Helpful Tips for Sellers

When do you Sell your home?

There are dozens of reasons people sell their homes - a new arrival means you need more space, a new job means you have to move to a new location, children leaving the nest means you can move to smaller home. Not everyone moves to cash in on a hot property market. But everyone hopes that they will get the most from their asset when they do move.

The housing market goes in cycles. Everyday, headlines shout at us that "Housing Prices are Sky-rocketing" or "Housing Prices are Plunging." If your only reason to move is to generate large wads of cash from your home sale, you might wait years to ride that allusive market peak. But those with more practical concerns should seek the advice of their local estate agents about the busy seasons in their area.

Generally, January to March is a busy viewing time, and March to July seems to be the busiest time for closing sales in the property market. But, if you live in a seaside resort area, or the bustling city centre, that rule may not apply. The best advice is to put your home on the market at least 3 to 4 months before you know you'll need to move.

 

Costs

Unfortunately, you may have to spend something to make something. Below is a list of the costs that you may incur during the selling process:

Preparation Phase

  • Decorating
  • Repairs
  • Furnishing
  • Our fees are competitive and reasonable for the work which may need to be done in order to sell your home, and will be discussed at the time of a valuation.
  • Conveyancer's fee
  • Disbursements

Selling Fees

  • Our fees are competitive and reasonable for the work which may need to be done in order to sell your home, and will be discussed at the time of a valuation.

Legal Work

  • Conveyancer's fee
  • Disbursements

 

Presentation of your property!

First impressions are absolutely critical in the housing market. From the moment the estate agent comes in the door to value to your property, to the moment when the last viewing is over, you have to think about how your property appears to others.

External views - first impression starts on the street. Think about sprucing up the garden, sweeping around the front gate, painting the window frames and doors, or cleaning up the junk mail collecting in front of your mansion block's front door.

Keep it clean and fresh - the place has to be tidy and clean. Remove all your junk, clean floors and table tops until they shine, bring fresh air in and take yesterday's rubbish out.

D├ęcor counts - most people rate a room based on the furniture, curtains, rugs and other pieces in it, even though they aren't getting these pieces with the house. So, if you have old, tatty or garish furniture, you might consider renting furniture while you are selling the house, to make it more appealing to viewers.

Make sure it works - fix the leaky faucets, the humming heaters, and vibrating refrigerator before your viewers and surveyors come into the house.

 

Honesty is the Best Policy

  • Under the current home buying process in England and Wales, the onus is on the buyer to commission a survey of the property and discover any defects or risks after his offer has been accepted. If he does discover that the house needs a new roof, or the flat upstairs leaks water into his bathroom, then he will probably lower his offer. You'll be left with the choice of accepting a lower offer, repairing the defect and renegotiating with the prospective buyer, or putting the house back on the market and waiting for another buyer.

You can take a gamble that the buyer won't commission a survey, and won't find out about the defects until you've exchanged. But, it is a risk. It's usually better to be honest from the start, and let the us know about any outstanding defects that could impact the value of the home. That way, the offer price will reflect the real value of the property, and expectations are managed fairly on all sides.

 

What to Expect

We will give you a valuation when you request via email or a phone call direct on 02380 404055  on your home at no cost.

If your property is quite unique, we are the local agent who specialises in unique homes and will give you a valuation as accurate as possible

 

Variables

While there are different techniques used to value properties, all rely on the same basic indicators:

  • Economic Trends
  • Interest rates
  • Housing Supply in your area
  • Buyers' Demand in your area
  • Price of similar houses recently sold
  • Condition of the property.

Manns and Manns Market knowledge can help  assess a fair value for your property in your local area.

Call now to give you a report on your home.

As the longest established agents in Southampton we have a wide net of prospective buyers and knowledge, and know how to promote your home to these eager home hunters.

After weeks of keeping your home polished and spotless, and days filled with showing off your place to complete strangers, you have an offer. Now the sale begins.

 

Setting your priorities

People sell their homes for all sorts of reasons. Once you understand your primary reason for selling, then you can use this to drive the negotiations. Below are some possible reasons for moving.

  • Money - you are selling to get the highest price possible out of your largest asset.
  • Time - you are selling because you have to relocate for a new job, a new love, a new life, etc.
  • Change in circumstance - you are moving because your family has outgrown your home. You can't fit anymore. Or the opposite is true - the kids have left the nest and your current home feels empty with all the extra space.

In short, is your move driven by need or desire? If driven by need, you are more likely to entertain lower offers for your home than you are if your move is driven by desire.

