The process of selling your house can be a long and arduous one with many different factors to think about in the initial preparation stages and throughout. Your solicitor should be there to guide you through the stages to make the sale as seamless and stress-free as possible.
How Do I Prepare a House for Sale Checklist UK?
When preparing your house for sale, there are many steps you have to complete, here are a few pointers to consider:
Step 1: Get Your Ducks in a Row
Once you’ve decided you want to sell your house, the next thing to do is work out the best time to sell, the potential costs involved, and how quickly you want to move.
When Should I Sell My Home?
Depending on how fast you want to sell up and whether or not you want to buy another house, you may want to time your house sale strategically. There is never a perfect time to sell a house, but there are typical times when more people are looking to buy.
For instance, around springtime, families may be searching for a new home to aim for completion during the summer when children are on school holidays. Wintertime may not be a good season to put your house on the market because people usually want to wait until the bad weather and dark nights have improved.
What Are The Potential Costs Involved With Selling Your Home?
Another factor to consider is the costs related to selling your home and whether now is the right time to do so based on your current circumstances. You’ll need to think about the following:
- Estate agency fees
- Conveyancing fees
- Energy Performance Certificate fee
- Removal costs
- Capital Gains tax
- Mortgage exit fees (if applicable)
- Costs to repair any property damage or to freshen up the home
Step 2: Decide How You Want to Sell Your Home
The next step is to work out how you want to sell your home. You could do this through a local estate agent or an online estate agent, you could sell privately through friends or family or by advertising on a platform such as Gumtree. Alternatively, you could sell through auction.
The method by which you sell your home depends on how fast you want to sell and whether you want to move on quickly or wait for a good offer. For instance, if you want to limit your costs, you may want to sell your home privately. If you want to sell your home quickly and do not mind how much you sell it for, you might opt for auction.
Step 3: The Asking Price
The next step is to decide how much you want to sell your home for. You can do this by researching previously sold houses in your local area by checking websites such as Zoopla to establish the going market value. You can also look at the asking prices for houses in your area. Your estate agent should also do a valuation to help you figure out the most realistic price for the property too. Their estimate will be based on knowledge of the local market and the current demand. In addition, you may also want to factor in how much you bought the house for and how much mortgage you have left on the home in order to avoid going into negative equity.
Step 4: Get Quotes for Conveyancing Services
Before you sell your house, you need to hire a conveyancer or solicitor to help with the legal paperwork. It is a good idea to have one in place ready with all your documentation so that when you find a buyer, you are ready to start the process. The trick is to contact a few different conveyancing solicitors to find out which one is the right fit for you. Your estate agent can also recommend one, but this may involve additional fees as it could include the estate agent’s commission. Do your own research and gather at least three different quotes.
Step 5: Prepare Your Home
The next step is to prepare your home and make sure that it is ready for people to view.
Is It Worth Decorating a House Before Selling?
Making your house presentable for any prospective buyer is an essential aspect of selling your house, as it will have an impact when potential buyers come to viewings. However, you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to make your house appealing to buyers, just make sure it is tidy, clean, and looks fresh.
You could add a new lick of paint to the walls or put away any unnecessary stuff so that the areas don’t look cluttered. The idea is to make the house look neat and tidy and as spacious as possible.
Step 6: Arrange Viewings
Once your house is on the market, meaning it is being advertised for sale, you can begin arranging viewings. This is an opportunity for prospective buyers to take a look at your home and ask any questions they may have before making offers.
Step 7: Accept An Offer
When you receive an offer on your house, you can either choose to accept it or reject it. If you accept it, the house sale process begins.
What Are the Stages of a House Sale?
1. Welcome Pack
When you instruct a conveyancing solicitor to sell your house, you’ll often receive a welcome pack that will contain all the information you need to understand what will happen, and the forms you’ll need to complete and sign.
If you choose Lyons Bowe Solicitors to help sell your home, our welcome pack will include our terms of business which must be signed and sent back to us before we can proceed with the sale. In addition, we’ll send comprehensive guides to help you understand the stages of the process, along with a fee estimate in your welcome pack which explains any additional fees that may come up.
We give our clients the option of signing the terms of business through our secure app as usually this is the most convenient method for them. We can also receive the signed documents in other ways such as by post or email.
2. Draft Contract Pack Sent
Once you have instructed a solicitor, the Draft Contract Pack will be sent to the buyer which will contain the following documents:
The Title Plan: This will include information about the property like the registered owner, the purchase price, the purchase date, and whether it is leasehold or freehold. The title plans will also show the property boundary lines (which will appear in red) and any surrounding properties.
TA6 Form completed by the seller: You will need to complete the TA6 form with details such as whether there have been any disputes involving the property, guarantees, warranties, or alterations.
At Lyons Bowe Solicitors, we have a digital TA6 form which makes it much easier for you to complete saving you a lot of time. If you are unsure about how to complete the form, we offer guidance and support to help you find the information we need to progress your sale.
TA10 Form completed by the seller: You will need to complete the TA10 form so that the buyer is aware of all the fixtures and fittings that will be sold with the property such as curtains, radiators, boilers, fitted units, or garden furniture. If your home is a new build, you’ll need a copy of your Buildmark (NHBC) or warranty and home policy documents.
