Property news: Do your homework

When it comes to selling your home, preparation and doing your homework will help to make the task run smoothly – and be kinder on your pocket!

As well as the time and effort it takes to get your home ready for viewing – in terms of giving it that easily achievable show home feel – there are also the legal and financial matters to consider.

Independent estate agents and valuers Harrison Murray have a few tips when it comes to getting your property sale-ready – from de-cluttering to conveyancing and everything inbetween.

Once you are certain you want to move – and are emotionally ready - choose your agent wisely. Instruct an agent with a good reputation whom you feel will market your home to the best of their ability, and who is a member of the Property Ombudsman Scheme

Put your finances in order. Sit down with your agent and talk about selling fees, legal fees, moving costs; and ask them to refer you to an independent adviser to discuss your mortgage options. With so many mortgage deals currently available, it can be like wading through a money minefield – so find out what works best for you and your circumstances. If you are selling your home, discuss a realistic asking price and stick with it.

Work with your agent to market your home. Look at it through the eyes of a potential buyer. ake the most of your space and ensure sure the house is clean and tidy. Don’t forget to budget for any extra work that is required to show off your home’s best features – whether its repainting rooms, replacing kitchen cupboard doors or a general spruce up.

There are many legal points to consider, but being well prepared may help to speed up the process, from viewings to the eventual sale.

Draw up an inventory of items that you are including or not including in the sale of the house, for example curtain poles and light fittings, to avoid confusion later down the line.

Gather any documents you have that relate to the property, no matter how trivial you think they are. Buyers will expect to see all documents and not providing them could result in delays. Windows installed after 1st April 2002 need FENSA certificates, and any remedial works should have associated guarantees. In addition, building work will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the relevant completion certificate for the work. By law, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) – giving information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions – needs to be provided to a buyer. Your estate agent can arrange this.

Conveyancing – this is the last legal hurdle. Put simply, it is the act of legally transferring a property from one person to another, and has, by law, to be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Harrison Murray’s conveyancing solicitors can open the file at the start of the marketing process and prepare all the necessary documentation to reduce the time from offer to exchange - as the longer the process takes, the more likely the sale may fall through.

Development director Jackie Scotten said: “When people think about preparing their house for sale, they often think about the physical aspects such as DIY and decorating to attract potential buyers, to potentially accelerate the time taken to receive an offer.

“However, very few think about legally preparing their house for sale and talking to your agent can help make the process as smooth as possible. Above all, moving house forces people to take stock of their finances, and again, take advantage of speaking to your agent about fees and mortgages early on in the process.”