If you have decided to sell your home, you have probably had friends telling you that it’s one of the most difficult life experiences ahead of wedding plans and having a baby, and surveys seem to confirm this. In light of this Valor Properties estate agents have put together a list of things for you to start thinking about ahead of you putting your house on the market and hopefully turning your experience into a less stressful period in your life.
Double-Check Your Mortgage Terms
If you are still on a mortgage (most of us are) then you will need to check the types of fees that you will likely have to pay by moving. Check the type of mortgage that you are currently on. There are three likely options, including a standard variable rate (SVR), a portable mortgage, and a non-portable mortgage. The difficulty and fees you may incur really depend on which of these three options you are working with.
Typically it will be an SVR or a portable mortgage. An SVR is a rate that your mortgage reverts to when a deal is completed. With this repayment plan, you won’t be penalised for making mortgage over payments or for repaying the entire mortgage off earlier than the plan stated. If you have a portable mortgage and are buying a new property you will not face extra costs. As long as your lender finds the new property acceptable you will have a mortgage the relocates with you at no extra costs or fees.
If you don’t have an SVR or a portable mortgage and are planning on paying your mortgage off before you move, you will see an increase in the fees that you will pay. These early repayment charges often run between 1-5% of the remaining value of your current mortgage which you will need to take into account.
Decide Where You Are Moving
Deciding where you will be moving before you put your home on the market will reduce stress and anxiety during the process. You can choose to buy a new home or you can spend some time renting depending on how you are feeling. There are pros and cons of either choice that you should consider before you make your decision.
Buying A New Home
- You will frequently pay less on a mortgage then you would from renting, plus you will own the property at the end!
- Buying a new home will increase your equity and make you a more reliable borrower while boosting your credit score.
- You can frequently lock in a fixed-rate mortgage which means that you won’t be dealing with the inflation of rent due to the housing market.
- Home ownership offers a tax deduction every year when you claim the interest that you have paid on your mortgage.
- While spending less is an option when owning a house, you can also end up spending more depending on whether you choose a fixer-upper.
- The housing market is notoriously fickle and you may experience serious depreciation of your property.
- Lenders will offer you a mortgage but you will still need to pay the down payment, which can be a financial strain unless your housing sale has already gone through.
- Choosing to rent for a while reduces pressure to find the perfect home before you move.
- You won’t have to low-ball the price because you need the money to purchase your next dream house.
- There won’t be a rush to buy a less than perfect home for your family because you have a move-out date.
- You can break the housing chain which gives you a better buying timeline and makes you a more attractive buyer when you do choose to buy again.
- When you rent your monthly payment can go up drastically depending on the terms of your lease.
- Renting removes the possibility of taking a tax deduction for property taxes or the interest that you paid on your mortgage.
- The amount of privacy that you previously enjoyed at your home will be greatly decreased when you rent.
- You will have less stability while renting as your building owner may decide to sell at any point.
Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying after you sell your home and make a decision about which will work the best for you and your family.
Update The Property
You may want to spend some time upgrading your property before you decide to put it up on the market. There are some great upgrades that will bring you a return that aren’t very difficult but all of these upgrades should be completed before you instruct an estate agent. It is difficult to find a buyer when you have a variety of projects that are uncompleted and it is impossible to choose the right price point before they are finished.
Here are some of the best projects that you can do on your property before you choose to sell.
Taking the time and energy to extend your property upwards, downwards, and outwards can see a healthy return. If you have loft space that hasn’t been used, take this time to upgrade it and make it more liveable. Do the same with any space that you may have below, especially if you currently have an unfinished basement. Finally, you can extend outwards by adding a garage, a greenhouse, or a covered area to sit in when it rains.
Add Floor Space
If you already have a garage, you could spend some time adding an additional room above the garage or turn the garage into a functioning space. The value of your home will increase with the amount of floor space that is included in your home.
Install Central Heating
In the unlikely event that you do not already have central heating, this would be the time to invest. Almost all buyers (unless a fixer upper) expect a property to have some form of heating system.
Increasing the properties energy efficiency:
Make sure that you use appropriate insulation through the walls and apply external insulation at the same time to save time.
Windows And Doors
It is worth going above and beyond when it comes to new doors and windows. Make sure that you choose doors that are draught-proof and consider picking triple glazed windows versus double-glazed.
Are there any grants available in the area, its worth investigating.
If your boiler is older than twelve years, you should consider updating.
Adding a parking space on your property can increase the value of your home. With children staying in the home for longer potential buyers may still have older children with their own vehicles. Off street parking reduces car insurance and could be the swing point for a buyer.
