Selling Guide

Top Ten Tips for Moving House

Preparing Your Home for Market

At Cooper Brouard we know that excellent presentation and comprehensive exposure through the internet and the printed media are vital for the effective marketing of your home.

We use professional quality digital cameras, clear floor plans, bespoke videos and concise literary styles to produce our acclaimed property details.

The most up to date agency computer programmes and, this our fourth generation website ensure those details can be on your buyer’s doorstep, facebook page or email inbox without delay. Accompanied viewings and swift feedback keep you informed at all times. The combined experience of our negotiating team allows us to offer the best advice when negotiating your sale.

Example floor plan

Top Ten Tips for a Smooth Move

You have probably already been looking at properties, on websites or in the printed media, that offer you the size and facilities you require so the next stage is to find out what you can afford to buy.

  1. If you already own a property arrange for us to give you a free verbal valuation. To speed up the buying process some owners ask us to take sales particulars of their property in readiness to put on the market as soon as they find a home to buy. Some also choose to sell before they buy and rent for a period of time while they house hunt. This puts them in a strong position as they are “cash buyers”.
  2. Speak to a bank or financial advisor who will ask for bank statements and utility bills to assess the level of lending they will allow. Do not be afraid to shop around and have other offers from more than one lender for comparison.
  3. Continue house hunting : Guernsey has a relatively small supply of property on the market at any one time so don’t be too rigid in your requirements or you will have very little to view. The more properties you view the easier it is recognise value for money and how realistic your expectations are; plus you may be pleasantly surprised by a property you did not like on the particulars.
  4. When you find your dream home, if you are a first time or cash buyer make an offer, if you have a property to sell before you can buy contact us to get your property on the market as quickly as possible (see our guide Preparing Your Home for Market below); when you have an offer on your own property you can make an offer on the property you wish to buy.
  5. If you are selling in the UK it is worth noting that the sale process in Guernsey moves more swiftly, typically 14 working days, than on the mainland and you will need to have at least exchanged contracts in the UK before committing to conditions of sale in Guernsey.
  6. Your offer may need to be subject to a satisfactory survey of the property, finance approval from your lender, licence to occupy the property, but definitely must be subject to property matters which include your advocate’s searches of the title of the property. You will also need to agree a completion date. This is the day on which the property will be conveyed to you in the court and on which you will take possession.
  7. After an offer has been accepted, as agents, we will prepare a standard contract and an inventory of personalty being left in the property, known as conditions of sale. This sets out the terms of the sale, the completion date and an operative date by which you must have had your survey, finance and any other conditions agreed. Normally 14 working days. At this point you should contact your lender with details of the house and ask them to arrange a survey of the property promptly.
    It should be noted that there is no binding legal contract between you and the seller until conditions of sale have been signed by both parties and you have paid your deposit.
  8. As a buyer you must instruct an advocate to act on your behalf. You will be allocated a conveyancing clerk who will ensure that the conditions of sale have been prepared correctly, the ownership of the property is clear and that boundaries are as described on the title deeds. They will also advise at which point you can sign conditions of sale and pay a deposit. This is normally 10% of the purchase price, but with the sellers approval this can be reduced to 5%.
  9. Buying Costs; You will have to pay document duty and advocates fees on the realty price (purchase price less the value of the items on the inventory) of the property you are purchasing and a fee to the court for registering any bonds in favour of your lender Document Duty payable via your advocates to The State of Guernsey at 2% on house purchases under £250,000, 2.5% between £250,000 and £400,000 and 3% above £400,000.    Advocates Fees; Since the introduction of the monopoly law in 2012 there is no fixed advocates fee on the sale of property.  We recommend you get quotes from at least two firms but bear in mind the quality of advice is just as important as the size of the bill.  Call us for advice if you are unsure of who to speak to.
    Bond Fees Cost of registering bond in favour of your lender at £7 per £1000 pounds borrowed plus £147.50. These figures are a fair indication of the likely costs incurred in purchasing but your conveyancing clerk can provide you with an exact calculation.

  10. Once conditions of sale are signed and binding there a few things to put in place before going to court. Arrange House/contents insurance. Arrange Life insurance for the mortgage, this and the house insurance may be required by your lender before they issue their mortgage facility letter. Obtain estimates from removal companies. Advise water, telephone, gas, oil, electricity suppliers to arrange final readings at your current home and arrange supply and billing in your new home. Empty cesspool at existing home. Re-direct post to new address. Leave contact numbers for tradesman who have worked in your existing home. Leave instructions and guarantees for appliances being left in your existing house. Advise change of address to:
    States of Guernsey Driving Licence and Vehicle registration
    Bank, building society, credit card company
    Tax and social security offices.
    Doctor, dentist, vets etc.
    Medical and other insurances.
    Friends, relations and neighbours.
    Schools secretary
    Clubs and associations
    Premium Bonds, National Savings, stocks and shares registrars
    Pension companies
    Your purchaser.
    Standing orders i.e. sky TV, HP providers

With all these in place it only remains for you to arrive at your advocates offices just after 9.00 am on the completion date. You will have received a statement from them detailing the balance of the purchase price that you are required to pay. You will be taken to the Royal Court and in front of a Jurat, you and the vendor will give your consent to the conveyance of the property. If you are borrowing money the same process is repeated for the bond.

