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Five tips for first time home sellers
Help for first time sellers
20 March 2019

Five tips for first time home sellers

Rosie Hamilton
Writer & Researcher

Just like buying a property for the first time, selling a house can be daunting if you haven’t been through the process before. The best way to begin is preparation. Getting to grips with what you’ll need to do at each step of the way is a great start. Below we’ve compiled five useful tips to help you prepare to sell your home for the first time.

Don’t be caught out by the costs of selling

Deciding to sell a property is a large financial step. Your property is one of your largest financial assets, and selling it is a complex process involving a number of costs. Knowing what to expect will help you budget effectively. Make sure to put aside enough to cover the following common costs:

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) You’ll need to make sure you have an EPC before your property is placed on the market. You can choose to do this yourself, or your estate agent can help arrange it. Check here to see whether you already have an EPC. (If you bought your property less than 10 years ago, it’s likely you do.)

Estate Agent Fees Estate Agents charge a percentage fee, usually around 1.8% of the selling price of your property. Though, this can differ depending on your area, current property values and the type of contract you choose.

Solicitor or Conveyancer Fees These fees can vary widely depending on the work involved and the value of your property. Ask your solicitor to provide a full quote upfront, so that you know what to expect.

Current Mortgage Lender’s Fees If you have a mortgage on the property you wish to sell, there may be charges associated with repaying it early. Get prepared, and ask your lender for a full rundown of what charges to expect.

Removal Costs There are a range of removal services available to suit a wide variety of needs. Research the best options for your timeframe, budget and location.

Don’t choose the estate agent that offers the highest valuation

Finding the right estate agent isn’t easy. There are over 18,000 in the UK, and in the average postcode 62 agents are listing property for sale. Because of this, it can be tempting to pick an agent solely based on who offers the highest valuation.

However, it’s common for estate agents to overvalue properties. This might be due to lack of experience, or worse, be a tactic to win your business. An experienced agent will know that over-valuing your home can damage a commission-based business. An overpriced property will need a greater number of price cuts to encourage a sale. This means your home could end up selling for less than if it had been more realistically priced from the start.

Properties which change price (increase or decrease) take over twice as long to sell. The longer your property sits on the market, the more suspicious potential buyers get. The best agents can justify their valuation and prove they’re able to reach above average numbers of buyers in your area.

GetAgent analyses property sales data to help you compare the performance of local estate agents. Working out the average percentage of asking price achieved is only one of these metrics. GetAgent also tracks the average time it takes each estate agent to sell a property and the number of homes they have listed in your area. Armed with this data you’ll be able to compare which local estate agent is best suited to help you.

Brew some coffee

One of the biggest turn offs for potential buyers are bad smells. In the days before viewings, make some small changes to prevent everyday smells leaving a bad impression. Open windows to air out rooms, and tackle the causes of cigarette smoke or unemptied bins.

There’s a cliche that you should bake bread on viewing days to fill your home with the aromas of domestic bliss. Brewing fresh coffee or lighting scented candles is an easier way to achieve the same effect. Investing in some plants or cut flowers is also a cheap way to make a room look nice, whilst helping it smell lovely.

For more tips on preparing your house for viewings take a look at our handy guide

Appoint your legal representative early

The best time to appoint a solicitor or conveyancer is around the time you choose your estate agent. Your conveyancer won’t step in until a formal offer is made, but it’s handy to have your selling team in place and on the same page from the very start. There’s nothing more frustrating or damaging to a sale than bad communication.

Preparation and planning can do a lot to speed up the conveyancing process. There are several standard bits of information that your legal representative will need to get the ball rolling. Getting ahead and filling out a Property Information Form [TA6]( › documents › ta6-form-specimen) and a Fitting and Contents Form [TA10]( › documents › TA10-form-specimen) can help move things along nicely.

Establish your limits and stick to them

People move house for many reasons, and you’ll probably have your own unique set of motives for wanting to sell. Often timing and finances are two of the most important factors to consider. Taking a moment to think about your needs can help you plan realistically for the sales process.

For example: are you willing to accept a lower offer to achieve a quicker sale, or would you rather hold out for the highest bidder? Are you able to wait for a high point in the property market, or would you prefer to start selling straight away?

Not all considerations are so large. It’s just as important to establish the important day-to-day things to minimise stress. Start by thinking about how often you’d like to hear from your estate agent, and whether you want to be present for house viewings. Being able to communicate what you expect will help your agent provide their best service, whilst making the sales process easier for you too.

For further advice, take a look at our helpful guide, or explore some of the tools we’ve designed to make your selling journey easier.

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