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Step-by-step guide to selling your home

Selling your home can be daunting – all the more so if you are looking for another property to buy at the same time. The decisions you make along the way could save you – or cost you - many thousands of pounds. Here’s everything you need to know about the process of selling a house

selling your home

Should you sell your house at all?

  • If you’re considering selling your home because you need more space, it could be worth comparing the cost of building an extension, converting the attic, or digging out the basement? The costs of selling a home can be so significant (particularly with stamp duty) that it might even save you money to expand your existing home
  • Perhaps you are thinking about downsizing? If so we look at the pros, cons, options and what you need to consider in our guide Should I Downsize?
  • Depending upon your circumstances, you might be better off renting your home out rather than selling

How to sell a house

1. Figure out your finances

  • Before you sell your house, you’ll want to get a rough idea of how much it is worth, so you can then calculate how much money you will be left with after you have paid off the mortgage. Try our instant free valuation tool.
  • Dig out your mortgage paperwork or speak to your lender to check if you will have to pay any early repayment charges for switching your mortgage to another lender or whether it is possible to take it with you to a new property – a process known as porting
  • If you’re planning to move to a more expensive property or your mortgage deal is coming to an end, this is a great opportunity to remortgage onto a better deal. Speak to our fee-free mortgage partners to see how much you can borrow and which lender will offer you the best deal
  • At the early stages, the figures will be approximate only – you don’t know how much you will sell your house for and you will only get a precise redemption (amount outstanding) figure for your mortgage once you have an agreed completion date when you have exchange contracts (see below)
  • Plan every step to avoid being held up. Read our guide How long does it take to get a mortgage
  • To give you an idea of the costs involved when selling and to help you budget, read our guide What is the cost of selling?

2. Decide if you should rent a house next, rather than buy

  • Selling your home and renting for a while can add to the overall expense, but it will reduce the critical time pressures in buying a new home
  • You also won’t have to compromise on your sale price, and potentially sell your home for less, as you won’t be under pressure to complete on your onward purchase
  • You won’t be rushed into buying a less-than-perfect new home because you have found a buyer for your current home
  • Selling your property and then renting before buying will break you out of the housing chain which means you will be a more attractive buyer
  • See our guide Should I sell my home before I buy a new one? for more information
  • If you do decide to buy and sell at the same time, take a look at How to buy and sell at the same time

 3. Choose an estate agent to sell your house

4. Get an Energy Performance Certificate

5. Decide how much to sell your home for

  • One of the most agonising decisions when selling your home is what price to put it on for
  • Do your research and get to know the local market inside out
  • Get a number of estate agents to do valuations, but don’t necessarily go for the highest. Get a free instant online valuation before you speak to them
  • Remember that buyers will probably try to negotiate a discount, so add 5% to 10% to what you are prepared to accept
  • See our guide What price should I sell my house for?

6. Prepare your home for sale

  • If you “stage” your home well, you are not only more likely to sell your home faster, but you might make it more valuable too
  • Tidy up, and get rid of excess clutter; give it a fresh lick of light coloured paint; fix those little snagging things; keep it clean
  • Light a fire; bake bread; put up a mirror; get rid of bad odours
  • Check out our guide on How to make your home more valuable and sell faster
  • Don’t forget how important your home’s kerb appeal is. According to our 2019 annual HomeOwner Survey, more than 68% of homeowners say kerb appeal was important in their choice of home. The most important factors were windows being in good condition, a well maintained roof and a tidy front garden and driveway/path. We’ve teamed up with Checkatrade to help you find local tradesmen near you and get those jobs done fast

 7. Hire a conveyancing solicitor 

8. Fill out the relevant questionnaires

9. Accept an offer

  • You’ve received an offer – hooray! The estate agent is legally required to pass all offers on to you
  • If you are not happy with the offer, you can either reject it outright, wait to see if a better offer comes along or tell the estate agent to try to negotiate it upwards
  • Once you are happy with an offer, you need to formally accept it.
  • Remember that accepting an offer is not legally binding, and you can legally change your mind or accept a higher offer later (gazumping) – but remember, this can be pretty distressing to the buyer

10. Negotiate the draft contract

You and the buyer will have to decide:

  • The length of time between exchange and completion (usually 7-28 days after the exchange of contracts)
  • What fixtures and fittings will be included – and how much will they pay for them
  • Any discounts due to problems flagged up by the survey

11. Exchange contracts

  • When you exchange contracts with the buyer you become legally committed to selling the property – and they are legally committed to buying it from you
  • If you pull out after this without due reason, the buyer’s deposit will be returned to them and you may be sued
  • For more information and to find out about the details of the process, read our guide How do I exchange contracts?
  • If you sell a house you are responsible for looking after it until the sale is completed so you should make sure you have buildings and contents insurance cover until then.

