First-time seller

A helpful overview of the process of selling a property for the first time.

Speak with your lender or broker to find out how much you owe on your current mortgage, including any penalties for early repayment.

Additional possible payments:

  • Outstanding debts secured against the property
  • Estate agent fees
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) fees
  • Legal fees
  • Removal costs
  • Capital gains tax (if not your primary home or includes a lot of land)

It is very important to compare your property worth against the outstanding balance on your mortgage and the costs of moving – this will make it easier to budget for your next move.

A property’s valuation is not necessarily the same as the price it will eventually sell for – this will ultimately be decided by how much the buyer is willing to pay. This can be either more or less than the initial valuation and will be influenced by market conditions.

Request evidence from the estate agent to support their valuation. A high valuation does not necessarily mean you will secure this price. If you market your property for a price which is much higher than the estate agent’s valuation it may take a long time to sell.

Key things to consider during negotiations:

  • Timeframes – dates that work for all parties
  • Fixtures and fittings – make clear to agent what you intend to leave behind either for free or extra cost
  • Survey – be prepared to renegotiate sale agreed price if significant issues are uncovered

Once you have accepted an offer, the buyer will instruct their legal representative to commission searches and review the title of the property. You should remove the property from the market once the offer has been accepted.

Your property is not legally sold until written contracts have been exchanged with the buyer. Until paperwork is finalised, your property is ‘sold subject to contract’. Neither the seller or buyer is legally committed to the sale at this stage.

Enquiries are raised at different points and are normally answered by your legal representative with your input.

Examples of information questioned during enquiries:

  • The title
  • Searches
  • Mortgage offer
  • General questions about the property or transaction

You and the buyer are legally bound to the sale once contracts are exchanged.

If the buyer withdraws after exchange, they may lose their deposit.

If you withdraw, you may be liable for breach of contact, the buyer’s costs and compensation.

Completion is when your legal representative receives the remaining funds from the buyer’s legal representative, and you hand over ownership of the property.

Before leaving you should ensure you have taken all belongings and left behind anything that was agreed in the Property Fixtures and Fittings form. Make a record of the meter readings and close your account with your energy provider.

The purchase money will be transferred from the buyer to their legal representative, and then passed on to your legal representative. They will pay off the mortgage and any secured debts, stamp duty, outstanding estate agent fees, service charges, settle their own fees and send the balance due to your account.

Who needs your new address once you have moved home?

  • Local authorities of both your new and old home to transfer your Council Tax liability and electoral roll registration
  • Utilities and water
  • GP, dentist and/or vet
  • DVLA
  • Bank or building society
  • Insurance company
  • Mobile phone, TV and internet providers