Frequently asked questions about selling property in Stourbridge and Halesowen

I want to sell a property, what do I do first?

First of all you should arrange for a valuation to find out how much your home is worth. We recommend asking at least three different estate agents to value your home. Ask them about the services they offer, the current state of the local market, and the purchase price you can hope you achieve.

How do I know if I'm asking the right price?

Valuing a home has never been an exact science – there are many things to consider. The location, style and scope of the accommodation are usually the most important factors, together with the condition of the property and any improvements that may have been carried out.

Even before we reach your doorstep, we will have considered who is the best person from our company to advise you. We will send our most knowledgeable local property market expert specifically familiar with houses in your area.

Don’t simply choose the estate agent quoting the highest price as some agents may deliberately inflate the asking price simply to flatter you and secure your instruction. This may result in your property being left on the market for an extended period as buyers pass it by for better value options.

Equally, you must be aware of agents who will under value your home as they could be looking for an easy route to a quick commission!

A good agent will provide you with comparable evidence of similar properties which are on the market and will form the competition for your property. They will also be able to provide you with details of prices achieved by similar properties that have sold recently.

Having asked several questions when arranging our visit means we will be able to thoroughly research your property’s value, sourcing comprehensive local comparable data from which we will provide clear and concise marketing advice.

How much is it going to cost to sell my property?

There are three main costs involved in selling a property:

•Estate Agent Fees

Estate Agent Fees will generally be either be a percentage of the purchase price, or a fixed fee. When you ask an Estate Agent to value your home, they should outline ALL of their fees during their visit, including any hidden costs, disbursements or withdrawal fees, so you can take these into account.

•EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

You are legally required to provide an EPC when you market your property for sale. This outlines the energy efficiency rating of your property. We are happy to organise this for you if you do not already have one.

•Conveyancing

‘Conveyancing’ means the legal transfer of your property to the buyer, and you will need to employ a conveyancer (solicitor) to facilitate the process. Prices will vary depending on the circumstances of your purchase and sale. We are happy to suggest really good local solicitors whose services are tried and tested and come highly recommended.

Will l still have to pay your fees if my property does not sell or I take it off the market?

You will only be liable to pay our fees if we introduce a buyer who exchanges contracts. Our charges are made on a ‘No Sale No Fee’ basis. Our terms of business are based on the guidelines recommended by the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and will be confirmed to you in writing before we commence marketing your property

Should I sell first or find somewhere to buy first?

Most people sell their current home at the same time as buying a new one, forming a property chain. Selling before you buy has risks, but it can also have great advantages

• It puts you in a stronger position when buying. The seller you want to buy from would almost certainly prefer a buyer who can move quickly other than where their sale is dependent upon you finding someone to buy your house

• You are less likely to be gazumped. If you put in a robust offer the vendor is unlikely to consider another if your sale chain is complete.

• You remain in control of the sale of your own house – because you won’t need to make a quick sale, you will not be pressurised into selling at less than the full market price.

• You may negotiate a better price if you engage with a seller who is keen to move quickly

• You will know exactly how much you can afford on your onward purchase because you’ll have the money from your sale effectively ‘’in the bank’’ – buying your new home won’t be dependent on you achieving projected price on your existing one

How can I achieve the best/top price for my home?

This is the area in which the agent acting on your behalf should excel! Your agent should present your property in the best possible light. You should choose an agent with an inviting office where potential buyers will want to visit. Review the internet as your agent should also provide an easy to navigate and interesting website, more and more people use the internet as their first ‘port of call’ to search for their next property. Also ensure your agent will advertise your property in the local papers.

As a vendor it is important that you also present your home in the best possible light. As part of our initial meeting we will offer you advice on the very best way to present your home and provide you with our unique ‘Pre-sale Checklist’. Remember that first impressions count. Make sure the front garden, front door and entrance hall all look as tidy and spacious as possible. You can also de-clutter and de-personalise your home and put away, or store anything not used on a daily basis

Can I market my property immediately?

Firstly we must ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before commencing marketing. Most of our clients will ask us to arrange this if they don’t have one already and this can normally be obtained within a couple of days.

Of course we will ask you to sign a contract and we will also need to take some ID from you.

Do I need an EPC?

In England, all sellers are required to purchase an EPC for a property before they sell it. Estate agents must display the EPC rating whenever they market the property. If a property does not have an EPC when marketed the buyer and the agent risk a fine. This does not apply to Listed properties.

Why do I need to show you my ID before you can market my property?

 In 2004 the government extended the Anti Money Laundering Legislation requiring estate agents to verify the identity of their clients. We will ask you for some photographic ID and a proof of address. This formality is conducted with the minimum of inconvenience.

When should I instruct my solicitor?

In short the earlier the better. You don’t have to instruct your solicitor until you have found a buyer/property. However, by instructing your solicitor earlier you could well save time.

When you place your property on the market, your solicitor can often get paperwork ready so that the contracts can be sent out as soon as you have agreed a sale.

We would be delighted to recommend an experienced and trusted local solicitor.

Can you find me a buyer quickly?

We will always endeavour to introduce a buyer as quickly as possible, but it is important that we establish the buyer’s position in terms of how they will fund the purchase, if they need to sell before they can buy and their ability to fit in with your timing plans.

Do I need to conduct viewings?

