Saying goodbye to your home is a time of mixed emotions: there's the excitement of your life ahead and new beginnings, but it's tempered with the end of an era and parting with a friend where so many memories were made.

Despite the best efforts of the English conveyancing system, selling your home doesn't need to be stressful. In fact, it can be exciting, enjoyable and even educational.

There are certainly steps you can take to make it easier, and here's our guide to setting yourself up for a smooth selling experience. You can also find lots of advice around presentation and home improvements on our blog.


Pricing to perfection

When setting the price for your property, our aim is always to keep you ahead of the market. When prices are rising we can often get away with an ambitious asking price to take advantage of the market catching up and buyers acting quickly. When prices are static or falling, setting a price slightly lower than competing properties can generate the most excitement and interest, often resulting in offers exceeding your asking price. This isn't over-valuing or under-valuing: it's using whatever the market conditions are at the time to get the best result. In short, we are on your side. So whether you have a property in Leytonstone, Wanstead, Leyton or Forest Gate, we’ll show evidence of local sales to give you confidence in our advice.

Choosing an estate agent

Obviously we’d love you to choose Eeleven as your estate agent, but what are the things you should be looking for when instructing an agent to represent your property and look after your interests? As a very basic minimum we suggest ensuring your agent lists properties on Rightmove and Zoopla as these are by far the biggest source of buyers - they're also the most expensive! It's also essential for your agent to use professional photographers and draw up floor plans help you stand out and generate the best enquiries. After you should ask about service standards (how often will they keep in touch? how soon will you get feedback from viewings? who will be looking after you?) and, just as important, you need to feel your estate agent is interested in you. How will you know that? Simple: do they talk about you, or only about themselves? You’ll be working with your estate agent closely until the day you move, so it’s essential that you are comfortable with them and have confidence in their abilities.

Getting an EPC

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates the energy efficiency of a property and its carbon emissions. As of 6th April 2012, the EPC details should be displayed on all property particulars and it is now a legal requirement to provide an EPC for most properties in England and Wales. An Energy Performance Certificate also comes with suggestions on improving the energy efficiency of your home and, when the costs are not excessive, we think it’s a good idea to put these in place to increase your rating before your property goes on the market.

Starting the legals

As soon as you put your property on the market, we recommend appointing a conveyancer and asking them to send you the Property Information Forms that every homeowner needs to complete when selling their property. Having the forms filled in and ready to go by the time you accept an offer will help speed up the conveyancing process and get you moving sooner. Sometimes you may not have the information requested in the forms to hand, so by giving yourself extra time to complete them without delaying the sales process after accepting an offer, you’ll find gathering the information a far more relaxing affair.

Presentation is everything

The best piece of advice we can give you when it comes to presenting your property for sale is to stop viewing it as your home. Everything you own is going to be removed at some point, so concentrate your efforts entirely on making your property look as bright, spacious and welcoming as possible. This goes for both the initial photography and for every viewing. Chuck out your junk now, give every room a purpose and store anything that is in the way or that makes the property look cluttered or odd. Ensure doors to gardens are unobstructed, clean the windows (actually clean everything!) and put right anything that detracts from the overall impression. Fix leaking taps, redecorate stained or grubby paintwork, mow the lawn, jazz up the kerb appeal with a few pot plants or hanging baskets. Ask us for suggestions.

Do you need a For Sale sign?

It would be wrong to say that properties cannot sell without a for sale sign, but a board does increase your chances of a sale and have certain practical benefits. For a start, neighbours, visitors and passers by in your street are a valuable source of enquiries, whether for themselves or their friends, family and colleagues. Boards also work to publicise your property 24 hours a day and any potential buyers viewing your property from the sign have already accepted the price, external appearance and location - three major factors in anyone's decision. In fact boards often spur people into action who might not have been considering moving just yet, but jump at the opportunity when it comes up. This is particularly true for sought-after locations like the Abraham's Estate in Leyton, Bushwood in Leytonstone, anywhere in Wanstead Village and properties close to the new Crossrail station in Forest Gate. Aside from that, boards help people pinpoint your property when turning up for viewings - yes they do get lost or confused sometimes, particularly if they are new to the area. So why not help them out?

