Selling FAQs

Over the last fourteen years in the industry we’ve been asked a lot of questions about selling a house. We know it’s a big decision and that there can be a lot to learn so we’ve compiled a list of questions to help you with your move but if there's anything we've missed, please feel free to contact us.

General questions
1.    How much is my house worth?
2.    How is my house valued?
3.    Who can complete the valuation?
4.    Can I do it online or through an estate agent?
5.    How long will it take?
6.    How much will it cost to move and sell my house?
7.    Should I find a house I like before I get a valuation?
8.    What can I buy?
9.    What can I afford?


Viewings
1.    What do I need to do ahead of viewings?
2.    Will they make an offer at the viewing?
3.    Do I need to have any documents ready?
4.    What do I need to know about my house? And local area?
5.    Will the estate agent be at the viewing?


Offers received

1.    Should I take a lower offer from a cash buyer?
2.    What are the risks of a chain?
3.    How do I find out more about the chain?
4.    Can I negotiate the price up?
5.    Is the offer sufficient to move on?
6.    If I accept this offer, how long will it take to complete?
7.    What do I do if I have more than one offer?
8.    If I move out can I get a higher offer?
9.    If I accept this offer do I have to move?
10.    I have received an offer but haven’t found a house yet
11.    What are the timings?
12.    Once the offer is received, how long do the survey and searches take?


Low offer
1.    Why have I not received any offers?
2.    Why is the offer so low?
3.    Has the agent got the price wrong?
4.    Can I ask agent to go back to the buyer?
5.    Should I take the property off market?
6.    How long should I wait for a better offer?


Sold subject to contract (STC)
1.    When will they change the board to Sold STC?
2.    When will I exchange contracts?
3.    What is going on with the house I want to buy?
4.    Do I need to speak to a solicitor/financial advisor?
5.    How will I know what’s happening?
6.    What do I need to do and when?


Exchange of contracts

1.    What does the exchange of contracts mean?
2.    How long until I can move in?
3.    What is going on with the chain?
4.    What do I need to do to exchange on time?
5.    When do I pay the agency fee?
6.    Do I need insurance to exchange contracts?
7.    What day will I complete?


Completion

1.    What do I need to do to ensure I complete on time?
2.    When do I give the buyer the keys?
3.    Should I get cleaners in to clean my house?
4.    When shall I move out?
5.    What is the best time to move out?
6.    Do I need a removal van?


Moving day

1.    What time shall I move out?
2.    Who do I speak to about changing address?
3.    Who do I give the keys to?


General questions
1.    How much is my house worth?
The value of your house depends on many things. Location, size, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms etc. All these different factors, plus many more, form the valuation of your house. There are a number of online valuation tools available, but for an accurate figure the best thing you can do is to speak with an accredited local estate agent. They will be highly experienced in the valuation of property like yours and will understand your local market and current conditions. The value of your house is affected by market conditions, and the number of buyers currently looking in your area. Ultimately, your house is worth what a buyer will pay for it.


2.    How is my house valued?
The accredited estate agent who values your house will take into account a wide range of factors when forming a valuation. From age and size right through to additional extras such as garden and parking space, the estate agents check for a wide range of criteria. Local market conditions are also taken into account, looking at comparable recently sold and on-market properties. Your motivation will also be considered; as if you need a quick sale then your price will have to adjust to achieve this.


3.    Who can complete the valuation?
An accredited estate agent should form the valuation. They are experienced in the process and understand exactly what it takes to complete an accurate valuation. You may have a figure in your mind, but it takes years of experience and details of previous property sales to understand the value of your property. Although your needs are the priority, the buyer must be considered when valuing the house as it must be a price that is attractive and generates the most interest in the property.


4.    Can I do it online or through an estate agent?
There are online calculators available, which give you an idea of the value of your home. This will help set your expectations. However, an accredited estate agent is the best source for a valuation, as they understand what it takes to make an accurate judgement of your property and its value in the current market.


