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How to sell your house

We share step-by-step advice on what you need to do if you're considering selling your house.

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Get an estate agent

As well as listing your house for sale, they will also advertise your property and arrange viewings.

Estate agents don't come cheap, so it's worth shopping around to get the best deal. Get a number of valuations plus information on fees and terms from a few different agencies, rather than settling on the first agent you speak to.

Check what they charge

Some agents ask you to sign up for a fixed term, meaning you won't be able to switch agencies if you are unhappy with them. It may be better to sign up for a short term so you can move to another agent if your current one isn't up to scratch.

You should also compare the valuations from several different agents. It's not always worth going with the agent who offers the highest valuation.

When you've decided on the estate agent that's right for you, make sure to get the fees and conditions of the contract down in writing so you know exactly where you stand.

Get a valuation, and set a price

Your agent will value your house, but before settling on the asking price it's worth getting a few more valuations.

Check The Land Registry to see roughly how much your house might be worth as well as how much property in your area has sold for recently.

Should you sell at the valuation price?

These estimates plus those supplied by your estate agents should give you a good foundation on which to set a reasonable price.

Remember that it's likely you will have to knock down your starting price (unless you make a very quick sale), particularly in a downturn when the power lies more with the buyer than the seller.

Get an Energy Performance Certificate

While HIPs (Home Information Packs) are no longer a legal requirement, Energy Performance Certificates are, so you'll need to have yours ready before putting your house on the market.

You need to get a registered energy assessor to do this for you - you can find one via the Landmarks website.

Get your house online

Advertising with an estate agent alone may not be enough, so advertising online could help you attract more buyers.

Check if your estate agent's services includes listing your house on sites like Zoopla.

Get your house ready

The next thing to do is get your house ready for viewings. It's at this point that you'll need to stop seeing the house as 'your home' and think of it as a property that will soon belong to someone else.

You can increase the chances of securing an offer by employing the age-old tactics of sprucing up your home to make it as attractive as possible to prospective buyers.

When viewers start knocking, you can start to see the market from a buyer's point of view. You may also want to look at the market yourself to find the new home you plan to move into.

Prepare for the move

Once you have an offer on your home and you are ready to sell, you'll need a conveyancing solicitor to complete the sale. You can search for a solicitor in your area on the Law Society website.

The buyer of your property will also have a solicitor, and once you have agreed on the sale, the solicitors will draw up contracts for the property's transfer of ownership.

The contracts will be exchanged between the solicitors and a completion date will be agreed. This will be the date that the ownership of the property legally passes from you to the buyer.

At this point the property no longer belongs to you, so there's nothing left to do but set a date for your move. You may want to enlist the help of the British Association of Removers, a body representing 500 of the UK's removal services.

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