Selling your home? Ten things you should consider
For whatever reason you may be selling your home, the thought can be overwhelming. While your conveyancer can help take some of the pressure off by handling the more complex legal issues, for most, the process is stressful and daunting.
Being organized isn’t the only thing you can do to help smooth the road to your sale, but rather being prepared, having a better understanding of the conveyancing process, what is required, and what it involves, can help to reduce stress.
In this guide, we’ve got some tips to help ensure a smoother and speedier transaction, covering everything from preparing to put the property on the market to post-completion requirements.
- Maintenance and Repair
Before putting your property on the market, you should consider whether there are any repair works required. Addressing such issues prior to putting your property on the market can make your property more appealing to buyers and help you to achieve a higher sale price. It will also help reduce the number of issues which may come up on a survey.
- Your Current Mortgage
It is important to check the terms of your mortgage with your mortgage provider to see if you’ll have any penalty fees to pay when redeeming your mortgage. You may have to pay an early repayment charge, which is typically between 1% to 5% of the remaining mortgage amount.
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
In England and Wales, energy Performance Certificates are valid for 10 years and must be provided to the buyer prior to completion. Ratings range from A (the most efficient) – G. If yours is expired, you should arrange for a local assessor to provide a certificate before marketing your property.
- How Many Years Are Left on The Lease?
If your property is leasehold, before selling, you should consider whether it is necessary to extend the lease.It may be difficult for a buyer to obtain a mortgage if the remaining lease term is less than 80 years. If you decide not to extend your lease, you should be prepared for the buyer to use this as leverage to reduce the asking price. If the buyer insists you extend the lease, beware that the legal process can take a few months, and this will of course impact the timescale of your sale.
- Choosing an Estate Agent
Finding a knowledgeable estate agent to sell your property is a matter of doing your research. Many estate agents will sell you a dream of low fees and quick sales, however the best estate agents will be those that are prepared to work hard to get the best possible price for your property. One of the key things to look out for is an estate agent selling numerous properties similar to yours. This will mean they are experienced in selling these types of properties and should therefore have many buyers interested in yours. In addition to asking for recommendations, you should also read online reviews and take into consideration the number of reviews received. If the average star rating is high for an agent with a considerable number of reviews, this sure is a good sign! And finally, ask questions, and ask plenty of them. You should be confident that you can trust your agent with the sale of your property.
The conveyancing process involves transferring legal ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. Your solicitor or conveyancer will also handle other legal aspects of the transaction, including drafting the contract, responding to legal enquiries, and transferring funds. As with estate agents, it is easy to be seduced by the numerous online conveyancers who offer a ‘guaranteed’ sale within a certain amount of time. Choosing a good conveyancer is essential to avoid any unnecessary delays. Many conveyancers offer a fixed fee, so you should shop around for quotes and compare prices for the best rate, but beware of going for the cheapest! You generally get what you pay for.
- Protocol Forms
Once you have accepted an offer on your property and appoint a solicitor, your solicitor will issue your initial paperwork, which will include a Property Information Form, a Leasehold Information Form (if applicable), and a Fittings and Contents Form. The Property Information Form gives the buyer an insight of the property in respect of any renovations or construction works carried out, and any guarantees or warranties transferable to the buyer. The Fittings and Contents Form provides a list of all items, fitted or free-standing, included or excluded from the Sale. You can also list any items available for purchase. It is important that you carefully read and fill out each section, and forward any certificates, guarantees, and warranties you may hold relating to the property as these will be requested once the buyer’s solicitor reviews the contract pack from your solicitor.
- Property Boundaries
Ensure that your property boundaries are clearly defined and any disputes with neighbours over the boundaries are resolved prior to completing the sale. Your solicitor will provide you with a copy of the Title Plan which will show the property boundaries and it is important that you inform your solicitor should you believe there to be any discrepancies.
At the point you are ready to start considering removals, the wheels of selling your home will be fully in motion. You should shop around for quotes and consider moving as much of your belongings as you can yourself, as removals can cost upwards of £1,000.00. Many removal companies will require a few weeks’ notice, so be careful not to leave this until the last minute. You should also remember that while completion dates may have been agreed between yourself and the buyer, no dates are set in stone until the exchange of contracts, where both you and the buyer are legally bound to the transaction.
- Capital Gains Tax
You should consult with an expert in taxation to ascertain whether any taxes are payable following the sale of your home. There are certain circumstances where you will be exempt, however, if you are selling a second home or reside outside of the country, for example, it is likely you will have to pay taxes. Late or non-payment of taxes will result in costly penalties.
- Contact Keelys
Here at Keelys we have a specialist team who can help you with all of the above. Contact our residential conveyancing team on 01543 420000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.