5.    How long will it take?
Every property sale is different. Each has its own individual characteristics and different factors which affect the speed of the sale. From valuation to completion the average property sale takes around 100 days to sell in the current market. Due to the complex nature of these transactions, there is a wide range of delays that can occur – from arranging the conveyancing to finding the right mortgage. Try and stay motivated, and patient, and with a bit of luck the sale will progress without any complications.


6.    How much will it cost to move and sell my house?
There are a number of fees to consider. The estate agent will quote you the fee they take for the actual sale of the property, and this will be included in the agreement you sign. The solicitor and financial advisor will also require a small fee. It is worth factoring in all the little things as well, including removals, changing your utilities and insurance for your new home.


7.    Should I find a house I like before I get a valuation?
It’s entirely up to you. Some people prefer to find a house they like before the valuation, whereas others like to know the value of their home before they search – so they know how much they can afford. It is your choice which route you take. Either way, getting a valuation as soon as possible is advisable, as then you will understand your current selling position and financial ability.


8.    What can I buy?
What you can buy depends greatly on what you can afford. The first step to achieving this is to get your home valued. You will then know the value of your property, and have an idea what sort of equity you can put towards your new house. Secondly, visit an independent financial advisor. They will talk you through your options, and give you an idea what type of mortgage package you can receive, and therefore how much you can afford.
Once you have this figure in your head then you can begin your search. Before you go and look at houses it is worth having a list of ‘must-haves’ in your head. This will help you narrow down what type of property you wish to buy.


9.    What can I afford?
This depends on your financial ability. Speak with an independent financial advisor and they will talk you through the process. They will take into account your current earnings and any additional funds you have as well as the value of your existing property. You can get this figure by arranging a valuation with a local, accredited estate agent. They will visit your property and use their experience to give you an accurate valuation of your house.


Viewings

1.    What do I need to do ahead of viewings?
Make your property as attractive as possible. Have a thorough clean, and de-clutter the property. You would be surprised to see the difference that a touch of paint makes.


2.    Will they make an offer at the viewing?
Although they may express a keen interest, it is very uncommon for an offer to be made at the viewing. This is usually done via the estate agent at a later date.


3.    Do I need to have any documents ready?
You do not need any documents ready for the viewing, although knowing the location of the deeds of the property may be useful.


4.    What do I need to know about my house? And local area?
You are the expert about your house. You know all the things that make it special and this is a huge advantage when speaking with potential buyers. Let them know about the positives, and be open about the negatives (as any survey or further inspection may bring them to light anyway). Encourage any questions and give as much information as you can.


5.    Will the estate agent be at the viewing?
In the majority of cases the estate agent will attend the viewing. This is to ensure that all the right things have been mentioned and that the buyer is getting a true feel of the property.

 

Offers received
1.    Should I take a lower offer from a cash buyer?
The advantage of a cash buyer is that they are financially able to proceed without relying on the sale of a house to complete. This means that you will be able to move forward with your sale, and subsequent purchase, with minimal delay. As with many of these decisions, you will need to weigh up whether you can realistically afford to accept the lower offer. Speak with your estate agent, as they will be experienced in making these decisions. They will also have information on any other interest that may have been shown and be able to advise if you should hold out for other buyers.


2.    What are the risks of a chain?
With a chain your sale or purchase relies on other transaction to go through. For example, the buyer of your house will not be able to complete until they have sold their current property. Chains can be two or six transactions long, as there is no set limit to the size of the chain. The risk of this is that chains can fall through, or be delayed, by transactions down the line. The estate agent will be in charge of managing the chain, and doing all they can to ensure that all deals go through.


3.    How do I find out more about the chain?
The estate agent will have all the relevant information about the chain. Due to the nature of chains, some of the properties may be listed with other estate agents, and therefore information may be restricted. The estate agent is the best person to retrieve this.


