4 July 2022

How to sell your home: everything you need to know

How to sell your home: everything you need to know

Selling a house may seem complicated – but it doesn’t have to be. Do your homework, get the right team beside you and the whole process will feel much smoother. In this guide, we’ll show you how to sell your home and cover…

  • The step by step process of selling your home
  • Cost of selling a house 
  • What paperwork do I need to sell my house UK
  • How long does it take to sell a house?
  • Best time to sell a house 
  • How to sell your house without an estate agent 
  • How do you sell an inherited house? 

Along the way, we’ll also provide top tips for keeping your sale budget-friendly and as speedy as possible. And don’t forget, our team is always on hand to answer questions here.

The step by step process of selling your home

Let’s take a look at the traditional route for selling a home, which will involve hiring an estate agent and finding a buyer through viewings. 

Sort out your finances

Your first step should be to do a little health check of your finances and get to grips with your mortgage options. You might be ready to move but your lender might not be too happy if you try to get out of a fixed-term mortgage early – especially if this mortgage can’t be ported to another property. 

Beware early repayment charges: if you do try to get out of your fixed term mortgage, make sure there are no early repayment charges attached. This is typically charged at 1-5% of the remainder of your mortgage debt, meaning it can cost you £1000s!

It would be a good idea to check the selling prices of your desired property, if you plan on purchasing another home. If you plan on moving to a more expensive property, moving house can be a great time to remortgage. Just bear in mind that if your circumstances have changed, you might not get the same great rate as you have in your current home. Becoming self-employed, losing one income stream, increased expenses, all these factors can negatively affect the process.

To fully understand your options, talk to a mortgage adviser.

Time to value your home

Next you’ll need to figure out how much your home is worth. House prices are liable to change year on year, so even if you bought your property in the last few years, you might have found the price tag has gone either up or down.

If you want to get a rough idea of worth yourself, take a look at the properties around you. See what’s selling in your local area and find comparable houses.

Otherwise, you’ll find either an estate agent or other selling expert will be able to provide a valuation. However, check the small print, as some companies charge for the service and can sometimes incur a fee worth £100s.

If you’re considering cash-buyers, you can get a free iBuying valuation here.

A chain of houses
When it comes to getting a valuation for your home, make sure you get more than one opinion on its worth.

Choose an estate agent or other seller

With the money side sorted, you’ll need to find someone to help you sell your home. This could be a traditional high-street estate agent or even an online agent. The former will give you more hands-on care, while the latter is much cheaper. 

We always recommend you talk to at least three agents before you commit yourself. This will allow you to compare offerings and give you some haggling power.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to sell fast, you may at this stage choose to go for an iBuyer. For a discount on the market value (between 10-15%), they’ll buy your home then and there, so all you need to do is pay the conveyancing fees.

Get an EPC

Legally, you can’t sell a home without an energy performance certificate. This document will tell anyone buying a property how energy efficient your home is, who will view highly insulated homes as an added benefit. 

Your EPC must have been carried out within the last 10 years. This means, if you’ve been in the property for less time than this, the one commissioned by the previous owner might still be valid. 

If not, you can order your EPC and associated survey online. Fees typically range between £60-£120.

Find a potential buyer 

Needless to say, finding a buyer is a pretty important step. Your estate agent will either arrange viewings or (if handling this yourself) you’ll need to market your home. 

To give your home the best chance, it’s worth decluttering your home and doing a deep cleaning before people come over. If your home isn’t selling like you hoped, try a lick of paint, a tidy of the garden, and some repairs also can’t hurt!

Properties are most likely to receive competitive bids during the first 6-8 weeks, so make sure you and your estate agent capitalise on this early stage. Fingers crossed you’ll receive a decent offer so you can move onto the next important stage.

Hire a conveyancing solicitor

Your conveyancing solicitor will handle the legal side of your sale, meaning it’s worth splashing out extra cash to get the best professional you can.

Once you’ve accepted an offer, they’ll work with your buyer’s team to get the necessary paperwork in order. They’ll also let you know when surveys will be carried out and any prerequisites the buyers might want to make. 

