You'll almost certainly have heard the phrase 'first-time buyer' bandied about when talking about property.
Indeed, you were one once!
But it's easy to forget that selling a property for the first time can spark the same kind of uncertain emotions as buying one.
In this guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about the process of selling a house and provide some tips along the way...
Work out your financesSo, you've decided to sell for the first time.
Once that decision is made, you'll need to take a look at your finances.
Look at your mortgage and agreement to see how much remains on your loan and if there are any early repayment penalties.
Then work out how much you could be able to borrow for your next property, if you are buying.
Doing so will enable you to get an idea of how much you need to sell your property for to cover your liabilities and move on to your next property.
Consider other costsWhen budgeting for any kind of house purchase or sale, you'll need to consider the other costs involved in moving.
When selling, additional costs could include:
* Estate agent fees
* Solicitor / conveyancer fees
* Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) renewal
All of these add up and can eat into your deposit or equity from your property sale, so make sure you are on top of them before you start.
Consider rentingSometimes, it can be beneficial to take stock of the market before bidding to buy your next property.
And it's certainly less stressful to not be in a long chain of buyers and sellers!
Consider renting a property for a short period of time after you sell your home, which will give you more time to find your next property and could make your sale easier and less stressful.
You'll also be a chain-free buyer when you do come to purchase your next property, which will make you attractive to sellers and could give you room for negotiation on any asking price.
Choose an estate agentThis is one of the most important decisions you'll make when selling your home for the first time.
A good estate agent can be the difference between a quick sale or a long, drawn out and frustrating process.
It can even be the difference between selling your property or not.
Speak to family and friends for recommendations and get online to digest reviews of all the major agents in your area.
Smart questions to ask your estate agent when selling your propertyBefore deciding on an agent to help sell your property, you should consider asking some key questions about their history and their service.
A pro-active and passionate estate agent is vital if you are looking for a quick sale, so it's important to do your due diligence before signing up to a sole agency agreement.
Ask each agent you speak to (and you should speak to at least three) the following:
1. What are your fees?
2. Are there any other costs, such as boards, photos, floor plans?
3. What kind of contract will you offer? Sole agency, or multiple agency?
4. How long will I be tied into a sole agency contract?
5. How will you market my property?
6. How long do you generally take to sell a property like mine?
7. Which redress scheme are you a member of?
Decide your asking priceIf you choose the right agent, their valuation of your property should work for you and your finances but also be achievable from a market perspective.
While it's always tempting to go with the biggest valuation, it's not always the most proactive.
Ultimately, the decision on your property's asking price lies with you and your agent is there to guide you.
Make sure you consider that buyers will almost certainly make an offer below your asking price - whatever that is.
Essentially, you need to think through your core aims from your sale. If moving quickly is your primary goal, consider a more realistic asking price.
If you need to achieve a certain price to take your next step on the property ladder and are happy to sit through a potentially longer marketing process, then consider a top valuation.
Get your property ready for the market'Staging' your property is key when selling.
But to do so effectively, you need to put yourselves in the shoes of your potential buyers.
Are you likely to sell to a family, or perhaps a professional couple?
Or is your home likely to attract a single professional?
Stage your home in a way that will be attractive to whoever you think you buyer will be.
Keep it tidy and free of clutter and fix anything that needs fixing. Also consider your property's appearance from the outside.
Buyers make up their minds quickly and first impressions really do count.
Choose a solicitorLike an estate agent, choosing the right solicitor can be the difference between a quick sale and a painful, slow process.
Again, seek recommendations from family and friends and take a look at reviews online.
A solicitor's job is never easy - they are often at the mercy of overworked local authorities but left to bear the brunt of buyer and seller frustrations.
A good solicitor, though, will be one that doesn't overload themselves with cases - which might not always be the cheapest option.
Speak to at least three firms and weigh up the pros and cons of each in terms of costs.
Be organised with paperworkWhen selling your home, you'll need to have access to a whole host of paperwork so make sure you have everything in order and to hand as soon as your property hits the market.
Offers can come when you least expect them so being prepared is key.
And this will help once the sale process is under way as providing documentation when needed goes a long way towards helping that process run smoothly.
Consider offers carefullyReceiving an offer is a big moment for any seller.
And you should consider any offer - no matter how insulting it might seem!
Think again about your needs from selling your home before rejecting any offer outright, but if you are certain an offer won't work for you, politely decline it through your estate agent.
If you are happy with an offer, let your agent know and they will tell the buyer it has been formally accepted.
Depending on where the offer sits against your asking price, you may wish to take the property off the market (buyers will usually request this).
But if the offer is at the lower end of what you were hoping for, you can tell the buyer that the property will remain on the open market and that you could accept a higher offer should one come in from another buyer.
Draft contractsOnce you have accepted an offer, solicitors on your side and your buyers will draw up draft contracts.
You should think about the things you want to include in the sale, like any white goods or fixtures and fittings, as this detail will all be included in your contract of sale.
Exchange of contractsThis is the point your sale becomes legally binding, so it's a big moment for both buyer and seller.
However, it also means there's no going back - at least, not without legal action and huge costs.
Remember, you are responsible for your property until the sale completes, so keep things like buildings insurance policies running until your completion date.
Moving dayThis can be stressful if both parties move out and then in on the same day.
Consider moving out a few days before your completion date if possible. If you are moving into a rented property, this is more likely to be possible, but even a couple of nights in a hotel with your belongings in storage can mean a less hectic move into your new property.
Make sure your property is left in the condition stipulated in the contract with all agreed fixtures and fittings left behind.
Once all monies have been transferred and your mortgage redeemed, your estate agent will hand over the keys to your buyer.