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Sellers checklist

You have now reached the decision to sell your property, ensure that you chose the right agent who offers you the best service and the best chance of selling your home in your required timescales and at the best possible price.

In most towns the number one agent is independent, high profile, professional yet assertive and in most cases is reassuringly not the cheapest in the town.

Despite popular belief being on rightmove is not the answer to selling property, rightmove themselves released a statement saying that 60% of houses were being sold by the 2nd agent, normally this is a result of the first agent over pricing the property just to get it on the market and telling the vendor what they want to hear, you won’t be surprised that the cheaper agents who have to convince people to instruct them are more prone to these tactics.

Castles have been one of Swindon’s top selling agents for many years and have been recognised and exclusively chosen by both the Relocation Agent Network and The Guild of Property Professionals as in their opinion the best independent estate agent in Swindon to represent their networks.

Once you have decided on your agent and hopefully you have chosen to trust Castles to sell your home, following the below step by step guide to marketing your home will make the whole process smoother:

  • Agree terms and conditions with your chosen agent including what type of agency agreement you have chosen, sole, joint or multiple agency, agree the fees you will pay and the length of the agreement, once you are happy sign the agency agreement.

  • We currently work under strict guidelines and different acts of which we comply with them all, the property misdescription act requires you to approve and sign the property brochures before they can be handed out and before your property can be put on the internet.

  • Prepare your property in the best possible light for maximum impact on the brochures and the internet, good quality photographs can really make your property stand out from the crowd.

  • Floor plans are now highly regarded by potential purchasers and there is evidence through click through rates on the portal websites that floor plans really do make a difference, we would strongly recommend you have a floor plan and this is a service we can provide to our vendors as either a part of ordering an energy performance certificate or as a standalone service.

  • If you haven’t already got an energy performance certificate it is now law that all properties have an epc, an epc needs to be commissioned within 7 days of marketing and ideally back with the agent within the same period but there is a period of 21 days grace. However, if the epc is not with the estate agent after 28 days the property needs to be removed from the market with immediate effect.

  • Castles offer an energy performance certificate service through a local partner.

  • Give authority to your estate agent to erect a for sale board, despite the emergence of the internet and other technologies the good old fashioned for sale board remains a power house in selling property, not having one can impact your chances of selling your home.

  • Confirm with your agent what the best viewing arrangements will be and supply a key if appropriate.

  • It is a good idea to choose a solicitor at this stage and instruct them to act on your behalf they can begin the legal process by applying for your deeds therefore avoiding possible delays when you have agreed a sale.

  • Castles have a preferred solicitor partner in Swindon who offer in our opinion excellent value for money but more importantly the best conveyancing service in the town. We would highly recommend our partner irrelevant of where you buy or who you buy through.

  • It would be a good idea to speak to your lender about any penalties or conditions of your current mortgage to avoid any nasty surprises when your solicitor applies for a redemption statement.

  • If you are looking to buy another property in the local area it would be prudent to register with the local estate agents, if you are looking further afield then please speak to us about our 2 networks of whom both have in excess of 600 independent estate agents across the country who will be more than happy to help you with your relocation plans.

  • If you are buying another property and require a mortgage and you haven’t already taken mortgage advice this is the time to do it to avoid major disappointment when you are potentially told you can’t move after agreeing a sale and finding the home of your dreams.

  • Castles have a partnership in Swindon with an award winning whole of market mortgage brokers who are open extensive hours 6 days a week. Not only can they potentially save you time and money and be available when most brokers and lenders have closed they will liaise with estate agents, solicitors and lenders on your behalf allowing you to get on with your everyday life.

  • Negotiate and agree a sale on your property, it is good practise to remain open minded when considering offers and don’t be too hasty in declining offers from buyers in very strong positions. It is prudent to potentially agree a sale in principle subject to finding a suitable property as there is a good chance you will be able to negotiate an appropriate price once you are in a strong buying position allowing you to accept an offer you would have otherwise dismissed.

  • The offer stage is where your agent really does earn their money, a cheap agent may well just want you to accept a low offer in order to sell your property quickly as it doesn’t really suit them to market your property for too long as their fees are low, an estate agent who is earning a reasonable fee is more likely to battle for the best price for you. The value of a professional estate agent acting on your behalf can’t be underestimated and really can be the difference between a sale being agreed and your property remaining on the market.

Once you have agreed a sale on your home you need to:

  • If you haven’t already chosen a solicitor now is the time to do so and instruct them to act on your behalf and advise your estate agent accordingly so they can send out the sales memorandum to all parties. Please remember a cheap remote solicitor can have a dramatic impact on the speed and smoothness of your sale.

  • Advise your estate agent and solicitor of your onward plans, are you ending the chain and offering your home with vacant possession or are you buying another property, if you are buying, advise your estate agent and solicitors of the details.

  • Make sure you have received agent's Memorandum of Sale and check that the details of the sale are accurate; names; price and address are of paramount importance.

  • Your solicitor will write to you to confirm their instructions and will request that you return the fixtures and fittings forms, property forms and identification, until they receive this they will not be able to send out the draft contracts to the buyer’s solicitors therefore sending these back at your earliest convenience would save precious time.

  • Agree access for the buyer’s surveyors, some buyers will have a mortgage valuation and either a homebuyers or full structural survey carried out. A mortgage valuation will take approximately 30 minutes and a homebuyers or structural survey can take up to several hours. Ensure you ask your estate agent which survey is being carried out so you know how much time you need to allow. A survey should be carried out ideally within 2 weeks of the sale being agreed.

  • Where applicable, complete your mortgage application on purchase agreeing and paying for the survey/s you have decided upon.

  • Your solicitor is likely to receive enquiries from the buyers solicitors and in some circumstances may well have to ask you to answer questions or provide documentation, replying to enquiries as soon as possible is preferential to avoid delays. Items that are now coming up as a matter of course and should be given consideration are, gas safety certificates or boiler service documentation, electrical installation/works certificates, fensa certificates for replacement windows, building regulations/planning permissions for extensions/alterations as well as dropped kerbs and additional parking areas.

Once your solicitor is ready to report to you:

  • They will either invite you in for an appointment to go through all the paper work and sign the contracts or send them out in the post for you to sign. They will ask you to agree a completion date for the move which is normally within 7 to 14 days but can be either simultaneous on the same day as exchange or delayed with everyone’s agreement.

  • Once exchange has taken place and a completion date set then you need to inform all utilities i.e. gas, electric, local council and water companies of your moving date and make sure meters are read on the day of completion.

  • Advise banks, schools, doctors, dentist and any other relevant parties you are moving.

  • Organise storage facilities if required, removals or confirm your van hire and friends and family to help you on the day of completion.

  • Send out change of address cards and organise for your post to be redirected (this can take 7 to 10 days to take effect).

  • Start packing early to avoid panic and potential headaches on the day of completion.

  • If you are buying another property or renting ensure the property will be available on the day of completion.

  • On the day of completion your buyer is likely to want the keys as early as possible and it is reasonable that they get the keys to their new home by mid-afternoon at the latest, where you are buying another property where the vendor moving out on the day of completion, make sure your Estate Agent advises your buyer that there may be some delays if the banking system is slow that day or the vendor of your property is slow at moving out.

Who to notify after you have exchanged contracts

Utilities, Local Council, Post office (redirect your mail), Subscriptions, Bank Manager, Doctors and Dentists, Education, Insurance companies, DVLA, Telephone Company...

...and don't forget your family and friends

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