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property selling process

Outlet Selling Process

The Property Selling Process - How to sell your home. A step by step process of how to sell a property, including conveyancing, solicitors expected costs and estate agents.


At Outlet we know that selling your home can be a complex and confusing affair. However, our step-by-step guide aims to simplify the process. Through understanding the route you can be better prepared for any bumps in the road.

The selling process – a summary
What costs are involved when selling?
What is my property worth?
What are Home Information Packs (HIPs)?
What can I expect from my estate agent?
How do I prepare my home for sale?
Viewings – preparation, questions and viewers
For Sale boards
Offers – the who, how and what now?
What do I need to know about surveys?
What does my solicitor do?
What happens on exchange and completion?

The selling process – a summary of selling your house or flat

01 Familiarise yourself with the costs of selling
02 Have your property valued
03 Instruct your selling agent(s)
04 Agree the details they produce on your property
05 Instruct a solicitor and complete your seller’s pack information
06 Locate your lease (at home or with mortgage lender)
07 Viewings
08 Offers
09 Buyer’s mortgage lender’s valuation survey
10 Buyer’s additional survey
11 Contract for sale created and negotiated between solicitors
12 Contracts exchanged and completion date agreed
13 Move preparation (removal company, insurances, etc.)
14 Completion and hand keys over to estate agent

What costs are involved when selling a property?

Whether you are looking to move to a bigger or smaller property, disposing of an investment or holiday home or selling up to live abroad, there are certain inevitable costs that you will need to consider when you are selling. Here is a list of the most common ones:

Estate agent fees:
Outlet can offer you very competitive rates. Standard fees can be anything from 1% to 3%. You may find them higher or negotiate them lower. The sale may include extras that you might pay for as part of the sale like furniture, white goods or lease extensions. Do not forget that VAT will also be charged on this sum.

Solicitor’s fees:
Most solicitors will offer you a fixed fee for their conveyancing services. They are also quite likely to charge you additional sums if a sale becomes more complicated than expected and they are required to spend more time on it. We would be more than happy to provide you with the details of one of our recommended solicitors.

Mortgage redemption fee:
Some lenders will charge you a redemption fee if you pay off your mortgage early. If you move home and your mortgage is not transferable, this will be the same thing to them and you may well find yourself liable for a few thousand pounds. Check with your lender or broker.

Mortgage arrangement fees:
Even if you already have a mortgage, if yours is not transferable your lender will inevitably charge you to arrange a new mortgage for your new home, so this cost needs to be budgeted.

Capital Gains Tax:
If you are selling your main residence, there will be no CGT to pay, but if you are selling an investment property or a second home, you should consult your financial advisor to establish whether (and what) taxes are applicable. See the website for further information.

Removal firm:
Whether you’re moving down the road or overseas, you will have to pay someone to move all of your belongings that you do not sell to the new owner. You can search through popular service directories like the Yellow Pages or contact an association such as the British Association of Removers (BAR) to find a reputable firm. We advise you to ring at least three companies to source the best deal for you.

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What is my property worth? Valuing my property. 

The value of property is subject to many market forces. Factors such as the price of properties recently sold in your road and the surrounding area, the direction of market trends and the current availability of properties like yours must all be taken into consideration. As, too, should the condition of your property, whether any work you have done to it has been completed to a satisfactory standard, and any additional features your home might offer (fireplaces, garden, garage, etc.).

The internet is a great source of research information for you to establish the value of your home. Websites such as offer free Land Registry information, so you can see what other properties in your road have sold for over the last few years. However, there is no substitute for utilising the skills of your local property experts – estate agents. As with Outlet, asking them to value your property does not oblige you to sell through them and you should always attempt to gain a value from three companies, taking an average of all three to be the correct value for your home. One of our own sales managers will be more than happy to visit you to provide a free estimated property valuation (based on current condition of your property and comparable sales in the area).

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What are Home information Packs (HIPs)?

Currently, if you are selling a property with three or more bedrooms, you must provide your estate agent with a Home Information Pack. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), this pack should contain:

• Terms of sale
• Evidence of title
• Standard searches
• Planning consents and building control certificates
• Property Information Form
• Warranties and guarantee
• Home condition report (although this is currently optional) and an energy efficiency assessment

Some of this information will have previously been gathered by the buyer’s solicitor, some will have been provided by the seller. The energy efficiency report is completely new to the process. The idea is simply to speed up the sale of the property through preparation and planning and to encourage transparency in property transactions.

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What can I expect from my estate agent?

Your chosen estate agent should provide you with a financially free valuation on your property. When instructed by you, they are required by law to act as your agent; to create details and advertisements to promote your property; to show your property in their window displays, on their website and in whatever online and offline media that they use; to conduct viewings; to pass on to you all offers that they receive (whatever they may be); to monitor and progress the sale with the other relevant professionals (surveyors, mortgage lenders/brokers, solicitors, etc.); and always to act in your best interest. Ask for a free Outlet valuation right now to see how much your property might be worth. (Link to valuation page)

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How do I prepare my home or property for sale?