 

Understanding each position

Seller's position

Your negotiating power will be affected by the following factors:

  1. Level of interest in your property - if offers are flooding through, you can play hard to get.
  2. Current Market Conditions - if it's a "hot" market, where demand exceeds supply, then sellers can expect to command a favourable price for their properties. If it's a slow market, where supply exceeds demand, sellers will not have the same negotiating power.
  3. Length of Time on the Market - the longer a property stays on the market, the weaker your negotiating position as a seller.
  4. Condition of the Property - the more repair work that needs to be done on your property, the weaker your position in negotiations.
  5. Time Pressure - the more time pressure you have, the weaker your position in negotiations.

Buyer's position

The buyer's negotiating power will be affected by the following factors:

  1. Chain or No Chain - buyers who are not tangled in chains (someone has to buy their property before they can buy yours), are in a superior negotiating position to those who are in chains. Look for buyers who are:
    1. First Time Buyers
    2. Between Homes (might be renting now)
    3. Buying with Cash
    4. Investing (this won't be their residence).
  2. Pre-approved or Not - buyers whose mortgages have been pre-approved will be a better position than those who have to wait for the paper-work to be processed. You know buyers with approved mortgages have the money to pay for your home.
  3. Time Pressure - as with the seller, the more time pressure a buyer has, the weaker his position in negotiations.

Our position: we work for you!

  • Our commission is directly affected by the sale price of the property, so it worth our while to try to get the highest price possible.
  • We work in the field everyday, and may be more realistic than the seller about conditions in the market.
  • While we want the highest commission possible, we also would rather get something than nothing. So, it is in his interest to put both parties in a win-win situation when possible.

 

Not selling?

Talk to us...

 

Parting advice

  • It is easy to get sentimental about your home. But you are selling it, so you have no say in what buyers will do to it after it is sold (unless it is a listed property.) Try to keep your emotions out of negotiations.
  • Don't exchange on a new property until you have exchanged on your current home.

Congratulations. You have accepted an offer on your home. Now, you can start the legal work of passing home ownership on to your buyer.

 

Accept offer

England & Wales

Once you accept an offer...

  • The property can be advertised as "Sold Subject to Contract or Under Offer." This means simply that, barring any higher offers or unforeseen problems with the property, your home is sold.
  • At this point, you are not committed to the sale, and may entertain higher bids from other buyers. This is called gazumping.
  • Likewise, the buyer is not committed to the sale. If, for any reason, he decides not to go through with the purchase, he can pull out now without penalty.
  • If the survey highlights any factors that the buyer thinks should be reflected in the price, he may try to re-negotiate.

 

Next steps checklist

These are the steps you'll need to go through before moving day.

  1. Offer accepted
  2. Review your budget
    How much will you net from the sale after all expenses are paid?
  3. Agree to take property off the market
  4. Agree costs of solicitors in writing
  5. Go throughconveyancing process
  6. Set exchange date
  7. Set a completion date
  8. Notify all contacts about your new address.
  9. Exchange contracts
  10. Arrange to drop off keys

Conveyancing is the transfer of ownership of property or land from one person to another. It is necessary to insure that the new owner has proper legal title to the property.

 

Who does the legal work?

Legally, conveyancing can be undertaken by anyone. However, the process can be time consuming and complicated and most people prefer to employ a professional. In addition, most lenders will insist on a solicitor or licensed conveyancer acting for them if the transaction involves a mortgage.

While "family solicitors" can do the work involved, many people opt to use specialised conveyancers, who are qualified in property matters. In England and Wales, both solicitors and licensed conveyancers can deal with property conveyancing. The important thing to remember when choosing a conveyancer is to check that the person that you choose to deal with your conveyancing matters is regulated by a governing body such as the law society or the council for local conveyancers.

 

Conveyancing process

As the seller, your conveyancer should undertake the following...

Initial correspondence

They will send you a letter with the buyer's agreed price and contact details for buyer's conveyancer. They should ask you to confirm your conveyancer's details as well.

Serve authority to obtain title deeds to the property

This should be one of the first tasks your conveyancer undertakes, because it can take time to get the deeds from the past lender.

Property Information Form and Contents List

This form summarises the items that will go into the draft contract, such as fixtures, fittings, boundaries, etc. You should check that it meets your expectations, and send back to buyer's conveyancer once complete.

Receive title deeds

When your conveyancer obtains the title deeds, they should be checked meticulously to insure that all is in order.

Compile draft contract

This contract is a legal document that sets out the terms of the sale. It is initially drafted by the seller's conveyancer. It will contain details about the property, items that are to be included in the sale, the buyer's and seller's particulars, how much the property will be sold for, and the transaction date. It has two parts - The Particulars of Sale and The Condition of Sale. The Particulars describe the property and details of the lease or freehold. The Conditions have information about the proposed completion date and any deposit required when contracts are exchanged.

