Without the proper preparation and planning, selling a house can be a complicated process. Being prepared is key to executing a smooth sale. Below we will outline the 10 steps that you should follow to make selling a house as easy as possible. Whether you are selling the property yourself or using an estate agent, the steps to follow are pretty similar.
Hiring a solicitor and an estate agent at the beginning of the process will make selling your property much easier. This should be your priority as soon as you decide to sell your house. Your solicitor will guide you as to what to do, for example if you have a mortgage, a solicitor will prepare the necessary forms you will need to sign to take up the title deeds from the financial institution that has loaned you the money. This will allow your solicitor to gain access to the title deeds to investigate the title, and to see if you need to apply for supplementary documents before contracts issue for the sale of your property. Having a professional to hand to help with the specifics of your situation will alleviate hours of stress. Being able to consult a professional at every step of the process will ensure that you have the relevant documentation to hand to help you to avoid potential delays.
2. Title Deeds
Locating the title deeds is a vital part of selling your home. As we touched on above, if your property is mortgaged, your solicitor will take up the title deeds from the relevant financial institution or building society. After your solicitor requests these, they will hold onto them throughout the sale process. If you already have your title deeds you can give them to your solicitor yourself. Arranging the titles deeds as quickly and as efficiently as possible will save you time later on in the process. If your property is in negative equity you will have to negotiate with your lender in order for them to consent to the sale. This should also be arranged as early as possible in order to avoid delays later in the sale.
3.Find a Buyer
Appointing an estate agent or an auctioneer is the quickest and simplest way to attract prospective buyers. Working with professionals is normally the best way to go because they are well versed in all procedural elements of selling a property, and can guide you through the relevant milestones. They will accurately value the property and use this information to market it towards the appropriate market. If you appoint an estate agent or an auctioneer, they will also arrange the relevant advertising in newspapers and online as well as putting up ‘For Sale’ signs on the property. Some people prefer not to put signs up, and rely on the advertising, it is entirely your choice. Your estate agent or auctioneer will deal directly with prospective buyers, resulting in much less stress for you. Once you have interested buyers you will need to agree on a sale price, and the buyer will then pay a deposit. Now the property is considered as ‘sale agreed’. Both the buyer and the seller have time to reconsider, and the house will be changed to ‘sold’ when all the aspects of the sale go through.
Your estate agent will send a ‘sales letter’, which contains the details of the sale, to you and your solicitor as well as to the purchaser and their solicitor. Your solicitor will then issue contracts to the purchaser’s solicitor. These contracts include information like the purchase price, the contract deposit, a list of contents included in the sale, the closing date for the completion of sale, and any other relevant information about charges relating to the property.
5. Requisitions on Title
Requisitions on Title are a booklet of standard questions about the Title. These must now be dealt with as the same time as the issuing of Contracts by the Seller’s Solicitor.
Usually, the purchaser’s solicitor will reply with questions about the contract. These are referred to as the pre-contract questions. This process is to ensure that the title deeds are in order, as well as to identify anything that might delay the sale.
Once the pre-contract questions have been sufficiently answered, the purchaser can sign the contract and return it to the seller’s solicitor. When it has been returned and the purchaser has paid their deposit, the seller can arrange to countersign. You will need to bring personal identification and address verification with you. Your appointed solicitor will explain the fundamental aspects of the sale once more so that you thoroughly understand every part of the sale. If you are satisfied with everything, you will then countersign the contracts as well as the completion documentation. You are now legally bound to sell the property.
8.Closing a Sale
This part of the process is mostly about tying up loose ends. The seller will need to attend their solicitor’s office to sign a Transfer Deed as well as supporting documentation. They may also need to sign a declaration stating that they did not build any structures outside of planning permission laws. The seller may require a letter from the Local Authority stating that they are in charge of the roads and services for the property. The cost of this letter varies from Local Authority to Local Authority, and will depend on the area in which the property is situated. The Household Charge, the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge (if any). They will also be required to provide proof of paying the Household Charge, the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge (if any) and the Local Property Tax (LPT). In relation to LPT, it is important to ensure that you have been paying at the correct rate. This can, and does, lead to delays in completion of the sale.
If the property being sold is not a primary residence, a Non-Principal Private Residence charge will be required, covering the relevant years. Having a solicitor to guide you through this process is invaluable. They will ensure that you have all of the relevant documentation, so you can avoid complications and/or delays in the sale.
9.Handing over the Keys
The keys and title deeds will be exchanged on a date agreed by both solicitors in exchange for the remaining balance owed. Congratulations, you have sold your property!
10.Redemption of Mortgage
If the seller has a mortgage, their solicitor is required to pay the remaining balance owed from the funds from the sale. The remaining balance will be transferred to the seller after their solicitor has deducted any relevant fees and outlay. Usually, if there is an auctioneer involved, the auctioneer will deduct his/her fees from the booking deposit and furnish the balance to your solicitor.