Remember, you and your buyers can pull out any time before you exchange contracts and you may be at risk of the chain breaking. Again, another reason why having a good conveyancer can help alleviate stress!

Exchange and complete

Once you exchange contracts, you are legally obligated to follow through with the sale. Failure to do so, on either side, and the other party may be able to sue for damages.

It typically takes between 2-4 weeks to go from exchanging contracts to completion. You may find some parties dragging the process out in order to move on their desired date.

Move out of the property 

After completion, it’s time to move out. Make sure you have a removal team booked and that your new home is ready. 

Packing up can be a little stressful, so make sure you have a system in place to help make moving home that much easier. 

Cost of selling a house

Selling a house doesn’t come cheap and you should expect to pay anywhere between £3910 – £11,920. 

This is based on a property that costs £270,000, which is the current UK average. The more expensive your home, the higher these costs will be.

At a minimum, you will likely need to cover…

  • Estate agent fees
  • Conveyancing fees
  • Energy Performance Certificate
  • Removal company fees

However, you may also need to factor in other costs too, such as…

  • A mortgage exit fee
  • Early mortgage repayment charge
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Porting a mortgage 
  • Home report (if selling in Scotland)

What’s more, if you plan on buying a new property, you will be subject to higher stamp duty. Only first-time homeowners get a discount, while stamp duty charges increase even further for buy-to-lets and holiday homes. 

What paperwork do I need to sell my house in the UK?

As it concerns what is likely to be your biggest asset, there’s plenty of forms you’ll need to get in order, including…

  • Proof of your identity 
  • Your property title deeds and land registry
  • Leasehold documents
  • Energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • New build warranties
  • Fittings and content form (TA10)
  • Planning permission
  • FENSA certificates for windows and doors

On top of this, the most essential documents will need to be compiled into a management information pack, which should help you sell your property fast. 

Not sure where to start getting your paperwork in order? This is a great place to start.

How long does it take to sell a house?

On average, it can take between 5-7 months to sell a house. 

Of course, these timing can vary massively depending on how easily you find a buyer, whether you need to renovate, and if you hit any complications during the conveyancing stage. 

The quickest way to sell a house is to use an iBuyer, as they’ll provide an instant cash offer. This means you can, in theory, complete in as little as 7 days. This is ideal for anyone facing time pressure, such as a need to move out of the country, release equity in a rental property, share an asset during divorce, or sell an inherited property fast. However, in exchange for speed, you will lose around 10-15% of the home’s market value.

Homes listed over the festive period will have a harder time finding a buyer.

Best time to sell a house 

You might be surprised by how much the seasons affect the buying and selling market. Traditionally, you’ll find March, April, and May as the best times to sell your home.

Conversely, the worst time to sell a house is around the summer holidays and before the Christmas period. 

Other factors can also play a role in whether the market is hot for sellers. The political climate can have an impact, as can real world events, as we saw during the COVID pandemic.

How to sell your house without an estate agent 

On average, an estate agent will charge between 0.75% – 3% (+VAT) of the sale price. This means, for your average UK home, you could end up paying £2700 – £8100 to your agent!

Given this price tag, you may be tempted to skip estate agents altogether. If this is the case, your options to sell your home are…

It’s important to remember, these alternative options do run the risk of you not achieving the full market value of your home. However, if you’re looking to sell quickly, with autonomy, and without spending too much out of pocket, they can be worth exploring!

Another option would be to use online estate agents. They charge significantly less than a local estate agent on the high street, and many let you customise the experience depending on how much you want to do yourself.

How do you sell an inherited house? 

Selling a house you’ve inherited can be a little more challenging than the traditional sales process. For a start, you’ll need to apply for a ‘grant of probate’ before you can even consider finding a buyer. This stage alone can take up to 12 weeks!

You may also be faced with…

  • Inheritance tax
  • Renovation requirements
  • Tenants still in situ
  • Co-ownership claims by other family members

Your first step in this process will be to understand what has been left to you in the will and finding out who is the executor of the estate. You can then make plans on whether you want to sell, rent out, or living in the property yourself. 

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Value and associated costs used for illustrative purposes