Selling a Home Frequently Asked Questions

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Top 26 Selling a Home Questions Answered!
Below are the top 26 questions we've been asked about buying a home - so we thought it would be helpful to publish them! Don't forget you can email us on enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or call us on 0845 838 1763 if you need support during your property purchase or sale.

What are the key legal steps to selling a home?
There are six keys steps to selling a home: draw down your mortgage deeds; prepare your sellers contract; answer any buyers questions; exchange contracts; redeem your mortgage; complete contracts.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding an estate agent!

What is a Home Information Pack (HIP)?
This is a pack that you legally must have to market your home for sale. You only don't need one if someone is buying your home and you haven't advertised it in anyway and at any time. The pack includes a plan of your property, some legal information and some search information such as drainage search and an Energy Performance Certificate which shows how energy efficient the home is - or not!

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as booking a HIP/home information pack!

What do I do with a HIP?
If you are selling then make sure you read it and use it to help sell your property. If you are buying, read the information in the pack so you know as much about the property as you can. Look at the Energy Performance Certificate as this will give you an idea of the costs of the utility bills and what you can do to reduce them.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as booking a HIP!

What is a Property Information Form?
These are important forms to read as they tell you about any problems with neighbours, boundaries, shared facilities such as drains etc., which utility companies the house uses and where things like the stop cock and fuse box are.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

What is a Property Fixtures and Fittings form?
These forms tell you what comes with the property such as which appliances will be left in the kitchen (fridge, cooker etc), whether carpets and curtains are included and whether light fittings will be left or taken with the seller (but a working light bulb must be left in each room).

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

What happens at exchange of contracts?
This is when the likelihood of your purchase/sale becomes 99% guaranteed. Anyone that pulls out after these stage will have to refund the deposit value to the other party. Basically exchanging contracts mean that both parties contractually agree what is being sold/bought and the date that everything will be completed by. It is also the time when the deposit monies from the buyer have to be with the seller's solicitor.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

What happens at contract completion?
This is where the sale/purchase is completed. Any mortgages are paid off and/or drawdown and the contracts are ‘completed' and then registered with the Land Registry. As soon as this happens the purchaser is the owner of the property and is entitled to enter it, even if you as the seller are still taking out your belongings!

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

Do I have to pay for legal fees/solicitor/conveyancer upfront?
If you are selling, no you normally pay for the services at the end. However if you are buying, you normally need to pay for charges the legal company will incur such as ‘searches' which can cost around £250. However any solicitor's charges are normally charged when you complete on your purchase/sale.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

Should I get a survey done if I'm selling?
You don't have to, but it can save any problems later down the line when you have a buyer. A survey can tell you everything that is wrong with the property - giving you a chance to fix it, or build the costs of fixing it into the price of the property. This can save you the cost of selling to a buyer who then pulls out. You can either have a standard survey of your own, or you can have a Home Condition Report which can be included in your HIP.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a surveyor!

What's my property worth?
A property is worth what someone is able and willing to pay at the time you want to sell - and ultimately what you are willing to accept. A property's price tends to be measured by the price other properties sold for recently. However a property's price is ultimately dictated by the supply and demand for your type and size of property in your local area. If there are lots of them for sale one month and few buyers, your property's value will be less than if there are fewer for sale and lots of buyers another month.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a surveyor!

How do I choose an estate agent?
Carefully! You need to choose an agent that firstly belongs to a redress scheme such as the Ombudsman Scheme and/or a trade organisation such as NAEA or RICS. Secondly, you need to choose the right agent who attracts the type of buyer that is likely to want to buy your property. Some agents are better at selling flats, some better at detached homes. It is no good giving a £500,000 property to a company that only sells property for less than £150,000 as they won't attract the right buyers. Check the ‘sold boards' (NOT the ‘for sale' ones) for agents selling similar properties to yours.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding an estate agent!

Do I really need an estate agent to sell my home?
It's your choice, you can sell it yourself if you want to, but you will have costs upfront whether you sell or not. Agents only earn their money when they have sold your property - before then they have to incur all the costs of selling upfront. An agent will order a HIP, create property details, take photos, and sometimes create a floor plan. They will pay to advertise your property in the local paper, post details to buyers on their list and take people on property viewings. They will also negotiate an offer for you and some good agents also help to progress the sale to completion.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding an estate agent or a private sale website to sell through!