 12. Move out

  • You can move out whenever you like, including on the day of completion (although clearly, you need somewhere to move to)
  • It is less stressful to move out beforehand, if that is possible
  • At the time of completion, the property has to be in the condition agreed in the contract – including all the fixtures and fittings
  • The buyer and estate agent may come round between your moving out and completion to ensure that everything is in place
  • Find the right removals company for your move and get removals quotes
  • Plan your move with our Moving House Checklist

13. Complete the sale

  • Completion is when the property changes ownership, you accept payment, and hand over the keys
  • A little like a duel, it takes place on a previously agreed date and usually at midday
  • On the day of completion, the money is transferred and any deeds for the property are transferred between each side’s solicitor or conveyancer
  • Your solicitor/conveyancer will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry
  • Learn more about what to expect on the day of completion

14. Pay off the mortgage

  • The mortgage company will have given you and your conveyancing solicitor a precise redemption figure (outstanding amount) for your mortgage for the day of completion
  • Now the buyer has transferred the money to your conveyancing solicitor, they will pay off the mortgage for you

15. Settle up with the conveyancing solicitor and estate agent

  • After completion, your conveyancing solicitor will send you an account, covering all their costs and disbursements, as well as the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage
  • If you are buying and selling at the same time, the conveyancing solicitor can settle up for both transactions at the same time, including paying stamp duty for the house you are buying
  • Your conveyancing solicitor will ensure that the change of ownership is registered with the Land Registry
  • There is sometimes a small discrepancy and you might even get a small refund
  • Here is a list of the documents you will want to keep from your house sale and getting ready for your buyer

Leave a comment (31)* Required

  1. Really good advice in clear steps.

    Comment by Vivienne Johnston — August 4, 2020 @ 7:44 am

  2. Thanks for sharing the blog with an informative content. Keep sharing more content. Keep sharing more ideas related home interior designs, I like it because we are having same type of services.

    Comment by Shaun — June 8, 2020 @ 6:57 am

  3. Selling a property, what are my responsibilities

    Comment by jOHN mOORE — May 31, 2020 @ 7:36 pm

  4. Thank you for giving useful information. Keep sharing more details.

    Comment by Olivier Lepage — May 21, 2020 @ 1:11 pm

  5. Hi Sammie – It may be useful for you to get some free mortgage advice from our partners at London and Country so they can explain the process to you https://hoa.org.uk/services/mortgage-service-from-london-country

    Comment by HomeOwners Alliance — August 8, 2019 @ 9:57 am

  6. Hi I’m looking to selling and buying and not using a mortgage advisor
    Is this gonna be easy enough for me to do I’ve found a mortgage with the bank myself and got a quote for conveyancing Does the mortgage advisors do much more than that? Wondering if there’s anything hidden that they do ?

    Comment by Sammie — August 7, 2019 @ 3:11 pm

  7. This put my mind at ease. I’m in the process of selling my house at the moment, and the Surveyor is coming today. My sister (co-owner) has the questionnaire form(s) to fill out but other than that I think it’s all ready to go. Ahh!

    Comment by Amy F Thompson — June 20, 2019 @ 9:19 am

  8. Great tips about selling Your home. I really appreciate your efforts put on these tips. Thanks for posting such a piece of informative information.

    Comment by Westrom Group Real Estate — April 8, 2019 @ 8:35 am

  9. Hello Frankie, for most people it’s on the same day because they’ll be relying on the proceeds of the sale to pay for the next property.

    Comment by Sara Hind — March 19, 2019 @ 9:59 am

  10. Hi, do you know if exchange on the property we are buying and exchange on the property we are selling is simultaneous? Or do we get a few days in between to move out?

    Comment by frankie B — March 17, 2019 @ 1:45 pm

  11. Hello Daniel, glad you found the article useful! Have a look at our guide on selling a home with a Help to Buy Equity Loan https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/selling-a-home-with-a-help-to-buy-equity-loan/

    Comment by Chandni Sahni — February 7, 2019 @ 11:47 am

  12. Great article, really useful.

    Does the process change at all if you are selling a home that was purchased using the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme? I.e. are there any additional steps required to inform relevant parties of your intentions, if so who would this be?


