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How to sell your house

Want to sell your home? Read our step-by-step guide to selling a property.

Will @ Nested
Property market insight

Your first home is unlikely to be your forever home. And while you’ll have been through a property transaction before, the process of selling a house is a little different compared to buying for the first time. With this in mind, here’s how you can sell a property in ten (somewhat) simple steps.

1. Figure out the right time

Selling your home is not a decision to take lightly. There’s a difference between wanting to move and needing to move, and only you and your loved ones will know if the time is right.

House prices can go up and down, so rather than focusing on external factors beyond your control, think about the facts on the ground, such as your work situation, proximity to relatives and school catchment areas.

Remember that it could take between 15 and 25 weeks to sell your property (potentially quicker in Scotland) so if you’re able to take your time, you’re in a stronger position.

What if you need to sell in a hurry? Here are some options:

  • Sell by auction (but lose 20% or more on your home value)
  • Use a home buying company (but lose up to 25%)
  • Instruct multiple estate options (but pay a higher commission)
  • Try a moving agent. Nested says hi!

Work out your budget

Moving house doesn’t come cheap. Your costs will include getting a mortgage — such as a broker and product fees — legal costs, estate agent fees and paying a removal company.

Plus, there are the 3 main factors that will determine your spending power: your deposit (5% minimum), your income (usually 3 to 5 times your household income) and your equity (you can release equity if your home value has increased).

Read our guide to moving house costs for a more comprehensive summary.

Choose your estate agent

You’ll need to instruct an estate agent to sell your home. Yes, you can use an online estate agent, but that often means you’ll have to do the hard graft yourself, from writing property descriptions to taking pictures.

When you pick an estate agent, don’t just go for the one who gives the highest valuation. They should understand the key selling points of your home, produce a written valuation, and price realistically to give yourself the best possible chance of achieving a sale.

Find a solicitor

Trying to sell a property without a solicitor is like trying to scale Mount Everest without earmuffs. If you’re not sure where to start, try The Law Society’s official database, or get a recommendation from your estate agent.

At Nested, we have a panel of fully accredited solicitors who we can refer you to. Read our guide to solicitors for more information.

Prepare your house for viewings

You can have the nicest home in the world, but if there are plates of toast lying around, you won’t impress anyone. Before your viewings take place, tidy away your clutter so your home looks spacious and welcoming.

In times of high demand, you may want to consider staging an open house event, which can be a great way of generating interest in your home. Consider a deep clean so those pesky cat hairs don’t become a dealbreaker.

Read our guide on how to attract buyers for more tips.

Negotiate your offer

Once you’ve got an offer on your property, you don’t have to accept straight away.

Your would-be buyer might try their luck with an opening bid of 5 to 10% below the asking price. Play it cool, listen to your estate agent, and remember that the best offer isn’t always the highest offer.

Do they have a mortgage approved? Are they in a chain? Are they flexible and willing to wait? The best offer isn’t always the highest offer.

Sometimes the right buyer is the person who can move quickly, such as first-time buyers or chain-free buyers.

Lay the groundwork for your next move

Once you’ve accepted an offer, there’s plenty you can be getting on with to reduce the chances of your buyer pulling out.

  • Don’t delay on viewing properties
  • Get your mortgage approved
  • Get your survey done
  • Keep in touch with the solicitors
  • Get a quote on removal companies.

Your buyer’s mortgage agreement will expire at some stage, so as long as they’re committed, they’ll be as keen as you are to proceed with the transaction.

Note that as a seller, you’ll usually be asked to complete a Property Information Form, officially known as TA6. By law, the burden of proof is on the seller to disclose any issues with the property, such as disputes you’ve had with the neighbours, or any recent burglaries.

There’s a lot that can go wrong before the exchange of contracts, but our guide to fall-throughs can help you prepare for all eventualities.

Notify suppliers

Once you’ve exchanged, you’ll want a couple of weeks to make arrangements before you complete. This is the time to notify suppliers of your change of address (electricity, gas, water, TV and broadband), as well as the council so that you don’t get charged extra Council Tax.

You may also want to take advantage of the Royal Mail’s redirection service to ensure you don’t lose any post.

Read our moving house checklist for a comprehensive breakdown of the important things to remember.

Empty your nest

You’ll have piled up a lot of clutter over the years, so consider selling or donating unwanted items when you clear out your home. It’s a good idea to start packing as early as possible, and by now, you should have arranged a date with a removal company if you need one.

As a courtesy, you should write any instructions to the new owner, such as how to work appliances, and label any keys. They’ll also appreciate turning up to a reasonably clean home!

Crack open the fizz

When the funds have hit the accounts, it’s time to celebrate.

Sure, it can be hard to say goodbye to a home you’ve loved for years. But on completion day, all that’s left to do is collect the keys from the estate agent, walk through the doors of your new home and crack open the sparkling elderflower pressé.

Read the Nested moving guide for a top-to-bottom overview of the house moving process.

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Nested puts homeowners in control of their sale. Our agents provide you with smarter insights so you achieve the best price for your home on your timeframe. When you’ve found your new home, you have the power to move chain free, while we take care of your sale. Our buying agent will even negotiate up to 5% saving on your new home, so you get more home for your money.

If you’re interested in selling smarter, get in touch today. Nested.com - The modern way to move.