If you think selling your home is a challenge, wait until you have finished: then you have to move home. From heavy boxes to hiring a removals van, the moving process can be extremely tiring and stressful, so much so that it can even distract from the selling process.
To minimise the amount of time, effort and confusion involved, here is a handy checklist of people to contact for the moving day so that the transfer of your home happens as smoothly as possible.
Here are 15 must-call contacts you should never forget.
Cleaning a property can be very time-consuming. Not doing it properly can also cause you to potentially lose out on money or time, if the people moving in raise problems with the condition of the property. Contacting a professional cleaning service can save a lot of hassle.
2. Removals company
Like cleaners, if you are using a hire company to move your belongings, get in touch as soon as possible to prevent any slowdown in the buying and selling chain.
3. Internet / Phone Provider
Your telephone and Internet provider can take days or even weeks to switch over a connection or set up a new one: be sure to contact the relevant companies early on so that any disruption is minimised.
Meter readings are important when moving homes to ensure that you and your buyer do not have to pay for energy that you have not used.
5. Post Office
Ensure that your local sorting office has an address to forward any undelivered mail to: this will save a lot of unanswered messages or unpaid bills in the future.
Contact your bank immediately so that your statements do not get delivered to a stranger.
7. Council Tax Office
When you change area, your council tax band can also change: be sure to provide the correct details to your buyer, as well as contact the local authority to ensure you pay the correct amount.
Your driver’s licence is a useful piece of ID, so do not forget to update your residential address with the DVLA so that records are up to date.
Your employer will also need your up-to-date contact details, both for emergencies and to provide to HMRC for PAYE payments.
10. Inland Revenue
Similarly, the Inland Revenue will require your up-to-date address, particularly if you are self-employed and do not have an employer contacting them on your behalf.
11. Insurance Company
Double-check that you have updated your records with your existing provider, so that your contents (and building, if relevant) are still covered.
12. TV Licence
This is also forgotten about in the face of other, more urgent utilities, but your TV licence is an important item to be paid that could result in a fine if left unchecked.
13. Doctor / Dentist
Registering with a new doctor and a new dentist in your local area is an essential step to make sure you are prepared for that day when you unexpectedly fall ill.
If you have children, their school’s contact details in the case of emergency should be kept up-to-date, so if you are moving within the area, remember to contact them and update their records.
15. Your buyers
Once you have sorted everything, be sure to leave your own contact details at the property so that when your buyers arrive, they are able to get in touch to sort any issues.
What was the first thing you noticed about your home? Its size? How clean it was? The colour of the front door? Even if you cannot remember, those fleeting first impressions can often dictate your final opinion of a property. When you are looking to sell, then, it is vital to make sure your home gives off a good first impression.
Whether it is a property portal listing with nice photos or an in-person viewing through an estate agent, here are eight first impression tips you should never forget.
1. Clean the street
It might sound strange to start with cleaning the street, but that is partly because it is the one thing sellers always overlook. Recent research from Keep Britain Tidy says that mess in the street can affect your house price. From cigarette butts to overflowing wheelie bins, your property price could be caused to lose as much as 12 per cent in its value. A sweep around your driveway and a quick check of the immediate surrounding pavement could make all the difference.
2. Check your front door
Everyone knows that a lick of paint or varnish can make your front door seem much newer, but have you considered changing your house number? Some shiny chrome digits to replace the old grubby figures will not only give off a more professional vibe, but will also make your address easier to find.
3. Wash the windows
Windows are like shoes: you may not notice them but a grubby pair can damage your appearance, while a shiny new pair can only impress. Try to wash your windows before any buyers come to view your property. A fresh lick of paint to your windowsills and frames can also help.
4. Tidy the garden
Mowing the lawn and sweeping the patio will make your garden seem far more welcoming, while carefully pruned flower beds will also make it more attractive on the eye. Do not just focus on your back garden, though: any greenery in front of your home (a messy hedge or weed-strewn path) should also be prim and proper.
5. Move your car
This is another practical step that many will forget in the hustle and bustle of selling, but parking space is important: not just for those visiting, but those who want to live in your home. Leaving an empty spot in front of your home will make your property more inviting, but also help buyers to imagine what it would be like to live there. Even at the stage when you are taking photos for your listing, politely asking the neighbours to move their van out of the way will give a better first impression.
6. Pick neutral colours
If your walls are bright or harsh on the eyes, consider repainting them with a more neutral colour that will make it easier for buyers to project their own vision of what the property could look like.
7. Go green
If you do not have any potted plants in your property, why not spruce up the place for visitors with some greenery? Colour in the living room will boost its appeal, while a well-placed shrub on the doorstep can give an image of class.
Finally, the most obvious step and still the most important: once the outside of your home is tidy and improved, pay close attention to the interior and remove as much clutter as possible. First impressions online count. First impressions in-person can be even more powerful.
