Sellers Guide

Selling your home is a big decision. It is a complicated and potentially overwhelming process. This is why we have gathered advice from our best estate agents in a step by step guide to selling your property. Every stage is covered from how to decide on the right price to a breakdown of possible complications in the sale and what comes next after the deal has been completed. This guide has been created as a point of reference to use alongside communications with your estate agent to make your experience as smooth and stress free as possible!

The selling process in the UK

  • Choosing an estate agent
  • Valuing your property
  • Steps before you market your property
  • Marketing your property
  • Preparing your home for viewing
  • Receiving an offer
  • Steps after accepting an offer
  • Organising your move

Choosing an estate agent

Narrowing down your options

It is difficult to know where to start when choosing an estate agent. You may have seen and heard of various agents without knowing which one is best for you. Narrow down your options by doing some research. Does this agent usually sell properties which are similar to yours? How much experience have they got? Do your family and friends recommend a specific agent? Once you have whittled down your selection, request a number of free of charge property valuations from various agents and then make your final decision after meeting them in person.


Whilst selling through a big company can be beneficial, bear in mind how important it is for an estate agent to have local expertise. If your estate agent knows your area inside out such as what schools are in the catchment area of a property, how long the train takes to London and what there is to do for families, they are more likely to convince a buyer that yours is their dream home. Try and find a company which has both the ability to market your property to a global audience and in-depth knowledge of the local area.


Your chosen agent will need to have a plan and marketing strategy in place before your property goes on the market to ensure the property receives the maximum exposure to attract as many potential buyers as possible. Every agent has their own set of guidelines and strategies to market a home, but we maximise the exposure through cinematic video tours, tailored online and social media exposure, editorial, and email marketing. Our methods are tried and tested methods resulting in us achieving our clients 98% of the overall asking price compared to the national average of 95% and we are proud to sell 97% of homes we list for sale.

This can only happen by having a marketing plan from the very outset, so make sure to ask your chosen agent about their marketing plan and how they intend to market your home apart from relying on online property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla.

Redress scheme

When choosing your estate agent, find out whether they are a member of a redress scheme such as the Property Ombudsman. A redress scheme enables members of the public to be compensated for financial loss and/or aggravation, distress and inconvenience caused by businesses (in this instance, those involved in estate agency). It is a legal requirement for estate agents to belong to a regulatory scheme.

Valuing your property

Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to house valuations. A high valuation may demonstrate the agent’s desire to win your business, rather than reflect the true value of the property. It is because of this that you should not be persuaded by an agent purely because they have given you the highest price. There are two basic steps to aid in avoiding accepting an unrealistic valuation. Firstly, do your research. Look into recent sales of similar properties in your area will give you an idea of values. Some of these figures are available on Rightmove and Zoopla. Secondly, go with your instincts and select an agent you trust. They may not have given the highest valuation, but they may have given the right one.

An accurate valuation may make the difference between a sale and no sale and will affect the length of time your property is on the market. A proper valuation sets aside emotional attachments. It offers a realistic picture of what your property is worth and takes into account the market conditions, recent sales and demand in your area as well as the intricacies of the sale.

UK Market Conditions

Looking at current market conditions can also give you an indication of the value of your property.

Steps before you market your property


Your agent will advise you on which documents you will need in order to sell your property. It is a good idea to find out what is needed as soon as possible so that you can start to dig out papers now rather than being rushed at the end of the process. Documents such as insurance policies, mortgage information and any warrantees for appliances and utility bills will be required.

Creating an inventory

It may seem early on in the process to be thinking about what fixtures and fittings you will be taking with you when you move, however it will save time and avoid complications later. Contact your property solicitor about creating an inventory stating which items you will take with you and which will be open to negotiation with the buyer. This allows your estate agent to communicate a full picture of your position once an offer has been made.

EPC and floorplans

Before marketing your property, your estate agent must order an energy performance certificate (EPC) for your home. An EPC provides a rating and information on a property’s energy use, energy efficiency and how this can be improved. Since 9th January 2013, an EPC rating must be included in any written material that describes the building being offered for sale or rent. Some properties, such as listed properties, are exempt from the need of an EPC. Your estate agent will advise you on this and organise for an assessor to visit your home and create it. A floor plan is a drawing that shows the layout of your home from above and is often put together at the same time as an EPC by the assessor.