4.    Can I negotiate the price up?
You can negotiate any offer you receive. It is likely that the buyer will test your resolve with a slightly lower bid initially. This may not always be the case however as the buyer may be so keen to purchase your property that they offer the asking price. If this is the case then you should consider the benefits of accepting the offer, or whether you are bold enough to ask for an increase.


5.    Is the offer sufficient to move on?
You will need to work with your financial adviser on this. They will be able to provide you with information on your ability to move. They will take into account the equity you have in the property, as well as the mortgage you can borrow.


6.    If I accept this offer, how long will it take to complete?
On average, it takes around 8-12 weeks to complete following the acceptance of an offer. During this time the new mortgage for the property will need to be agreed, any searches will be carried out and the solicitors will need to be instructed.


7.    What do I do if I have more than one offer?
This is a great position to be in. Consider your options and the pro and cons of each offer. One may be a cash buyer with a lower offer and another could be tied into a complicated chain. Your estate agent will be available to advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of each offer.


8.    If I move out can I get a higher offer?
You may not necessarily get a higher offer, but it may encourage your buyer to push through their purchase. If they know their new house is empty then they are more likely to want to move in without delay.


9.    If I accept this offer do I have to move?
No you do not have to move. You are not legally obliged to move until the exchange of contracts.


10.    I have received an offer but haven’t found a house yet
You have a few options at this point. You can continue your search, hoping to find the right home. You can reject the offer, in the belief that you won’t find your new home. Or you can look into selling your home and moving into a rental property whilst you continue your search. Please be aware that, even after accepting the offer, the sale takes on average 8-12 weeks – so you still have time to find a new house.


11.    What are the timings?
Property sale timings are extremely difficult to predict, as each scenario brings its own unique aspects. The average property sale takes approximately 8-12 weeks to complete, so use this estimated timescale when planning your sale.


12.    Once the offer is received, how long do the survey and searches take?
Both the survey and searches can take a number of weeks to complete. These are arranged by the buyer as such and there is not much you can do to speed up this process.

 

Low offer

1.    Why have I not received any offers?
There are a number of reasons this may occur. It may be a market starved of buyers, it may be that your house is not ticking the right boxes or it may be that your pricing structure is not correct. Speak with your estate agent on the ways in which you can make your property an appealing prospect to potential buyers.


2.    Why is the offer so low?
The offer represents what the buyer believes to be a good offer. They may just be testing the water, so you are in a position to decide whether to accept, negotiate or flat out reject the offer. Search your local area for comparable properties as this should give you an idea into how much you should be getting for your house.


3.    Has the agent got the price wrong?
Estate agents are experts in valuing property. They want to get you the best deal, without overpricing you from the market. Although you may have your own valuation figure in your head this may not reflect the current property market. The estate agent will take into account comparable for sale properties, recently sold properties and the number of buyers currently looking in the market.


4.    Can I ask agent to go back to the buyer?
You can ask the estate agent to negotiate the offer with the buyer. They will handle all communications with the buyer.


5.    Should I take the property off market?
This would be a rash decision. You have received an offer, albeit a low one, so you know that your property is in demand at the right price. Consider the lowest offer you can afford to accept and try to negotiate the buyer up to a higher price.


6.    How long should I wait for a better offer?
There is no set time to wait for a better offer as it depends on your current selling position and the timescales you wish to move in. Encourage the agent to continue marketing the property, to try and drive up the value to prospective buyers. Enquire whether the property is being marketed both online and offline, to the widest potential audience.

 

Sold subject to contract (STC)
1.    When will they change the For Sale board to Sold STC?
The agent will do this as soon as possible. Expect the board to be changed within two working days.


2.    When will I exchange contracts?
The exchange of contracts will usually take place in approximately 6-8 weeks. During this time the solicitor will need to be instructed, any mortgage arranged and surveys carried out by the buyer, or their mortgage company. You can then expect to complete two weeks after this.


3.    What is going on with the house I want to buy?
Speak with your estate agent about this, and they will keep you updated with the progress of your house purchase. Now you have your current property sold subject to contract you will want to progress your purchase as quickly as possible.