Fields enquiries from buyer's conveyancer

Usually, the buyer's conveyancer will send a list of questions to your conveyancer, such as:

  • What is included in the sale? What contents will the vendor leave behind?
  • What are the boundaries of the property? Who owns and is responsible for any perimeter structures (like fences, hedges, etc)?
  • Is the property connected to all the appropriate utilities?
  • If it is a leasehold, he'll ask: Who is the managing agent? Who is the freeholder? Is the owner up to date with service charge bills and ground rent?

Draft contract sent

Your conveyancer cannot send the draft contract until he receives the title deeds from the lender, because some of that information has to go into the contract.

Agree completion date

In the ideal world, you would exchange contracts the same day you pick up the keys. But that doesn't always work. You may exchange contracts several days or weeks before formally completing the sale by taking possession of the keys. This needs to be agreed at this stage in the process.

Both conveyancers accept draft contract

Once both of the conveyancers are satisfied with the contract, they send letters of acknowledgment.

You approve draft contract

After the conveyancers have approved the contract, then you review it and approve it if you are satisfied. Once all parties are satisfied (and you've seen the formal mortgage offer from the buyer), a final printed copy of the contract will be sent to you for signature. You sign it, and send it back to your conveyancer.

Arrange for exchange

Once contracts are signed, you are ready to exchange and prepare for completion of the sale by handing over the keys to your home's new owner.

 

Legal stages in England and Wales

First stage: Sale agreed

Seller's conveyancer

  • Obtains your title deeds and asks you to fill in a detailed questionnaire.
  • Prepares and sends out a package of legal information and a contract for sale.
  • Requests a settlement figure for your mortgage and any other secured loans.
  • Liaises with all relevant parties and negotiates a date for moving ('completion').

Buyer's conveyancer

  • Organises searches at the local authority on your behalf, and asks you for a sum on account of such expenses.
  • Receives replies to questions raised, and reports to you with the contract for signing. Requests your deposit.
  • Receives mortgage offer and deals with all the conditions on your behalf.
  • Receives search results and deals with any problems revealed.

Second stage: Exchange of contracts

Seller's conveyancer

  • Receives the deposit as a down payment.
  • Organises final accounts and prepares a final settlement for your approval. Collects any balance of funds required.
  • Approves the deed of transfer and arranges for you to sign.

Buyer's conveyancer

  • Hands over the deposit to the seller's conveyancers.
  • Prepares a final completion statement for your approval. Collects any balance of funds required.
  • Prepares the deed of transfer and mortgage deed and arranges for you to sign them.
  • Organises final searches to check for debts and bankruptcy.

Third stage: Completion

Seller's conveyancer

  • Pays off the mortgage and notifies HM Land Registry.
  • Hands over the deeds and sends balance of money to you.

Buyer's conveyancer

  • Receives and arranges for payment of any stamp duty to the Inland Revenue.
  • Prepares and sends off application to HM Land Registry to register your ownership.
  • If property is mortgaged, sends deeds to the lender.

 

Countdown checklist

There are so many things to think about, that it is helpful to have a quick checklist handy to know you've done it all.

One month before move

  • Arrange for your post to be redirected to new address.
  • Get quotes from removal/van hire companies.
  • Arrange for meter readings (electricity, gas) and disconnection of services.
  • Arrange for phone service to end on moving day.
  • Arrange for council to dispose of any large items that need to be thrown out before move.
  • Start working through contacts checklist to let them know your new address.
  • Confirm date and time with removal company.
  • Start packing everything that is not essential everyday.
  • Write out instructions for any appliances you are leaving behind.
  • Settle any local bills (newspaper delivery, etc).
  • Plan process for moving your pets (i.e. fish can be challenging).
  • Make sure all your essentials are packed in one place.
  • Put all your valuables and documents in a safe place (you may consider moving them yourself).
  • Put down dust covers or plastic sheets to protect carpets.
  • Insure all meters have been read, and services will be disconnected.
  • Go through every room, closet and cabinet to make sure you have not left anything behind.

One week before move

  • Confirm date and time with removal company.
  • Start packing everything that is not essential everyday.
  • Write out instructions for any appliances you are leaving behind.
  • Settle any local bills (newspaper delivery, etc).
  • Plan process for moving your pets (i.e. fish can be challenging). 

Last day before move

    Make sure all your essentials are packed in one place.
  • Put all your valuables and documents in a safe place (you may consider moving them yourself).
  • Put down dust covers or plastic sheets to protect carpets.
  • Insure all meters have been read, and services will be disconnected.
  • Go through every room, closet and cabinet to make sure you have not left anything behind.