After going through the challenges and struggles of being a first-time buyer, eventually you are going to find yourself wanting to sell that first home. Whether you are moving due to relocation, change of circumstances, or simply needing more space, you will need to get your head around the process of selling a property.
Selling a house is a very different experience to buying a home, and usually coincides with purchasing a second property at the same time, which often adds to the stress. As a first-time house seller, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start and how to ensure you are getting the best price for your home. From choosing an estate agent to accepting an offer, there are many big decisions that need to be made throughout the process.
This guide covers everything you need to know about selling your first home and some tips from our experts.
Getting Your Finances In Order
Before you begin the process of selling your home, it is essential that you get your finances in order. Firstly, you need to notify your current mortgage lender that you are planning on selling the property. They will be able to provide you with information on how much is outstanding on your mortgage and also if you will incur any early redemption penalties for moving.
Once you understand your current mortgage situation and are aware of any fees that you could be charged, you then need to know the value of your home.
You should be able to get a rough idea of how much your property is worth by using online value checking services and also comparing similar houses on the market. Once you have a rough estimate, you will be able to calculate how much you will have remaining after you have paid off your existing mortgage.
If you are planning on buying a new property, then you should work out what size mortgage you will need for that. On top of your mortgage costs and fees, it is also essential to consider the other costs involved with moving home. This includes moving costs, stamp duty, solicitor and estate agent fees.
At this early stage, all these figures are going to be approximate as you can’t know exactly how much your house will sell for or how much your new home will cost. Planning your finances using these rough estimates can help you to work out precisely what you can afford.
Choosing Your Estate Agent
The majority of sellers will choose to use an estate agent to sell their property but choosing the right estate agent is an important decision. These are going to be the people that are responsible for valuing your home, marketing it online and organising viewings with potential buyers. You will need to work closely with your chosen estate agent throughout the selling process, so it is vital you select one you can trust.
Research local estate agents in your area and begin by shortlisting them to a potential three. Ask around family and friends for any recommendations of estate agents they have used in the past as personal recommendations can be very valuable.
When comparing your potential estate agent, consider aspects such as how long their properties are on the market for before they sell and how close they get to asking prices. Ensure they have a lot of experience in selling property’s that are similar to yours and in your local area and have a look through the current properties they are marketing.
Check if the images are well taken and the properties are generally well presented as this is likely to be how they will sell your home too. You should also find out about their commission rates and fees before making any final decisions.
Don’t feel pressured into using the same estate agent that you used to buy your first property. Although if you were impressed by their service when you dealt with them before, they could be worth considering again.
Preparing Your Home For Sale
Once you have calculated your finances and chosen your estate agent, you will need to get your house ready to be put on the market. There are various guides available that offer in-depth detail on getting a property ready for sale, but there are a few easy tips and tricks that anyone can do.
Begin by decluttering every area and removing as many personal belongings as possible. Tidy all your surfaces and hide away everyday essentials such as shampoo and tea towels. Make sure your home is spotlessly clean and pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom where grime can build up.
Don’t forget that the first impressions count. Try and make the front of your home as visually appealing as possible. This could be painting the front door or adding a hanging basket or potted plant.
If your home has many brightly decorated rooms, consider repainting with a light, neutral colour that will appeal to everyone. Buyers like to be able to envisage themselves living in a property, and non-invasive colours make this much easier.
Planning Your Viewings
When it comes to the stage of having prospective buyers viewing your home, you should try to be as flexible as possible. If buyers want to view on an evening or weekend, do what you can to accommodate their requests. Some sellers find home viewings an imposition, and if this is the case then think about taking a weekend away to allow your estate agent to conduct viewings alone.
It is often best for agents to show buyers around alone as they often feel more confident looking around without the current owners there too.
Consider holding an open house for your property to draw in more viewings. Not all properties are good candidates for an open house but speak to your estate agent about whether it would be worthwhile for your home. Often properties that are located in high traffic areas work very well for an open house as they attract visitors from the street.