Selling Your Property in the 21st Century

Modern Property Selling Methods
Selling your home can be a very stressful experience. Our aim is to give you as much information as possible about the whole process so that you’ll hopefully avoid some of the potential problems.

The first thing you need to decide is how you’re going to sell your home. The main options are:

  • Estate Agent
  • Property Auction
  • Online Estate Agent
  • Online Property Advertising Services

Estate Agents

There are many professional estate agents in operation and the service they offer can be worth its weight in gold.

Please remember though that estate agents’ fees are normally between 1.5 and 3% of your property’s sale price. So if your house sells for say £250,000, you will pay them anything from £3,750 – £7,500 in commission.

Setting a selling price for your property

An estate agent will visit your property and may suggest three prices for you to consider:

  • An asking price
  • A fair price – if you cannot achieve the asking price
  • A lower price – likely to sell the property within six weeks

Please remember that these price guides are the agent’s opinion of how much he or she thinks they can sell your house for, so it’s worth getting the opinion of at least 3, who have a good understanding of the property market in your area. Estate agents are not legally entitled to provide a survey, only a surveyor can do that.

Use the estate agent’s knowledge. Ask questions to find out how the property market is moving in your area, how many viewings to expect and what percentage of the original asking price you can expect. This is important market information which will help you set the price.

Arrange a contract

An estate agent will draw up and send you a contract based on ‘sole agency’, ‘sole selling rights’, ‘multiple agency’, ‘joint sole agency’ or ‘ready, willing and able’ terms. Make sure you read the agreement terms and the small print in detail and question anything you’re unsure about.

Sell privately at the same time

Under a ‘sole agency’ contract, you generally have the option of selling privately at the same time. The estate agent you’ve appointed is the only estate agent with the right to sell your property. However, in general you can still sell your property yourself under this type of contract. The estate agent can only charge commission if they are responsible for selling your property because they introduced the buyer to you or if the buyer was introduced by another estate agent during the sole agency period (and that period could be several months long).

It’s still important to read the contract wording to make sure – and ask your agent to amend it if need be. If using an Internet Property Retailer (IPR) to sell your house, be particularly careful to check that your contract does not contain a clause which prevents you from using IPRs at the same time as using the services of the estate agent.

Measuring and photographs

The agent will take accurate measurements of the dimensions of your rooms with a sonic measure and take photographs for your property details. These should be forwarded to you for checking and signing off before they’re printed.

Put together a Home Information Pack (HIP)

As of 1st August 2007, the Government launched compulsory Home Information Packs (HIPS) to make buying and selling clearer and more straightforward. Vendors should have a ready prepared HIP available to buyers when marketing their homes for sale.

If you instruct an estate agent to market your property, then the estate agent is legally obliged to arrange a HIP and it’s very likely that agents or legal companies will offer a HIP bundled as part of their service. As a private seller, you can arrange the HIP yourself.

For Sale signboards

An estate agent will erect one of their ‘For Sale’ boards, if requested. This lets potential buyers know which agent to contact to find out more information about your property and to arrange viewings.

Advertise your property

Agents will advertise a selection of their properties in local and sometimes national newspapers and publications. Ask when and how often your property will appear.

They will leave your property details out on display in the office and advertise a selection in their window. Some agents produce glossy or photocopied property brochures which are circulated locally or made available to window shoppers.

Most agents now have a website and/or are linked to the well known property portals.

Arrange viewings

Potential buyers are usually accompanied by the agent on viewings which gives sellers a feeling of reassurance. They can even show buyers round if you’re not in and you know buyers are legitimate if they’ve been introduced by the agent.

Receive offers

The estate agent will receive offers and confirm them in writing. They will also negotiate on your behalf as ‘middleman’.

Communicate with all parties

During conveyancing, your estate agent will liaise with your buyer, you and your solicitor/conveyancing firm.

Handover of keys

The agent will arrange the handover of keys on completion day.

