Selling your house: Answers to the questions you'll have

Selling your house is always a big moment and we know you'll have a whole host of questions requiring answers.

Buying and selling property are two of life's most stressful events, so knowing what to expect beforehand and having answers to those pressing questions can really help.


How to sell my house

The first thing to do is speak to people who can help you - namely your local estate agent.

A good local agent will be able to give you an overview of the market and provide a valuation of your property that works for you.

They'll also have an eager database of buyers looking for properties like yours and should be able to market your home across all the major online and offline platforms.

They should be able to answer those questions you have, too.

We've outlined answers to some of the questions we often receive in our branches below...


What certificates do I need to sell my house?

There are a whole host of documents you'll need to be able to lay your hands on in order to sell your house.

The main ones, however, are:

* The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
* Title deeds for the property
* Proof of your identity
* Management information pack (if leasehold)
* Mortgage documentation

During the sales process, you'll also need to supply the following:

* Property information form TA6 and supporting documentation (i.e building regulations certificates or FENSA certificates for windows)
* Fixtures and fittings form TA10, indicating items included in the sale


Who can I sell my house to?

You can sell to anyone as long as they can afford to pay for it either in cash or with a mortgage.

You can sell to family members, too, but there are a raft of potential inheritance and capital gains taxation implications to consider before doing so.

Foreign buyers are also an option when selling your home, although the process is far easier if they are buying in cash rather than requiring a mortgage.

Brexit could also have implications for foreign buyers, so as a seller, you should seek advice.


Do I need a solicitor to sell a house?

Legally, it is possible to sell a house without a solicitor.

But it's rare and there are good reasons for that.

When mortgages are involved, lenders will almost always insist that a licensed conveyancer or solicitor handles a property sale.

This is to protect their own interests and with the amount of money involved, you can't blame them!

Solicitors deal with a whole host of complicated undertakings during property sales, so using one really is crucial.

Among other tasks, a solicitor will:

* Support the seller with documentation
* Prepare a contract of sale
* Deal with mortgage redemption
* Liaise with your buyer to arrange a completion date
* Deal with money, including the buyer's deposit
* Organise the final settlement of accounts
* Approve the deed of transfer
* Pay off your mortgage with sale funds
* Hand over any balance of monies to you


Do you pay taxes when selling a house?

Property can be affected by a whole host of taxes.

But, generally, if you are selling your home and it is your main residence, you will not have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

Landlords who sell their rental properties are usually liable for CGT, while they also pay income tax on their rental income.

If you inherit a property, you may have to pay inheritance tax.

Another major tax that property buyers currently have to pay is Stamp Duty, but as a seller, generally you won't face any tax bills.


How long do I need to own a house before selling?

Technically you can sell your property as soon as you own it - but there are good reasons to wait.

Firstly, mortgage lenders are unlikely to lend to a buyer purchasing a property that has been owned by a seller for less than six months.

That will limit you to cash buyers only, greatly reducing your chance of a quick sale.

You should also consider all the costs you ensured when buying the property, such as Stamp Duty, which you are unlikely to recoup through capital growth if you sell so soon after purchasing.

Finally, potential buyers will almost certainly want to know why you are selling so soon and the very fact you are doing so may ring alarm bells and put potential buyers off.


Does a house sell better empty?

This one is really open to debate.

While many buyers like to see a house 'staged' with the seller's belongings as it helps them visualise what the property looks like 'lived in', many prefer to see a blank canvas so they can imagine their own things inside.

There are pros and cons to selling both empty and lived-in houses:

Pros of vacant possession

* Buyers can view the property at any time
* You're not under pressure to keep the property spotless

Pros of 'lived-in'

* The home 'shows' better - meaning buyers can see a double bed does fit in bedroom three
* A lived-in property is more secure against crime

Cons of vacant possession

* Staging your property costs money
* Vacant homes can feel less emotional to buyers

Cons of 'lived-in'

* Buyers may be unable to see past the seller's style
* Buyers may not be able to view when suits them


How do I sell a house with a mortgage?

You have two options here:

* Pay off your existing mortgage with sale funds
* Port your existing mortgage on to a new property

As long as your sale price covers the amount outstanding on your mortgage, your solicitor will redeem this once the sale is complete.

If your property is worth less than your mortgage, you are in negative equity and may not be able to sell.

Porting your mortgage means you can stay on your current interest rate when borrowing for a new property, with any additional borrowing on top of that amount likely subjected to a different interest rate.

There are pros and cons to porting and mortgage redemption you should consider before deciding what works for you.

You should consider:

* Any early repayment charges
* Fees or charges for porting
* Current interest rates
* Product or arrangement fees

If you have any further questions regarding selling your home, contact your local CJ Hole branch who will be happy to help.

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