The task of selling your home can feel as big as a house as there’s lots to consider. In this guide we’ll tell you how to value your property, explain the true costs when selling, help with choosing an estate agent and share tips to get the maximum price.
This is the first incarnation of this guide. Please give us feedback, suggest improvements and share your tips in the How To Sell your House forum thread. Thanks to David Hollingworth from mortgage broker London & Country* for fact checking the guide.
In this guide…
Stop! Are you still in your mortgage term?
Make your home look the best it can
Get your home valued
Check online first
Get estate agents to value it
What affects the asking price
Decide how to sell your property
High street estate agents
Online estate agents
Find a reliable solicitor or conveyancer
Other costs involved when selling a property
Selling to buy another property
This guide is all about selling the property you’re living in now. If you’re looking to sell a buy-to-let property, there may be some tax implications (such as capital gains tax) which we won’t run through here. For more information on this, see the HMRC website.
Before you think about selling…Stop! Are you still in your mortgage term?
If you’re still within your existing mortgage term, you’ll first need check what fees you’ll be liable to pay by moving. If you’re on your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) – the rate your mortgage reverts to when a deal ends – then you’re fine, you can think about moving.
If you’re buying another property and your mortgage is portable, you’re also fine (as long as the lender’s happy with the new property and the price and you pass affordability tests). Your existing mortgage moves with you at no extra cost and when that deal comes to an end, you can remortgage on your new property – see our Porting your mortgage guide.
But if it’s not portable, you may face early repayment charges that are often around 1-5% of the remainder of your mortgage debt, making moving very expensive.
For example, early repayment charges of 2% on a £226,000 property would be £4,520.
So first find out how long you’ve left on your current deal and how much it’ll cost to free yourself – see our ‘Ditch your fix?’ calculator. If it would be too expensive, then it’s worth holding off and ensuring you’re ready to go as soon as the deal ends. For more on fees, see the Remortgaging Cost guide.
Spruce up your home to max the price
Even the best kept properties show signs of wear and tear. So before you do anything else, it’s best to sort these out to give you the best chance of selling your property asap for the maximum price.
Up your property’s appeal from the outside
Sort out the interior of the property
However, make sure you do your sums first…
How much should I spend on improvements?
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Get your home valued
value of home
Once you’ve got your property looking its best, you need to get it valued. It’s imperative to research thoroughly at this stage as getting it wrong could leave your house on the market for a long time, or it could sell way below the market price.
1. Check online first to get a rough figure
Before you get an agent through the door, check sold house prices in the past 12 months with online agents such as Nethouseprices, Rightmove and Zoopla to give you a rough idea- see our Free house price valuations guide for more.
Compare your property to those of a similar size and spec. You can do this pretty accurately with Rightmove, which shows the original house adverts (including photos) at the point of sale. Be realistic and don’t let stubborn pride about the state of your property cloud your judgement and lead to over-pricing.
Having a clear idea of sales in the recent past helps you value your home accurately. Looking at those currently on sale helps you value your home competitively. Remember, very few properties sell for the asking price – hopefully yours will go for more, but don’t be disappointed if it sells for less.
2. Get estate agents to come in for an estimate
Once you’ve done your own research, have at least three agents value your home (never reveal the values other agents have given as it could skew their answer). Don’t worry if you don’t want to use an estate agent for the actual sell – you’re not committed to using any of them.
To get the most balanced view, it is worth asking different types of agents for valuations: a big high street chain, a small local one and an online one. And get them to bring paperwork on sold prices in the surrounding area
It’s perfectly normal for valuations to be very diverse. MSE Jo said the highest and lowest values she received differed by a whopping £100k. In cases like that, opting for something in the middle should give you the most sensible option.
If Agent 1 values your property at £200,000, Agent 2 at £230,000 and Agent 3 at £300,000 – the most realistic value would be £250,000.
Ensure you price it realistically
Consider factors that affect the asking price
Find out the situation of the buyer
Decide how to sell your property
There’s no right or wrong way to sell your property, the best way will depend on your circumstances. For example, if you’re time poor or don’t feel comfortable showing strangers round your home by yourself, it may be best to get an estate agent to do it for you – even if it does come at a higher price.
However, if you’re perfectly happy doing most of the work yourself, you can bypass an estate agent all together and save yourself some serious cash.
Online vs high street agent
If you don’t need your hand held, it’s worth doing as much as you can yourself – MSE Amy reckons she saved over £5,500 by using an online agent and DIY-ing the rest.
I want someone to do it for me – High street estate agents
high street agent
Despite online estate agents becoming more popular over recent years, high street estate agents are still used 94% of the time. In general, their services are more complete with Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) and hosted viewings included as standard. But…
Traditional high street agents are much pricier than online agents. However, you only pay a percentage of the agreed sale price – typically 0.75% to 3% – once the property has been sold, so you don’t lose money if the property doesn’t sell.
Find out which are the busiest and most experienced agents in your area and check the local paper and go online to see which agents have the most listings. Ask them how many properties they’ve sold in your area over the past three months and what they charge.
Personal recommendations are always valuable and having a presence on the high street also means potential buyers will see your property advertised in the window.
Try haggling to cut costs
Consider using multiple agents
I need a bit of hand holding – Online estate agents
If you’re happy to do some of the legwork yourself, using an online agent could be a cheaper option. Online agents charge a one-off, upfront fee of between £99-£1,695 – a big saving compared to the traditional high street agents.
According to the Land Registry’s UK Housing Price Index (HPI), the average UK home sells for around £226,000, meaning you could spend anything from £2,034 to £8,136 with a high street agent. With an online agent, you could save more than £6,000. Of course, exactly how much you save depends on the size of your property etc.
Sarah G | Edited by Johanna
Updated 6 Jul 2018
Updated 6 Jul 2018