Property Auction

Auctions are becoming an increasingly popular way to buy and sell property because they offer a simple and quick process that’s more open and transparent than selling with an agent. As soon as the hammer falls, your property goes to the highest bidder and the sale is complete within 28 days.

Potential purchasers may want to view your property during the marketing period and have a survey carried out. They will also want to see any Special Conditions of Sale, title documents, lease details (where applicable), searches, planning documentation and office copy entries. A legal pack containing these items will have to be made available through your solicitor.

The key benefits are:

  • A quick way to sell without compromising on the sale price
  • Contracts are exchanged immediately and a completion date is fixed
  • Funding is already arranged and buyers pay cash. A minimum of 10% deposit is paid at auction and the balance paid within 28 days
  • The sale is not subject to contract
  • Competitive bidding achieves the best price for your property
  • Auctioneers invest a lot in advertising and have a comprehensive database of potential buyers so your property will get good exposure. Houses may be advertised online as well as printed catalogues.

Property auctions aren’t suitable for selling every type of property, but are an ideal marketplace for:

  • Residential or commercial investments
  • Vacant shops or houses in need of renovationCommercial or residential property, either in high demand areas or, conversely, in poor demand locations where private treaty sales could be difficult.

However, bear in mind that there are no guarantees that your property will sell, and you will still have to pay the auctioneer and solicitor’s costs regardless. Your property might also not generate the interest you hope so you could end up selling it for less than on the open market. You’ll also have to move out of your property within 28 days of the auction, so wait to list it on the most appropriate date.

Online Estate Agents

Online Estate Agents are usually national organisations who cover the whole of the country and so they do not offer the same services as a local estate agent. They can’t show people around your home for example. Their proximity restricts many of the services they can provide, however, many of them operate on a no sale no fee basis and a much lower commission than normal estate agents.

The benefit of using an Online Estate Agent is that they will do the negotiating for you, so if you do not want to get involved in talking to buyers about offers, this can be taken off your hands.They will have access to the biggest property portals like rightmove.co.uk. So you get your property advertised on probably the most visited UK property web site.

One of the disadvantages of using an Online Estate Agent is that because they charge so little commission, they are likely to have a lot more properties on their books than your local agent and are therefore less likely to give your property the attention you want. You are also unlikely to get any local advertising with them too.

Online Property Advertising Services

Sites like ours offer this service. You take the photographs and measure your rooms and put up the information about your property on the various web sites in hope that someone might see it, like it and buy it from you.

This is a relatively new concept, and as such, there are many web sites springing up on a here today gone tomorrow basis. There are many back-room organisations which you might find accidently by clicking on a link and you have no way of knowing how good they are and what chance they have of being around long enough to sell your house. Indeed, you do not really know whether anyone else visits them as they can look very tidy and professional at first look.

A good way of knowing which sites to trust is to see how much property they have on them. Also if you have heard of them, or if they pop up all over the place, there is a good chance they have been around a fair while and so you are probably safe with them. You cannot beat reputation though, so if your friends recommend a site, its probably a good one.

Portals

There are dozens of sites around the internet which act as portals. They list your property in their search, however, if people want to find out more details and click on the photo, they will get sent to the site of origin (such as our web site, or your local estate agent’s site) where the full property details will be displayed.

Property portals are important as they put out your details to more potential buyers. However, some are more important than others. There are only actually a handful which are worth being on. Indeed probably three portals account for 90% of the UK property buyers.

Most “For Sale By Owner” web sites will take an up-front advertising fee and your property will be listed on their site until its sold or for a fixed period of time. However, watch out for old sites which are no longer being well maintained and have really old property on which sold ages ago and has not been removed. Keeping the properties current is a big job for these sites especially the ones which offer free advertising as more often than not, the properties are being advertised at many similar sites and the vendor simply cannot remember which site they put their property with, and so they do not get removed when its sold.

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