Step-by-Step Sellers Guide
If you are thinking about selling your home, this guide is for you! Your home is probably your largest financial asset, so it's not surprising that some find this process a little daunting. So whether you are a first time seller or just want to remind yourself of how it all works, this guide will take you through the necessary steps.
1. Choose the right estate agent
Selling your house can be a stressful experience. So choosing the right estate agent who is going to minimise worry and maximise results, is a vital first step.
Your estate agent should:
- Act with professional integrity
- Hold a university attained degree in estate agency or surveying.
- Be regulated by a recognised body.
- Advertise widely.
- Have extended opening hours.
- Use up-to-date marketing techniques.
- Offer value for money.
2. Be careful not to go with the estate agent that gives you the highest sales valuation. It's a ploy to reel you in.
Your dwelling is only worth as much as someone is prepared to pay. Sadly many estate agents over value property to get you to sign with them. However in a few weeks they will soon be recommending that you reduce the asking price.
It is much better having a realistic asking price from the outset. When we conduct a sales valuation we will advise you what we genuinely believe your property will achieve.
3. Increase your property's 'kerb appeal'
A potential buyer could be put off even before they have set foot inside your front door if they are given a bad first impression. You want them to walk up the drive or path already feeling impressed and excited to see more. So do what it takes to create that lasting first impression.
Make sure the exterior of your home is up to scratch and if your front door or fence is looking tired, brighten it up with a lick of paint. Put up hanging baskets to add colour and if you have a garden plant some bedding flowers. Move bins out of view and clear away anything unsightly.
4. Spruce up and de-clutter
Making your home attractive to a buyer needn't mean an expensive decor overhaul. Chances are it won't be to the buyer's taste anyway and will be replaced as soon as they move in. But you should freshen up rooms with a neutral coat of paint.
Make sure your rooms are clutter-free and as light and airy as possible. A mirror hung in the hall can give the illusion of space and a few vases of flowers or some plants can freshen up the house.
A kitchen is a big selling point, so make sure all the worktops are clear and that it smells fresh and clean. If you do have pets, ask a relative or friend to look after them while viewings are taking place. While you love your furry friend, chances are your buyer won't - or worse still, they may be allergic.
5. Bear in mind that little things count
Don't forget the detail either. Chances are the buyer will be nit-picking as they will be looking at a number of properties and weighing everything up. So get around now to those annoying little maintenance jobs such as a long overdue light bulb change.
6. Define each room
Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in the house so it's essential that each room is shown off to highlight its purpose. If your dining room is full of work papers or exercise equipment for example, return it to its original purpose. It's also important to de-personalise, for example by taking down posters in the kids bedrooms - so the buyer can see the potential for the house and where they would put their own items.
7. Stay out of the way!
When potential buyers come to view your property, let them wander freely around the house with the agent. You want them to feel comfortable and as though they can spend time looking at each room freely. Be ready also to answer any questions after the viewing.
8. Make the most of outdoor space
Gardens or any type of outdoor space can be another great selling point -but an overgrown jungle could see your buyer running a mile. Not only will the space look smaller and 'forgotten about', if paying out for a gardener isn't in your viewer's plan or budget, it could completely put them off the property.
9. Choose the best buyer
Once the offers are on the table, your next big job is to choose the most reliable buyer. Safer buyers include those who have already sold their home and are in rented accommodation, chain-free first time buyers, and cash buyers who do not need a mortgage. Bear this in mind but depending on how many offers you get, this choice might not be a luxury you have.
Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing
Preparing your home for marketing
Preparing your home for marketing is an important part of the sales process. By presenting your property in its best light will help to set it apart from the others. A well presented home could be the difference between selling and not selling.
At NI Homes Estate Agents we tailor our packages to meet your needs. All our packages include a photo-shoot of your property and some even include video tours.
The below list of hints and tips helps explain the process and how you can assist us in presenting your property.
About the Photo-shoot:
- The photo-shoot will take approximately 30 minutes, plus an extra 60 minutes if you would like a video tour of your property.
- Photographs will be taken in each of the rooms with the best selected for the brochure and used in the marketing of the property.
- Photos of the garage, laundry, utility, workshop are not usually taken, unless they have special features.
- Please advise us if there are any special features in your house so that these can be captured.
- You should try to remove all vehicles from the driveway and if possible ensure the street in front of the house is clear.
