Selling your home is a journey, and one that our expert sales agents at Tutis Estates want to guide you through. Whether you have sold properties before or are thinking of selling for the first time, we want to ensure you are armed with the right information.
Choosing the right agent to look after your property.
Choosing an estate agent to sell your house is an important first step, and we recommend starting this research early as there are several different options. Before booking your valuation you should make sure you find the agent, you believe, can do the best job for you.
There is a common perception that all estate agents are the same. This is not the case. There are local agents, online-only agents, and sole traders for you to choose from, all with different costs and benefits.
A good agent will help you to get the best value for your property, save you time and save you stress, whereas a poor agent could do the exact opposite, charging you less but delivering a lower price at more hassle.
During uncertain times, it is important the estate agent you choose, you can trust to put your best interests at heart. So how do you get started to find the perfect agent for you?
Create a shortlist of estate agents.
It helps if you can get the list of agents you have to choose from down to three, then invite them out to do a valuation. To do this you should:
- Ask trusted friends and family – nothing is more powerful than someone you know offering their recommendation from recent experience.
- Compare local agents based on their recent reviews online. After friends and family, other consumers are your next best point of reference.
- Check they sell properties like yours. In your postcode, in your value range and of your property type (Detached, terraced, flat). You can check Rightmove and Zoopla for comparison.
- Look at how they market a property. Will they give you maximum exposure? Are their property photographs well taken? Do you believe they will market yours effectively?
- Always check their viewings policy. Make sure they do not charge you for extras like this. A great agent will accompany all viewings where possible to understand the buyers’ needs and sell to them accordingly.
Making your final decision.
Choose an agent based on how you feel they will look after you during the entire process of the sale, not just based on fee. Many agents are optimistic with their valuation to win your business, only to reduce the price later. Make sure you are confident an agent has used comparable evidence and recent transaction examples when they give you your price.
You may also want to consider agents who offer additional services, such as sales progression, doing more to help ensure your sale goes through once an offer is accepted.
An agent who works hard on your behalf to get you the best price, can save you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure you “get on” with the valuer that comes out and you trust them. Your relationship with your agent is one of the most important things so you must feel confident they will pick up the phone when you need and help you get all the way to completion.
Check your finances.
After you have called your agent out and booked a valuation, it is important you calculate the rest of your finances involved in a sale.
It is important that if you still have an outstanding balance on a mortgage in your existing property, that you speak to your lender about any early repayment charges for switching or whether you can move your mortgage over with you. If you are moving up the property ladder, you can often get some great deals.
There are several added costs as well as your mortgage when moving and selling including our fees, solicitors’ fees, potential home improvement costs, removals and stamp duty. We have several independent mortgage advisors who we can put you in touch with to find you the best deal.
Choose a solicitor.
When selling a property and you have settled on your agent and price to market your property, you must choose a conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal side of the transaction.
People are often tempted to wait until further into the sales process to do this but by being prepared, you can speed up the sale of your property once the buyer has had their offer accepted.
One of the main reasons why property sales take so long to get through to completion (and even sometimes fall through completely) is due to the sheer amount of paperwork involved. Few sellers realise that if you have a solicitor in place before a sale is agreed, you will be more likely to have the paperwork ready to get the property through to exchange of contracts and finally, completion.
Your agent should be able to give you recommendations for solicitors they work with regularly and instruct you on the necessary paperwork to gather early in the sales process.
You should be prepared to ask several questions to your conveyancer including:
- How much will you charge and when will I need to pay?
- Who will handle my case? Make sure you have someone experienced.
- What charges will I incur if the sale falls through?
- Are you approved by my mortgage lender?
Marketing your property.
To get you the right buyer in the quickest time, the marketing naturally begins with the presentation of the property itself. You should aim to appeal to the broadest range of prospective buyers, so presenting your property in a good, clean, neutral fashion can really create a space that potential viewers can imagine themselves living in. With more than 98% of buyers starting their property search online, the presentation of your property must be right.
You can present your property by “staging”. This can often add value without requiring much effort. Ensure your rooms are tidy and clean, with no clutter; paint any coloured walls neutral and fix any small problems with walls, floors, and doors before inviting viewers round. For the viewings themselves, ensure the property smells fresh (grinding coffee beans or baking always adds to the homeliness) and view your home as if you were viewing it for the first time.
In terms of the marketing of the property itself, make sure you have an agent with a tried and tested strategy.
- You should give your property maximum exposure, utilising online portals and an agent’s website and social media.
- Ask about Premium Listings and extra boosted products on the portals to make your property stand out.
- Ensure you get professional photography, EPC and floor plan as a minimum, and spend extras on virtual video tours and 3D walkthroughs to give you an edge.
- Make sure your property gets put in an offices’ window. Unlike online agents, a benefit of a high street branch is more exposure to people daily.
Conducting viewings and accepting your offer.
Your property has now launched, presented properly, and will now start to generate interest. At this stage, your agent will begin booking viewings.
A good agent will discover prospective buyers’ needs and brief their accompanied viewer to highlight all the features of a property that match them. This will build the buyer’s desire to make an offer on the property and can lead to a higher price.
Homeowners often feel that they are best placed to conduct viewings on their property, but it is important for an agent to do this so the buyer feels comfortable asking questions they may not otherwise ask. Your agent should also use this time accompanying viewings to gather more information on the buyers’ position should they want to move forward with an offer. As offers are generated, the agent will present each offer to you as it comes in. Having already qualified the buyers, your agent should be able to give you an overview of which offer may best suit your needs. If you are not happy with an offer, you have the right to reject and wait to see if a better offer is placed – but a good agent will negotiate this upwards on your behalf with the buyers.
If there is significant interest in the property, the agent may suggest that you go to the best and final offers, whereby a date is picked and all parties who have offered so far are encouraged to give a final offer.
Exchange and Completion.
When the sale is agreed, and a buyer found, some agents think this is the point where their job is done. Good agents, however, will know that this is really when their job begins and will work hard to see your sale through – right up to completion.
Some sales negotiators are incentivised to arrange the sale but not always to see them through beyond this point, to completion. At this stage, sales are most at risk of falling through and many a sale has been lost due to poor communication or inadequate liaison between surveyors, solicitors, buyers, and sellers.
For this reason, it is important that you choose an agent that can provide you with a dedicated sales progression service and staff who are trained to spot difficulties long before they arise and lead to complications.
Your allocated sales progressor or staff member will work with the solicitors, agents, buyers and sellers throughout the chain to ensure your individual sale goes through with few complications and as smoothly as possible, regardless of the size and difficulty of the chain. When in a busy or large chain with multiple sales and agents involved, problems can occur. As a seller, it is much less stressful knowing someone is working hard to manage the chain and look after your individual sale.
When selling, your transaction is not complete nor legally binding until the exchange of contracts has been agreed. Until this point, any party can withdraw from the process. It is therefore important that you have someone progressing your sale to exchange as quickly and smoothly as possible. Many branches have dedicated sales progressors to do just this.
On completion day, both solicitors will complete their final check on the sale. The buyer’s solicitor will then transfer funds to your solicitor and the sale will be officially completed. Your agent will then release the keys and the buyer will be notified that completion has been finalised and they can take possession and move into the property.
It is only at this point, at completion stage, that a good, no sale, no fee estate agent gets paid. You can now see how they will be incentivised to work hard on your behalf throughout the process.