2023 Guide for Selling a Property in London
Our in-depth property selling guide for homes in Central London in 2023 will take you through the sales process step by step, providing useful information and answers to many important questions along your journey. For details about buying and selling houses in London, please get in touch with Hudsons Property on 020 7323 2277 for friendly advice and professional assistance.
Is now a good time to sell property in London?
House prices in London in 2023 vary widely. Much of the recent capital growth has been generated by a pandemic-triggered demand for bigger, higher-priced homes in the capital and beyond.
The appetite for luxury apartments in London to rent and Central London apartments for sale has been growing steadily, which means it is vital to get the asking price right. At Hudsons, we always back up our current market valuations with comparable local sales data. If your estate agent is unable or unwilling to do the same, they may not be the right one for you.
When you’ve decided to sell your house in Bloomsbury, Marylebone or surrounding neighbourhoods in Prime Central London, the first thing you will want to know is how much you can expect to sell the property for. Contact a reputable local estate agent for a market appraisal and to make recommendations on pricing and timescales. At Hudsons, we always recommend that you obtain two or three opinions to help you choose the right agent who should be professional, realistic and knowledgeable about the local property market, and who has successfully sold similar properties recently.
Getting the price right for selling your home in London in 2023 is vital. An overinflated price can frustrate that all-important first impact when the property is launched to market, depressing its overall saleability which can potentially leave your property on the shelf for months without a sale. If the market valuation is too low, your property may sell quickly but without the ability to achieve its true sales potential.
Simon Bray, an experienced agent who has worked in the West End market since 2007, conducts our market appraisals at Hudsons Property. To request a valuation of your home in Fitzrovia, Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Covent Garden or Soho, please call our office at 24 Charlotte Street in the heart of Fitzrovia on 020 7323 2277. To get an initial idea of value, you can also use our online appraisal section, but please note that an accurate market valuation of your property will require a site visit.
What fees are involved when you sell a house in the UK?
Once you have chosen the best estate agent to market your property, there are broadly two ways in which an agent can be appointed:
If you decide to give your instructions to one agent only for a fixed period of time, the rate you pay for this ‘sole agency’ agreement will be lower than for a ‘multiple agency’ agreement. This is because the estate agent will have exclusive rights to secure a buyer for your home. Please note that if you should accept an offer from another agent during the exclusive period, you may be liable to pay two fees.
‘Multiple agency’ agreements are normally higher than ‘sole agency’ agreements. There is no limit with regard to the number of agents you can instruct at the same time. However, be careful not to list your property with too many estate agents since some buyers may interpret this as a sign that you are desperate to sell, which could well affect the quality of the offers you receive.
How do we market your property in London?
Having signed terms with your estate agent, your property will be professionally photographed and/or filmed and a floorplan created for the listing. From these, we can prepare your property particulars and, subject to your approval, order an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is required by law. Where necessary, Hudsons can organise this on your behalf.
The next step is for you to approve the draft brochure for marketing your house or apartment for sale in Central London. Hudsons’ sales team will tailor our services to meet your property’s needs. This will include a property-specific marketing campaign, maximising exposure of your home and ensuring we achieve the best possible price within a timescale that suits you.
Your property details will also be uploaded to our website along with other chosen property portals to showcase your home to a large audience of buyers in addition to those already registered with us.
Do you need to prepare your flat or house for viewings?
We know from experience that showing your property in its best light will ensure optimum sales results. This is why we always recommend that any home improvements and odd jobs should be completed prior to marketing (and prior to photos being taken). Always try to visualise your home – both inside and out – through the eyes of a prospective buyer.
Potential homebuyers will often walk past your home before an arranged viewing, so it’s important to make a great first impression. Improve the kerb appeal of your home by freshening up paintwork, tidying the front of the property and adding floral interest. Inside, remember to declutter your belongings, decorate neutrally and maximise light.
At Hudsons, we accompany all prospective buyers on property viewings, making it unnecessary for you to be at home or show anyone around. After each viewing, we will report back any feedback and interest received.
