The process of selling your house can be complicated and time-consuming.
So, it pays to be prepared for what's to come once you have decided to get the For Sale board up.
We've listed the main things you need to consider when selling your home, so there are no surprises along the way...
Selling a house: The process
So, you've decided to sell, but what happens now?
This is the process you can expect to go through from making the decision to sell up all the way through to completing your sale:
1 Decide to sell
2 Engage an estate agent to market your home
3 Agree asking price and commission fee with your agent
4 Agent will conduct viewings and report feedback / offers
5 Accept an offer
6 Engage solicitor / conveyancer to look after the sale
7 Exchange contracts
8 Sale completes
Notice we haven't looked at a timescale for those eight stages. That's because 'time' is the first thing you need to consider when selling your home...
1. How long does it take to sell a house?
As we were saying: Time is a hugely important factor to consider when deciding to sell your home, particularly if you are buying another property.
Many sellers simply neglect to factor in how long a property sale takes in the UK.
And it's easy to see why.
Once the For Sale board is up and your home is shown in all its glory across the major online property platforms, the only goal in your mind is getting an offer. Right?
Only once that acceptable offer is received does a seller realise that the hard work is ahead - and it can often take around four months from accepting an offer to completing your sale.
Once you have made the decision to sell, be realistic about the timeframes...
2. How to sell your house quickly? Pick the right agent!
Selling your home in 2019 can be just as tricky and stressful as it was decades ago.
The good news now, though, is sellers have plenty of of options when it comes to marketing their properties.
Gone are the days of the local paper and estate agent's window being the only way to show off your home to eager buyers. Now, digital is king.
But even in these days of cheaper, online-only agents, the values and experience of a local property expert can be the difference between a quick sale and months of frustration.
Consider what's important from your sale. It could be the highest possible sale price, or it could be securing a quick sale so you can move on.
Seek advice from your local agent, who will know the market and be able to guide your expectations.
3. Is your house ready to be sold?
You might be desperate to sell, perhaps due to a new job or because your financial situation dictates.
But if your home isn't as ready as you are, your chances of a quick sale will be hugely diminished.
Check out the competition in the area by speaking to your local agent. If your house doesn't match up and is looking a little tired against others on the market, consider spending some money to spruce things up.
Often small changes to things like lighting or a lick of paint can make a huge difference.
But if you are aware of bigger problems affecting your home, such as a leaky roof or damp, getting these issues resolved prior to selling should be a priority.
4. Is it the right time to sell your house?
While it's possible to sell a home at any time of year (even Christmas), there are certain times when you might stand a better chance of a quick sale compared with others.
Spring tends to see a boost in property market activity as home buyers finally emerge from the over-indulgence of Christmas. Moreover, the spring bloom can make your home look amazing.
Summer can be difficult for sellers as many families and couples go away on holiday at this time of year and while autumn can see a resurgence of activity at times, winter tends to see buyers return to hibernation.
If you are keen to sell but the market is slow, consider holding off for a while. You could get the For Sale board up and wait and see, but consider that the longer your home is on the market without selling, the more likely buyers are to wonder if there is a reason why it's not selling.
5. Be realistic with your expectations
As well as the 'time' factor, you should keep an open mind when it comes to offers on your property.
Take some time to consider the market conditions and, again, be guided by the experience of your estate agent.
In a slow market favourable to sellers, you should be prepared to receive offers at least between 5% and 10% below your asking price, potentially more.
However, in a buyer's market where there may be a lot of interest in your property, weigh up whether price or a quick sale is more important to you.
If time is on your side, you may be better holding out for a bigger offer.
6. Try to leave emotion at the door
Homes can be extremely difficult to leave behind, particularly if they contain dozens of memories.
You may have brought your children home for the first time after they were born, or spent a long and happy marriage in the property you are now selling.
Letting go of a home packed with memories can spark similar feelings to grief, so it's important you say goodbye to your property and start to treat it as a business transaction as early in the process as you can.
7. There's paperwork (lots of paperwork)
Having an organised mind is a much-needed trait when selling your home.
There is a lot of paperwork to wade through - and as a seller, you'll need to be able to put your hand on an important document at the drop of a hat if you want to sell your home quickly.
Once you have decided to sell, go through all the documents relating to your house and dig out the most important ones. They could include:
* Personal ID (passport or driving licence)
* Proof of address (utility bill / bank statement)
* Title deeds (proof you own the property)
* Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
* Details on your current mortgage
It can also be useful to have the following to hand:
* Electric or gas service history
* Receipt / guarantees of any major work
Being able to provide these key pieces of information quickly when requested by your solicitor or estate agent will help keep your sale firmly on track.
8. Be patient during the conveyancing process (but not too patient!)
One of the most frustrating aspects of the sales process can be the conveyancing.
However, there are things you can consider in advance to help.
While the majority of work will be done by your buyer's solicitor, choosing a good solicitor yourself can help keep the sale on track and you should chase when appropriate - but not too often! Bear in mind your solicitor and your buyer's will be working on several cases at once.
Unfortunately, things like searches do often hold up the process and, as these are completed by the local authority, you are essentially powerless to speed them up.
However, you can prepare yourself for this part of the sale being sluggish and ensure you have everything in order at your end so you can keep your side of the bargain moving smoothly.
9. Consider renting to get your buyer in quicker
Once you have received an acceptable offer from a buyer, you'll need to cherish them - particularly in a slow-moving market.
So, if you still haven't found your new home several weeks after the offer was made, consider renting for a while to give you more time to scour the market.
That will be music to the ears of your buyer, who should be able to move into your home quicker.
It should also be beneficial to you to get the sale completed as early as possible and ensure that your buyer doesn't get tired of waiting, opt to pull out and put you back at square one.