Marketing your property

It is important that your home is advertised via major internet portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla because this is where the vast majority of buyers begin their property search. However, this is not necessarily the best way to ensure that your property stands out from the crowd and is sold as quickly as possible. The sheer volume of listings on internet portals can be detrimental to a property search because it is likely that when directly comparing properties, buyers will lean toward the cheaper option. Only a comprehensive marketing strategy will highlight why those buyers should choose to view your home over cheaper alternatives.

A comprehensive, intelligent and targeted marketing strategy will expose your property to affluent buyers throughout the UK and the rest of the world. This involves presenting your property in a certain format, in specific publications and in particular locations that will reach these buyers. There are a number of ways that this can be done.

Preparing your home for viewing

After your property has been marketed by your estate agent, interested parties will get in touch with them to arrange viewings at a time convenient for you. It is important to prepare your house for viewings to ‘wow’ buyers on those all-important first impressions.

Drive-by factor

It is a fact that home buyers take an average of 8 seconds to decide whether or not they want to buy a property. It is therefore crucial that your home makes a great first impression. Signs of neglect or indications that time and money need to be spent on it could majorly impact the buyer’s decision. Some of the more eager buyers may start an unofficial viewing; they could drive-by before arranging a viewing to sneak a peek at your home. If you make sure it is in good condition once the marketing process has begun, you will not be caught out! Take a look at your front door. It may need a new lick of paint or a good scrub to remove scuff marks. Tidy pathways and gate areas, ensure the lawn is mowed and that foliage is cut back.

Make sure outside toys are put away and store bins are in a discreet location. Now that you have the perfect exterior, it is a good idea to ask your agent or their photographer to take
photographs of your home. Consider what greets visitors as they open the front door. This is their first glimpse of the home and what they see, hear and smell will colour their opinions permanently. Try it yourself – are you greeted by an air of calm, light and welcome?

The inside

Painting a picture of what life within your home could be like by home staging allows buyers to envisage their new start there and has been proven to increase sales. Lots of furniture, hoards of belongings and boxes splayed around the house are a turn off for buyers so cease the opportunity to clear out your home, have a spring clean and donate old belongings to charity. The council will sometimes take some bulky items away for free (though you may need to check as policies differ around the country) and some scrap merchants will pay for old washing machines. There are also organisations that will pay for used furniture, mobile phones and old computers. Store belongings that you would like to keep in a trusted self-storage unit.

The viewing

Your estate agent will often advise that they conduct the first viewing themselves because it allows for it to be as objective and effective as possible. The agent will be able to establish if the buyers are keen and will be prepared to ask the right questions. However if you would like to be present on subsequent viewings, it can sometimes prove useful. On arrival, let the buyer know you would be happy to answer questions at the end of the viewing and then leave them to explore the house by themselves. Afterwards you can highlight the benefits of living in the area, such as the neighbours or the local facilities and comment on what drew you to the house in the first place.

Receiving an offer

Your agent will contact you if a viewing has been successful. Receiving an offer is a key moment in the selling process but it does not necessarily mean that the buyers are the right ones for you. Nothing is confirmed until the contract is signed by all parties. It will be your decision whether you put up a sold sign and ask the agent to stop marketing the property after accepting an offer.

If you have received multiple offers, your agent will advise you that it is not simply a case of accepting the highest offer. They will have an idea of which buyers are the most serious and will favour someone who is clear about their position and has provided hard evidence that they are ready to buy. They will talk you through the intricacies of offers such as if the buyer would like fixtures included, if they are in a short or long chain, if they are a cash buyer or need a mortgage. After this discussion, you will be best placed to decide which offer to accept.

Breaking down the sale process

Find a Conveyancer

Once you have instructed an estate agent and have accepted an offer, you need to find a licensed conveyancer or solicitor. Make sure that your legal professional is accredited with the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

Appointing a property solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to deal with the sale of your home will take away much of the stress of moving out. Amongst other tasks, they will help you draw up contracts and will provide legal advice.

