Guide to Selling a House
Selling property can be a complicated process, so we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you understand the process a little better.
1. Accurate market valuation
When moving home, you always want to sell your property for the best possible price, whilst keeping to a timescale that suits your wants and needs. The first and most important task once you have decided it’s time to move is to obtain an accurate market valuation. We would always advise getting at least two valuations on your property from different agents so that you can compare prices and levels of service.
Here at Peter Ball & Co, we have a specialist team dedicated to valuing property. They’ve all worked for us for many years, giving them unparalleled knowledge of property prices and values in and around the Cheltenham area. If you’d like a market appraisal from one of our expert team, give us a call or stop by one of our offices.
2. Choosing the right agent
With over 30 estate agents covering the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury areas all purporting to offer the same level of service, it’s not surprising that choosing the right agent can be a challenge. Some things you might want to consider are: the local reputation of the agent; how successful they are in selling properties similar to yours; their experience and local knowledge of the area.
Here at Peter Ball & Co, we have over 25 years’ experience in selling properties, and with 5 offices across Cheltenham, Bishops Cleeve, Leckhampton, Tewkesbury and Charlton Kings, we cover a vast area and know these like the back of our hands.
We can confidently confirm that not all estate agents are the same. We get to know you, what you want and what you need to ensure we’re doing everything we can to serve you as best we can. We accompany you on the majority of our viewings, and have an in-house sales progression team whose job it is to make sure your sale goes through in a timely manner.
Not all estate agents are the same. Talk to our team, who can tell you more about why we’re different.
3. Presenting your property
The presentation of your property helps achieve the asking price and a successful sale. You might want to consider addressing any outstanding DIY jobs you’ve been meaning to get done, or adding a fresh, neutral coat of paint where necessary. Try to declutter rooms to make them appear larger, and make sure that communal or outside areas are kept tidy and clear of obstruction.
Our experienced valuation team will be able to help you with how to show your home off to its best, as when it comes to first impressions, they really do count and you only get one shot at it.
4. Marketing your property
There are lots of ways that we can market your property, based on whether you’re looking for a quick sale, or wanting a slower, ‘low key’ approach. We’ll discuss marketing strategies with you before we start marketing your property fully, so that we can find the option that best suits you.
Once you’ve agreed to and signed our contract, our dedicated sales team begins their work. They get your home professionally photographed, make sure that you have an up-to-date EPC - which we can organise for you should you need it - and start advertising your property on our website, as well as Rightmove and Zoopla. Property alerts are sent out immediately to all active applicants, followed up by telephone calls to encourage them to view. We often sell properties before they go onto our website or producing sales brochures.
5. Finding and instructing a solicitor
Often sellers leave it until the point of receiving an offer to instruct their solicitor, but we recommend looking into this much earlier in the process, at the point of putting your property on the market. This is so that title deeds can be applied for early, and that any unforeseen issues can be dealt with prior to a sale, which will speed up the whole selling process. It also means that you can look around and retrieve quotes from solicitors you might want to instruct, comparing levels of service and prices for their work, and what their standpoint is on ‘no sale, no fee’ abortive measures.
The successful sale of a property often lies in the hands of the solicitors, and how quickly a sale goes through can depend on their efficiency and experience. We always recommend using a local solicitor, who will have experience working in this area, and we work with a number of good local solicitors, so if you need any help or advice choosing, talk to our team who’ll be happy to recommend one.
6. Accompanied viewings
Peter Ball & Co accompany the majority of our viewings Monday through to Saturday, and we are happy to chauffeur our viewers around, giving us quality time for a better understanding of their requirements. Occasionally, you might be asked to show viewers around without us present, but only if you are comfortable doing so; it’s better to have a viewing at a time that suits your potential buyer than not.
When it comes to viewings, make sure your home is clean, comfortable and clutter-free. Control the temperature of your home by making it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Add a nice smell to your home, such as fresh flowers or freshly brewed coffee. Make sure the front of your property is neat and tidy, too, so that you make a good first impression.
7. Receiving an offer
All offers are negotiated and put forward by managers or senior members of our team. Experience is key when it comes to negotiating the best possible price for you.
There are plenty of things to think about when it comes to receiving offers, including the buyer’s position. You might want to consider how quickly they will be able to move, how they fit with your requirements, whether or not they’ve sorted their mortgage, and how long the rest of the chain they are in is, as well as the price they are offering.
We will obviously check the buyer’s financial ability to proceed with the sale, and whether the purchase of your property is dependent on another sale. We’ll ensure that you have the full facts before you make your decision, and you should never feel pressured into accepting an offer unless it is what you want and are comfortable with. Estate agents are here to work for you, the seller, not the buyer, so we’ll always work with you to get the best price we can.
8. Offer agreed
Once negotiations have reached a positive conclusion and you are happy to accept an offer, you will need to instruct a solicitor/conveyancers for your sale and/or purchase if you haven’t already done so.
Once the offer has been agreed, we will write to all parties to confirm the agreed price and terms of the offer, as well as sending a comprehensive memorandum of sale pack, including property particulars; a fixture and fittings list; an EPC; a chain sheet with all relevant buyers and sellers; and contact details of the solicitors involved; and a guide to selling.
Your solicitor will need photographic ID from you in order to proceed, and shortly afterwards will send out a draft contract to the buyer’s solicitor, who will carry out preliminary enquiries. At this stage, you’ll also be able to discuss possible dates for the survey on your property, exchange of contracts and the proposed date for completion.
You will also need to speak with your mortgage/financial broker at this time to ensure that you have your mortgage in place.
Please note: at this stage, you are not under legal obligation to complete the sale.
9. Exchanging contracts
Exchange of contracts occurs when all of the preliminary and local search enquiries have been completed, the fixtures and fittings of the sale have been noted, and the buyer’s mortgage offer has been accepted.
The exchanging of the contracts is the legally binding part of the sales process. It occurs when the contract has been signed by both parties, and the buyer’s deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) has been transferred to your solicitor from the buyer’s solicitor. A completion - or moving - date can then be agreed on at this point by both parties, and both the seller and buyer are legally bound to go through with the transaction after the contract is signed.
Normally there is an agreed amount of time between exchange and completion to allow for packing and removal arrangements, although sometimes a simultaneous exchange and completion can happen on the same day.
This is the day when the balance of monies is transferred from the buyer’s solicitor to your solicitor, signalling the sale being competed.
Your solicitor will call you when the money has cleared into your account, and will inform the release of the keys to the buyers.
Congratulations, your property is now sold!