If you're selling your home or investment property, your first decision is easy: appoint an estate agent. Deciding which agent to engage is a little more challenging.
Be wary of agents who provide high valuations or who offer low fees. High valuations are often a tactical device used to win sales instructions. Low fees, on the other hand, indicate an inexperienced or under-resourced agency. Both are equally unhelpful if you want to engage an experienced, efficient agency.
Your chosen agency should have a good sales track record that stems from an intimate understanding of the area, a responsive, professional approach and the resources to deliver a high level of service. Their ideas and marketing experience are important too. Your sales partner should be able to suggest ways to enhance the value of your home and be able to apply the full potential of digital and social media marketing as well as traditional channels.
Beyond that, you'll need to instruct a solicitor to draw up a contract and handle negotiations. Plus you'll need to put all the supporting paperwork in place: surveyors' certificates, planning permissions and building warranties.
Presenting your home
Getting your home looking its best for viewings is very important. Begin by having a clear out and put non-essential items in storage. A professional clean of your carpets, chimney and windows can pay dividends. Then move on to the garden - and make sure that's equally tidy. If your garden is a focal point, then pick a good time for pictures as that can make all the difference. Think about a few coats of paint, particularly for your homes' entrance and front, as this will create the best possible first impression. And it may be worth installing some good quality rented furniture for unfurnished properties.
As hard as it may be to stay away, we generally recommend that you aren't present when prospective buyers visit. In our experience, this can make prospective purchasers uncomfortable. A good agent will always provide feedback on each viewing.
The sales process
No two sales are quite the same, but there are always set stages on the journey. The key point is to work with an experienced agent that can support you at every step.
Step 1: The offer
Prospective buyers will make offers through your estate agent, whose job it is to achieve the highest price for your property. You need to decide whether the highest offer is the right offer, as it may involve some risk. For example, your potential buyer may be in a long chain and dependent on other sales to complete.
Step 2: Before exchanging contracts
In most cases, you're not legally obliged to sell your property until contracts have been exchanged. However, the conveyancing process can sometimes be tricky, your agent should protectively manage the sale on your behalf and liaise between all parties, as well as provide you with updates.
Step 3: Exchange and Completion
This is where your legal responsibilities begin. First you and your buyer will both sign and exchange contracts. At this point you'll agree a completion date for the transaction and your buyer will place a deposit on your property, usually 10%. If they don't complete the purchase, they'll be liable for the "specific performance" of the contract. Your buyer will pay the balance of the purchase price when you complete.
With 230 offices across 80 countries, JLL is one of the world's leading property groups. We have an international reach and network that few UK agents can rival. Our multilingual teams in the Capital ensure we're best placed to realise opportunities in China, Russia and the Middle East.
W.A. Ellis is a leader in the prime residential market. We sell hundreds of new-build apartments every year and we have a team dedicated to reassigning off-plan properties in new developments. This gives us a lead in this sector. What's more, we use the latest digital technologies for effective marketing campaigns in the UK and internationally.
We combine traditional, attentive customer care with a progressive research-led approach to bring sellers an exceptional service. Our insights come from our specialist team of researchers alongside our in-depth'on-the-ground' experience, which means you will always be aware of the latest market intelligence.
Backed by this insight and able to draw on specialists in every aspect of housing, we offer the most extensive property service in the UK. We can guide you on how to enhance the sale value of your property through everything from planning consent to refurbishment and leasehold enfranchisement.