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What are the key must-do steps when you are selling your home? What should you do to ensure the process is quick, easy and successful?

Selling your home can be one of the most stressful things you ever do.

That is especially the case when you are selling in England & Wales where the buyer is free to walk away at any point up to exchange of contracts – leaving you with a bunch of wasted legal fees and charges, not to mention your wasted time, inconvenience and disappointment.

For that reason you will want to do everything you can to ensure your sale goes through.

This blog looks briefly at the key practical steps you should take to make sure that your sale is successful. In 2016, Which reported that the failure rate for sales/purchases was 3 in 10.

1. Address the future

Your sale can easily fail if you have not thoroughly worked out your plans once your property is sold.

Where are you going to live? If you intend to buy another property, do you know where and are you likely to get the mortgage (if any) you will need?

Have you fully addressed key matters such as travel to work and schools for children?

2. Work out the financials

If there is a mortgage on the property you are selling, how much do you owe and how much will you have left after the sale?

Obtain a mortgage redemption statement from your mortgage company to establish the exact amount due to it.

If there are loans you intend or need to pay off following the sale, obtain up to date settlement statements.


3. Identify the estate agent

Carry out your due diligence and select the selling agent best suited to sell your particular type of property.

Ideally the agent should come highly recommended by someone you know who successfully used them recently.    

When is the best time to sell? (timing your sale for maximum advantage)
5 smart steps to sell your home fast (simple practical steps to speed up selling)
Moving out checklist (things to check when moving out of a property)

4. Get mortgage pre-approval

If you are going to need a mortgage to buy a replacement home, make sure you will qualify for a mortgage for the amount you will need by obtaining mortgage pre-approval in the form of a “mortgage in principle”, “agreement in principle” or “mortgage promise”.

5. Make sure your agent can get access easily

Make effective workable arrangements with your selling agent so that they can always have access to show potential buyers around your home at times convenient for the buyers.


6. Take time to consider any offer and keep your word

When your agent reports an offer, don’t make a decision on it immediately. Give yourself time to reflect and don’t succumb to any pressure from the agent.

Only accept an offer if you are entirely sure about it – and look to keep your word unless there is a justifiable reason for not doing so.

If you change your mind without just cause and ask for more money, your buyer may walk away and your agent may have concerns about your ethics or reliability. That won’t help them to work their hardest to find another buyer for you.

7. Instruct your conveyancer promptly

Once you have accepted the offer of your buyer, promptly appoint the conveyancer to deal with the legal aspects of the sale on your behalf.

If you are not using the conveyancer who acted for you when you bought, find someone who is “good” to deal with your particular sale, ideally relying on a personal recommendation.


8. Respond promptly to your conveyancer

As part of the sale process, the buyer’s conveyancer will raise a wide range of “pre-contract enquiries” or questions about your property – including its state, condition, rights, history and services.

You should reply fully and promptly to any request for information or documents from your conveyancer.

Delay on your part will slowdown the entire process and delay is probably the number one factor which causes sales to collapse – especially where there is “a chain” (such as your buyer having a property to sell).

9. Leasehold cases

If you are selling a flat, and occasionally if you are selling a house, your title will be leasehold and you buyer will want to know about your lease: its length or term, the ground rent, the service charges and the rights, covenants, obligations and regulations.

Your conveyancer will normally write to the freeholder or managing agent for comprehensive replies to the questions raised by the buyer’s conveyancer. 

However, that can be a slow and time consuming process and many sales have failed because of delay in getting replies to these “management enquiries”.

You can help by digging out copies of key documents sent to you by the freeholder or management company in the last 3/4 years, and in particular: ground rent receipts, building insurance policies and schedules, notices of major works planned and service charge statements and accounts.

10. Conclusion

With slow progress or delay playing a leading part in most sales that collapse, anything you can do to accelerate the progress of your sale can only help.

Consider carefully the matters set out in this blog before placing your home on the market.

Have you sold your home recently? What were your experiences? Please leave your comments below.

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Dalton Barrett
Rebel Property Coach

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One comment

  1. Thanks for this Dalton. When broken down like this it makes the process a lot more manageable. I am finding your blog very useful and informative. Keep up the good work.

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