Legally prepare your property for sale

When it comes to selling your home, preparation and doing your homework will help to make the task run smoothly.

As well as the time and effort it takes to get your home ready for viewing - in terms of giving it that easily achievable ‘show home feel’ - there are also a number of legal and financial considerations.

Our Harrison Murray and Nottingham Estate Agency team have a few tips when it comes to getting your property sale-ready - from de-cluttering, conveyancing, arranging a mortgage and everything in between.

Head of estate agency Su Snaith said: “When people think about preparing their house for sale, they often think about the physical aspects such as DIY and decorating to attract potential buyers, in efforts to accelerate the time taken to receive an offer. However, very few think about legally preparing their house for sale.

“As part of The Nottingham we can help provide a one-stop shop when it comes to legally and financially preparing customers for, and guiding them through, the house selling process.”

Top tips:

  • Once you are certain you want to move - and are emotionally and financially ready - choose your agent wisely. Instruct an agent with a good reputation whom you feel will market your home to the best of their ability, and who is a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme and the Office of Fair Trading.
  • Step back and look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Make the most of your space, make sure the house is clean and tidy; focusing on de-cluttering, giving windows and doors a lick of paint if needed, and pay some attention to your outdoor space; cutting the lawn and getting rid of unsightly weeds.
  • Be sure to highlight, and pass on to your agent, details of any outstanding features that first attracted you to the home. Your agent will work this information into the property details. This could include such things as an under-the-stairs storage space or a dedicated outdoor dining area.
  • There are many legal points to consider, but being well prepared may help to speed up the process, from viewings to the eventual sale.
  • Draw up an inventory of items that you are including or not including in the sale of the house, for example curtain poles and light fittings, to avoid confusion later down the line.
  • Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers will expect to see all documents and by not providing them, it could result in delays. For example, windows installed after 1 April 2002 need FENSA certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees.
  • In addition, building work that has been carried out on the property will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the relevant completion certificate for the work. By law, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), giving information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, needs to be provided. Your estate agent can arrange this.
  • Conveyancing - this is the last legal hurdle. Put simply, it is the act of legally transferring a property from one person to another and has, by law, to be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Harrison Murray and Nottingham Estate Agency’s conveyancing solicitors can open the file at the start of the marketing process and prepare all the necessary documentation to reduce the time from offer to exchange - as the longer the process takes, the more likely the sale may fall through.
  • A move to a new home may take its toll financially, but it may be wise to think about home insurance, finding the right mortgage and future financial planning.

Su added: “Ideally, sellers should aim to get the relevant information together before they market the property. Their chosen estate agent can show this information to buyers, which will not only help them make informed decisions, but also demonstrate that they are dealing with a serious and organised seller.”

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