Solicitors may not be as specialised in conveyancing as licensed conveyancers so make sure you research how many cases they have dealt with and ask friends and family for recommendations. They price their services in different ways so it is important to be informed and to gather a selection of quotes. Check whether the fee quoted is fixed or not, if it includes VAT and if there will be any extra charges if the sale falls through.

The contract between you and the buyer will transfer ownership to them and amongst other points, includes details about the sale price, the completion date, fixture and fittings and services to the property.

Buyer insight: Survey

Once a buyer’s offer has been accepted, they will arrange for a survey to be carried out on your home to establish whether it is fit for sale and to find out what repair work needs to be done. The survey often affects the market value of the house and the initial offer that the buyer has made is ‘subject to contract’ which means it will often be re-negotiated after the survey. Surveyors look out for things like cracks, holes and damp in the walls or ceiling, insulation problems, crumbling wood and water pressures.

After the survey, you will either be able to proceed if your home is sound with minor concerns, have to renegotiate the asking price or stop the sale. If you are happy to reconsider the price, your estate agent will help you to consider the associated costs of repair to inform your negotiation.

Fixtures and fittings

The inventory that you created before the marketing of your property will now come in handy. As aforementioned, it will be attached to the sales contract so that there is no confusion and danger of assumption.

Exchange and completion

There is a difference between exchange and completion. ‘Exchange’ means the exchange of contracts. One of the terms in this contract is the completion date, when the property’s ownership moves from seller to buyer. Once contracts are exchanged and signed, you and your buyer are legally bound to complete the sale.

The time between exchange and completion varies and will be agreed between everyone in the chain to fit in with mortgage expiry dates and school term times. On the day of completion, both parties have to fulfil the terms of the contract; the seller must vacate the property and execute a deed of transferring ownership. You must leave all of the agreed items and make sure that you leave your property in a good condition. The buyer will pick up the keys from your estate agent and move in!

Buyer insight: The buyer should pay a deposit at the stage of exchange which is normally 10%. They must pay the full purchase price (minus the deposit) by the completion date. If the buyer has not completed on the agreed date, they are in breach of contract. You should contact your solicitor who will make them aware that they must pay within 10 days or risk the nullification of their contract and the loss of their 10% deposit.

Mortgage and loans

You will continue paying your mortgage and other loans on your property until the day of completion. Once the sale has been completed, you will pay your outstanding mortgage with the proceeds from the sale.

Organising your move


Remember to inform all required people of your move including relevant utility companies, your doctor, dentist and optician, the post office, your milkman, newspaper shop and the bank. If you need new things like carpets in your next home, ensure they are ordered and due to be delivered in time and remember to arrange for children and pets to be looked after during the move.


It is important to start packing a minimum of 6 weeks in advance of the completion date and to arrange a removals van. Think about keeping your belongings in a storage unit to take pressure off the move date. Consider what will need careful packing and make sure that you are covered for potential breakages. Make sure boxes are clearly labelled and have instructions for movers if they are needed.


If you have a complaint to make about your estate agent during the sale of your home, contact the head office of the company who will ask you to make a written complaint to one of their directors. To apply for compensation for financial loss or distress, contact the Property Ombudsman.

Ombudsman for Estate Agents
Beckett House
4 Bridge Street
Wiltshire SP1 2LX
Tel: 01722 333306
[email protected]

Costs when selling a home in the UK

Estate Agent Fees

One of the main costs when selling your home will be the estate agent fees. Often the fee is a percentage of the final sale price. The estate agent commission pays for them to advertise, market and successfully sell your property.

Legal Fees

Solicitors and conveyances can cost anything between £500 and £1,500. On your legal bill will be disbursements including title deeds, property fraud fees, transferring ownership, bank transfer fees, money laundering checks and searches.

EPC Certificate

You’ll need to pay for an energy performance certificate (EPC). Each certificate is valid for 10 years. The cost depends on the location and size of your property and could be anything between £40 and £120.

Buyers will be looking for properties with a good energy efficiency rating. If yours is poor then it can mean costly heating bills for the new owner. This is something that might put prospective buyers off. There are things you can do to improve the rating before you sell and government grants are available.

Money Laundering Checks

Estate agents, legal professionals and mortgage lenders will carry out anti-money laundering checks. It is a legal requirement for all parties to understand where the money for the sale is coming from.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any help with selling your home or the processes involved with selling a property.

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