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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Selling your home: What you should do

Selling a property might not be top of everyone’s agenda at the moment. Prices have at best stagnated and for many fallen significantly.

But for those lucky few who bought before the last boom though, there are still good reasons to sell.

You may well be able to trade up to a property previously well out of your price range and you may be able to pick up some handy extras if you’re buying a new build; estate agents are offering attractive add-ons to buy new homes.

Selling is fraught, of course, with pitfalls.

But, with plenty of planning and research and a willingness to be realistic about the price, there are buyers out there armed with mortgages and a shortage of good properties to choose from.

This is what the Office of Fair Trading suggests sellers should do...

Shop around and get at least three estate agents to give a valuation and quote for their services.

Estate agents often start by offering similar fees but by bargaining you can make big savings - about £300 on an average valued home.

When you ask an estate agent to act on your behalf and they agree to do so, you are entering into a legally binding contract.

So ‘think contract’. Check its terms. Find out about whether you have the right to cancel the contract and how long it will run for.

To get the best deal

  • Negotiate on fees.
  • Ask for the fee as a monetary sum based on the estate agent’s valuation, not just a percentage.
  • Always get more than one valuation for the property and compare them.
  • Be realistic; trying to sell your property at an inflated price could mean that it will take longer to sell.
  • Check what you’re signing up to and whether you’re being offered a sole or multiple agency deal or sole selling rights.
  • Check exactly what’s included in the package such as advertising, brochures and so on.
  • Read the contract, ask questions and never sign up to anything that you don’t understand.
  • Know your rights.

Offers
Potential buyers view your property and can make an offer to buy it.

You must be told promptly and in writing of all offers received by the estate agent (unless they are of a kind you have said in writing that you don’t wish to receive).

Between an offer being accepted and exchange of contracts, you should be able to re-negotiate the price and conditions of sale without penalty.
 

What estate agents must do
Contracts: The terms ‘sole agency’, ‘sole selling rights’ and ‘ready willing and able purchaser’ must be explained in writing and in wording required by law if used in the contract.

Fees or charges: When you enter into the contract with the agent you must be given written details of how much you will be charged and when payments will be due.

Fees are usually paid on completion of a sale.

Property particulars: Once instructed, the estate agent visits your home and takes details of its size and all of its features.

False or misleading statements: It is a criminal offence for an estate agent to make statements about the features of a property that are false or misleading.

Bear in mind that estate agents might be in a position to benefit personally from the sale of a property.

You must be told – promptly and in writing – if the estate agent or a relative or business partner of the estate agent who is selling your property wants to buy it.

And you must be told if the agent might benefit in any other way (above and beyond the agreed commission) from the sale of your property.

Similarly, if the agent or a relative or business partner is selling a property, then the prospective buyer must also be told promptly and in writing.

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