Selling a home can be a daunting and stressful process, especially if you are not familiar with the legal and practical aspects involved.
With some careful planning and preparation, you can make the process of selling a property in the UK smoother and more successful.
Whether you’re an experienced seller or a first-time homeowner looking to sell your home, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps to ensure a lucrative sale.
From preparing your home for the market to completing the legal paperwork, the Property Road team has got you covered with helpful tips at every stage.
Step 1. Decide on your selling strategy
While you will be keen to have an estate agent price up your property and take some enticing images to attract buyers, you should really take time to understand what buyers are looking for, how you find them and what to do when they want to view your home.
You have two main options when selling a home:
- Using an estate agent: An agent can handle the marketing, viewings, negotiations and paperwork for you, but they will charge you a commission, usually between 1% and 3% of the sale price
- Selling privately: This route can save you money on fees, but you will have to do all the work yourself, including advertising, arranging viewings, negotiating with buyers and dealing with solicitors. You also need to be aware of the legal requirements and risks involved in selling privately, such as complying with consumer protection laws and avoiding fraud or scams.
There is a reason why this is the first of the steps to selling a home in the UK. Each option has its pros and cons, so you need to weigh them very carefully.
For example, when selling privately you need to be confident that you can market your home to potential buyers – and there is strong demand for homes like yours.
If not, it’s worth paying a commission to an estate agent who has years of experience in selling homes in the UK and will have a list of potential purchasers and guide you through the selling process.
Step 2. Prepare your home for sale
As mentioned previously, you need to take a step back and appreciate what you need to do before your home even hits the market.
That means you need to make sure it is in the best possible condition to attract buyers. For example:
- Cleaning: Give your home a deep clean, including carpets, windows, and appliances
- Decluttering: Remove excess clutter and personal items from your home to create a clean, neutral canvas
- Repair: Fix any visible issues such as leaky taps, broken tiles, or chipped paint
- Decorating: Give your home a lick of paint, but don’t choose garish or unpopular colours. You’ll need neutral tones so a potential buyer can envisage their own decorations in place.
The idea is to make your home look spacious, bright, and appealing. You may also want to consider some minor improvements or upgrades that can add value to your home, such as installing energy-efficient appliances and replacing old carpets.
You may also have heard of the term ‘kerb appeal’. This is what makes your home attractive to potential buyers as they pull up.
After all, research suggests that a potential will know in a few minutes whether they want to buy your home or not.
Enhance your home’s kerb appeal by maintaining the front garden, painting the front door and repairing any visible exterior damage. You should also consider planting flowers or adding potted plants to create an inviting entrance.
However, despite being one of the core steps to selling a home in the UK, you have to avoid going overboard and spending too much money on major renovations that may not pay off or suit the buyers’ tastes.
Step 3. Set a realistic price
One of the most important factors in selling a home is pricing it correctly. If you price your home too high, you may deter potential buyers or have to lower it later, which can damage your credibility and bargaining power.
If you price your home too low, you may lose out on profit or attract buyers who are looking for a bargain and may not be serious or reliable. Here’s how to determine the right price:
- Research the market: Study recent sales in your area to get a sense of the current market conditions and prices for homes like yours
- Ask an agent: The easiest way to find out how much your home is worth is to ask an estate agent
- Go online: You can visit online sites that will calculate how much your home is worth or visit a site that offers recent sales data and see what a home in your street sold for
- Be realistic: We all want to get the price possible when selling, but you do need to be realistic. You may have a certain price in mind, but it’s essential to be open to negotiation to attract serious buyers.
It’s also worth noting when considering the sale price that you will have selling costs – along with the estate agent fees, you will have legal fees, and there are potential maintenance or repair expenses.
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Step 4: Choosing the right estate agent
Selecting the right estate agent is a critical decision among the steps to selling a home in the UK that can significantly impact the sale of your property. You will need to:
- Do your research: Interview several estate agents to compare their services and fees.
- Check online: Search for reviews to see what they are good at – some agents are better at selling certain types of homes
- Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from friends and family
- Check their track record: Look for an estate agent with a proven track record of selling properties like yours in your area
- References: Ask for references and contact previous clients to gauge their satisfaction
- Negotiate fees: Be prepared to negotiate the estate agent’s fees, as they can vary widely. Remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best.
This last piece of advice is crucial, and you shouldn’t be shy when doing so.
