could deter buyers.  Also, you may try calculating the cost per square metre of your home compared to other houses selling prices in your area (divide price by floor area of all livable space). If your house has more features or other desirable qualities, you may want to set a slightly higher house selling price.

The easiest way to accurately price your home is to contact a local chartered surveyor valuer for a prefessional opinion. These are the guys who do mortgage valuations for lenders and should know their stuff. A private valuation needn't cost much.

Finally, set your house asking price just under a whole number, such as £169,900 rather than £170,000.

 

Step 3.    Appoint a good conveyancer

An good, experienced conveyancer can speed up the sale process, leaving less time for deals to fall through. They should be able to organise your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and hopefully provide some peace-of-mind by keeping you informed throughout, from offer to completion.

 

Step 4. Marketing your home

Exposure, exposure, exposure. That's how sellers sell their home fast.

Pick the private-seller websites that best cover your geographical area. Try a free ad in Gumtree and other online classified ad sites. Try listing your prorperty on one or more of the dedicated property listing sites. Then pick an online agent, having first checked your contract with any existing estate agent you're already employing. The best online agents will list your property on the big 'trade-only' websites like rightmove and primelocation.

Writing your property particulars

Write a glowing yet accurate  description of your house that's short, simple and to-the-point. Long, flowery prose will not make your house sound more appealing. It will simply make it harder for the home buyer to read. Make sure to provide the critical facts buyers are looking for such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a re-fitted kitchen, etc.

Most home buyers quickly scan ads, so it is important that your house stands out. For example, you may want to add a theme-line such as "Priced below market" or "Great schools." Stay away from industry jargon and use language that makes home buyers comfortable.

Home Photos: Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words

If you are taking a photo of your home, be sure that the front garden and drive is uncluttered. Remove bikes, rubbish bins and parked cars. The same applies for interior shots. People are looking to buy your house, not your possessions. Think of furniture as props and the room a stage. Move things around if you have to. Take lots of house photos. The more you shoot, the better the odds are that you'll get a few really good shots.

Information sheets

It is a good idea to create an information sheet (with a photo) about your home to give potential buyers when the visit your home.  This can form the basis of your internet listings. Be honest and informative in your description. Measure the size of rooms accurately and avoid the clichés of estate-agent jargon – it’s probably one of the things that put you off using them in the first place. It is an offence for estate agents to mislead in describing a property, so you should follow the same rules. Say if your home is freehold or leasehold and the length of the lease. Think about what attracted you to the property when you bought it.

It is a good idea to create an information sheet (with a photo) about your home to give potential buyers when the visit your home.  This can form the basis of your internet listings. Be honest and informative in your description. Measure the size of rooms accurately and avoid the clichés of estate-agent jargon – it’s probably one of the things that put you off using them in the first place. It is an offence for estate agents to mislead in describing a property, so you should follow the same rules. Say if your home is freehold or leasehold and the length of the lease. Think about what attracted you to the property when you bought it.

Compile a list of the measurements of every room, and consider which fixtures, fittings and appliance are included in the price, and if there are any guarantees for works done,  so that buyers-to-be have all the info they need to hand. This will also underlines what an organized and helpful seller you will be

For Sale signs

'A sign is a fine investment' as the old saying goes. Signs are still a useful marketing tool since they attract attention to your home. Professionally-produced signs give prospective buyers a "quality" impression of your house. Most buyers are local, and it's surprising how much boards get noticed. You can buy a double-sided board complete with post for about £30, or it's an easy job to do yourself. Keep the message simple - 'viewing by appointment only' and your mobile telephone number should be enough. There are size restrictions for boards – they can be no bigger than 80cm by 60cm. If you live in central London or a conservation area, check with the planning department to see if there are any restrictions as you could be fined for displaying a board without permission

Act local

Selling privately can be as low-tech as simply putting a sign up in your window, or getting a proper ‘For Sale’ sign to stick in the front garden. You don’t want to exclude buyers who don’t have access to the internet. Putting a notice in several local newsagents’ windows or on a notice board in the supermarket is also a proven approach. You could also drop flyers locally, although this is more costly in both time and money.

Dealing with enquiries

Be professional and prepared for enquiries. A mobile number on your advertising gives you a little more security. When you get calls, have your questions ready. Do they know the area? What exactly are they looking for? Do they have a property to sell? How quickly can they move? How long have they been looking? Do they have finance in place? This gives you vital information about any potential buyer and how serious they are, before they come round.

 

Step 5.  Conducting viewings and negotiating an offer

Viewings are always by appointment only. Have someone with you when conducting viewings. You then have a valuable second opinion on the potential purchaser. Have any relevant paperwork to hand: utility bills, service charges, any planning permission statements, certificates for major works. This proves to the purchaser that you are serious about selling.