- Place wheelie bins, toys and any garden hosepipes in the garage or hide them away.
- If you can you should mow the lawn and tidy the garden.
- Sweep the driveway and patio.
- Remove magnets, stickers and photos from the refrigerator.
- Clear your counter tops as much as possible in both your kitchen and bathroom.
- Ensure bathroom glass and mirror is spotless.
- Remove all shampoos, soaps, toothbrushes, bath mats, toys and hairdryers.
- Check all light bulbs are working and that reading lamps/ bedside lamps are plugged in.
- De-clutter rooms where necessary. Store any additional items in a room which you do not want photographed.
- Set the table (optional)
- Open all blinds
- Turn on all lights
- Turn off TV
- Put pets away
- Remove any washing from radiators, clothes line etc
Preparing the outside of house:
Preparing the inside of the house:
Just prior to the Photo Shoot:
Should you have any additional queries please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.
Tel: (028) 90 31 07 91
Step-by-Step Buyers Guide
Buying a new home is an exciting time however with so many things to sign, pay for and arrange, it can also be a very confusing time. At NI Homes Estate Agents we are always on hand to help out as much as we can. This is our step-by-step guide to buying your new home:
- Subject to contract a sale price is agreed with a vendor and a sales memorandum is sent to the buyer, seller and their respective solicitors.
- The buyer arranges a mortgage with their bank or broker and the buyer's solicitor requests draft contract papers and copy deeds and leases (if relevant).
- The bank will arrange for a survey to be carried out while the buyer's solicitors amend the draft papers using the deeds to 'customise' the papers for the transaction.
- The buyer's solicitors apply to the local authority for searches to investigate the local area and the bank will report back on condition and price of the property.
- The buyer and their solicitor will receive a formal offer of mortgage.
- Once the mortgage offer is received, the local authority search and legal papers have been checked and approved, the buyer's solicitor reports to the buyer i.e. they believe all the paper work to be ready and that the property is of suitable 'risk' for the bank to lend on.
- A contract is signed and returned by the buyer to their solicitor. A contract is signed by the seller and returned to their solicitor.
- The contracts are 'exchanged' by the solicitors and a date is set for the transaction to be completed. Also a deposit may be required typically 10% which is to be paid by the buyer. This should be transferred to the solicitor before the exchange date. Once this is completed both parties are legally bound into a contractual agreement.
- The buyer's solicitor will request the mortgage money for the day of completion and any balance funds required from the buyer.
- On the completion day the buyer's solicitor will send all the funds to the seller's solicitor. Once the monies have been received by the seller's solicitor the sale is complete and the keys can be handed over.
- It is then time to begin enjoying your new home.
Step-by-Step Guide to Leasing your Property
At NI Homes Estate Agents, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and informative service for both Landlord's and Tenant's alike. A happy tenant is essential to ensuring consistent rental income for our clients but equally helps in maintaining and improving the investment value of your property. This useful guide offers some insightful information for both first time landlords and also the more experienced ones.
Often the first question a landlord would ask themselves is why do I need an agent to firstly let and secondly manage my property?
The real answer and one which you will not hear too often is that you don't, however, by engaging with NI Homes Estate Agents we can help to take the stress and worry out of the process. Over the past number of years various laws, regulations and guidelines have been implemented in order to regulate the residential rental market. The team at NI Homes Estate Agents are trained to the highest standards meaning that they can give you the best advice so that you can avoid those nasty penalties.
In short when it comes to leasing we offer our clients two types of service. The first is "Let only" service which is ideal for landlords who like to be a bit more hands on. NI Homes Estate Agents will advertise your property for you, liaise with prospective tenants and even conduct referencing and credit checks in order to find you the best possible tenant. Once the tenant is in place you can then collect the monthly rent and deal directly with the tenant.
The second and more popular option is the "Let and Manage Service" where we provide the same services as above but for a fair fee we will manage the premises on your behalf and become the point of contact for your tenant. This is popular with landlords who already have full-time commitments outside property and for those residing outside Northern Ireland.
If you would like to discuss either of these options further please feel free to contact one of our Surveyors who will be more than happy to assist you.
As a landlord what are these requirements?
Should you decide that you want to market and manage your own premises as a landlord your main responsibilities will include but may not be limited to;
- Registering yourself as a Landlord with the Landlord Registration Scheme. Alternatively in the case of a House of Multiple Occupation you will have to apply to be named on this register instead.
- Obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate Prior to Marketing
- Provide tenants with a Statement of Tenancy Terms
- Ensuring you comply with the rules of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Conducting both Check In and Check Out Inventory Surveys
- Supplying a rent book and recording rent payments
- Ensuring that the various gas, electrical and other safety requirements are met within the dwelling. These requirements are greater in the case of multiple occupancy dwellings.
- Maintaining the structure and outside of the property
- Familiarise yourself with the correct legal procedures for the recovery of debt should your tenant default or refuse to pay
This list is by no means an exhaustive analysis of all the duties of a private landlord. Complying with all the various requirements can become extremely cumbersome for many landlords as it quickly becomes a full time job and for those who already have a full time job can prove impossible to manage. Managing property is certainly not for the faint hearted. The good news is our team at NI Homes Estate Agents have a wealth of experience and an abundance of knowledge acquired over many years. We are fully flexible and can offer tailored solutions to meet your specific requirements.
I would like to let my own property?
Contrary to popular belief it is not as simple as putting up a To Let board and finding a tenant. There are several considerations before it even gets to this stage. What many people don't realise is that the majority of mortgages require the banks / lenders consent before a tenancy can be granted. Additionally, it is not enough to hold basic home insurance for the property either. Whilst this might seem meaningless to some and there are some agents who often advise to the contrary, it does have serious implications for landlords. For example, should a landlord decide to take out basic home insurance instead of landlords insurance and the premises burns down if the insurance company learn that the property was let at the time this is likely to invalidate your insurance. The end result could be leaving you out of pocket in terms of making good the damage and depending on your circumstances you could be left with mortgage repayments on a damaged property generating zero income.
Once the above is addressed the next stage is to prepare the premises so that they are ready to let. This process involves instructing a Domestic Energy Assessor to provide an Energy Performance Certificate. This is a legal requirement. You must ensure that you have up-to-date certificates for the premises. This includes things such a Periodic Electrical Inspections, service documentation for the heating system, any gas appliances and electrical appliances. In the case of a House of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) there are additional requirements most of which relate to fire safety due to the higher risk HMOs bring.
Once you manage to find the right tenant you must ensure that any deposit you charge the tenant is handled in accordance Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). In order to do so you must instruct or carry out a Check In and Check Out Inventory detailing the exact condition of the premises at the start and end of the tenancy.
This is by no means a fully exhaustive list of all the requirements but we think you will agree that addressing the above in a thorough manner to safeguard your investment is a very time consuming and complex task. Should you wish to proceed on your own we wish you all the best and hope that you have found this information helpful. Should you wish to avail of our services please don't hesitate to contact us. The dedicated team at NI Homes Estate Agents are always just a telephone call away to help in whatever way possible.
Below is a summary of the service that NI Homes Estate Agents can provide:
- Uniquely NI Homes Estate Agents put you first so we can visit you at a time and location that suits you
- Tenant Find (Let Only) or alternatively a Fully Managed Service
- We have an in-house fully qualified and STROMA regulated Energy Assessor meaning we can offer you a competitively priced Energy Performance Certificate
- We are also members of Tenancy Deposit Scheme NI. Thus we can provide expert advise on holding a tenant's deposit
- As Full Members of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) we can complete market leading Check In and Check Out reports
- We can arrange and issue detailed tenancy agreements and rent books if required
- Conduct routine / periodic inspections of the premises during the tenancy if required
- Provide you with monthly account statements
- Become your tenants main point of contact
- Advise and if required, arrange maintenance and repair work to be undertaken, by a panel of approved contractors at an agreed fee
- Negotiate and document lease renewals
- Provide you with expert advice and assistance on a range of legal and tenancy issues
If you would like to discuss any of the above information on a one-to-one basis why not arrange a complimentary consultation?
You can contact us on (028) 90 31 07 91 or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten Legal Musts for Landlords
1. Gas Safety
Where there are any gas boilers or appliances in the property provided by the landlord, the landlord must ensure that an annual gas safety check and service is carried out. This must be undertaken by a registered Gas Safe Engineer. A copy must be provided to the tenant before they move in.
Its important that you keep old gas service and maintenance records. You are legally required to retain this documentation for three years.
Irrespective of what the lease states you cannot pass the responsibility for gas safety checks and servicing on to the tenant. Legally this is the landlord's responsibility.