4.    Do I need to speak to a solicitor/financial advisor?
Yes, speak with our solicitor about your impending sale so they begin preparing the necessary documents. You should also speak with your current mortgage provider, as well as any lender that you may be using for your next home. Getting this process underway early is advisable, to avoid any delays or complication.


5.    How will I know what’s happening?
The estate agent and solicitor should keep you informed at all times. If you are anxious, do not hesitate to contact them and they will be happy to update you. Ask the estate agent if they have an online area you can use to monitor the progress of your transaction.


6.    What do I need to do and when?
Once you have spoken to your estate agent, solicitor and mortgage lender there is not much you can do. With the exchange of contracts so close you may want to think about your moving preparations – for instance, redirecting your post, cancelling your utility bills etc.

 

Exchange of contracts
1.    What does the exchange of contracts mean?
This is the point at which the transaction becomes legally binding. The buyer and seller legally agree to the deal and a date is set for completion.


2.    How long until I can move in?
From exchange to completion usually takes around two weeks. At this point you can tick things off your to-do list by redirecting your post, cancelling your current utilities and arrange the removal van for the moving day.


3.    What is going on with the chain?
Your property transaction may depend on a chain, and whether any other deals need to be finalised to allow yours to complete. Ask your estate agent how the chain is looking and whether they expect any complications.


4.    What do I need to do to exchange on time?
Be proactive in ensuring that all the loose ends are tied up. Speak with your estate agent about the sale, your solicitor about the required legal documents and your lender about paying off your existing mortgage.


5.    When do I pay the agency fee?
The agency fee will be taken out of the money you receive for the property. The fee will have been previously agreed with your selling agent.


6.    Do I need insurance to exchange contracts?
Your contract will stipulate whether you need insurance at the exchange of contracts. In the majority of cases the solicitor will request a copy of the insurance document from the buyer and will not exchange until this is produced

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7.    What day will I complete?
Your estate agent and solicitor will be the best people to speak to about this. They will set a date for the completion of the sale. It is usually around two weeks after the exchange of contracts.

 

Completion
1.    What do I need to do to ensure I complete on time?
Speak with your estate agent and solicitor to ensure that all documents have been put together, and are ready ahead of the sale. These include the property deed, property taxes and the relevant mortgage information.


2.    When do I give the buyer the keys?
The estate agent will usually take care of this, handing the keys over on your behalf. You will need to provide the agent with the keys on the morning of completion, or potentially a day or two before.


3.    Should I get cleaners in to clean my house?
It is your choice what state you wish to leave your house in as the contracts have been exchanged and the deal is legally binding. However, common courtesy would dictate that you keep the property in a nice and hospitable condition.


4.    When shall I move out?
This rests on your next property. If you have this already set up and prepared then you can move out as soon as possible. By moving out early you save yourself the hassle of moving out as the next occupants move in on the same day.


5.    What is the best time to move out?
If you have your next property ready to move in to then you can move out of your existing house early. It is advisable to move out a day or two before the completion date as this will avoid any hassle or clash on the day. In terms of time of day, arrange the move for the morning as this will give you flexibility in case of any delays later on in the day.


6.    Do I need a removal van?

This is personal preference, as some people employ a friend with a van and some people use the services of professionals. The advantage of professionals is that they will carefully pack up your belongings and transport them securely to your next property. This process will also be covered by insurance in case of any unfortunate accidents.

 

Moving day

1.    What time shall I move out?
Find out what time the new owners are set to move in and plan around this. If possible, move out a day or two before to avoid any clash on the moving day. Try to arrange the move for the morning time to give yourself some flexibility in case any delays occur.


2.    Who do I speak to about changing address?
This depends on who you have postal accounts with. Contact your bank, the Royal Mail, the DVLA and any other organisations who need to contact you via the post.


3.    Who do I give the keys to?
Give the keys to the estate agent who is selling the property on your behalf. They will arrange and carry out the handover of the keys.

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