TA7 Form completed by the seller: You will need to complete the TA7 form if you have a leasehold property. This will ask for information about the type of property you have, maintenance responsibilities and costs, alterations, and any rights to buy the freehold from the freeholder (landlord).
4. Legal Team (I’ll fill in)
5. All Enquiries Completed
The buyer’s solicitors will need to submit what is known as enquiries or property searches, which include the following:
Local Authority searches: These include gaining information about the property such as any new plans for roads or traffic schemes. It will also include details about areas affected by Radon, building regulations, or contaminated land.
Water and Drainage searches: These will include checks regarding whether there are any public sewage networks in the area and if they run close to the property for instance.
Environmental searches: These searches relate to any environmental impacts such as landslides, subsidence, landfill contamination, or flood risks.
Mining searches: These involve checking whether there are any mine entries close to the property boundaries or mining hazards that may affect the property and any plans for coal mining in the area.
We expect the enquiries will take around 14- 21 days to come back once they have been requested by the solicitor. After the buyer’s solicitors receive the enquiries, they will need to check that they don’t present any issues or concerns. They may also need to discuss the enquiry results with the buyers and if necessary, request follow-up information based on the results. Depending on how complex the additional enquiries are, these could be resolved quickly or take some time to obtain.
6. Exchange and Completion Team (I’ll fill in)
7. Contract and Transfer Sent
The contract pack is sent to the buyer’s solicitors. Normally, they will have follow-up questions to confirm that all the details are correct and clear. For instance, they may ask for information about any restrictive covenants, gas, water, and electricity servicing, or clarifications on fixtures and fittings included in the property price.
8. Contracts Signed and Returned
Once the contract has been approved by the buyer’s solicitors and everyone is happy with the terms, all the enquiries have been returned and there are no more issues to resolve, the contracts can be signed by the parties involved and returned to their solicitors.
9. Exchange of Contracts
The exchange of contracts is one of the last stages of the selling process (and the most exciting) as it legally binds the purchase between you and the buyer. Exchange of contracts is the point at which the buyer will pay their deposit to their solicitor. Neither party can pull out of the arrangement without consequences at this stage. This is where the buyer’s solicitor contacts the seller’s solicitor to confirm that they have all the signed legal documentation and funds to complete the transaction.
The solicitors will also agree a date on which to complete the sale. The exchange can happen between 7-28 days before completing the property purchase, but this can also happen on the same day as completion.
Completion is where the payment of the buyer’s deposit is transferred to the seller’s solicitor and in return, the legal ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. The solicitors will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry. When completion is confirmed, you’ll have to move out of the home and pass your keys on to the buyer, usually via the estate agent.
What Documents Do You Need When Selling a Home?
When selling your house, there are certain documents you will need during the process.
You will need to provide photographic identification such as your passport or driving licence and a proof of address such as a mortgage statement or council tax bill. As solicitors, we are legally required to run ID checks and proof of address to protect against fraud and money laundering.
At Lyons Bowe Solicitors, we have a secure app that you can use to complete your ID verification checks to make the process smoother and more efficient for you so that there are minimal delays.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to complete the TA6 Property Information Form, TA10 Fittings and Contents Form, and TA7 form if you own a leasehold property.
Energy Performance Certificates
You’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which outlines the energy efficiency of the house. When you’re building, selling, or renting a property, the EPC certificate is required by law.
Gas Safety Certificate
You may also obtain a Gas Safety Certificate issued by a Gas Safe registered engineer. It is not a legal obligation to have a gas safety certificate, but it is recommended to get an annual gas safety inspection to check for potential gas leaks. You will, however, need a valid boiler safety certificate and Building Regulations Compliance Certificate if you have a gas boiler.
FENSA or CERTASS Certificate
In addition, you might also need a FENSA or CERTASS certificate if you replaced the windows in your house to show that they comply with building regulations. For other changes made to your house, you need to provide copies showing planning permissions, building regulation approvals, and completion certificates.
What to Do After Selling a House Checklist?
After everything has been completed and you have officially handed your keys over to the buyer, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to sort out all your paperwork to make sure that everyone is updated on your new address. Here’s what you need to do:
Take a Meter Reading
Before you leave the property for good, make sure that you remember to take a meter reading so that you can inform your gas and electricity provider that you’re not the one using the energy in the home and therefore no longer responsible for paying the bills.
Contact Relevant Organisations
When you move home, it is important that you contact all the relevant organisations that need to know about your change of address, these could include the following:
- Utility companies
- Council tax
- Doctors, opticians, dentist
- Vets – you may need to change your pet’s micro-chip information
- Mobile phone companies, TV, and internet providers
- Electoral roll register
- HMRC- if you are self-employed
- Other insurance companies such as car insurers
Notify Your Home Insurance Company
You’ll have to contact your current home insurance company to notify them that you are changing address and therefore cancelling your current policy.
Change Your Will
If you have a Will in place that lists your property as an asset that will be inherited, you’ll need to update it to reflect your current situation.
Change Your Driving Licence
You’ll need to update your driving licence with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to make sure it is registered with the correct address. If you fail to do this, you could be liable to pay a fine.