Guide to selling your home

There are many reasons why you might be considering moving. It may be that you’re downsizing or getting a bigger home, you might need to relocate due to a new job or you may be looking to release some funds. Whatever your reasons, once you’ve decided to sell your home it’s worth considering a few things to ensure the sale goes through as quickly and smoothly as possible.

This guide will help you through the different areas of a house move

How much is your house worth?

Before you can make a move you need to know how much your property is worth. After all, if you’re thinking about moving to a new location, you need to know how much capital you will have to play with.

Do your own research. Get to know the area you want to move to. Keep an eye on which properties are selling and at what price. The internet has made this really easy, so look at estate agency websites or selling portals such as Rightmove.

Sites like the Office for National Statistics is good for providing house price indices and you can also look at the property pages of your local papers.

Estate agents know the local housing market and are well placed to tell you how much your house is likely to sell for. Get three agencies to come and provide you with free valuations. They may all provide different valuations so it’s worth discussing your requirements with them. If you’re looking for a quick sale you might want to go in at a reduced asking price, or you might put your house up for sale at a slightly higher price to give you room to negotiate.

Do you need an estate agent to sell your house?

The internet has changed the way we sell homes. And when every touchscreen is a potential shop window for your property, it’s tempting to take your own pictures, write your own blurb and let your perfectly presented home – “surprisingly spacious, close to all the amenities in an up-and-coming area” – sell itself on an online property site.

Headaches come with the territory when you move home. Surveys regularly say that moving house ranks just below bereavement and divorce in the list of things that stress us out, so why do you want to add to that? Going it alone carries risks and hassles you might not have considered.

  1. Selling your home could be the biggest transaction you make and you may not be qualified to do it. (For example, did you know there are regulations around the types of photos you can upload, and guidelines on the descriptions you can use?)
  2. You will need to set your own price and while you have an idea of what the value is, is it really the right value?
  3. Marketing your own property involves more than sticking a few photos on the internet.
  4. You will need to arrange all the viewings (the seller is less likely to receive negative feedback on the property which could hinder the property sale). You will also need to negotiate the offers you receive.
  5. Once the sale has been agreed you will need to progress the sale.
A good estate agent gives security, value-for-money and much more. Here are 10 good reasons why it is still the right move to employ the services of a trained and regulated property professional.
  1. Buying or selling a house is probably the biggest financial transaction you will ever make. Do you really want to get into that without professional expertise and advice?
  2. The personal touch is important. People buy people. They build bonds and develop trust. You can't get that from a nameless, faceless online estate agent.
  3. A trained estate agent has their head firmly in the local market. They know how much your home is worth and will be able to value it correctly. Relying on someone else for a valuation risks letting your property go for a song, or, alternatively, gathering dust in an online window for months because it is over-priced.
  4. An estate agent will advise you how to present your property. They will tell you all the little things you can do to make it more attractive to buyers.
  5. A good agent won’t wait for a buyer to find you. They will know who’s in the market for a home like yours and they’ll be proactive in arranging viewings.
  6. At The Nottingham we have a team to progress sales. We’ll speak to buyers, sellers, solicitors and other estate agents to keep chains moving. If you sell online, everything will be done mostly via email. An estate agent can keep a chain together, deal with expectations and manage expectations.
  7. A professional agent is trained to sell a property in full compliance with the law. If you put your home up online are you sure it’s being described in accordance with consumer protection regulations?
  8. An estate agent is a buffer between the buyer and the seller. People will inevitably haggle over an asking price. Your agent will stop those negotiations descending into bitterness and recrimination. They take the hassle away.
  9. We filter out time-wasters. An estate agent will want to see a mortgage Agreement in Principle. If it’s a cash buyer we'll want to see proof of funds.
  10. You can complain and be compensated if a properly regulated estate agent lets you down. Reputable agents belong to the Property Ombudsman. It has powers to take action against agents that breach its Rules of Conduct and Code of Practice.

How do you find the right estate agent?

If you're selling your house you want to employ an estate agent who will solve your problems, not add to them. But how do you find the right person for the job?
We know what qualities make a great estate agent because it’s what we insist on when we employ and train our staff. Here are our top 10 tips for finding a diligent, efficient, property professional who won’t let you down.

