Are you thinking about putting your Bungalow on the market? Our step-by-step guide to the process of selling it will help you sell your property quickly and for the best price.
Step-by-step guide to selling a house
Selling a house and moving to a new property can be much more complicated than buying your first home. As well as marketing and selling your property, you’ll need to work out your financial options, not to mention timing things right with the home you want to move to.
It can be a lot to juggle, to say the least – but help is at hand.
Our step-by-step guide to selling a house explains everything you’ll need to do, and the rough order you should do it in.
1. Get your finances in order
First, you need to work out whether you can genuinely afford to sell up and move.
If you’re still within your existing mortgage term, you should check whether you’ll face any early repayment charges for breaking the deal or any fees to take it with you to a new property – a process known as porting.
If you’re planning to move to a more expensive property, you should find out how much you can borrow and which lender will offer you the best deal.
This, along with stamp duty and all the other costs of selling a house, can really add up – so it pays to do the maths early on.
2. Make your home looks its best
The next step is to spruce up your property so it’s ready for valuations and viewings.
Make sure your property is clean, tidy and free from clutter. This will give potential buyers a blank canvas to imagine how they would use the space.
It should also look good from the outside. Mow the lawn, pull out the weeds, clean the windows and repair any broken gates or fences.
If your home is a bit run down you may want to consider some home improvements – but it’s worth getting an estate agent’s opinion on whether it’s worth the expenditure (see next step).
Kitchen renovations are huge, expensive projects, whereas giving things a fresh coat of paint and replacing handles and doors can be just as effective and much cheaper.
If you think your home may have any major issues that could put buyers off, consider getting a house survey done so that you have independent confirmation of the extent of the problems, plus potential repair costs. You can then make a call on whether to fix things or factor future costs for a buyer into your asking price.
3. Get your property valued
Setting the right asking price for your home is crucial. Too high and you’ll risk putting people off (and also won’t appear in portal results when buyers have set price caps on their searches); too low and you might end up selling for much less than you could have got.
Spend time researching how much your house is worth based on recent local market activity, and invite three local estate agents round to value your property.
Make sure you pick agents with proven track records of selling properties like yours in your area. You can use our estate agent comparison tool, in partnership with GetAgent, to explore this and get quotes.
Grill each agent on why they think your home is worth the amount they’ve suggested and ask for examples of how much similar local properties have sold for in the last few months.
4. Set an asking price
While estate agents can advise you, it’s entirely up to you what asking price you set for your property.
If all of the estate agents have given you similar valuations, you can be fairly confident that they’re correct and base your decision on their recommendations.
But if there are big differences between the valuations you received, it can be hard to know what to do.
Some estate agents have been found to overvalue properties in order to win business. It can be tempting to choose the firm claiming they can get you thousands more for your home, but setting an unrealistic asking price can waste time and put buyers off even viewing a property.
In this situation you should set an asking price based on a combination of the average valuation you’ve received and recent selling prices of properties similar to yours.
A final note on asking prices: properties are sometimes advertised for ‘offers in excess of (OIEO)’ or ‘offers over’ rather than just the asking price itself. You can describe your asking price however you like but remember that it is just that – and a buyer is still free to offer less.
5. Instruct an estate agent (or alternative)
Even if you’ve received valuations from local estate agents, you might choose to sell your home in a different way. You can find out about the most common options and their pros and cons in our guides:
- high-street estate agents
- online estate agents
- selling a house privately
- property auctions
If you decide to sell through an estate agent, make sure you compare fees and haggle for a better deal – not only on the fee but tie-in and notice periods, too.
Once you’ve chosen which company to use, you’ll sign a contract which lays out the terms under which they’ll sell your home – this is known as ‘instructing’.
6. Help prepare the marketing materials
Once you’ve instructed an estate agent, they should send a photographer to take professional pictures of your home.
Make sure it’s spotless and clutter-free, even if it means shifting things from one room to another between photos. Check that toilet lids are closed, bedspreads smoothed and cushions plumped, and keep decorative flourishes simple: think a vase of flowers or fruit bowl (plain colour schemes work best – e.g. just pink tulips or green apples).
Your estate agent will also arrange for a floorplan to be created and write a description to accompany the listing. It’s worth asking to check this before it’s published and flagging if there’s anything wrong or missing.
Once the marketing materials are ready, your estate agent should list your property online (Rightmove is the property portal with the most visits so it’s important to be listed on there, as well as your agent’s own website and other portals such as Zoopla or OnTheMarket).
7. Get your paperwork in order
If you get your paperwork sorted out early, it will help things move along more quickly. Click on the downloadable checklist below for a list of all the documents you might need, and check out our guide to energy performance certificates (EPCs) as you’ll need one to be able to sell.
8. Compare estate agents in your area