There’s such a lot to think about when you’re selling a home it can seem a little overwhelming. So to make things easier, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to home selling that takes you through all the things you need to think about – like a shopping list. You can have a browse though these pages, take a look at our top tips for stress-free moving and at the end, even print off our step by step guide and pin it to the kitchen notice board while you work your way towards a new home.
Have you worked out if you can really afford it? This is so important, but it’s amazing how many people get caught up in the whole of excitement of a new place, where you’re going to live, how it might look, what the trip to work will be like, without really checking the costs involved. So here are the key factors that most people should consider before they start to look at shiny new flats by the river or a rambling farmhouse with roses round the window.
Most people need a mortgage to buy a home and there are lots of places to get one. Whether you go to a bank, building society or mortgage broker, the important thing to do is to get an idea of what your monthly repayments will be on the loan needed for your new property. If you have an existing mortgage and are going to re-mortgage, don’t forget to find out how much is outstanding on your existing mortgage and find out if there is an additional one-off fee for moving mortgages.
You will also normally need to put a deposit down on the new house. If you are a first time buyer you need to have this saved up; if you already have a property with equity in it, you may be able to fund this from its sale.
The government charges a fee – essentially a tax – called Stamp Duty when you buy a home. It is applied in bands. Currently you pay 1% if you sell a house between £125,001 and £250,000, rising to 4% on the total price if your home is valued at £500,001+ - that’s £20,000 or more! To find the latest figures, visit the direct gov website.
Almost everyone uses a solicitor to buy and sell a house. In solicitor language it’s called ‘conveyancing’ and they charge a fee. It’s a good idea to get a couple of quotes from reputable solicitors before you start.
Although most estate agents will quote a set fee – usually a percentage of the value of the sale – many will negotiate, which can save you a great deal of money. Of course, you don’t have to use an estate agent and there are lots of website alternatives with fixed fees you may wish to investigate.
You need to prepare a Home Information Pack (HIP) to sell your home, which includes an energy rating for your home. Most estate agents can do this for you or you can find independents to help. Find out more at the government HIPS website.
If you want to get top dollar for your home (who doesn’t?), a lick of paint and a few repairs can make all the difference. Local estate agents can be brilliant in pointing out the things that may slow down your sale. It’s really hard to criticise your own home, so if you’re not going down that route, get an honest third party like a parent, sibling or friend to tell you the bits they think need doing.