A guide to selling your house
Selling a house can seem a daunting prospect but with the right advice you can make sure things keep on track. The following guide will help you get started.
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are a legal pre-requisite of selling a house. So before you decide how you are going to market your property you must order an EPC. Your estate agent will assist you with this.
You can read more on the EPC process at the Direct Gov website – www.direct.gov.uk and search for ‘epc’.
You can find a buyer yourself or use an estate agent. Before making a decision you should consider how much each method would cost and how much time you have. If you wish to find a buyer yourself, it will be cheaper but you will need the time to make all of the arrangements and deal with any problems. Estate agents are more expensive (nearly all agents calculate their fees as a percentage of the final selling price) but they will take responsibility for advertising, showing potential buyers round and negotiating a price for the property.
Whether you have arranged to sell the property yourself or have used an estate agent you may receive more than one offer. You can sell your property to whoever you want, but you may want to take into account whether the buyer:
- Is a first time buyer
- Has found a buyer for their own property
- Is paying cash or likely to get a mortgage
- Wants to move at the same time as you
Even if you have accepted an offer, you can change your mind and accept a higher offer from someone else. It is also worth remembering that when an offer is accepted the potential buyer can also withdraw.
It is a good idea to keep the names and addresses of all potential buyers who make offers, in case the one you accept falls through.
Once you accept an offer there are various steps you must take:
- Instruct a solicitor
- Find out where the title deeds are
- Gather account numbers for any existing mortgages on the property.
There are a number of legal steps to buying property and this is often called ‘conveyancing’ and is usually handled by a solicitor. Choosing a solicitor can seem like a minefield, but it is a very important part of the property selling process. When choosing a solicitor, look carefully at the list of services, the qualifications, the experience and recommendations of the lawyer who will be looking after your interests. It is important that you understand the costs involved and check whether the figure quoted is a fixed fee or if it depends on how much work is involved.
If you have an existing mortgage on the property then the title deeds are likely to be with the mortgage lender. If so, give your solicitor details of the mortgage account as soon as possible so that they can write to your lender and request the deeds. If you do not have a mortgage on the property it could be that you possess the deeds, or perhaps they are stored by the solicitor who acted for you when you purchased the property.
If you have an existing mortgage on the property then your solicitor will use funds received from the sale to pay off the balance of the mortgage on the day of completion. It will also make the process easier on you if you have a solicitor with whom you have a good rapport, one who you can contact whenever you need and one who you can rely on to keep you updated and in the picture. You can telephone us on 0161 979 0004 and speak to one of our property lawyers who will take you through the conveyancing procedure and you will have the opportunity to give any specific instructions that you may have, for example preferred completion dates. Alternatively, you could email us at email@example.com
This varies from case to case and will depend on a number of factors. A standard transaction, without complications, usually takes six to eight weeks. We will try and progress your sale as quickly as we can but there are some factors that are outside our control, delays on the part of the person you are buying from or selling to, or delays up or down the chain.
Your solicitor will pay the estate agents direct from the sale proceeds. Your solicitor will also pay your existing mortgage lender the outstanding amount due under your mortgage.
You and the buyer each have a copy of the final contract that you must sign.
These contracts will be exchanged on a date agreed by you and the buyer upon which you will be legally bound with the buyer and the sale must go ahead.
When contracts are exchanged the buyer may wish to visit the property to measure up carpets or get an estimate for building work. However, you should not allow for any work to be done by the buyer before completion.
At this stage you should let the utility companies know that you are leaving and arrange for final readings to be made on completion day.
If the buyer is paying a deposit, this will be paid to your solicitor at exchange of contracts. The solicitor will hold this deposit until completion.
You can now also finalise your removal arrangements as a moving date has been set.
On the day agreed for completion you must arrange to leave the property empty and hand over all keys.
It is usual for the keys to be left with the estate agent at approximately lunchtime.
Your solicitor will receive the rest of the purchase monies from the buyer and will pass this, together with the deposit, to you.
If there is a surplus due back to you after the completion of your sale your solicitor will try to send this to you on the day of completion or, at the very latest on the next working day.
To find out more you can telephone us on 0161 979 0004 and speak to one of our property lawyers. Alternatively, you could email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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