  1. “Mystery shop” your preferred agents. Visit their branches posing as a customer looking for a home. If the staff can barely be bothered to look up from their phones, sigh and are generally unhelpful you know that’s the poor level of service your potential buyers are likely to receive.
  2. Walk their talk. See how many boards an agent has outside homes in your area and see how many have “sold” signs attached. That will give you a real indication of how good they are.
  3. Speak to different agents. Form an impression of them. Are they on time when they visit your property? If they've been delayed, do they ring to apologise and let you know? If an agent is unreliable from the outset they are probably best avoided.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask an agent questions. Find out how well they know the local area. Shops, amenities and schools are things buyers are likely to ask about. If the agent can’t help, it won’t nail your sale.
  5. Don’t be swayed by an agent who gives a sky-high valuation of your home. We all want the best possible asking price, but some agents will over-value a property just to get it on their books. When your home’s not had a viewing for two months they’ll say you need to be “realistic”. Get several valuations, look at similar properties, and be pragmatic. A good agent will be able to tell you prices of similar properties recently sold in the area, and whether they have customers on their books waiting for a property such as yours.
  6. Do you like the person who’s pitching to sell your home? You don't have to be best buddies, but you do need to respect and trust them. If they wind you up on day one, you’ll hate them by week three.
  7. Location, location, location isn’t just an adage that applies to properties – it's an important criteria for judging an estate agency too. Look for an agent with a decent high street and online presence. It will help to put your home in the public eye.
  8. Look at the small print in contracts. Are there any clauses which lock you in with a particular agent if you decide you’re unhappy with them and want to take your business elsewhere?
  9. Make sure your agent is a member of the Property Ombudsman Service as they can help with any unresolved issues with the estate agent, should they arise.
  10. Look at other properties the agent has on their books. If the agent specialises in multi-million-pound country manors it’s unlikely they'll make selling your two-bedroom terrace a high priority. Buyers looking for a two-bedroom terrace are also less likely to pay them a visit.

Budget for your sale

Make sure you know how much selling your property is going to cost you. Costs can vary but these will give you a basic idea:

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): before you can put your property on the market you must get an EPC. This contains information about a property’s energy use and gives it a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. This is something you can arrange yourselves or an estate agency can provide.

Estate agency fees: there is a charge for estate agency services. Costs vary across estate agencies, with some charging a percentage of the sale and others offering fixed fees. You will need to agree this before you sign a contract and the charge will be payable when an estate agent sells the property. (Remember to add the VAT when budgeting for this cost.)

Conveyancing fees:you will need the services of a solicitor to help with the legal aspects of selling your property. This is called conveyancing. Costs vary across the country so always ask for the cost. If you’re selling and buying a property you may be able to negotiate a discounted price. If you need help with this you can talk to your estate agent. They may have partnerships with conveyancers. We offer all services under one roof including conveyancing, we can give you all the costs upfront.

Removal costs: you may need to hire the services of a removal company or hire a van. Costs will vary depending on how far you need to move and the amount of assets you need to move. Shop around to get the best quote.

Current lender fees: always check to ensure that you don’t have any early repayment charges or administration fees when paying off or moving (porting) your mortgage.

Legal work

You need the services of a conveyancer when selling your home. And you need this legal process to complete as quickly as possible, with as little stress as possible, so you can get on with moving.

With so many expenses it can be tempting to opt for a solicitor or conveyancing service that is cheap. But you need to be sure that the service you get is professional.

What you save on fees, you might end up losing on extra costs, missed items or lost sales due to delays.

Make sure whoever you choose is professional, experienced and will dedicate their time to help make your move as smooth as possible.

Talk to your estate agent as they may have approved panels of conveyancing firms or call us as we offer our own service.

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  • Estate agency
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  • Buying or selling your house
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Nottingham Mortgage Services
www.thenottingham.com/mortgages

Citizens Advice Bureau service
www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Money Saving Expert
www.moneysavingexpert.com

Financial Ombudsman Service
www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

British Bankers’ Association (BBA)
www.bba.org.uk

Building Societies Association (BSA)
www.bsa.org.uk

Experian
www.experian.co.uk

Council of Mortgage Lenders
www.cml.org.uk/cml/consumers

Energy Performance Certificate Register
www.epcregister.com

Stamp Duty
www.gov.uk/stamp-duty-land-tax/overview

HM Revenue & Customs
www.hmrc.gov.uk/sdlt

National Association of Estate Agents
www.naea.co.uk

Guild of Professional Estate Agents
www.guildproperty.co.uk

Surveyors
www.ricsfirms.com
www.surveyline.com

HM Land Registry
www.landreg.gov.uk

Land Registry House Price Index
www.landreg.gov.uk/house-prices

RICS housing market survey
www.rics.org/housingmarketsurvey

Council Tax bandings
www.voa.gov.uk

Local NHS services
www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories

Harrison Murray
www.harrisonmurray.co.uk/conveyancing

The Law Society (England and Wales)
www.lawsociety.org.uk

Conveyancers (CLC)
www.conveyancer.org.uk

Removals

The British Association of Removers
www.bar.co.uk

The National Guild of Removers and Storers
www.ngrs.co.uk

Insurance

Nottingham Building Society
www.thenottingham.com/home-insurance

British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA)
www.biba.org.uk

Money advice

National Debtline
www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

Consumer Credit Counselling Service
www.cccs.co.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau Advice Guide
www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Shelter
www.shelter.org

This guide is intended as a summary only and does not constitute legal advice given by the Nottingham Building Society. No reliance should be placed on this guide and you must make your own decisions. We recommend that you seek legal and/or financial advice if you have any questions or queries.

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