Home sweet home – top tips for buyers and sellers

7th July 2020

With the lockdown being lifted for property in England back in mid-May, it was all hands on deck at estate agencies across the country as they were flooded with new enquiries from prospective buyers and sellers alike.

With the public enthused at the idea of moving home after being stuck inside for months, the market appears now to be on an upward trajectory – this has been bolstered by the temporary lifting of the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 – so we offer some of our top tips for buying and/or selling a home.

Top tips for buying a property

  1. Work out your finances. You are going to need to work out how you are going to pay for your new home as well as all of the associated costs such as tax, legal fees, HM Land Registry fees and your mortgage broker’s fee too.

Before viewing properties, review your finances and visit a reputable mortgage broker who will be able to advise whether you are eligible for mortgage finance and, if so, how much and what the best deal for you will be. Once you have found a property, your broker, lawyer and estate agent will want to see that you have funds available to complete the purchase, so get your recent bank statements ready.

  1. Now that you have an idea of how much cash you will have available for your purchase, contact some local solicitors for quotes so that you can work their fees into your financing.
  2. Now the exciting part – look what is on the market in your price range. There are helpful websites like Rightmove or Zoopla that not only have listings from multiple estate agents but also give you an idea of what properties sell for in a given area, so you know you are not overpaying.
  3. Once you have had your offer accepted, the conveyancing process begins. This typically takes between 8-12 weeks from when the seller’s lawyer sends your lawyer the contract pack. You will have to be patient whilst your conveyancer makes extensive checks on the legal title to the property. Your conveyancer will be acting in both the best interests of you and your mortgage broker.
  4. As the purchase of your property is getting closer to conclusion, you will need to consider removals. Do not book these until your conveyancer has exchanged contracts on your behalf – you may be charged fees by your removal company if the date you have booked has to be changed.

Top tips for selling a property

  1. You have decided that it is time to move on from your home. The first thing to do will be to pull out the information your solicitor gave you about the property when you bought it and keep it ready for when you have a buyer.
  2. Get multiple valuations from local estate agents. These are usually free and will give you an idea of both the property’s value and the current state of the market in your area.
  3. Once your house is on the market, get some quotes for conveyancing fees so that you can move quickly once you have a buyer. If your chosen solicitor can open a file for you whilst you are still marketing the property, you can deal with the paperwork and put your solicitor in a position to proceed as soon as you have a buyer (see tip on timeframe for purchasing above)
  4. If you are buying as well as selling, consider the financial tip above for purchasing.
  5. If you are buying and selling, both properties will need to exchange and complete at the same time to give you the security of knowing that you will have a home to move to.