Photo: Kaptain Kobold
As the New Year begins, the thought of DIY will be in many homeowners’ minds, as home improvements top the list of resolutions to try and complete before the month – and their New Year enthusiasm – runs out.
For those trying to sell their home, improvements become even more of a priority, as a small piece of DIY can add a large amount to a property’s price.
The average spend on a new kitchen is £8,000, according to Which?, though, which can be out of many sellers’ budgets. Others may not have the time to arrange for quotes and building on a more ambitious project, or may not have any real interest in actually improving their property at all.
However, there might be a way to boost your home’s value without needing to lift a hammer: planning permission.
A New Year means a new start for many people around the country. That includes moving to a new home, which makes now a perfect time to market your property and capitalise on the busy buying period.
Here are six essential New Year’s Resolutions for home sellers:
1. Set a three-month target
Routines are crucial to make sure you meet your targets, be that a weekly trip to the gym or a daily run. For home sellers, it is important to establish a cycle too, not just in terms of regularly checking enquiries and arranging viewings, but in terms of keeping your property listing fresh: list your home now to be ready for the spring period, but if it has been on the market for some time already, why not take it down for a month to stop it appearing old or overly familiar?
Set a three-month target to establish a quarterly cycle: three months on, then one month off. This will ensure you are always prepared for the busy periods of the year: spring, early summer and early autumn.
2. Ask for help
Support makes all the difference between making a New Year’s Resolution last for just the New Year and keeping it up permanently. Ask your friends and family to help with your house selling: request their feedback on what your staging is like; ask them to proofread your online listing; take them on a practice tour of your home. Whether your home has been on the market for a couple of months without success or you are just starting out, a second opinion can make sure you make a good first impression.
3. Think healthy
Just as you try to cut down your calorie intake, think about how to make your home’s consumption of energy more efficient. Insulating your walls or loft, optimising your air conditioning, replacing your appliances; anything that can make your home greener will also make it more appealing to house-hunters, especially during the cash-strapped month of January.
4. DIY, DIY, DIY
Three words that will be familiar to all New Year’s Resolutionees: do it yourself. That might be finally completing the garage clean-out you always promised yourself you would do, or clearing those gutters, but whatever you do to improve your home will also improve its chance of finding a new owner. A lick of paint to your front door, re-fronting your kitchen cupboards or even mowing the lawn will all improve the saleability of the property – as well as its eventual sales price.
5. Take down the decorations
Moving on is important to reach new pastures. Be sure to take down your Christmas decorations to show off your home as best as possible: a lack of clutter not only makes it easier to look around the property, but also shows you are not clinging to the past – and ready to sell in the very near future.
6. Don’t over-price
New Year’s Resolutions are about setting boundaries as much as targets. While you may have a figure in mind for your asking price, then, also set yourself a price limit. Both must be realistic, if you want to be successful: holding out for the highest offer will only scare off many other eager buyers. Being prepared to negotiate and treat your dream price as a potential rather than a minimum is the most important resolution you can set yourself this year.
Ready to sell your home in 2015?
Don’t break your New Year’s resolution. Advertise your home for just £20:
Photo: Christophe Michel
Selling your home is complicated, with lots of factors and figures to consider at every step. While it is important to focus on the details, though, it can be useful to take a step back and remind yourself of the overall process – a chance to see the property wood for the advertising trees.
This month, we go back to basics to give you a simple overview of how to sell your home. Details will vary, depending on the country or market you are in, but the overall principles will remain the same.
1. Value your home
Before you place your property on the market, you need to know how much it is worth. Estate agents can be asked to value it, although you can also gauge the general worth of your home by comparing it to what else is available: look in the local paper or estate agent windows, or use a site such as Zoopla for an online estimate, which will compare all the homes listed in your area.
Remember: Your asking price is dictated by the current market as much as it is your building’s actual worth. Your selling price may also be lower than your asking price.
2. Choose how to market your home
Estate agents can be a useful, experienced tool to market your home. You may prefer, though, to avoid expenses by advertising online, privately, through sites such as Sell My Property.
3. List your property
If, like many people, you elect to advertise online, you will need to create a listing for your home, complete with attractive photos, grammatically correct description and the most important property details.
4. Prepare for viewings
Once you have your property listed, you can expect to receive enquiries from buyers seeking to arrange a viewing. Take care to keep your home as clean as possible for viewings, with little mess and a welcoming atmosphere.
5. Receive an offer
Once a buyer has been impressed by their viewing, they will make an offer on your home. You can accept this, subject to the survey and contract being carried out. While a provisional contract is drawn up, you may be asked to take your home off the market, although you are not obliged to.
6. Legal checks
Inspecting the property is vital to ensure that everything is in order and there are no hidden problems that could affect either the transaction itself or the property’s worth. Instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to carry these checks out. They will also communicate with your buyer’s legal team and provide them with details of the title deeds. The buyer’s own surveyor will also need to access your home to inspect it.