What happens when you receive an offer on your house or flat?
All offers received will be confirmed in writing, either by letter or email. Any offers put forward will be subject to contract and are not legally binding for you or the prospective purchaser until contracts have been exchanged.
When we receive an offer to buy your property, we will discuss with you both the value of the offer and the position of the buyer. We conduct a thorough screening process to help us determine the quality of the applicant. This includes key information such as:
- Are they in a property chain?
- Do they have a property for sale and, if so, have they found a buyer?
- Do they have finance in place?
- Do they have a mortgage-in-principle agreement from their lender?
- Are they cash buyers with nothing to sell?
- What timescale are they envisioning for exchange and completion?
How do you accept an offer on your property?
Once an agreeable offer has been received and accepted by you, we will write to all parties, including their respective solicitors, confirming the agreed sale terms in the form of a Memorandum of Sale.
It is at this stage in the process that dates for the exchange of contracts and completion should be pencilled in. It is also important to ensure that details of any extras you intend to include or exclude from the sale (e.g. carpets, curtains, appliances) are specified in the Memorandum.
Do you need a solicitor to sell a house in the UK?
When selling a property in the UK, you are required to appoint a qualified solicitor or licenced conveyancer to handle the legal formalities involved in transferring ownership of your property. We advise that you instruct a good conveyancing solicitor as soon as you place your property on the market. This will ensure that title deeds and other necessary documentation can be obtained early on in the conveyancing process, saving considerable time and potential delay once the sale has been agreed upon.
Make sure you have a good solicitor to act on your behalf throughout the conveyancing process, as this can make all the difference in achieving a smooth transaction with the minimum delay. If required, Hudsons will happily recommend a solicitor from our panel of trusted law firms.
When the sale of your property is agreed upon, your solicitor will prepare and send to your buyer’s solicitor a draft Contract of Sale, a copy of the title deeds, a Property Information Pack and other relevant documentation. Pre-contract enquiries are normally raised by the buyer’s solicitor once they receive the draft contract and supporting documentation. The buyer meanwhile will be finalising their mortgage application and property survey (if applicable).
What does ‘exchanging contracts’ mean?
Once the buyer has secured their mortgage offer (if applicable) and formalities have been completed, the seller and buyer will each sign a copy of the contract. The deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price, is forwarded to your solicitor and contracts are then formally exchanged.
Under English law, the exchange of contracts is the point at which a property transaction acquires legal force. Before the exchange, both the seller and the buyer are free to withdraw from the transaction at any time without penalty.
However, once contracts are exchanged, both parties are contractually obliged to complete the purchase/sale. The deposit payment is transferred, a date for completion is set (usually 2-4 weeks from the date of exchange) and confirmation is provided that all the legal paperwork is either already in place or is guaranteed to be in place before then. Should either party choose to pull out after contracts have been exchanged, there would be financial penalties.
What happens after contracts are exchanged?
After the Contracts of Sale have been signed and formally exchanged, and the deposit transferred, the countdown to moving home starts in earnest. If you are selling and buying a property at the same time, this will involve a great deal of organisation. We recommend that you start making arrangements in good time. Here are some of the key elements you need to address:
- Instructing a removal firm
- Transferring utility accounts to your new address
- Notifying people of your change of home address
- Redirecting postal deliveries
- Obtaining parking permits etc. for the new address
What happens on completion day?
Shortly before, or on the actual day of completion, the balance of the purchase price will be transferred to your solicitor’s account. When the property has been vacated and funds received, your solicitor will confirm that completion has taken place. This is normally around lunchtime but can be delayed by a few hours.
Completion is the final legal step in the property transaction. It is the day on which the buyer gets the keys to their new home and takes possession. Congratulations, your property is now sold.
- How much does an apartment sell for in London?
According to the most recent figures, most property sales in London in 2021/2022 involved apartments, which sold for an average price of £551,388. As you would expect, property prices vary widely across the capital and the achievable sale price for your property in 2023 depends on many specific factors.
- How easy is it to sell a house in London?