Also, you need to be wary of an agent who prices your home higher than other agents. They could realistically believe that’s a price they can achieve – or they might just be wanting to attract you as a client.
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Step 5: Market your home effectively
Once you have decided on your selling strategy and prepared your home for sale, you need to advertise it to potential buyers. This means:
- Take high-quality photos: The agent (or you) must take images that showcase your home in the best possible way. Ensure your property is well-lit and tidy for the photo shoot – and if yours is a high-value home, then investing in a professional property photographer will be a sound investment
- Online listings: Make sure your property is listed on popular property websites like Rightmove, Zoopla, and OnTheMarket
- Describe it well: The agent needs to create an enticing description that highlights your home’s unique features.
If you are using an estate agent, they will handle the marketing for you, but you should still check their performance and get feedback regularly.
Step 6: Arrange and conduct viewings
Viewings are one of the essential steps to selling a home in the UK, as they allow buyers to see your home in person and get a feel for it.
You should try to arrange viewings at convenient times for both you and the buyers, such as evenings or weekends. You should also prepare your home for each viewing by:
- Tidying up
- Opening the curtains
- Turning on the lights and heating
- Adding fresh flowers or scents.
During the viewing, be friendly and polite but not too pushy or intrusive. Let the buyers explore your home at their own pace and answer any questions they may have honestly and confidently.
Step 7: Negotiate with buyers and accept an offer
After receiving an offer from a buyer, you need to decide whether to accept it, reject it or make a counteroffer. This depends on several factors, such as:
- How close the offer is to your asking price
- How quickly you want to sell your home
- How many other offers you have received or expect to receive
- How serious and reliable the buyer is.
You should also consider any conditions or contingencies that the buyer may attach to their offer, such as a survey, mortgage approval, or the length of the sales chain you might be involved with.
You should always respond to an offer promptly and professionally and keep in touch with the buyer until you reach an agreement.
It’s also worth considering setting a deadline for offers to create a sense of urgency.
And finally, negotiate wisely. Always be prepared to negotiate on price, terms and potential repairs. Your estate agent can help you with this process.
Consider any contingencies in the offers, such as a buyer’s ability to secure financing.
Step 8: After you accept an offer
When you’re satisfied with an offer, it’s time to accept and move forward. Now it is time to:
- Confirm the buyer’s finances: Ensure that the buyer has the necessary finance in place to complete the purchase. Your estate agent and solicitor can assist with this verification – this is where a buyer with a pre-approved mortgage should be taken seriously
- Instruct a solicitor: You will need to hire a solicitor or a conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the sale.
An experienced conveyancer or solicitor will:
- Prepare and review the contract of sale
- Conduct searches and checks on the property title and boundaries
- Liaise with the buyer’s solicitor and mortgage lender
- Arrange for the payment of any taxes or fees
- Transfer the ownership of the property to the buyer.
Out of all the steps to selling a home in the UK, this one is the most crucial. You will need to choose a reputable solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of the sale.
You will also need to share all necessary property information with your solicitor to speed up the process.
Step 9: Exchange contracts
Once all conditions are met, you will exchange contracts with the buyer. This legally binds both parties to the sale.
Before contracts are exchanged, be prepared for the buyer to request a survey — potentially a full property survey to highlight any issues – before finalising the contract.
Remember, once you sign and exchange contracts with the buyer, the sale becomes legally binding, and you both agree on a completion date.
This means you cannot pull out – if you do, there are legal and financial ramifications to deal with. Ask your solicitor what these might be if you are considering this route.
Step 10: Complete the sale and move out
One of the most awaited steps to selling a home in the UK is completing the sale and moving out.
On the completion date, which is usually between two and four weeks after exchanging contracts, you will receive the final payment from the buyer’s solicitor, and you will hand over the keys to your home.
You will also need to pay any outstanding bills or charges, cancel or transfer any utilities or services, and inform any relevant parties of your change of address.
You will also need to pack and move out your belongings, either by yourself or with the help of a removal company.
You should leave your home in a clean and tidy condition and take any items that are not included in the sale, such as furniture or appliances.
Steps to selling a home in the UK – Summary
Congratulations, you have successfully sold your home in the UK!
Take a moment to celebrate the successful sale of your property and the beginning of a new chapter in your life.
Selling a home in the UK can be a complex process, but by following these steps and tips, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the process with confidence.
Best of luck with your home-selling journey!