Outlet recommends you make the most of your property. The perfect property to sell is one that offers both a blank canvas to appeal to the broadest audience and just enough personal touches to feel homely without being cluttered. So tidy up, keep it clean, finish off all those odd jobs you’ve been putting off for ages, because when your home is on show, it should be just that - a show home. Should you spend money on preparing your home for sale? This is a little more difficult to assess. Ask your agent what they think. Usually the answer will be that if it’s going to cost you very little to do things like buying flowers for the living room, having the garden tidied, redecorating the bathroom and buying a double bed to show off the size of the second bedroom, then go for it. Anything more costly will need some serious consideration as to whether it would add value or speed up the sale.

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Viewings – preparation, questions and viewers

• Kerb appeal: keep your front door and entrance clean. Ensure your doorbell works and remove any litter or obstructions from your doorway. For those with front gardens, make sure that hedges are trimmed, pathways are clear and any dead plants are removed. For those with more time and money, try to invest in some colourful foliage or decoration.

• Tidy your home before people come round. Put away all toys, wash dirty dishes, take drying clothes off the line, etc.

• Keep things fresh: flowers are a small touch, but they brighten a home and often introduce a pleasing aroma. Keep other rooms well ventilated – particularly bathrooms, store cupboards, basements and empty areas.

• Temperature: try keeping it warm in the winter and cool in summer.

• Always know the name of the viewers and also whether the estate agent will be bringing them around. This way you can greet them by name and refer to them with your agent after the viewing.

• If you are conducting the viewing yourself, always be open and honest. Greet viewers with a smile, show them around your property as only you can, pointing out all your homely touches. Invite them afterwards to sit down and to ask you any questions they might have. Basically, open a dialogue with them. If you do not know the answer to a question, find out and let the agent know, so they can maintain contact with the viewers. Some viewers will want to rush around and leave. Do not worry: go with this, as they may well take more time and ask questions when they come back for a second viewing.

• If the agent is conducting the viewing, greet them all with a smile, then leave them to it. They will find you if they cannot answer any questions themselves.

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For Sale boards

For Sale boards really do work. A large number of applicants contact us as a result of seeing one of our boards. If you are really serious about selling, we recommend that you allow us to put up a For Sale board wherever possible.

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Offers – the who, how and what now?

All offers should go through your estate agent. They are legally obliged to tell you about any offer that is officially made to them (so don’t worry if you get a few silly ones in the mix). You, however, are not obliged to accept an offer. What you need to consider is both the financial value of the offer and the position of the buyer. Is your potential purchaser buying with cash or a mortgage, and do they have a place to sell or are they in rented accommodation? Basically, are they a ready, willing and able prospect?

You can accept an offer, reject it, or negotiate to find a middle ground that all parties are content with. Once you have accepted the offer, it is up to your estate agent to seal the deal by gathering the buyer’s solicitor and mortgage broker/lender’s details to move the sale forward. Remember that in England an offer is not legally binding, so until contracts are exchanged your buyers could change their minds. It is therefore very important for you to stay in contact with them through your agent, to keep the lines of communication open and keep the sale moving in the right direction.

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What do I need to know about surveys?

If a mortgage is involved in the purchase, then the lender will want to send their its surveyor round to conduct a valuation survey. This is standard practice, and generally speaking the sooner this happens, the more confident you can be that your buyer is serious. A valuation survey can take anything from half an hour to a couple of hours, depending on the size and age of your property.

A buyer may well instruct their own surveyor to conduct a more detailed investigation. As a rule of thumb, the older your home is, the more detailed this survey should be. Such surveys can take several hours and may require the surveyor to go into basements, roof areas and use all manner of equipment to evaluate the condition of your home.

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What does my solicitor do in selling a property?

Your solicitor will guide you through the mountain of paperwork that you are required to read and complete to help them finalise the sale of your property. The role of the seller’s solicitor is to provide the other side with answers to their questions, to negotiate contracts, hold deposit monies, effect an exchange, and complete and confirm that transferred monies have been received. If you have any questions at all, you are paying them to provide you with a professional service, so ask them. Be aware that excessive questioning can sometimes result in an increase in fees for time spent with you.

It is important to note that choosing the right solicitor in advance can help save you valuable time, money and, in some cases, the sale of your property itself. Instructing your solicitor at the same time as you put your property on the market will enable him to apply for the title deeds at an early stage, thus avoiding delays should the agent receive an offer. Finally, in order to keep the process continually moving forward, return any wanted documents to your solicitor promptly, and try to stay as actively involved in the conveyancing procedure as possible.

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What happens on exchange and completion?

At exchange is agreed contracts are signed by both sides, the buyer pays over their deposit (10% is traditional, but there are times when solicitors can negotiate 5%) and a completion date is agreed.

Completion occurs when all outstanding legal elements of the sale have been completed and the mortgage lender’s funds have been transferred to your solicitor. Your solicitor will contact you to inform you that this has happened, and then all you need do is to hand over your house keys to the estate agent to give to the new owner.

If you have any further questions regarding any parts of the selling process, we at Outlet would be more than happy to help you. We are also able to recommend a number of professionals to help make the sale of your property a true success. Give us a call on 020 7287 4244 for a no-obligation friendly and professional chat, or drop us an email.

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