Marketing & viewings

Property marketing has been revolutionised and buyers no longer trawl the high streets for estate agents. Instead, they register with a portal like Rightmove and find every suitable home within seconds. This means that a buyer's introduction to a property is usually not from a smooth-talking estate agent they already know, but from a listing they see online, which makes professional property descriptions and photography more important than ever. Are estate agents famous for their writing and photography skills? No. That's why selling your property with Eeleven includes professional copywriting, photography and floor plans. The most optimum number of photos lies somewhere between 6 and 10. Too few and it looks like there's nothing much to show, and too many and people start to shut off and forget what they've seen. For us it's about which photos will get people to view; not every last corner photographs well in any home, so we only use the pictures that do your property justice. It's very often that like minded people are attracted to the same type of property, so we include owners comments on our descriptions. This is your chance to explain how much you've loved living in your home and why: your own unique perspective can make all the difference. Our website has a real time feed to Rightmove, which means as soon as your property is live on our website, it goes straight off to the UK's largest property portal. For us, Rightmove is by far the best of the bunch when it comes to sales.

Receiving an offer

So, you're popular. And rightly so. Generally speaking, unless the market is spiralling uncontrollably upwards, people don't tend to offer the asking price immediately. And a good rule of thumb is that you'll get a maximum of three offers from a potential buyer before they walk away: their opening gambit; an increased bid, and their final offer. Rarely do people come back four times. Of course, some buyers aren't interested in haggling and simply want to secure a property and get moving. Whatever the amount of any offer, it's not just the amount that matters. It's vital you know that your buyer has their finance in place and that they are in a position to proceed, so we'll ask the right questions and, if there's a chain, we'll talk to the other agents involved to give you as much information as we can. If you're fortunate enough to receive multiple offers, the final decision often comes down to someone's buying position as much as the amount of their offer. All offers will be reported both verbally and in writing and we also conduct checks under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and Money Laundering Regulations 2003.

Agreeing a sale

Accepting an offer on your property is a great feeling and a sign that you are on your way to the next chapter in your life. But our work continues to help keep things running smoothly and to provide solutions to any problems or delays that might come up in the conveyancing process. First off, we prepare a Memorandum of Sale that sets out the terms of the price agreed and is sent to you, your buyer and your chosen conveyancers. If you've already prepared the Property Information Form, your conveyancer might already have a compete legal pack prepared, which can take weeks off the process. Your solicitor will request the title deeds from the lender (if appropriate). The solicitor will prepare the draft contract, which details the terms of the sale, and send it to the buyers’ solicitor together with all relevant documents. The buyer’s solicitor will then start the preliminary checks. The Title Deeds and Lease (if applicable) will be checked and local searches carried out. Next up your buyer will have your property valued - essential if they are getting a mortgage - and may also choose to have a more detailed survey carried out either separately or at the same time. We'll provide the valuer with comparable local sales to support the agreed price. Remember that in England an offer is not legally binding, so until contracts have exchanged your buyer could change their minds without financial loss. While some buyers simply change their minds, many fall-throughs can be avoided by dealing with any potential surprises early on.

Exchange contracts

At this stage both parties become legally committed to the sale, and if it falls through from this point onwards then the deposit is forfeited by whoever withdraws. Contracts are signed by both parties and the solicitor requests the buyer’s deposit. A completion date is agreed upon by you and your buyer. To allow enough time for everyone to organise their moving day, completion is usually 2-4 weeks after the date of exchange.

Moving day preparations

Normally both parties will want a short period of time between exchange of contracts and completion to organise their move. If you haven’t done so already you should have arranged all packing and removal duties, informed everyone of your change of address and booked any disconnections/re-connections of services for your new home. Remember on the date of completion the property is legally owned by the new buyers so allow plenty of time to move out. Don’t forget the cat!

The final farewell

Completion occurs when all outstanding legalities have been completed and the balance of funds are transferred to your solicitor. The solicitor will let you know when this has happened and will inform us so that we can release the keys.