10 Steps To Selling A Home In The UK

10 Steps To Selling A Home In The UK
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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 have been through it all so will draw on their experience to help you along the way.

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.

We have always opted to sell our properties via estate agents. This is partly because estate agents are the only way you can get your property listed on Rightmove, the biggest of the property portals.

However, we also found that, despite having a bad reputation, most estate agents are very helpful and knowledgeable. More recently though, we have switched to using online estate agents as we feel they gave a good blend between keeping costs down while also getting specialised help and knowledge.

As the first of the 10 steps to selling a home in the UK, deciding on your selling strategy can be stressful.

With two main options, selling privately and having an estate agent, you must consider whether you would rather take the time or spend money to attract buyers.

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.

Painted kitchen tiles
We painted the kitchen tiles in our first home to give a cheap ‘uplift’

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.

Whenever we have sold a house, we’ve always focused on the low-cost ‘quick wins’. Things like pressure washing paths and patios can have a dramatic effect while replacing any mouldy silicone around baths and showers can help make the property look more cared for.

In our first home we had quite a dated kitchen. Rather than spend the £10k or so completely replacing it, we simply bought some paint and painted the walls and tiles. This made it look a little bit fresher and newer.

Many people would have still wanted to replace the kitchen but it at least made it look more palatable for people to put up with until they could revamp it.

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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.

We probably made a mistake when when we sold our previous home as we set the asking price a little too high. We’d always felt we sold our previous home a little cheaply so we wanted to avoid that mistake by pushing the asking price a little higher than our estate agent suggested.

What we didn’t factor in was the unusual layout would restrict the number of buyers it appealed to and we ended up having to reduce our asking price.

We eventually accepted an offer slightly below this new price so now we wonder if we could have sold quicker and perhaps for more if we had been more realistic from the start!

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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.

When we sold the last time we had one estate agent value the property quite a bit higher than the others. We discounted their valuation as too extreme and we were right to do. We ended up listing a little below their valuation, yet we still had to reduce it further to find a buyer.

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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.

When we last sold we found there are little tricks that can make all the difference. For example, using an asking price that ties in with the search bands on common property portals. This increases your exposure as you’ll show up for people using that price as their ‘to’ OR ‘from’ price.

We also made use of listing upgrades to increase exposure too. We started off with a standard Rightmove listing but then paid for a premium listing boost after we had reduced the asking price. This helped us get more eyes on our listing at a key time.

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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.

We found it useful to have a practice run-through when we did our own viewings. We worked out a route so we started and finished in the best room in the house, then we walked around as if we were showing each other around so we could work out what we wanted to say in each room.

After doing a few real viewings we started to learn what was working and what wasn’t and what parts people had more questions about. We then used this to improve our viewings, bringing in things like how old the boiler was before the person even asked.

We ended up getting lots of good feedback about our viewings even when people weren’t actually interested in our property. We even enjoyed doing them after a while!

We're almost to the final stages of the 10 steps to selling a home in the UK!

As they say, you never accept the first offer. Don't be afraid to negotiate  with your buyers. When making a deal, consider your terms, potential repairs, and finally, the price.

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, though try and avoid appearing to be pushy. We found that deadlines with specific reasons worked best.

For example, if you have another viewing booked in you can say “We would accept [slightly higher price] and take it off the market, but we have another viewing booked in for [day] so we’d like to go ahead with that before we decide at this price.”

We always found that worked well to put a deadline on people without telling them that’s what you’re doing. If the buyer is serious about the property and can afford it, they’ll likely want to try and get it taken off the market before the other viewing goes ahead.

And finally, negotiate wisely. Always be prepared to negotiate on price, terms and potential repairs. Your estate agent can help you with this process.

We have used things like offering to include furniture or white goods if the buyer ups their offer to a certain amount. This has worked several times for us.

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.

Remember that having a reliable estate agent and solicitor by your side can make a world of difference, ensuring a smooth and successful sale.

Best of luck with your home-selling journey!


  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

    View all posts
  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

    View all posts
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