If you are not adding any additional parking, then where possible curb appeal should be considered, this could include:
- Create And Upgrade Container Displays
- Freshen Any Mulch
- Plant Bright Perennials
- Shape Trees and Shrubs
Unless the interior is in good condition, a lick of paint does not cost a lot. Choose colours that are more neutral which allows buyers a chance to imagine their furniture and fittings inside rooms. If you had to pick one room to paint, start with the kitchen and don’t forget the ceiling, eye tracking software shows that buyers spend an unusual amount of time looking at ceilings.
Clean Your House
A bit of dust will not scare away a buyer, but an untidy and messy house probably will.
Pack away all non essentials and I would personally recommend taking the opportunity to actually get rid of items that have not been used in years, especially if you are planning on downgrading. If you really can’t bear to part with items, then at least move them into storage.
Deep clean the rooms at the beginning of the sale process then keep the doors closed which will then only require a quick dust or hoover before the next viewing.
If you are running low on time or energy then concentrate on the entrance (porch / archway / doorways ), kitchen, and bathroom.
Use an Estate Agent
We would encourage you to use an estate agent when you sell your home unless you personally work in the housing industry. Estate agents are able to assist you in valuation, marketing, and the finding of just the right buyer for you and your family.
As you start to search for the right agent to represent your home, you will need to decide between high street agents (traditional option) or an online agent.
Both high street estate agents and online estate agents are able to help you to sell your property. They offer a variety of the same services and will usually offer you a free valuation before you sign on to work with them but there are also many differences in what they will offer you.
High Street Estate Agents
A traditional high street estate agency will have an office that you are able to visit throughout the selling process. They are trained to deal with every aspect of the home selling process in return for an agreed-upon fee once the actual sale goes through. Most of these traditional agencies will work on a “no sale, no fee” structure so that if your property doesn’t sell, you don’t own them any money from your own pocket.
Online Estate Agents
Online agencies do not have an office that you can visit but they have the benefit of round the clock online support; however, they do usually charge an up-front fee for their services which means that you are putting money into their pockets without any guarantee of a return. They will support you through the selling process but many homeowners find that they have to take care of many of the aspects of selling on their own without the support that you would see from a traditional agent. There is also frequently additional fees.
In general, we encourage people to choose a more traditional estate agent unless you have experience working in the housing market.
Here is a checklist of items you should look into before choosing an estate agent.
- Speak With Previous Clients – Request a list of successful clients from the last year with contact information.
- Find Out How Long They’ve Been in Business – Try to choose a estate agent that has been in business for a while and has some experience.
- Check Current Listings – Look at their current listings and see if the style that the estate agent markets a home is in line with how you would like your home listed.
Choose A Conveyancer or Solicitor
There is much confusion regarding the differences between a conveyancer and a solicitor when it comes to selling your home. Both are highly competent professionals who specialise in all the legal work that is required between the seller and buyer of a home. They also can provide you with assistance with remortgage legal work, transfer of equity, lease extensions, and other legal issues. They are crucial in the process of selling your home and making sure that you have attended to all legal matters regarding the sale of your home.
There are some practical differences between the two, including the following:
- Work Both Sides Conveyancers can, and frequently do, work both sides of a transaction. This means that they can represent both you and anyone that you choose to sell to. Solicitors cannot do this.
- Referral Fees Solicitors are required by their code of conduct to disclose any referral fees that they paid to advertise or marketing companies while conveyancers are not held to this standard.
- Multi Disciplines Solicitors will frequently work in firms that have other specialists who focus on other areas of law including family law and tax planning. This can be incredibly helpful for those who have other legal issues regarding the sale of their home and something that conveyancers are not able to offer.
Regardless of who you choose to work with, your home sale will more than likely be in great hands. Occasionally, your estate agent will provide you with a solicitor or conveyancer as part of their deal package which can lessen the stress on you.
Read more about the conveyancing process for sellers.
Be Clear About What The Price Includes
You need to be clear with the buyer about what the price of your home includes. There are many things that you may decide that you want to take with you but that will still be installed when you are showing your home to potential buyers. Different buyers will have differing perspectives about fixtures and fittings and it is important to clarify what will be included in the early stages of your sale.
What Are Fixtures/Fittings?
There aren’t any set definitions for what is considered a fitting or a fixture, but most people consider a fixture to be an item that is bolted to the wall or floor and a fitting to be any items that are free standing or attached by a hook or a nail. Here is a list of things that will frequently fall under each of these categories.
- Curtains and Rails
- Ovens/Washing Machine
- Satellite Dishes
- Kitchen Units
- Built In Wardrobes
- Central Heating Units
- Light Fittings
- Wall Paintings
What Does the Law Cover?
Legally, you are not obligated to leave any of the fixtures or fittings within your home but it is your job to clarify what is staying. There can be a lot of conflicts that are created with these items, which can be avoided if you have an inventory including in the sales contract. If that inventory hasn’t been formed that it can be assumed that you are leaving most fixtures and taking the majority of fittings.
