As most people know, Estate Agents carry details of the majority of properties for sale. This can be through their offices, web sites and in the local newspapers. However, there is a fairly substantial charge involved if they sell your house and some people choose not to go through an Estate Agent.
People that are convinced their house will sell quickly may choose to sell privately, without the use of an Estate Agent. This can save on selling fees but will mean that you have to show the house yourself and undertake virtually the same tasks as the Estate Agent would have.
With house prices increasing, Estate Agent charges are also on the increase and may not be seen as value for money. This is down to personal choice and you should shop around for the best deal.
For buyers looking for a property, this can be a long and drawn out process, especially if they want to live in a particular type of house in a particular area. However, once they find a property they want they will make you an offer to buy it.
You have the right to refuse any offer you receive. Most people refuse offers because it is lower than the asking price. Potential buyers are always looking for a bargain so do not assume that the first offer is the only one they will make. It is usual for buyers to increase their offer in stages or they will tell the Estate Agent the maximum they can afford.
Not having an offer at the full asking price can be disappointing but other buyers will come along and you might get more than you wanted the next time. However, if you are in a hurry to sell you should consider negotiating with the buyer that made an offer. You may not get the full asking price but you might get more than their original offer.
In England and Wales you are not bound by your accepted offer and can pull out at any time before contracts are exchanged on the property. If you do pull out your purchaser is likely to lose some or all of the fees they paid to their mortgage lender and/or Solicitor. You should therefore be very certain that you want to accept an offer.
In Scotland the law is slightly different and buyers enter into a binding contract when they make an offer to purchase a property. Certain conditions can be placed on the offer but generally the offer is binding on both parties.
If you are using an Estate Agent to sell your home, any purchaser will be expected to make a formal offer through them. The Estate Agent will then act as a middle-man between you and the purchaser in any negotiations. At this point you can also confirm extra items to be left in the house such as carpets and curtains and whether the purchaser will be expected to pay extra for them.
As your Estate Agent is likely to charge for their service, you should expect a regular update regarding the progress of marketing for your property. They should also confirm the amount of interest in the property and how they feel it is going.
If they believe the market is not buoyant for your type of property they may ask you to consider dropping the asking price to obtain a quicker sale. Do not be pressured into this if you are in no rush to move.
If an offer is made that is accepted, your home buying process moves to the next level.
Once you have accepted an offer on your property the Estate Agent will write to both you and the purchaser with confirmation and you will need to appoint a Solicitor to get the buying process moving. This is known as the conveyancing.
Most people do appoint Solicitors to undertake the conveyancing work on their behalf. You do have to pay for it but by doing so it can mean the property sale is completed in a fairly short period of time.
If you do not wish to appoint a Solicitor, you can do the conveyancing work yourself as it is normally a set and standard process. We suggest though, this may be complex for most of us and it is safer to leave it to professionals.
Conveyancing involves liaising with your current and future mortgage lenders (if applicable), making sure searches are done on the new and current property, checking the property deeds to ensure all the necessary permissions are in place to sell, build, own and more as well as making all the formal registrations with the land registry for new ownership
You would also have to deal with the purchaser's Solicitor for matters concerning the sale of your property.
Once your Solicitor has been appointed, he or she will start the conveyancing process and you should agree a preliminary date when you would like to move out of the property.
Once your Solicitor has completed the conveyancing process you will be able to 'exchange contracts'.
3. Selling Property - Completion
As soon as contracts have been exchanged your Solicitor will make sure everything is ready for you to transfer your property to the purchaser from the completion date. Exchange of contracts and completion can take place on the same day if you are in a particular hurry to move. If you are taking on a mortgage to purchase another property, the mortgage deed will be ready for you to sign at your Solicitors on the completion date and he or she will talk you through the document. This will allow the lender to release the funds in order to purchase the new property.
If there is a sale and purchase going through at the same time the Soilcitor will arrange for any surplus of sale monies over mortgage needed to be returned to you. They will deduct their fees and any other due charges first. This can include their legal fees and the stamp duty payment. If there are no surplus monies available your solicitor will send you a bill for the work and fees due. You will have a certain amount of time to settle the bill.
The final part of the process is for your Solicitor to confirm the sale proceeds have been received and for you to hand over the keys. The property no longer belongs to you.