Once both parties are agreed upon the work – if any – needed to be done to the property, you may need to renegotiate the original offer to take into account any unforeseen costs. If you are asked to lower the price, make sure you are shown two quotes by your buyer for the relevant repairs so that you are getting a fair, accurate deal. The deal may still be called off by either party at this stage, if a compromise cannot be reached.
8. Exchange contracts
Signing the contract – with your solicitor – will cement your legal obligation to complete the transaction. At this point, the buyer will pay a deposit to your solicitor, who will handle the final stages of registering the sale and transferring the deeds of ownership.
Once everything had been signed, you just need to agree on a date of completion – then move out of the property on that day. It’s time to start packing!
Selling your home without an estate agent can be a daunting task, especially when you reach the complex legal stages of the process. This is where you hire legal experts to help, though, and complete your transaction. The biggest step they will handle? Conveyancing.
What is property conveyancing? Conveyancing is the process by which your home is transferred to someone else, from initial offer to contracts to swapping keys.
Doing conveyancing yourself is not recommended: there is a lot of complicated paperwork involved and failing to do things right, or get the required documents, can delay your sale – or, worse, make it fall through completely.
Hiring a legal expert is therefore essential. How do you choose a conveyancer? What do they do? We break down the whole process into five simple steps.
Familiarise yourself with them so you are not caught out by any surprises.
1. Choose a conveyancer or a solicitor
You will need to a choose either a conveyancer or a solicitor. What is the difference? A solicitor is a qualified lawyer, who may have specialist training
in property, or may not. A conveyancer is a member of the Council for Licenced Conveyancers and specialises in property, but no other area of the law. For this reason, a conveyancer is more affordable than a solicitor. If your property sale involves another legal issue, such as a boundary dispute or divorce, you will need a solicitor. In the event of an unforeseen issue arising, a conveyancer will refer you to a solicitor. Some large law firms, meanwhile, employ their own in-house conveyancer to take on such work.
2. Wait until you have an offer
Once you have decided which legal professional to hire, do not instruct them until you have received an offer on your home; they will be unable to progress proceedings until then and will only cost you more money if their services are engaged before this point.
3. Fill in questionnaires
Once you have instructed them to carry out the conveyancing on your property, you will be asked to complete a range of questionnaires about your property, its boundaries, tax information, what furnishings/fittings will be included in the sale, etc. Dates, claims, keys and other practical details will also be covered.
4. Draft contract / negotiations
These questionnaires will then form the basis of a draft contract, which will contain all the above information in an official legal document. This will then be sent to the buyer for their approval. Any changes or undecided elements that need to be resolved – for example, any agreements on a date of completion or what furniture will or will not be included – will then be negotiated between you and the buyer.
5. Exchange contracts / pay
Once you have agreed on these details, the contracts should now be identical and your legal expert will exchange it with your buyer. The contract is now legally binding and you are liable to each other for cancelling the transaction. You are also prohibited from accepting new offers at this point. The deposit will then be paid by the buyer, with the remainder of the sum to be processed upon the agreed completion date, when you will exchange keys, pay off outstanding mortgage amounts and officially hand over the legal title to the property. Finally, you pay the solicitor or conveyancer for their work.
(Note: This is intended as a rough guide to the conveyancing process. Your solicitor or conveyancer will explain the process in full and guide you through it. If in any doubt, it is always best to seek legal advice.)
Photo: Images of Money
It takes an average of 65 days to sell a home in the UK, according to the latest figures from Rightmove. There are now 65 days until Christmas. That means that if you want to sell your home before the holidays, you need to start now.
Some parts of the UK have faster housing markets than others, with London leading the way with the shortest amount of time typically taken to find and secure and buyer. Those in the capital, then, have slightly longer to advertise their home, but whether you are in the South East or North West, the message is simple: get cracking.
Here are our 6 simple steps to sell your home by Christmas (starting today).
1. Create a listing
Create a listing to show off your home as best as possible. With Sell My Property, a subscription starts from just £17 per month and advertises your home on a wide range of international portals, giving you the maximum possible exposure for the minimum cost. Do not rule out additional offline marketing methods, though: iProperty also found that a “For Sale” sign can boost your chances of attracting a buyer by 60 per cent.
2. Take good photos
The heart of your listing are the photos of your home, which need to catch a buyer’s eye. We allow you to upload up to 30 images to your listing: make the most of them, ensuring that they are of high standard and capture all aspects of your home to the best of your ability.
3. Price fairly
Once you have a buyer’s attention, you need to convince them to enquire about your home. Perhaps the most important factor is price: too high and no one will consider purchasing it, too low and you will be out of pocket. Get valuations from an estate agent or use online tools to determine the average market figure in your area.
