Establishing your Property’s Value
Start by choosing three agents to value your property. An agent’s valuation should be supported by details of other properties recently sold in the same area.
A helpful insight is to also view a selection of similar properties currently for sale that are in competition with you. By evaluating this information and in addition, analyzing selling times, the agents should be able to give you a credible and accurate valuation.
You’ve chosen your estate agent, decided on your price and now it’s time for viewings. Presenting your property in the best possible light is essential and an area where you will need to be proactive. It’s vital that your home is clean, tidy and even smells nice. It’s a person’s natural senses that will heavily influence their decision to buy, so play to it. Your agent should give you clear and proven advice on how to present your property in the best possible light – also known as ‘staging’.
Making an offer
Viewings will lead to offers and your estate agent should be able to break them down into detail.
Knowing your potential buyers’ circumstances is hugely beneficial in making an informed decision.
Your agent should be able to report to you, what a buyer’s mortgage status is, whether they are in a chain, whether surveys have been undertaken for other properties within that chain and the associated estate agents. Additional information such as the source of a buyer’s mortgage and establishing how many properties in the chain have been sold is also of vital importance. Your agent can then use solid experience to give advice on what is realistically the best offer.
Signing a contract
Once all parties in the chain have received their mortgage offers and all solicitors questions have been answered, you would normally be asked to visit your solicitor to sign the contract. It’s at this point that you should check whether there is any extra deposit you need to put into your solicitors fund in relation to the property you may be buying. Although wise to do all of this in person, it is acceptable to do this through the post.
All parties in the chain have now lodged their deposits, signed contracts and this is the stage at which the contracts can be exchanged. The act of signing your contract and returning it to your solicitors does not commit you to an exchange of contracts; that only happens when your solicitor dispatches your signed contract to other party’s solicitor. It is also at this point that you will want to make a note of your new property’s utility readings and alarm codes.
Completion is approximately one week after exchange. The timescales are negotiable and have to be agreed by all parties at the point of exchange. Completion times can vary, 14 days is common, 21 days is not unusual but a more lengthy delay than 21 days can be negotiated, but is rare.
On the completion date, keys are handed over when monies are received by each solicitor in the chain via their banks. So the first property in the chain may complete at 11am; that money is transferred up to the next property in the chain which completes at 12 noon and so it goes on until the chain is complete. Your agent will inform you in advance of the correct times and procedures in handing over the keys.
Remember, a good estate agent is there to make this whole process run as smoothly as possible. There’s no such thing as a stupid question and it’s imperative that you are made aware of progress as and when it takes place.