Selling and moving property is one of the biggest decisions you can make. Below, we have provided a guide on selling a property in England and Wales, along with some important things to take into consideration.
Guide for selling a property
Work out your finances
If you have a mortgage on a property, contact your current lender to find out the amount outstanding and whether you would be charged any early repayment penalties for selling the property.
Decide on the price you wish to receive for your home. This is generally done by obtaining multiple valuations of the property from local estate agents. When deciding the price add a small percentage to it which you hope to receive, however, keep in mind issues such as stamp duty thresholds which a buyer may be looking to keep below.
Consider your move to new accommodation after the sale, whether you are looking to purchase another property or enter the rental market. It is important to ensure that you will have enough funds to proceed with this.
If you are selling and then buying a property and intend to transfer or port your existing mortgage to your new property, you will need to obtain a new mortgage offer as this does not take place automatically.
Prepare for the sale
Allow time to tidy, declutter, redecorate and/or carry out minor repairs to your property in order to present your home in the best possible condition for viewings.
Gather all necessary deeds, documents and guarantees that were given to you when you purchased the property, and any paperwork for building/repair work, gas or electrical installations carried out during your ownership. These will all be required during the sale process.
Instruct an estate agent
After you have prepared your property, you will want to get your property on the market with an estate agent. Set aside time to research estate agents and obtain several valuations and costs to ensure that the package offered is the best one for your property sale. By obtaining at least three valuations you can smooth out any anomalies between the top and lowest price.
Instruct your estate agent to start marketing your property and ensure that they commission an Energy Performance Certificate Assessment, which is a legal requirement (unless the property is a listed building).
Instruct a solicitor/conveyancer
When considering quotes from solicitors/conveyancers, look for firms with the conveyancing quality logo which means that they are conveyancing specialists accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
Once you have instructed a solicitor/conveyancer, make them aware of any deadlines or requirements you have so that these can be passed on to all parties involved. Provide them with the property deeds, documents, guarantees and paperwork mentioned previously. By providing these at the outset, your conveyancer/solicitor can issue the documents to the buyer with the contract papers, which should reduce the number of enquiries raised.
Keep in regular contact with your solicitor/conveyancer and estate agent. Frequent, clear communication is vital to ensure a smooth and swift sale of your home.
Once a buyer is confirmed, a typical transaction will take six to eight weeks to complete. However, this is only an estimate and timescales will depend on the speed of any chain and the complexity of the title of the property.
Exchange of contracts
Once a buyer has been found and a price agreed, the solicitors/conveyancers will liaise to deal with any queries raised in respect of searches, title checks, surveys and financial arrangements.
Once these are in order, you will be ready to become legally bound to the sale. In readiness for this, your solicitor/conveyancer should have obtained your signature to the contract and will also have agreed a completion (moving) date with your buyer.
Signing the contract in advance has no legal effect – it is not until the seller and buyer exchange signed contracts that the transaction becomes legally binding.
At the exchange of contracts, the buyer is required to pay a deposit. This must be paid through the solicitor and not directly to the seller – this is a requirement of money laundering regulations which protect against fraud.
If you pull out of the sale after exchange of contracts, the buyer is entitled to have their deposit returned. If the buyer pulls out of the sale after exchange, they will lose their deposit.
Completion (moving date)
The completion date is the date on which the funds will be transferred and the keys will be given to the buyer(s). Once the balance monies have arrived at your conveyancer/solicitor’s bank, the matter legally completes and you have to vacate the property.
You must ensure that all your belongings and any refuse are removed before leaving the property. If you believe that you will not be able to have the property clear by the time of completion, you must let your solicitor/conveyancer know so that they can iron out any issues in advance.
How can Nelsons help?