Knowing how to sell your house in the best way possible is really important when it comes to reducing the time, costs and stress involved. There is so much to consider in a property sale and so much to prepare to get ready for the sale that it can be bewildering to even the most seasoned of homeowners. In this guide we will give some great tips for selling your home, walk you through the process and the costs associated with the sale and we will also answer some questions like: What should I do to my house before I sell it? What makes a house harder to sell? and what is the first thing I should do when selling a house? In short, we take you through every facet of how to sell your house, so that, when it comes to it, you are as prepared as you can be and hopefully get your sale through as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Once you have made the decision to sell, the first thing to do is find yourself an estate agent to help you with the sale, but how do you go about choosing the right agent?
Questions to ask estate agents when selling
There are a few questions to ask potential estate agents when selling your property to help you make the decision as to which agent is best suited for you and your circumstances. The most important questions are:
- What are your fees and what do these fees include? Depending on what package you choose the fees can differ greatly. Typically, the selling fees are from 0.75% to 3.5% of the sale price depending on the contract, but there could be extra expenses like photos, for sale boards or floorplans. Make sure you understand the cost structure fully and that there are no surprises.
- How much is my property worth? Typically, valuations between agents won’t vary massively, but you will want to ensure that the agent gives you a valuation that reflects the local market and your property. Ask them to explain the rationale behind their valuation.
- How and where will you market my property? How your property is marketed is key. Will it just be in the high street offices? Does the agent have a website? Will they use property websites like Rightmove and Zoopla that have a much wider reach? How professional will the photos be? Will they use an interactive video? Obviously the more high tech the marketing the more expensive, but also the more likely it will be to encourage interest.
- What is a rough time estimate for the sale of a property like mine? This is an important question to gauge current market timescales and to help manage your own expectations. Be wary of agents who give very short times and ones who try to deflect the question. We will touch upon the timeframes for property sales later.
- Can you give me examples of other similar properties you have sold recently? This is to understand how experienced the agent is at selling your type of property. If they seem to only sell 2 or 3 bedroom first time buyer properties and yours is a 5 bedroom family home, then they might not be the one for you.
- What type of contract do you use? There are different types of contract from Sole selling to multi-agency, sole agency and ready, willing and able purchaser. Sole selling rights and sole agency are roughly the same, but with the latter, you are able to find your own purchaser and not pay the agent a fee. With sole selling rights, only the agent can find a buyer within the contract period. Multi-agency is where you can use multiple agencies to sell your property. Be aware, though, this will increase the fees you need to pay. Ready, willing and able purchaser is one to avoid as it means you need to pay the agent if they find someone who is able to purchase your property, even if they don’t actually buy it.
- Is there a tie in period? To give themselves some measure of protection agents will often put in a tie-in clause meaning you cannot go elsewhere during this period. The maximum you really want, including notice period, is 12 weeks.
- What is the process if I disagree with something in the process or your ways of working? Not all relationships run smoothly and this can also be the case with an estate agent. You will need to know what the complaints process is and, if you are really unhappy with the service, how you can terminate the agreement within the tie-in period.
You will need to look at all these factors and make a decision as to which agent to use depending on your circumstances.
Once you have chosen your agent, they will ask you to sign the sales contract and start to market your property. This is where you need to get prepared and have everything ready for the sale. Not only do you need a good estate agent you’ll also need a good legal professional on your side too.