Our step-by-step guide to selling a property
At Parkheath we appreciate that selling a home or a property requires important financial decisions and that these decisions can affect you and your family. This is why we feel that offering quality service is more important than the quantity of properties that we sell. We are proud that our high levels of customer service have time and time again given us not only referred business, but repeated business.
We have put together this step-by-step guide to help clarify the selling process for you, and we hope that this will show you how we can help you achieve the maximum price for your property.
Valuing your property
The first step to selling your home is to either contact or visit your local office to make an appointment for a free valuation with one of our experienced members of staff.
Alternatively, you can request a valuation by filling in our simple online form. As soon as we receive the form, one of our experienced members of staff will contact you to arrange an appointment.
In order to establish a value for your property, we will perform what is technically called a ‘competitive market analysis’. This takes into account factors such as the desirability of the area, the location of your property, local and national market trends, and any improvements carried out to the property (such as loft conversions) to calculate the ‘estimated market value’ of your property. We then use this figure to arrive at your asking price.
At Parkheath we believe that it is only through valuing a property accurately that we can achieve the best market price for your property.
If you have obtained several valuations on your property, it is advisable to ask the agents for details of other properties which they have recently sold, in order to substantiate the higher valuations. This will help you to verify that the agent is being realistic and not giving false hope in order to obtain your marketing instructions. Remember that a first impression is very important to the marketing process and it is not ideal to see your home languishing on the market for weeks or months, being reduced in price time and again in order to secure a buyer.
Appointing a solicitor
We advise that you instruct your solicitor as soon as you are ready to start marketing your property. This will avoid delays and allow time for your solicitor to collect all the necessary documentation required to transfer the ownership of your property to a buyer. (This process is known as conveyancing).
We recommend that you use a solicitor who specialises in conveyancing.
Each of our offices will have a selection of solicitors that we work with on a regular basis who we would be happy to recommend.
Parkheath marketing is extensive and proactive, with a wide reach through media and e-marketing. We use all of the major property websites, including Zoopla, Rightmove and PrimeLocation, as well as other smaller but equally focused websites to ensure maximum exposure. Our website Parkheath.com and social media sites on Facebook and Twitter constantly keep our client database informed of new properties and property news.
The Parkheath magazine is a free property magazine which is distributed throughout London. We also have a dedicated PR team to publicise through glossy magazines as well as local and national press.
Our policy is to accompany all viewings. Having access to your property at short notice is important in order that we can show your property to prospective purchasers as soon as they contact us with an interest in viewing your property.
Our policy is to notify you of any viewings that are taking place and to follow up the viewing with a phone call to give you detailed feedback from the applicant.
Preparing your home for sale
First impressions count and it is important that you keep your property as presentable as possible throughout the time that your property is on the market for sale. How you present your home can have a huge impact on people’s impressions and your success in selling your property for the price you would like to achieve. Although we do not recommend spending a fortune on home improvements, there are a few little things you can do to help with the sale of your property:
- Air the rooms.
- Fully draw back the curtains to get maximum daylight in the rooms.
- Paint the front door and ensure the entrance is clean and tidy.
- Spring clean your property (including skirting boards and windows).
- Give the bathroom sinks and baths a wipe over.
- Have some flowers in the main room.
- Weed and clean up the garden.
- Maximise a feeling of space - get rid of clutter. This is particularly a good time to do it as you will not want to pack and transport unused items to your new property.
- Redecorating may not be necessary - discuss this with your local Parkheath agent.Make sure the shower works and is free from mould.
- Do a check to see if there is anything that needs to be fixed such as a doorbell or dripping tap.
- Put a lock on any rear gate.
Receiving an offer
As soon as we receive an offer on your property, we will discuss it with you and then confirm it in writing. If you have received an acceptable offer you need to make a decision as to whether or not to continue to market your property; we can advise you on this.
There is always the possibility that you will receive multiple offers and that you may receive several identical offers and need to decide between buyers. In these instances we will spend time with you going through the individual details of each of the applicants who have made an offer to bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion:
Open bids ("Dutch auction"): Parkheath will negotiate with each buyer until they drop out, one by one, and the highest offer is left on the table. This method can achieve a high final offer from a buyer in the best position to proceed.
Sealed bids: Buyers are invited to submit their final offers in writing to Parkheath, and the sealed bids are opened at a pre-agreed date and time. The highest offer wins. This method is seen to be fair to all buyers. As people are casting their offers blind and have only one chance, they are encouraged to put down the maximum they can afford. However this system does not necessarily take into account which buyer is in the financial best position to proceed.
Contract race: The buyers are advised that you, the vendor, will sell to the buyer who can exchange contracts first. This avoids you having to choose between buyers.
Accepting an offer
Once you have accepted an offer on your property the following details need to be agreed:
- Details of any fixtures and fittings to be included or excluded in the sale of your property.
- Date for the buyers or lenders survey on your property.
- Date for exchange of contracts.
- Date for completion.
Throughout this process we will be on hand to advise you and negotiate for you (if needed) and keep you informed at every step. This and the following stages of the selling process are critical as this is where many sales fall through. At Parkheath we believe that by working closely with our vendors, applicants and solicitors, we HELP prevent sales fall through.
Preparation of a draft contract
Once an offer on your property is agreed, your solicitor will forward a draft Contract of Sale for your property to the buyer’s solicitor. The buyer’s solicitor in turn will verify all the documentation and will carry out preliminary enquiries.
- Your solicitor will require you to fill out a “vendor’s questionnaire” therefore it is worth considering the following factors in advance such as:
- Owner's understanding of rights of access.
- Any disputes over the above.
- Guarantees/insurance policies e.g. NHBC.
- Utility services at property.
- Lists of fixtures and fittings.
Service charge accounts
If you live in a leasehold property your solicitor may require the following documents whilst preparing your Contract of Sale:
Service charge accounts and buildings insurance (This is generally not applicable to freehold properties)
We recommend that you forward copies of your service charge account for the past 3 years, estimates for the next year and your building insurance certificates to your solicitor. Try to get this sorted as soon as you instruct us to market your property as this will help speed the process if your solicitors has this to hand when you have accepted an offer on a property.
If you reside in an apartment block you can ask your solicitor to get this information from your Managing Agents.
If you live in a freehold property your solicitor may request the following documents:
- Title documents (from you or your Bank/Building Society).
- Evidence of payment of last Council Tax (last 12 months).
- Paid utility bills.
- Guarantees and warranties related to damp proofing, etc.
- Gas safety check certificates.
- NHBC certificates.
- Planning and Building Regulations approvals for extensions etc.
Exchange of contracts
An exchange of contracts occurs once all the queries have been satisfied by the buyer’s solicitors and once they have seen the local searches and have agreed to them.
Your buyer may need a mortgage to purchase your property, and thus only once they have received a confirmation on their mortgage offer will they buyer be ready to exchange contracts.
The contract needs to be signed by you and the buyer. The deposit (which is usually 10% of the purchase price) is transferred to your solicitor. Once they receive the deposit the contracts can be exchanged. It is at this point that the sale is legally binding.
The completion date is set.
A completion can be set for any day from the day of exchange to a few weeks after exchange, depending on each parties’ requirements and what was agreed.
The balance of the purchase price is sent from the buyer’s solicitor’s account to your solicitor’s account.
It is at this point that you have sold your property.
This guide is intended to help readers navigate their way through the selling process under the estate agency systems in England and Wales. Readers take any advice at their own risk. Parkheath accept no responsibility for any action taken, or loss occurring, as a result of any advice and/or information in this guide.
If you require further information or advice, contact your local office to talk to one of our experienced members of staff.