This can mean that if you haven’t discussed it and included it in the contract, you may find yourself in small claims court over anything that you remove. That would mean that you would be on the line for the cost of replacing any of the fixtures that you removed.
Why Is This Important?
While a towel rack here or mirror there doesn’t seem like a big deal when it comes to pricing, there are some big ticket items that can greatly increase the amount of money a new buyer needs to put into a home. Fittings and fixtures can add up to thousands of pounds depending on what you choose to take everything that you can.
In fact, if you took all the heating fixtures, all the furniture, curtains, fireplaces, and satellite dishes you could be removing upwards of £15,000. That is a lot of money, which is why it is so important that you are clear with your buyer about what is included in the pricing. This will help you avoid any legal trouble down the road.
Create An Inventory Checklist
You should take the time to go through each room and record each fixture and fitting throughout the home. There are some insurance companies that provide inventory lists for insurance purposes or you can find one online. You can also create your own, but make sure that you have the estate agent look over it to make sure that you didn’t miss anything important that may come back to haunt you down the road.
You should have three columns on your inventory list, including the room that the fixture or fitting is in, what the specific item is, and a column where you check if it included in the sale price or place an X if it isn’t included.
Sometimes you will need to spend some time negotiating with your buyer before the two of you can come to an agreement. It’s up to you to decide if you are interested in completing this step, but it can sometimes be a good idea to some time negotiating to ensure that you get the price point that you want.
Try to stay calm throughout the process but have a cut-off point of where you are unwilling to budge. You don’t need to share that point but know where it is so that you know when to bow out of selling to this particular buying. However, if you come to a conclusion that satisfies both of you, make sure that you write it down immediately so that there will be no arguments about specifics down the line.
Taking the time to decide what you are taking with you and what you are leaving for the next owner will save you time and energy now.
Focus On Choosing The Buyer
If you are lucky and have multiple offers for your home, you will need to spend some time choosing the best option for your family. Here are some tips that you should focus on to ensure that you are picking the best option for your sale.
Consider Which Will Bring The Most Profit
It can be tempting to accept the first all-cash offer or choose the individual who can afford to put up the largest down-payment on your home; however, there are other facts to consider before you make this choice. You will need to take a look at what a buyer is willing to pay and then subtract things like the following:
- Stamp Duty
- Mortgage Loan Interest
- Closing Costs
- Additional Required Improvements
- Estate Agent Fees
Not all of these items will apply as they will be different for each buyer. Take the time to research these items before agreeing to the wrong terms for you and your family.
Examine The Concessions For Each Buyer
Occasionally you may have to offer concessions for the deal to actually close. The cost and energy that your concession may cost depends on whether you are currently in a buyer or a seller market but can cost you quite a bit of money.
However, it can also be a positive thing as it will greatly speed up the sale of your home and give your buyer an incentive to commit to your terms. Regardless of whether it is beneficial for you or leans more towards the buyer, you should consider these additional costs before you finalise any deal.
Look At Their Financing Options
Your potential buyer may be the person that you want to sell to but they may not be the right person for you. If your buyers don’t have the right mortgage lender available to finance their purchase, there is a good chance that their offer will fall through. Having your deal collapse at the last minute due to these issues can be one of the most disappointing things and puts you at a disadvantage as your forced to reach out to other buyers for offers.
Make sure that any potential buyer that you are leaning towards use is pre-approved for a good mortgage with a trustworthy lender. You estate agents will normally screen buyers eligibility, but its worth understanding the process.
Flexibility Regarding Timing
Choosing a buyer that is on your timeline is incredibly important depending on your plans after you sell. If you are ready to move and need an offer immediately, then the person who is willing to close the deal in the next few weeks may be your best option.
Take a look at all the circumstances and figure out who can be flexible for you and your family in a way that is going to be beneficial for you.
If you have finally reached this point, you must be ecstatic! You have picked the right buyer and are ready to move on so now it’s time to look at the closing process.
First, you will accept the offer that makes the most sense to you and your family. Your estate agent is obligated to share all offers with you so that you can reject the outrageous ones and hold on to the ones that make sense for you. Once you have found the perfect option, then you can formally accept the offer. Once this happens, your estate agent will take your home off the market.
You will then decide the length of time between the exchange of contracts and completion, you will offer them your list of fixtures and fittings, and discuss the need for any discounts due to issues with the home or items that you will repair before selling. Once these items are discussed you will exchange contracts, which is legally binding.
By exchanging contracts you are both committing to this sale exchange. Both yourself and the buyer can be penalised if one of you pulls out of the contract at this point. If you remove yourself from the sale without due reason then the deposit the buyer put down will be returned to them and you can be sued by the buyers.
You can then complete any moving that needs to be done and then close on the sale. That occurs on an agreed upon date and time where you and the buyer come together to ensure that contracts are complete, your payments have come in, and all issues have been attended to. You then give them their key and you are done with the sale of your home!