Many owners prefer to leave keys with us for daytime viewing appointments, and we will always be happy to accompany potential purchasers. Keys are security coded and are never released without your prior authority to do so. You may decide that you’d like to be present at the same time or carry out viewings yourself. It’s entirely up to you .We will discuss the respective merits of the options available to you.

Will I receive feedback following viewings?

Frequent communication between the agent and client is essential. We are both looking to achieve the same goal and will review market response with you regularly.

Should I take my property off the market once I have accepted an offer?

Your buyers will usually expect you to remove the property from the market whilst they arrange for their survey and mortgage valuation. If you decide to continue marketing your home once an offer has been accepted, you run the risk of your buyer continuing to look for other properties also. The result is an increased chance of the buyers offer being withdrawn.

There are circumstances when it would be considered prudent to continue marketing the property, if for example the buyer’s dependent chain was incomplete, but we would always recommend informing the buyers of your intentions.

How do I know my buyer can afford to buy my property?

Many buyers will be buying with a mortgage and it is important for you to know that your prospective buyers can access the funds to buy your property.

You can never be 100% certain that a buyer will have their mortgage application approved on any given property until a survey has been done and the mortgage application passed by the underwriters. However if your agent has properly qualified your buyer then the chances of a mortgage application being refused should be slight.

If your purchaser requires a mortgage we will ask them for a copy of their ‘agreement in principle’ as evidence that they are able to secure the funds. This is a certificate from a mortgage lender to say that in principle the will lend the buyer a specified amount (subject to valuation). Although this should not be taken as definitive proof that a buyer can get a mortgage up to specified amount it is a good indication that they are creditworthy.

Be very wary of any offer which has not been financially qualified by your agent, it is your agents job to ensure that your buyer is capable of sourcing the funds necessary to complete the purchase. You should not be expected to accept an offer from anyone who has not been properly financially qualified.

How long does it usually take to complete my sale?

Every sale is different. Both your situation and the buyer’s circumstances need to be taken into consideration. If your home has been realistically valued, you could expect to receive offers within the first four weeks. Then assuming your buyer has to apply for a mortgage exchange of contracts normally takes between 4 and 6 weeks and completion takes between 2 and 4 weeks thereafter. So you can realistically expect the process to take a minimum of 12-14 weeks to complete.

What is conveyancing?

‘Conveyancing’ is the process involved to legally transfer your home to the buyer. This is normally undertaken by a solicitor. You will need a solicitor to deal with the legal transfer of your property.

Do I have to pay Stamp Duty?

No. It is the buyer’s responsibility to pay Stamp Duty.

Will my property be surveyed?

In England you do not need to arrange a property survey, but it is likely that the buyer will, and so a surveyor will arrange an appointment to visit you home. The five key things a surveyor will be look at to ensure there are no issues are: utilities, damp, cracking, problems with roofs, and timber defects. In addition, your buyer’s mortgage lender will organise a mortgage valuation to confirm that the property is worth the money your purchasers are paying.

What are searches?

As part of the conveyancing process, your buyer’s conveyancer will arrange for searches of Land Registry and Local Authority information in relation to your home. They check planning history and any potential developments, roads improvement works, drainage issues and mining history near to the property.

Where are my Title Deeds?

Your Title Deeds demonstrate proof of ownership of the property and will need to be amended and transferred to the buyer as part of the conveyancing process. These are usually held by your mortgage lender, and it will be your solicitor’s responsibility to obtain these.

When do I sign the contract?

Once your solicitor has answered all of your buyers solicitors enquiries, the purchasers have received their mortgage offer and all of the searches have been returned and deemed to be satisfactory, then you solicitor will ask you to come in to their office to sign the contract.

When is the buyer or seller bound to the sale or purchase?

The seller or the buyer can pull out of the sale at any time and for any reason until the point that both solicitors have received signed contracts from both parties, known as ‘exchange of contracts’.

How is a completion date chosen?

Before both contracts are signed the solicitors will agree a mutually acceptable completion date on behalf of their respective clients. The buyers solicitor will have received a copy of the mortgage offer. Once the date is agreed and the mortgage offer in hand the solicitors will exchange contracts.

What do I have to leave in the property?

You are not required to leave any furniture or furnishings in the property, but you may agree to include some as part of the negotiations of the sale, please make sure that you check what you have agreed before you leave.

When do I have to move out?

As agreed by you and your buyer the contract will specify the completion date. Usually the buyer will be asked to collect the keys to their new home from the estate agent. In most cases the seller is asked to vacate the property by 12 noon.( providing funds have been received by the vendors solicitor ).

Do I have to pay Capital Gains Tax?

In most cases your are only required to pay Capital Gains Tax if the property is not your main home.

Is selling really as stressful as everyone says?

In short, it shouldn’t be. Choosing your agent carefully will help. Your agent needs to share an understanding of your requirements and time scales. A good agent with experience will recognise the fact that introducing a buyer is only the start of the process.

An agent should be there to manage your whole move, including liaising with other parties involved in your chain such as solicitors, mortgage providers and other agents. Of course, your interests should be best represented by them at all times.

If your agent provides a good after sales service, qualifies your buyer’s financial status and chain details at the outset, and maintains good contact once a sale is agreed, then this will certainly go a long way to reducing the stress!

Our sales staff have numerous years of experience within a highly demanding estate agency industry and fully understand the processes and can make the whole moving process as stress free as possible.