Vendor FAQs

What can I do to make my property more appealing to buyers?

Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

Who should conduct the viewings?

Should I be present for viewings?

If I accept an offer is it legally binding?

How long will the sale take to complete?

What is exchange of contracts?

What happens at completion?

Do I have to pay Capital Gains Tax?

Do I have to pay Stamp Duty?

 

What can I do to make my property more appealing to buyers?

We all have different tastes and it is worth remembering that one individual’s choice of style might not be in tune with another’s. When you decide to leave your property, the last thing you want to do is spend time and money redecorating, however a small investment can often lead to a big return.

Buyers need to visualise their furniture and their own lifestyle in the property - setting it out as a ‘ready-to-move-into’ blank canvas will greatly assist them in this. Northwood can help you to present your home to appeal to the widest selection of buyers, maximising our chances of agreeing a sale at the highest possible price. Here are some of our top tips for preparing your home for photos and viewings:

  • The front gate and gardens create that all-important first impression.  Ensure that the gate is freshly painted and hung correctly and that the garden is tidy – especially if you have pets. Cut the grass, weed the flowerbeds and trim the hedges.

  • Make sure that the doorbell works. Ensure that the front door doesn’t stick. It should be freshly painted, with polished fittings.

  • Clean the windows – they are the ‘eyes’ of the house. Dress them with curtains or blinds, as naked windows are unappealing.

  • Repair any damaged decoration and give a fresh lick of paint where it is needed – particularly over any scuff marks.

  • Make any minor repairs – fix dripping taps, fill and repaint cracks, replace mouldy grouting, adjust hinges, remove or replace items that are broken or damaged.

  • Fresh flowers make a room look cheerful.

  • Open all internal doors to avoid dark passages and landings – they make a house look smaller. Turn on the lights and table lamps before your viewers arrive. Replace any lightbulbs that aren’t working. Carefully positioned mirrors can add light and space to dark, compact rooms.

  • Keep the house looking spacious and comfortable to live in. Remove any clutter, make all the beds and bribe the children to keep their rooms tidy!

  • Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Clearing the surfaces will make the rooms appear larger. Remove grease, limescale and mildew and make the mirrors sparkle. Do the washing up and put the laundry away. Clean the toilet, ensuring the lid is down. Fresh towels are a welcome addition.

  • In summer, fresh air is important. Open the windows - particularly if you smoke or have pets.

  • In winter, turn on the heating – give a feeling of cosiness in cold weather. If you can, light a fire to give a warm, welcoming feeling.

  • Pleasant smells attract; unpleasant smells repel.  Remove the source of bad odours – ensure sheets and towels are fresh, pet bedding is washed and bins are emptied. Try spray polish to give your home that ‘cared for’ appeal, brew some fresh coffee or place a few drops of vanilla essence on a baking tray in a warm oven to create a baking smell. Avoid air fresheners – they are synthetic and often overpowering.

  • If you have dogs, take them out of the house – many viewers are afraid of them.

  • Make sure the function of each room is clearly defined. If you use your smallest bedroom as an office, place a single bed in there instead to show how the room could be used by a young family. Furnish your second reception room with a dining table and chairs to make it obvious to potential buyers.

  • Don’t ‘crowd’ viewers.  They have come to see the house and will want space to take it in.  Make them feel welcome – turn off the TV, have relevant paperwork to hand (such as the Northwood property particulars, guarantees and information on local schools and amenities). Answer any questions in a simple and straightforward manner.  Sometimes, the less said, the better.
  • Imagine you are coming to view your house as a prospective buyer.  How does it shape up?

 

Do I need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

It is a legal requirement for most properties to have an EPC if they are to be marketed for sale. An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use, typical energy costs and recommendations on how to reduce energy use to save money. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) but there is no grading that constitutes a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’. We can give you advice on whether your property needs an EPC and if so, we can arrange for one to be created on your behalf. An EPC is valid for 10 years from the date that it is produced.

 

Who should conduct the viewings?

It is highly recommended that an estate agent shows prospective buyers around your property, not least for your convenience. When we show buyers around your house, we have already established their individual requirements and so we know which of your property’s unique selling features to focus on that will appeal to them most. Buyers are generally more at ease when viewing with an agent and are therefore more likely to provide immediate and honest feedback. We are trained to present your property in the best possible light and to overcome any objections that the buyers might raise, using our extensive knowledge of similar local properties.

 

Should I be present for viewings?

Many buyers feel more relaxed when the owner isn’t around. The less people there are in the property, the more spacious it will feel. If you have dogs, it is a good idea to take them out before the viewers arrive. It is often useful, however, for the owner to be present on a potential buyer’s second viewing – to address the more detailed questions that the estate agent might not be in a position to answer, such as costs of utilities and relationship with the neighbours.

 

If I accept an offer is it legally binding?

No. Either party can withdraw before exchange of contracts takes place.

 

How long will the sale take to complete?

As a rough guide, it should take around 12 weeks, however there are a wide range of factors that can impact on timescales.

One major influence is the number of people in the chain. A chain usually starts with a buyer who has nothing to sell and ends with a seller who is not buying on. The links of the chain are the people in the middle who are selling one property and buying another. The chain will only progress at the pace of the slowest link.

Another major influence is the quality of the conveyancer each party chooses to act on their behalf. A slow or unresponsive conveyancer can jeopardise the entire transaction. We can recommend trusted conveyancers to you to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Enquiries raised as a result of property surveys or the contract can slow the progress, as can a lender if the buyer is reliant on a mortgage for the purchase.

Using an estate agent who knows the process inside out from start to finish, who will communicate regularly with all parties in the chain to provide honest advice and guidance and who will keep the transaction progressing at a steady pace, is invaluable.

 

What is exchange of contracts?

The exchange of contracts occurs when all enquiries have been answered and you, the buyer, the buyer’s mortgage lender (if applicable) and both parties’ respective solicitors are satisfied that everything is in order.

The date of completion is agreed, both parties sign the contract and the buyer pays a deposit – typically 10% of the purchase price. At this point the sale becomes legally binding.

 

What happens at completion?

Completion, put simply, is ‘Moving Day’. The outstanding monies (from the lender, if applicable or from the buyer directly) will be transferred to your solicitor who will deduct any fees, redeem your outstanding mortgage (if applicable) and transfer the balance to you. You will be required to vacate the property and hand over all keys to the estate agent for the new owner. Congratulations - you have sold your property.

 

Do I have to pay Capital Gains Tax?

If the property is your main home, you won't have to pay tax on it as long as you satisfy the stated requirements. Contact your local Northwood office for further information.

 

Do I have to pay Stamp Duty?

Only the buyer has to pay Stamp Duty, however you need to take account of it if you are purchasing another property.

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