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Selling a house

How to sell your house

By Joe Elvin

Article 1 of 12

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How to sell your house

Are you thinking about putting your house or flat up for sale? Our video and essential tips will help you sell your property quickly, smoothly and for the best price. 

Property expert Tracy Kellett, a former estate agent who now owns and runs buying agency BDI Homefinders, has moved home more than 30 times - so she knows a thing or two about selling houses. Here are her top tips on how to get a quick sale and secure the best price for your house.

Video transcript

I think one of the mistakes that people make is they think that they'll need to put in a new kitchen or bathroom into the house, when they are getting ready to sell. That could be an expensive mistake, because many people actually want to put their own kitchen in and they don't want to throw out one that's brand new but not to their taste, save money on things like that, but at the same time make sure you do declutter, because most people are looking to move because they need more space.

So when you're looking at selling your house, you need to get your ducks in a row. Firstly get yourself a solicitor, secondly work out what you're going to do. Because a lot of people put their houses on the market thinking that they'll have months to have a look for somewhere to live et cetera. However sometimes you may get an offer, a good offer on the first day.

I did. I put mine on the market, and I had two viewings on the first day, and I had nearly the asking price offered to me, on that first day and I took it. In reality the first offers you get are generally the best, so you want to be in a position to snap their hand off. It's really important when you're choosing your selling agent not to be a cheapskate.

You don't go for the one who's offering you the lowest fee, and you don't go for the one who's offering you to sell your house at what even you know is an over-inflated price. It'll come back and bite you. You need a good quality agent, who's going to get good quality buyers, and do a darn good job at negotiating the very best price for you.

And for that, you need to actually pay a reasonable fee. When you're selling your house, and you got a viewing, get out of the house. Honestly, nobody likes the seller being in, it makes them feel uncomfortable, and awkward. Get out, leave it to the agent.
  •  If you're going to need a new mortgage for your next home, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987 for impartial, whole-of-market advice on the best deal for you.

Selling a house: nine essential tips 

1. Make your home the best it can be

Make sure your property is clean, tidy and free from clutter and that it looks good from the outside. Consider getting a survey of your property done, so you can either fix any problems, or use it to attract buyers by demonstrating how good the condition of your house is.

2. Get at least three valuations

Ask three local estate agents to value your property. Grill them on why they think your home is worth the amount they're suggesting and what they'd do to find you the best price from the most suitable buyer. 

Once you've decided who you'd like to use, don't be afraid to haggle on the fee - and also the tie-in and notice periods. Find out more in our guide to finding the best estate agent.

3. Decide who's going to sell your home

Although most people will use a traditional high street estate agent to help them sell their home, you can potentially save money by using an online estate agent or selling privately.

Neither option is a no-brainer, though - there are pros and cons to both. Find out more in our guides to online estate agents and private house sales.

4. Find a reliable conveyancer

Conveyancing is far from being the most exciting part of moving house, but it's vitally important that you find someone reliable.

We've researched the market to find a conveyancing firm that we believe offers a trustworthy and efficient service - find out more about Which? Conveyancing.

5. Get your paperwork in order

If you get your paperwork sorted out early, it will help things move along more quickly once you've accepted an offer. 

Click on the downloadable checklist below for a list of all the documents you might need, and check out our guide to energy performance certificates (EPCs).  


6. Pick a good buyer

If several prospective buyers are interested in your home, it's worth thinking about who's least likely to pull out (perhaps due to nerves or their own sale falling through), and who can move at the same pace as you (eg if you're in a rush, are they?), as well as the amount each buyer offers.

In order, the safest buyers to choose are buyers who’ve already sold and completed (or at least exchanged on) their sale, first-time buyers, buyers who have sold their home subject to contract, and buyers who have not yet sold their home.

7. Be clear what’s included in the price

After you've chosen a buyer, make sure they understand exactly what’s included in the price, including fixtures and fittings.

8. Agree on dates

Establish likely dates for exchange and completion - this will avoid arguments further down the line.

It's worth drawing up an agreed note of your plans with the buyer. While this won't be legally binding, it can make people less likely to delay or pull out.

9. Keep in touch

Keep communication going. Don't disappear on holiday for two weeks without informing all interested parties, including your conveyancer and your estate agent. Don’t ignore aspects about the purchase that you don’t understand - if in doubt, ask. 

Case studies: things I wish I'd known before moving house

People who've sold up and moved to a new house recently share what they wish they'd known before starting the process. Learn from their mistakes so your own move is less stressful.

  • Last updated: December 2016
  • Updated by: Joe Elvin

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