    Comment by Daniel H — February 7, 2019 @ 7:56 am

  13. good site thanks for the information

    Comment by alohamovers — December 17, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

  14. Your agreement with your letting agent should set out if they expect commission if a tenant wishes to purchase the property. Dig out the paperwork that you signed with the letting agent and study it carefully.

    Comment by Sara Hind — July 4, 2018 @ 3:35 pm

  15. If one of our tenants of some years standing (found by our letting agent) proposes to us to buy the flat let to her, is our agent entitled to a commission on that sale? If so, would the same apply to another flat in the same building (not occupied by the tenant) which the same tenant also wishes to buy and amalgamate into one maisonette. This too was been let by the same agent, but to a third party.

    Comment by anonyamous — July 2, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

  16. Thanks For giving information.

    Comment by Studio Antonini — June 25, 2018 @ 2:38 pm

  17. Hi Pamela. I don’t see why not. Check with the auctioneer. Angela

    Comment by AKerr — March 27, 2018 @ 7:28 pm

  18. Hi
    I have enquiy about selling a house in Ireland,can it be out on an English auctioneers site??

    Comment by Pamela Conway — March 14, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

  19. I would to know what happens if i get mortgage paying my first home and i decide to sell that.
    What happens in this case?

    Comment by Thiago — October 22, 2017 @ 2:02 am

  20. Thanks for sharing these point but if you want quick property sale make sure your property is seen by the largest number of people

    Comment by Andrew Omole — May 12, 2017 @ 8:10 am

  21. Now back at square one..

    Comment by Anita Watson — September 11, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

  22. Hi,

    We have decided to sell our house for downsizing purposes. At first we put the house on with an online agent which hasn’t worked out as the house wasn’t valued correctly and then we were waiting awhile for the buyer to verify their funds.

    In the end the agent decided to end the contract with us and thankfully it didn’t incur any charges.

    We have since put the house back on the market with another agent after having the 3 required valuations carried out.

    We accepted an offer of over the asking price but after pestering from the estate agent to provide solicitor details to them they have decided to withdraw their offer so now back at square one it’s so frustrating. The had organised a survey for two weeks time.

    The whole process started on the 29/7/2015 and we are now in mid September..

    There is a viewing on Saturday from another interested party who had submitted a offer so hopefully things will progress positively thereon.

    Is it normal practice for the estate agent to pester the buyer would it have made any different having the solicitor’s details.

    Comment by Anita Watson — September 11, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

  23. Hi me and my partner have bought our first house and have exchanged contracts but the couple that we are buying from are waiting on a new house to be built before they move out. We were originally told end of June for the completion of the house being built but now we are being told that their kitchen won’t be fitted until the 24th of august and that they don’t even have a date for hooking up the services (gas/water/electric) to the plot! This could leave us having to wait until possibly October to move in..by which time our offer for out mortgage will have expired. Any help?

    Comment by David — June 17, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

  24. If I sold my house for the value of £550,000 how much tamp duty would I be charged

    Comment by Janet Taylor — May 27, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  25. my buyers have had a survey done on my house by their mortgage provider. Do I get a copy of what the surveyors report says about my house? Thankyou

    Comment by Mrs jJ Oldfield — May 14, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

  26. Home Selling Process Guide

    Selling your home can be exciting when you think of what you will get after the purchase. But selling a property is not an easy job. You have to put a lot of effort, patience and determination on your work. If this is your first time to sell a home, its intricacies can really make you go topsy-turvy. Nonetheless, don’t let this discourage you; instead, gear up towards your goal of selling your home.

    Comment by Lucky Smith — May 11, 2015 @ 7:12 am

  27. If a house is under offer, must the estate agent stop any other viewings or any other offers on the property?

    Comment by Sophie chapman — April 4, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

  28. We have accepted an offer on our house and have hired a solicitor. They have requested the paperwork for our mortgage and having looked, I can find NOTHING!! Literally not one thing about is owning the house or our mortgage. I don’t know what’s happened with all the paperwork but I have looked everywhere. What should I do.?? What per work is needed?

    Comment by Reena edwards — November 4, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

  29. do they charge you when they come out to value your property what if you change your mind when they have valued it

    Comment by helen — November 1, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

  30. So I contact my solicitor as soon as I get an offer on this house.

    Comment by Rikki Bernard — June 18, 2014 @ 10:27 pm

  31. So it’s ok to still have viewings on my property even though there has been an offer on my house.

    Comment by Rikki Bernard — June 18, 2014 @ 10:23 pm

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