It’s essential to present your home to its best advantage. Make sure it’s clean inside and out, eliminate unnecessary clutter and consider putting some furniture in storage to enhance the sense of space.

Security is a priority. Estate agents claim to be safer as they vet all viewers before sending them to view your home, although in reality they often hand out particulars (including addresses) to parties walking in off the street. Protect yourself by taking the name, address and contact details of anyone coming to view your home, and don’t conduct the viewings alone.

You are your home's best salesman

As every salesman knows, to be effective you have to really know your product. And who knows your home better than you? Certainly not an estate agent, who, in all likelihood, has spent only a few moments in your house before showing it to prospective buyers. Sell your neighborhood as well as your house. Show enthusiasm, but don't babble away endlessly. Give viewers time to think.                

If you’re not an experienced seller or negotiator it’s easy to be modest and undersell your home. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet. Be sure to point out that you have the complete service history of the boiler, or that there is a lovely suntrap in the garden, that local schools are brilliant or that you have off-street parking, for example. Prepare yourself for questions – both good and bad – thinking through answers that are honest but positive. Will prospective buyers ask about traffic noise from your busy street, a lack of street lighting in your quiet lane, rumours about a bypass in the vicinity? You are in a better position than an estate agent to provide information about your home.

Take a telephone number and do a follow-up call with the viewer. Feedback is important and gives valuable clues to the strengths and weaknesses of your property

When a potential buyer makes an offer, remember the purchase price isn't everything. Carefully consider the purchaser's position. have they already sold? Are they cash buyers? can they proceed without a chain? That said, never accept the first price they offer. If you make it easy, they'll later think they could have got it cheaper and may be tempted to try to renegotiate weeks later with potentially disasterous consequences.

Assess your buyer's financial qualifications

Is the buyer's mortgage  pre-approved? How much of a loan is the buyer seeking? Be sure that your buyer can obtain the funds  and / or mortgage and put their money where their mouth is.

Know the market

How you judge an offer also can depend on market conditions. If the selling market is slow, you may feel vulnerable, especially if you're in a hurry to sell.  In a hot market where multiple offers are likely  be wary of offers that promise more money but buyers may not have funding to back it up and could later pull out.

If you feel an offer is insufficient,repsond with a counter offer. Rarely is a first offer the buyer's absolute highest price they are willing to pay. Negotiating is part of the home selling process.

 

Step 6. The survey

Mortgage lenders normally require a surveyor to visit the property to carry out a basic mortgage valuation inspection, which takes about 20 - 30 minutes.  Buyers may also instruct a proper survey - either a Homebuyer Survey or a Building Survey which are more thorough, taking roughly 1.5 hours and half a day respectively (depending on the size of property).

It's important to present your home as well a spossible and to be helpful to surveyors, as they play a crucial role. Any 'downvaluation' can seriously affect your buyers mortgage application, and may result in them renegotiating the purchase price.

Once the inspections are complete, the buyer 's banks can issue their mortgage offer, without which they can't exchange contracts.

For more information see www.rightsurvey.co.uk

 

Step 7   Conveyancing

The legal process of transfering ownership of a property is known as conveyancing. This process starts as soon as you appoint your solicitor/conveyancer. But the serious action only begins once you've accepted an offer and provided them with your buyer's details.

In the meantime, you can help manage the process by keeping everyone updated and motivated, keeping things moving. This  transparency between you and your buyer makes them less likely to mess you about and sink your sale, and is one of the biggest bonuses of selling privately.

Key conveyancing tasks for the buyer include instructing local authority searches, checking title at the land registry, and making enquiries about your property generlaly, including any legal rights and  restictions, and any planning and building regulations consents that should have been obtained for extensions etc. The seller's solicitor will assist in answering enquiries, and will want to see proof of funds /mortgage offer before exchanging contracts. A  deposite of 5% or 10%  is normally paid by the purchasers upon exchange. This is where problems further along the chain can sometimes cause lengthy delays, so the shorter the chain the better. Once you've exchanged you're pretty much home and dry, as buyers can't pull out without severe penalties. Completion & moving normally takes place 2 -4 weeks after exchange, so book your removals in good time - and get packing!.

 

Step 8  Completion

Once the buyer's solicitor has transfered the balance of the purchase money, you should be free to pick up the keys and move in to your new home. The morning is usually spent loading up the removal truck, so you're out of your existing home by 2pm latest.

Check that all the power and services work at the new property and that the sellers have left the agreed fixtures and fittings.

 

 

 

 

 

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