Preparing to Sell:
Firstly, think about your own home and what you are going to leave behind for prospective buyers. Sometimes it is a good idea to include some additions in the sale. Built in wardrobes, fixtures and fittings are normally included but you can also include white goods. These can be negotiated at a later date but are you willing for them to be part of the sale?
Preparing your home for viewings:
Freshening up your walls with a lick of paint is a simple but effective start. It is easier for buyers to visualise how their new home will look if the walls are a neutral colour. It also means that the new owner can move straight in rather than having to re-paint the walls themselves.
De-cluttering is also helpful to enable viewers see the property properly, however ensure it is still personalised, you don’t want it to look like a hotel. If you have lots of large furniture, take it into account that this can make a room look quite small.
Ensure that your home is clean and tidy for buyers to view. Fix any small repairs such as cracked tiles, worn carpets, holes in walls etc. In the garden cut, trim the bushes and jet spray that patio if needed.
If you have the funds to do so it is a good idea to consider upgrading the kitchen. It is the most used room in the house so it can make a difference between a sale. If you can’t afford the upgrade simply painting cupboards and changing the handles could also make a large difference.
You may have some dark rooms so add extra lamps which are switched on during viewings to help show the rooms well. Also, wall mirrors really help to make smaller rooms seem bigger and adds extra light to hallways.
During the viewings themselves here is where you can go the extra mile. Do you have a fire that you could light on a cold evening? Pine cones give off a lovely smell when burned. Add fresh flowers or house plants, they give off a nice aroma and they add colour to a room. Adding to a nice aroma makes sure you get rid of any bad smells, if you’re a smoker, put bowls of distilled (white) vinegar in places around your home and leave out for up to three days. The vinegar will smell but once you open the windows, the smell will go quickly and it will take most of the stale smoke smell out with it.
Congratulations, you have received an offer. We advise to not just take the first offer and to be conscious of the following. Having a cash buyer will speed up the process of exchanging contracts as mortgage approval will take some time and could delay things. Being in a chain will slow things down also. The longer the chain, the longer the process.
Accepting the offer:
If you decide to secure an offer, it will be ‘subject to survey’ which in summary means if everything goes well with the survey, the buyer will keep their offer at the same amount. Sometimes this can take a little while so please be patient. At this stage it can get quite complex so you will need either a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to start the process of transferring the legal ownership of property or land from one person to another.
Exchanging Contracts & Completion
This is the final phase of the legal process after which, the buyer would lose their deposit if they were to pull out. Please be aware that if you then pull out without a due reason, the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them and you could even be sued. After this you will both be able to agree on the contents of the contract, what fixtures and fittings will be included, will there be any discount due to any problems flagged up in the survey and so forth. Once this is agreed you can then set a completion date, this can vary be between 7 and 28 days after the exchange of contracts. When you exchange contracts with the buyer, this becomes legally binding.
This is a very exciting day however just remember that any move can be stressful, but with these steps hopefully it will be reduced:
- Move out before the completion day to avoid rushing around on the day.
- Make sure that you leave the property clean for the new arrivals.
- If you are using a removal company we advise to avoid moving on a Monday, Friday and Bank holidays. The removal companies will always charge more. Also ensure that your possessions are insured for transit. Most companies will provide the insurance but do make sure you read the fine print, you could be caught out.
- Before or during packing it is a good idea to have a sort through of things that you no longer need or use. There is no point moving things that you simply don’t need.
- If you have children or pets it will be best if someone can look after them on the moving day as it can be quite a lot for them to deal with.
- Take meter readings (photos help too) of both properties on the day you move, you will need these for your final and new bills.
- Contact companies that you have moved including, the local council, employers and the DVLA and redirect your mail for a few weeks whilst these are changed over.
- Keep a small box of essentials close by. Having a cuppa will go a long way when you first get to the new house!
- A nice good will gesture is to write a ‘fact file’ for your old home for the new owners. This can include the boiler details, instruction leaflets, recycling schemes etc.
- Check that all the water, heating, smoke alarm etc. all work in your new home