4. Tidy up your home
No matter what time of year it is, nobody likes a dirty home. 22 per cent of buyers would not make an offer on a home if it was cluttered, found a survey by Big Yellow research Clean through your property so that it is always ready to show off, just in case you have a last-minute visitor wanting to view the place. Home improvements or a fresh lick of paint can also boost the value of your property, or make it appear newer, so do not rule out a quick bit of DIY.
5. Tidy up your legal affairs
Paperwork takes time, but you can get ahead of it by preparing as much as possible beforehand. Make sure you have an Energy Performance Certificate – a legal requirement – ready to hand over, as well as a chosen solicitor (compare quotes from several) on speed dial. Organising title deeds and Council Tax statements will also help to provide the relevant parties with all the information to process the paperwork as soon – and as quickly – as possible.
6. Move home
Moving home is an awkward balancing act between buying and selling: one link in a long chain of people buying and selling homes across the country, or even across several. Do not be afraid to break that chain, if necessary: found a buyer for your old home but waiting for the sellers of your new home to vacate? Consider moving out anyway, either into a relative’s home or using self-storage and rented accommoation. The cost in the short-term may be high, but the peace of mind that the deal cannot fall through at the last minute is priceless.
All we want for Christmas is to help you sell your home.
Selling your holiday home can be a challenging task, especially if you are not in the same country, but the most challenging part can be fetching the right price.
New research from The iProperty Company reveals that more than half (53 per cent) of Britons are too laidback when it comes to their holiday home, meaning that their property’s potential value is undermined by poor quality or a bad presentation; how a property looks to a buyer is, of course, no less important for a holiday home than a permanent, primary residence.
Don’t want to be a holiday home sloth? Here are our top seven tips for maintaining your second property – and its price.
1. Inspection, inspection, inspection
The most important thing to do is inspect your holiday home on a regular basis – and to do so objectively. If you do not keep a tab on what work needs to be done, you will not get around to completing old jobs or be aware of any new problems, which could cause serious damage. 58 per cent of Britons visit their holiday home at least four times a year, says iProperty’s search. Make sure you use those trips in the most efficient way possible.
2. Be reactive
If you are renting out your holiday home to guests on a regular basis, try to inspect the property after they leave so that you are familiar with any wear and tear caused. This can range from soiled sheets to scratches on furniture. Whether it is a stain on the carpet or a light bulb that needs changing, being reactive is important in retaining your property’s value for both tenants and buyers.
3. Plan ahead
Being reactive can be important in keeping your house tidy, but it is also vital to plan ahead for bigger tasks, such as replacing a boiler. If you cannot get a problem sorted during your current stay, arrange for it to be done for your next visit. If you rent your property out during peak holiday periods, off-season months such as February or March can be ideal for heavy maintenance.
4. Prepare for winter
Some of the most severe harm can be done to your home – and its value – during the winter, so it is vital to prepare for the cold, stormy months. Improve your insulation, check your roof tiles, clear the gutters to prevent overflow and service the boiler. Keeping the heating on low or, if you are turning off the water, draining your heating system, can also help to avoid risks of frost or water damage.
5. Don’t put things off
The worst thing you can do is put something off. The temptation to think that jobs are not urgent because no one else will see the home until you are there next – or that you will be back again in a few months anyway – can leave minor problems to develop into something major. Or, if you find yourself unexpectedly having to sell up, leave you with a home with enough problems to knock some figures off the price tag.
While 100 per cent of iProperty’s participants said they bought their holiday home with every intention of improving it, a surprising 79 per cent admitted they hadn’t so much as picked up a paintbrush since their first holiday. Do not be one of them.
6. Clear out
When you are ready to sell your holiday home, make sure you clear out all of your belongings, including the bric-a-brac in the smallest nooks and crannies. This will make easier to redecorate, if you decide to give it a lick of paint.
7. Clean up
Clearing out? Make sure you clean up too. If you cannot face giving the place an in-depth once-over, hire in a professional cleaner to do it for you. This will save you time and stress – and, if you are taking your property listing photos after the clean, will leave your home looking like new.
When selling your home, fetching the best price possible is one of the most important priorities. While there are many things you can to boost your property’s value, though, there are an equal number of things that can harm your house price, some of them without you even knowing.
If these problems with the building are later discovered by the buyer’s surveyor, it could seriously impact the amount they are willing to offer, if not cause them to call off the transaction altogether.
Here are seven hidden things that could lower the price of your home.
Selling your property is not a quick process. Everything takes time, from paperwork and packing boxes to your decision to list the home in the first place. In the UK, the median number of days a home now spends on the market is 90 days, the shortest it has been since 2008. The time is right for those looking to find a buyer. But how to do so quickly? There are steps that you can take to speed your sale up, many of which you might not even consider.
Here is how to sell your property within a week.