Selling your first home

Putting your first home up for sale can be daunting. Your experience as a first-time buyer will have given you in an insight into how the property sales process works. But now you have to think about choosing estate agents and changing mortgages too. Our guide helps you understand what to expect as a first-time seller.

Published in March 2023

Why move?

There are many potential motivations for selling your first home. Perhaps you’re moving to a bigger property to accommodate a growing family. You might be moving to a whole new area. Or maybe your situation has changed in other ways. Whatever the driver, it’s a big decision.

It’s always worth exploring whether you can achieve extra space through extending, or you can add new features through renovations. But if a move is the right way forward for you, it’s time to start thinking about the practicalities, finances and your ambitions for the next stage on your property journey.

Let’s talk money

Perhaps the first thing you’ll be wondering is how much you can sell your property for. And if you’re buying a new home at the same time, how much you can afford to spend.

To get an idea of the likely sale value of your own property, a good place to start is by checking the prices that comparable homes in your area have sold for recently. A quick search online will reveal sales prices for properties across the UK plus free tools for estimating the value of your property.

If this leaves you thinking selling up could work for you, you might want to get a bespoke valuation. Local estate agents can indicate what your home could be worth based on its condition, location and the current market value of properties in your area.

Selling a home in or near Plymouth? Smeaton Homes can provide an honest, reliable guide to your home’s value.

If you’re looking to buy a property at the same time as selling yours, working out what you can afford to spend is the other half of the equation. This is where the services of a good independent financial or mortgage advisor come into play. They will sit down with you to consider your likely selling price and the costs of moving. These include estate agents fees, arranging an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and sometimes, mortgage exit fees. Your advisor will also explain your options for settling one mortgage and taking out a new one.

From these figures, you’ll get a rough indication about how much you can afford to spend on your next property. This can then guide your search for your next home.

Choosing an estate agency

If you decide to go ahead with selling your home, good local estate agents are worth their weight in gold. We advise choosing estate agents with local expertise and a genuine enthusiasm for property. If their passion is apparent to you, it will also come across when they sell your home to potential buyers.

Price will play a big part in your decision but as you’d expect, the cheapest service might not get you the best results. Similarly, beware of agents who propose an unusually high sale price for your property. This can be a way to flatter you and to hook you in with the promise of a higher profit. But that price may exceed the true market value, leading to wasted time and eventually selling at a lower price anyway.

Naturally, we’re a bit biased, but you can’t go wrong with Smeaton Homes when selling your property. With a strong track record and superb insight in the market in Plymouth and beyond, we know how to get your property moving. Plus, our fee structure is fair and transparent, and you only pay once your property sells. Get in touch if you’d like to ask more about selling your home with us.

Getting your property sold

You’ll need to arrange to get an Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for your property. This is a report that shows prospective buyers your home’s energy efficiency rating, and the energy use and costs they can expect.

Your chosen estate agents can then get to work on marketing your property. This will involve having sales photos taken and particulars drawn up. Your home will then be shown off to potential buyers through a number of channels. These can include websites, sales branches, local press and the classic ‘for sale’ sign put up outside your property.

You can expect to attract a number of viewings from prospective buyers. Your estate agents will usually conduct these and you might want to pop out when they happen – or choose viewing times based around when you’re out at work.

It’s well worth spending some time to get your home looking at its best for both the sales photos and viewings. While you may be to see your home’s merits through any clutter and damage, buyers will often find this off-putting. So, if you can, fix any obvious flaws, perhaps consider a fresh coat of paint, and make sure mess is stashed away. And remember the importance of kerb appeal – first impressions can make all the difference, so get your home’s garden and exterior looking presentable.

When offers come in, it’s advisable not just to consider the amount that’s being offered. Think also about the buyer’s position. Are they ready to move in the timeframe you’re hoping for? Are you going to be in a long property chain (a connected line of buyers and sellers who all need to buy and sell at the same time)? Once you find the right buyer at the right price, you can give a verbal acceptance of their offer and get the ball rolling on your sale.

Smeaton Homes has been attentive, supportive and answered every query and solved every problem professionally and in great time.


Moving on

With an offer accepted, you can then put in an offer on another property yourself (if you’re also buying). Then it can be a bit of a waiting game if the rest of the chain needs to fall into place. Your estate agents will keep you updated with progress.

You can then finalise your mortgage arrangements with your lenders or through your financial advisor. And you’ll need to appoint a property conveyancer or solicitor to get the legalities in place. They will arrange for property searches and checks to be made, and queue up the monies to be transferred when the time comes. An exchange and completion date will be set, letting you know when the legal transfer of the property ownership and the home move will happen.

Once these dates are confirmed, you can get practicalities such as moving services in place. Then you can look forward to the big day when it’s time to say goodbye to your first owned property and move on the next stage of your journey.