Selling a house and moving to a new property can be much more complicated than buying your first home. As well as marketing and selling your property, you'll need to work out your financial options, not to mention timing things right with the home you want to move to.
First, you need to work out whether you can genuinely afford to sell up and move.
If you’re still within your existing mortgage term, you should check whether you'll face any early repayment charges for breaking the deal or any fees to take it with you to a new property - a process known as porting. If you’re planning to move to a more expensive property, you should find out how much you can borrow and which lender will offer you the best deal.
This, along with stamp duty and all the other costs of selling a house, can really add up - so it pays to do the maths early on.
It's well worth getting expert advice from our independent mortgage broker at this stage so you can find out exactly how much you could borrow for your next home.
The next step is to spruce up your property so it's ready for valuations and viewings.
Make sure your property is clean, tidy and free from clutter. This will give potential buyers a blank canvas to imagine how they would use the space.
It should also look good from the outside. Mow the lawn, pull out the weeds, clean the windows and repair any broken gates or fences.
If your home is a bit run down you may want to consider some home improvements - but it's worth getting our opinion on whether it's worth the expenditure.
If you think your home may have any major issues that could put buyers off, consider getting a home survey done so that you have independent confirmation of the extent of the problems, plus potential repair costs. You can then make a call on whether to fix things or factor future costs for a buyer into your asking price.
Setting the right asking price for your home is crucial. Too high and you'll risk putting people off (and also won't appear in portal results when buyers have set price caps on their searches); too low and you might end up selling for much less than you could have got. We will advise you on this based on our experience and current market conditions. However, it's entirely up to you what asking price you set for your property.
Once you have instructed us we will then send a photographer to take professional pictures of your home.
It helps the sale if the property is spotless and clutter-free, even if it means shifting things from one room to another between photos.
We will also arrange a floorplan to be created, ensure that the property has a valid EPC (Energy performance certificate) and write a description to accompany the listing.
Once the marketing materials are ready, we will list your property online and contact any potential purchasers from our database.
The legal process of transferring a property from one person to another - is far from the most exciting part of moving house, but it's important that you find a solicitor to take care of this vital job.
If you've got one in place before you accept an offer, this can help speed things up and also demonstrates to the buyer that you're organised and serious about selling.
If you are lucky enough to receive multiple offers on your property, we will discuss with you, each buyer’s position. In order, the safest buyers to choose are generally:
- Chain-free cash buyers - for example a buy-to-let investor who doesn't need a mortgage, or someone who's already sold their previous home and doesn't need a mortgage to buy yours.
- Home movers who’ve already sold and completed (or at least exchanged on) their sale.
- First-time buyers - chain-free but usually reliant upon a large mortgage - or buy-to-let investors using a mortgage to fund the purchase.
- Home movers who've sold subject to contract (SSTC) - i.e. they've accepted an offer but haven't yet exchanged - and can either pay 100% cash or with a small mortgage.
- Home movers who have SSTC but need a big mortgage to pay for your property.
- Home movers who have not yet sold their home.
Also establish likely dates for exchange and completion.
Once you have accepted an offer you will need to instruct a solicitor if you have not done so already.
Remember to keep communicating throughout this legal process. If you're going on holiday, make sure everyone knows, including your solicitor and us. If there are any aspects of the sale or purchase that you don't understand, please ask - that's what we’re here for.
Exchanging contracts is a key milestone when you're selling your house, as it's the moment when your buyer pays a deposit and things become legally binding.
If you're buying another property, make sure you have buildings insurance in place from this date onwards.
The day you complete is the moment you've been working towards, when you'll have finally sold your home.
If you're buying a property too, it's easiest if you can complete your purchase on the same day as you complete your sale - that way you can move all your belongings from A to B without needing to put them in storage.