Are you wondering what is the process of selling a house in UK?
We’ve made a step-by-step guide for you to follow so nothing gets missed. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know everything you need to know in order to sell a house in UK.
Process of selling a house, step by step
Step One: Figure out your finances
First, when you sell your house you will need enough money to pay off the remainder of your mortgage. You should speak with your lender or broker to find out how much you owe, including any possible penalties for early repayment. If you already have your mortgage paid off, congratulations! You’re already one step ahead of the game.
Second, figure out how much your house is worth. Get multiple valuations from different sources. This will give you a much more accurate and realistic valuation. Valuations provided by estate agents are usually free with no obligation (so get a few). You can find the agreed purchase price for properties from HM Land Registry. You can also get a rough instant estimate online on sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove. Simply enter your postcode and select your address.
Step Two: Decide how you want to sell your house
You have a couple of options here. You can sell your house yourself, use a local estate agent or an online estate agent.
For sale by owner
To save money, you might be tempted to sell your house yourself. This is known as “for sale by owner,” or FSBO. Saving on estate commissions is appealing, as the amount you stand to save on those fees can be thousands of pounds. There are a few downsides however. First, property sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove don’t allow individuals to post their properties without an estate agent. Second, you’ll be responsible for a long list of arduous tasks and processes such as:
- prepping your house
- marketing your house
- setting up and offering showings
- reviewing buyers’ offers
- handling all of the negotiations and closing details
If you choose to go with an agent, get valuations from a few different agents before deciding on one. They typically charge between 0.75% and 3.5% of the agreed selling price. On top of that, you’ll need to add 20% VAT. Ensure any agent you work with is a member of The Property Ombudsman (TPO).
When dealing with estate agents, there are two types of contracts. The first is a multi-agency agreement. This allows you to use multiple estate agents to help sell your house and you only pay the commission to the agent that actually sells it. The second is a sole agency agreement. This means that you agree to use only one agent for a set period of time (typically between 8 – 16 weeks). Sole agency agreements have lower commission rates than multi-agency ones.
Online estate agents
Using an online estate agent is an emerging trend. They will market your property across the biggest UK property portals (like Rightmove and Zoopla). You’ll need to pay a fixed fee (between £400 – £600). A major downside of online estate agents’ lower prices is that you’ll often have to pay up front, regardless of whether they end up selling your house or not. The fixed fee may also reduce the agent’s incentive to sell your property for the highest possible price. Popular online estate agent sites include 99home, Strike, and Doorsteps.
Step Three: Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
It’s a legal requirement to have an EPC for your house before you sell it. Essentially, it’s a document that provides an indication of how much it will cost to heat and power a property. If you’ve hired an estate agent, they can take care of this for you. Costs are between £60 – £120.
Step Four: Get a pre-sale house inspection
Although it’s optional, a detailed inspection report can identify any structural or mechanical problems before you list your house for sale.
Step Five: Decide on a realistic selling price
You will first need to decide whether you want to sell as is, or put some work into it before putting it on the market. If you’re going to invest money into costly upgrades, make sure that the additions or updates you make have a high return on investment. Estate agents can help you with these kinds of decisions. They will have insight into what potential buyers in the area are looking for.
To price your house right from the start, look at the property prices of similarly sized houses in your neighbourhood. Together with your estate agent, determine a realistic and well-thought out asking price. Houses that are priced too high will turn off potential buyers who may not even consider looking at the property.
Step Six: Hire a conveyancing solicitor
In short, the conveyancing process is when all of the legal paperwork is taken care of to transfer the ownership of the property from one person to another. It’s worth it to ask family and friends, as well as your estate agent for any recommendations. Conveyancing fees are usually between £500 – £1,500.
Step Seven: Prepare your house for sale
You want to make your house as appealing as possible for potential buyers.
Decluttering and removing excess furniture and personal items are also important in preparing your house for sale. You want to create a space that the new tenants can picture themselves in. If you need help with any step of this preparation process, there are house staging services that can help. Some even offer decluttering services.
Insider tip: a fresh coat of neutral paint, new carpet and a newly manicured lawn or garden are low-cost ways to make your house look more attractive.
Step Eight: Get professional photos
Some estate agents offer professional photography and virtual online tours as part of their service. If they don’t, make sure to hire a professional photographer. We don’t suggest taking pictures yourself. Quality, professional pictures will go along way in generating buyer interest.
Step Nine: Gather the relevant documentation
You will need to provide your estate agent and the buyer with certain documents. Organise them ahead of time and keep them together in a safe place. Some things to have on hand include:
- Energy Performance Certificate
- HM Land Registry title documents
- Planning permission for any major work carried out
- Proof of both a gas and electrical check carried out by a certified professional
- Property Information Form (TA6 form) or a Leasehold Information Form (TA7)
- Fittings and Contents Form (TA10)
- Proof of identity document
- Proof of address
Step Ten: Choose the right house buyer
When you receive an offer, you have a few choices: accept the offer as it is, make a counteroffer, or reject the offer. If you’re lucky enough to have received multiple offers, choosing the ‘right’ buyer is an important step. There are a lot of things that can fall through at the last minute. The person that offers the highest price isn’t necessarily the best choice. Important details include:
- Are they a cash buyer?
- Are they financing and if so, have they been preapproved for a mortgage from a trustworthy lender?
- Do they have a property for sale? (This is called being part of a chain). Potential buyers who are also in the process of selling can cause delays.
- How many concessions are expected?
- How soon do they want to move in?
Choose the buyer that offers a fair price and is least likely to back out.
Step Eleven: Exchange contracts
When you exchange contracts with the buyer you become legally committed to selling the property, and they become legally committed to buying it from you. Completion is when the property changes ownership, you accept payment, and hand over the keys. Your conveyancer solicitor will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry.
Step Twelve: Other closing costs
Your estate agent should provide you with a complete list of any additional costs associated with the sale of your house. One such cost is capital gains tax. You may need to pay capital gains tax if the property is not your primary house or includes a lot of land.
Step Thirteen: Hire a house removal services
Planning for moving day is an important final step in this process. Just some of the advantages of using a house removal company is that they will load and unload everything for you, offer packing services to save you time and hassle, and are well equipped to transport your valued possessions safely. Here at South London Movers, we offer professional removals throughout London with our award winning service. For more information about the services we offer, get in touch with us today.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about the process of selling your house. With the right team of professionals behind you, this can be an exciting new chapter to be celebrated. We wish you the best of luck!