Selling your house in Fitzrovia, Covent Garden or Soho can be a lengthy process. The time it takes from putting the property on the market to receiving your first offer can vary hugely, depending on your home’s location, price and type of property. Houses and flats close to good schools or popular commuting routes, have room for a growing family and offer good value for money tend to be in greatest demand and should sell more quickly. Research from The Advisory suggests that it can take around 5-14 weeks for home sellers to receive an acceptable offer.
- What are the steps to selling a house or apartment in Central London?
The key first step to selling your home in London is to get your property listed with a good estate agent at a realistic asking price. We use our considerable residential property expertise to market your property to the right target audience and secure a qualified buyer. Once you have accepted an offer to buy, instruct a conveyancing solicitor to deal with the legal paperwork. The transaction becomes legally binding at the exchange of contracts, and your property will be officially sold at completion.
- What paperwork do you need to sell your home?
The sale of a property involves several documents, starting with proof of ID to comply with money laundering regulations. You will also need to supply the property title deeds or, where applicable, your share of freehold documentation. Then there’s the Property Information Pack and the EPC. Leasehold property sales require a Management Information Pack to be supplied by the managing agent. Finally, you must provide evidence of your mortgage details or other funding.
- Why does it take so long for my property to sell?
If your home is still on the market after about two months, there may be good reasons why it is proving hard to find a buyer. Review the property’s kerb appeal and general presentation to see if the problem can be fixed. Decluttering and a fresh coat of paint can often work wonders to help prospective buyers see the property’s appeal. Also, consider if your asking price is realistic and if your estate agent is doing all they can to achieve a sale for you. Sometimes, the answer lies in terminating the contract and instructing a different agent.
At Hudsons Property, we understand that selling your home can be a rather stressful process. To help make the journey a little bit easier, we’ve compiled some additional advice and tips for selling your home in London.
- Double-check your mortgage terms
Early in the process, check to see if your current mortgage has any hidden charges for early redemption, or if it is portable if you are buying onwards. Also ask your lender to confirm that any move up the property ladder is within your financial capabilities, since the mortgage market may have changed since you last moved home.
- Give your home a facelift
Give yourself the best chance of a quick sale at the maximum price by investing a little time and effort to get your property looking like a million dollars. If you haven’t decorated in a while, or the carpets are worn, now is an excellent time to refresh your home. Upgrade with a neutral décor that makes a great first impression to wow potential buyers.
- Get rid of the clutter
A clean and mess-free home looks bigger and more inviting, which is exactly the impression you want to create. Get rid of bulky furniture and fussy knick-knacks and opt for a calm colour scheme. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and try to emulate the lifestyle they may be looking for.
- Make sure the price is right
Pitching the property at the right price is key to achieving the results you are after in the chosen timeframe. Too high and your home may be languishing in the listings for months without an offer; too low and you will have sold it too cheaply. This is where the expertise and experience of your estate agent can add real value.
- Lower fees are not necessarily better
Your choice of estate agent should be guided by their professional competence and local knowledge, not simply by the fees they charge. Agents who lower their fees too easily may not be the right people to handle negotiations on achieving the best property sale price for you. A bargain-basement fee may hide a multitude of cutbacks that may compromise their marketing efforts for your home.
- Demand feedback from your estate agent
It can be an anxious time to have your house on the market. Your estate agent should communicate freely with updates and feedback to show how your property is progressing and how the viewings are going. If you don’t hear from them at least twice a week, or no viewings are being booked, maybe you should question your choice of agent.
- Let the estate agent handle the viewings
Take advantage of Hudsons’ offer of accompanied viewings. Without the homeowner present, buyers are given the opportunity to look around your home and offer honest and immediate feedback – good or bad. If there are any negative points that keep coming up, we can work with the information to address and resolve any issues.
- Keep communicating
Once you’ve accepted an offer and the conveyancing process is underway, effective communication between all parties is the key to keeping the momentum going. Your sale should be heading steadily towards the exchange of contracts with a minimum delay. To that end, it is advisable that you remain easily contactable to help achieve a smooth transaction.