How do you stage a property?
The main trick to staging a property is to clear all your clutter, make each room have one or at worst two purposes (eg a spare bedroom/office), give the property a lick of paint and get rid of anything that will put buyers off. For example, get rid of bare wires/cracks/current or old leaks. Keep colours fairly neutral and try to ‘depersonalise' the property so a buyer can see themselves in it.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as property valuation services!

What work should I do to add value to a property?
There are lots of things that can add value to a property. One of the cheapest is painting the property, followed by new flooring/curtains or blinds to make the property ‘easy to move into'. More drastic changes include an updated bathroom and kitchen, or adding an en-suite. You can go as far as creating rooms (particularly bedrooms) in the loft or adding an extension, converting a garage or adding a conservatory, but these cost a lot of money and don't always give an instant return, so check with a local expert (agent/surveyor) before you spend money in this way.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a builder!

What work doesn't add value to a property?
Work that doesn't add value to a property are items such as swimming pools, or poor DIY jobs that can actually devalue a property. Sometimes people extend the property so far into the garden, they end up with a big family home - but no garden to play in and this will put people off.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a plumber!

What can I do to a property to help it sell faster?
Properties that sell fast are, short in demand, the best value and/or the best of all the similar properties for sale. So if you want to sell your property fast, then you need to check out the local competition and make sure your property is the most desirable and attractive to buyers. 

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

What do I do if I get different prices from estate agents?
It is not unusual for agents to value your home differently. Sometimes it is because there have different experiences of selling homes like yours or it could be because they have few comparisons to other properties they have sold. In this case it is really difficult to price a property accurately. Other reasons are that some agents may value your property higher than others because they see some development potential. However watch for agents who over value your property - with no justification - as they may be doing it to secure your instruction, intending to drop the price later when you have no viewings!

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as property valuation services!

How do I sell privately?
You can use private sales websites to help sell your home privately. Go for ones that have been around for a while, such as HousewebProperty Broker or The Little House Company. If you are selling yourself, then make sure you have a for sale board and your property details are legal (ie accurate). You will need to advertise your property on-line (Rightmove however won't advertise private sale properties) and ideally in the local newspaper. However all your costs will be upfront and if you don't sell your property you will still have to pay out hundreds of pounds.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a company to sell your property privately!

What are the pros/cons of selling privately?
The main pros of selling a property yourself are that you are in control of the sale and that you can save thousands of pounds versus estate agent fees. The downsides are you have to do all the work yourself, can't advertise on the biggest property portal, Rightmove, and you have to pay to advertise your property upfront, whether you sell or not.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding an estate agent!

What are the pros/cons of selling with an estate agent?
The main pros of selling via an estate agent are that you don't pay anything if they don't sell your home; they make sure your property is advertised and sold legally; check buyers can afford your property and show people around your home. The only real downside is the cost - however UK agent's are some of the cheapest in the world!

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding an estate agent!

How do I know a buyer can afford my home?
A buyer who wants to make an offer on your home should have a ‘mortgage agreement in principle' (MAP) which the estate agent can see and is provided by a mortgage lender or an independent financial advisor. It is best not to accept an offer from a buyer unless they have sold their home already and have a MAP.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a mortgage broker!

Why should I accept a lower offer?
We all want to sell our home for the maximum price, but there are not always the number of buyers we would like and sometimes there are just too many similar properties on the market. If the offer you receive allows you to move to a home you want - and can still afford, then it may well be worth considering!

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as property valuations!

Should I continue to market my property after receiving an offer?
This is a tricky one to answer as it depends on your own circumstances. Ideally take the property off the market when you are sure the buyer will proceed. This is typically once they have their mortgage offer confirmed and after the survey has been carried out. If at any stage you feel the buyer is not progressing the sale, always reserve the right to put the property back on the market.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a surveyor!

What should I do if I lose my buyer?
If you do lose your buyer, then you need to assess your circumstances. If you still want to move and haven't found a property yet, then you can put your property back on the market. If you have found a property and are part of a chain, then find out how near to exchange everyone is, the further away they are the better as you can put your property back on the market and hopefully get another buyer in time. Secondly you can see if anyone further up the chain is buying a new build as their developer may do part exchange and may consider buying your home to hold the chain together. Ask your agent for advice.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a chain breaking service!

I haven't heard from my legal company - what should I do?
This is a big problem for anyone buying or selling their home. Many chains and sales fall through because the legal company doesn't proactively manage a case. Send a letter or call/organise a meeting with the legal representative and have a checklist of all the legal steps to buying/selling a home and go through with the legal company what they have/haven't done.

Need to find out more? Try our Selling a Home Store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as finding a conveyancer!

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