We may all be looking forward to Christmas – not long to go! But it’s important to think about your plans and goals for 2019, too. Many people choose to put their home on the market in January and look for a new property. There’s nothing better than a fresh start, right? It’s the perfect time of the year to both sell your house and buy a new one – or even build your own. This is due to estate agents being back at their desks and ready to crack on after the festive period, along with any last-minute disappointments from December keen to complete sales and move as soon as possible. Also, the January property market is a much less saturated market than the summer one so your home may actually stand out that bit more!
What if you choose to sell in the new year?
But let’s not get too carried away. Obviously, you should think carefully about the house-moving process, which can often be a stressful one. To take some of the stresses away, we decided to write this blog post. We’ll outline the general property sales process when you put your house on the market. Here’s what to expect if you decide to sell in January:
Choosing an estate agent
It is important to choose an estate agent that is right for both you and the property you are selling. In such a competitive market, many estate agents offer very low fees and promise fast sales. But is this too good to be true? Are they really as good as they say? Here are some questions you should try to answer when selecting the right estate agent:
- How does their website look? What about their Rightmove advertising? Are the images appealing?
- Do their property descriptions entice you to book a viewing?
- Which channels of marketing do they use to promote properties? Do they have a mailing list?
Always remember that low fees don’t always mean high-quality estate agency. After all, you get what you pay for.
Valuation and appraisal
When you first contact your chosen estate agent, they’ll want to take a look around your house. Here, they’ll be able to give you an initial valuation – the price you can list your property for. Any reliable and experienced estate agent will use not only their appraisal of your home but their knowledge of the local area and similar properties nearby. It’s crucial to get the balance right. Too high and it won’t sell. Too low and you won’t get the amount you deserve!
Entering the market
Now you have your valuation, your estate agent will bring your property to the market. At this stage, you should also appoint a solicitor. This will ensure that the entire property sales process can be as smooth as possible! As your property enters the market, we recommend you tidy up your house and present it at its best. Your estate agent will be taking photographs and booking viewings on your behalf!
Photographs and presentation
It’s time for photographs, descriptions and floorplans to be produced! As we mentioned, you should make sure your property is at its full potential. This may mean decluttering, moving furniture around and having a good old deep clean. We went into more detail on the kinds of things you can do to prepare for moving here. But for now, remember that any potential viewers want to see your property at its best. First impressions really do count.
Marketing your home
Your estate agent now has the job of getting your property out there. How your property will be marketed should be agreed in advance between yourself and the estate agent. To get it noticed, they may use physical brochures, window displays at their office and on their website. Rightmove and social media channels are extremely popular methods of marketing properties, especially now more than ever. As your property will be widely available to so many people, make sure the estate agent prioritises getting the correct information out there. Any mistakes could really mislead a potential buyer. Many estate agents also make use of email campaigns, newsletters and alerting buyers on their database. Additionally, be sure to check for extra charges when it comes to marketing your property. Is it all included in the fees?
Of course, anyone who may be interested in your home will want to see it in person. Most estate agents arrange and conduct accompanied viewings on your behalf. It’s up to you whether you’d like to be present or not! Bear in mind, many estate agents now offer extended opening hours to maximise the number of viewings on your property. This is when it’s important to keep your home looking and feeling clean, tidy and welcoming.
If all goes well, you’ll start to receive offers on your property. Estate agents are obliged to inform you of every single offer made, whether it is ridiculously low or not. Of course, any good estate agent will act in your best interest, informing you of the buyer’s position and negotiating you the best deal possible. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to accept or decline an offer.
Agreeing on an offer
Be sure that your estate agent has done their homework – what is the chain like? What position is the buyer in, financially and time-wise? Then, this is where your solicitor comes into play. Make sure you’ve chosen well, as with estate agents, many companies advertise low fees but offer inadequate services. Go with a reputable solicitor for your peace of mind! There will be communication between your estate agent, your solicitor and the estate agent and solicitor of your buyer. But it’s still up to you to chase up both parties and make the phone calls. After all, you will be one of many clients to your conveyancer. Now, the relevant documents can be collated. Here’s where you’ll get a survey carried out and outline your preferred dates for exchange and completion. Hopefully, any legal issues can be raised at this point.
As long as you have kept in constant communication with your solicitor and your estate agent is good at chasing up, you’ll be well on your way to exchanging contracts. Of course, anything can happen at this state and nothing is legally binding until the exchange. Once you have exchanged, however, the deposits will be paid (from your buyer’s solicitor to yours) and a completion date set.
The most exciting day! Around a week after the exchange (usually 10 days), you’ll complete on your sale. This means the remaining balance is transferred across to your solicitor. However, if you’re lucky enough to have caught a cash buyer then completion may be earlier or on the same day as the contract exchange. But of course, this date must be agreed between all parties and some flexibility may need to be shown to accommodate everyone. There will be further communication between your estate agent and solicitor so that the keys can be released when the money has been paid – no money, no house! Once everything is complete and the money in place, your house is officially sold.
Need reassurance or advice with the property sales process?
We hope this blog post has been somewhat helpful. You might understand a little bit more about the step-by-step process of selling a home. And if you decide to put your property on the market in January, we wish you all the best of luck! Keep an eye out on our website for our new developments to find your potential future home. If you need any advice or further help on the property sales process, don’t hesitate to get in touch.