The landlord is required to supply a carbon monoxide detector for the safety of the tenant. Some landlords choose to install these as a rule irrespective of whether their property has a gas heating system or not. Why? Imagine if your tenant opens a window in close proximity to the gas flue of a neighbouring property. The cost is minimal and it gives the landlord some peace of mind.
2. Fire Safety
Where a landlord controls a Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), flats, bedsits or hostels there should be a risk assessment in place to comply with Fire Safety Legislation.
3. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Before a property is marketed there must be an Energy Performance Certificate in place for most types of property. This must be made available to prospective tenants and a copy of the certificate provided to any tenant who moves in to the property.
If you take a deposit from a tenant, the deposit must be protected under one of the three tenancy deposit schemes and the prescribed information regarding the deposit must be given to the tenant within 14 days of receiving the deposit.
5. Payments of rent/administration fees
It is very important that advance payments of rent, non-returnable administration fees and holding fees are not confused with deposits. You should always make clear to tenants what money is being taken for; otherwise it could be regarded as a deposit which shall be protected under one of the deposit protection schemes.
6. House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
If your property is a House in Multiple Occupation (e.g. bedsits, shared house or a shared flat) then the property must be registered as a HMO with the local authority. There is a cost for this. It must be paid five years in advance.
7. Electrical inspections
A five yearly electrical inspection must be carried out by a competent electrician. However it is important to check your insurance policy and the last periodic inspection report. The insurance policy may stipulate that the electrical installation has to be inspected more regularly. In addition the last periodic inspection may recommend inspections at shorter intervals if the system is ageing.
8. Electrical appliances
Where a property is provided with electrical appliances it is the landlords responsibility to make sure that they are safe at the outset of letting.
9. Fire alarm systems and fire precautions
There are some cases whereby landlords are legally required to provide a fire alarm systems. An example is a HMO. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the fire alarms are maintained and tested. You must also make sure that the means of escape from the property (normally the halls stairs and landings) are unobstructed.
In some circumstances Fire Fighting Appliances and Equipment are also required. In a HMO or buildings where there are common areas a Fire Risk Assessment is required.
10. Illegal eviction/harassment
You must not harass your tenants. It is unlawful to evict a tenant without a Court Order. You cannot throw a tenant out because he is in arrears with his rent or breaking the terms of his tenancy. You must go to Court to get a possession order.
This list has been complied in good faith by NI Homes Estate Agents. We hope that it proves useful however it is only a general guide and should be used as such. We recommend that each property is inspected and assessed individually by a competent person / local authority and an appropriate action plan is put in place.
If you are a landlord in need of some professional advice NI Homes Estate Agents would be delighted to help. We offer a free consultation. This involves one of our team carrying out an inspection of your portfolio / property, giving you with all the important information and answering any questions you may have. In choosing NI Homes Estate Agents you can put your mind at ease with the comfort that your investments are being cared for to the highest possible standards.
We have a comprehensive database of people seeking new rented accommodation. This enables us to let your property in record time.
We offer various packages designed to suit all types of landlord from those who have full time commitments and want the complete package to those who have a little more time on their hands and are happy to have more involvement in the process.
We have a dedicated rent collection system which is extremely effective in collecting rent in a timely manner.
Depending on which package you select we can operate on No Let No Fee basis. This reduces your risk and helps your cash flow. Upon securing a tenant we simply deduct our fee from first months rent.
As part of our property management programme, we carry out interim inspections and provide you with feedback. This allows any damage to be recorded and charged back to the tenants. If there are any maintenance requirements identified we will bring these to your attention and provide you with quotations. All work will be checked and signed off by one of our professional staff before payment is made.
Why not contact us today on (028) 90 31 07 91.
Is your home too big for your needs
NI Homes Estate Agents would be delighted to help you address this.
You may wish to consider:
1. Selling your Home and Downsizing
NI Homes can offer you a free no obligation sales valuation of your home at a time which suits you. You will be provided with all the information you need and talked through the process. Thereafter you can decide whether you want to place your property on the market for sale.
2. Renting out a Room
This is an increasingly popular method which clients love because it means they don't have to move. They prefer to put their wasted space to good use, have company and generate extra income.
Did you know that you can rent a room in your own home and earn tax-free income of up to £4,250 a year?
Why not arrange an appointment and we can talk you through the options on a one to one basis.
Tel: (028) 90 31 07 91