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Preparing Your Home for Market

Stand in the road and look at the front of your property – really study it with a critical eye. Forget that you are the owner who has walked through the front door hundreds of times not noticing the slightly chipped paint, weed filled lawn or dripping pipe, but imagine you are a prospective purchaser on a viewing or doing a drive-by. What will the first impression be? Will it tempt them in to your cherished home?

Experts tell us that within 15 seconds of entering a house we have made our mind up if we can make it our home. That may not always be the case but it does emphasise how important first impressions are so find some time and make a check list of essential jobs ; is there a wall or fence that needs attention? Check that the house name is clearly visible, keep the grass cut, hedges trimmed and remove weeds - especially anything growing in the rainwater gutters! Even if it doesn’t need re decorating give the paintwork a wash, make the windows sparkle and clean paths and paving. Remove anything that doesn’t need to be seen, including dustbins and plant pots if they’re not in flower or looking their best. The rear garden is also important, but most buyers will want to see inside the house first.

We all know how important it is to de-clutter, but not everyone is able to do it properly. Think of it as a head start on the packing you will have to do anyway. If it cannot be sold, donated or disposed of then plan on having somewhere to store it - preferably away from the property. Clear hallways of coats and shoes, even remove pieces of furniture if it makes it easier for two or more people to walk through. Half the number of pictures and ornaments. Eliminate odd odours with fresh flowers, scented candles or air fresheners – nothing overpowering, just enough to offer a pleasant ambience, especially if there is a lingering aroma of wet dog or stale tobacco in the air. It is not unusual for home owners to go as far as shampooing carpets before the house is put on the market for sale. You might surprise yourself with the difference this makes.

There are numerous websites giving advice about how best to present your house for sale and they all stress how buyers are attracted to clean and spacious rooms. Good natural light is an asset but not plentiful in all properties, so make the most of what there is. An estate agent will often lift net curtains to show how much additional light shines into a room. ‘’ suggests on its website that vendors should consider painting walls neutral colours to avoid their home being remembered as "the house with the orange bathroom". Room lighting is also important so make sure all the light bulbs work and clear cobwebs and dust from lampshades.

Show the room off at its best by positioning furniture correctly. The current trend for large televisions does not suit all rooms.

Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly important. For many people the kitchen is the hub of a family home and is a practical working area rather than a showcase. We all like to think our kitchen would pass the test but all too often they do not make the grade. New vinyl flooring is a relatively inexpensive way to lift a tired kitchen. Clean or whiten tiling grout on the walls, straighten wonky cupboard doors and drawers. Replacing old appliances or the kitchen sink is more than most vendors would want to do, but there is no excuse for these items not to be sparkling clean. Invest in new hand towels and tea towels, not that they should be left hanging around just anywhere.

Remove cat and dog food from the floor - its clutter and the smell is unpleasant. It may be nice to display children's school artwork or friends' postcards on the fridge door, but it's distracting for buyers and best avoided. Take away the cookery books, perhaps with the exception of the latest Jamie or Nigella even if you haven't opened the covers since receiving them the Christmas before last. Give the kitchen a daily sprucing, in fact, vacuum and dust the house more regularly and use furniture polish for that feel good nostalgia.

Organise cupboards by disposing of outdated tins and half empty packets to make the cupboards appear more spacious. The same applies to bedrooms. Take out unseasonal clothes and hang shirts together, trousers together and jackets together just in case buyers can't resist having a peek at how much storage there is when the estate agent isn't looking.

The rear garden might be the last thing a buyer looks at, but it certainly isn’t the least important. As with the front, keep the rear garden looking neat and tidy, clear of dustbins, pots and anything that does not need to be there. Explain to your children that climbing frames and trampolines need to be taken down whilst the property is on the market. Place a suitable mat by the front and back doors on which purchasers can wipe their feet or leave their shoes.

The buyers are purchasing a lifestyle as much as the bricks and mortar. They should be encouraged to imagine themselves living in your property and this is best achieved with as few traces of the current owners as possible. This might sound harsh when you are selling your home but try and disassociate yourself. Make a mental decision to let go and imagine handing over the keys to the new owners.

Follow our advice and then you will be ready sell your property and your property will be ready to sell.

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