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Property Selling Guide

If you’re thinking about selling your home, take time to read our guide and find out what happens during the sales process and how we can help you.

First Steps

You will want to know the value of your home and although you may have some idea, we offer a free valuation service supplied by our team of property experts who are familiar with the current market situation and trends affecting house prices in Kent and East Sussex.

They’ll take a number of factors into account to make a valuation. These include, current and anticipated demand, prices asked and achieved for similar homes close to your own and the proximity of transport, shops and schools.

If you’re happy with the valuation, we’ll market your home and advise on appointing a solicitor if you don’t already have one, to handle the legal side of the sale. We will also help with any difficult negotiations, deal with chains and offer other valuable advice along the way.

How Much Is This Going To Cost Me?

At Doorknobs the valuation of your property is free. You only pay commission when we successfully sell your home and throughout the process you’ll be able to rely on experts dedicated to sales.

We are known for being pragmatic with the advice we give. For example, another agent may inflate the value of your home giving you a nice warm feeling, but if you accept their valuation your home could remain unsold for many months. This means that if you need to sell quickly because your work is taking you to another area, or because you have fallen in love with another property you want to move into, the inflated price will delay your move and you could miss out on the purchase of a home you really like.
Preparing Your Home For Sale

Many people find it difficult to be critical about the condition of their home simply because they are so familiar with it. This means they ignore simple things such as chipped paint, squeaky doors and leaky taps that can be off-putting to buyers. So before putting your home on the market, take a cold hard look at it and check what decoration and cleaning is required before selling. It’s often worth getting a second opinion from an impartial friend and we’re always happy to give you an opinion ourselves.

For hints and tips on preparing your home for sale read the Selling Tips, Hints & Advice page. It’s full of tried-and-tested advice that will give your home an immediate face-lift, increase the valuation and make it quicker and easier to sell. If you’re too busy to take care of this yourself, we can advise you on how much to spend before the law of diminishing returns kicks in and organise a professional spring-clean of your property, including kitchen and oven cleaning, steam cleaning of carpets and redecorating if necessary.

Conducting a Property Viewing

Our usual hours for a prospective buyer to view your home are 10am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 3pm on Saturdays. Subject to your approval, we can arrange viewings outside of these times, if for example the buyer is unable to visit during the daytime.

We normally conduct property viewings, and this is important if you are away from home, at work during the day or old and infirm. We keep a set of keys and will only access the property with permission. Please make sure you let us have keys or combinations to open windows, internal doors and garage, if you have one.

Before a viewing, make sure the house is freshly aired and there are no nasty cooking smells or pet odours. Turn the TV off and have a quick tidy up. For example are there newspapers and books on floors and crockery on draining boards?

Always allow time for viewers to discuss the property alone or out of earshot before they leave. Invite them to take a second look around the whole of the house or particular rooms. Please resist the temptation to ask viewers if they like your home, they may spontaneously tell you and if so that’s fine, but it makes it easier to negotiate if we handle feedback until matters progress to an offer.

How Long Will It Take To Find A Buyer?

Market demand, the desirability of your property and sometimes the time of year will affect the time it takes to find a buyer. This can take anything from a few days to several months. We start off by matching your home with our list of prospective buyers, we then phone them and also send them property details.

We also add your property to our website with a full description and photographs and advertise in local newspapers when appropriate. We will also place a property board outside your home unless specifically asked not to do so.

Receiving an Offer

We’ll call you to let you know as soon as a prospective buyer has made an offer and also write to you to confirm this. The offer will be subject to a contract being signed and until this is done, there are no legal obligations on either side.

Sometimes the prospective buyer will want to negotiate on price and we will advise you on how to handle this giving you the benefit of our expertise and local knowledge of prices and supply and demand to help you.

Accepting an Offer

Even though you are happy to accept an offer, don’t rush into taking your home off the market. Sales do fall through for any number of reasons, including the buyer being unreasonable if trying to negotiate a better price or them finding an alternative property.

Your solicitor will need to prepare a Contract of Sale. This will then be sent to the buyer’s solicitor who will make enquiries, complete a satisfactory local search, etc. before going ahead to Exchange of Contracts.

Exchange of Contracts

To prepare a Contract of Sale, your solicitor will need certain documents from you. Sometimes it can take time to get these together, so it’s a good idea to obtain them in advance and put them together in a file. We will remind you about this.

If your property is freehold, you will require:
  • Evidence that your last Council Tax has been paid
  • Gas safety check certificates
  • Guarantees and warranties related to damp-proofing, etc.
  • NHBC certificates if applicable
  • Paid utility bills
  • Planning and Building Regulations approvals for extensions etc.
  • Title documents (from you or your mortgage lender)
If your property is leasehold the documents will be as above, except:
  • Leasehold title deeds will replace title documents
  • History of ground rent payments
  • History of service charge payments
The draft Contract of Sale, a copy of the title deeds (if the property is leasehold; a copy of the lease) will then be sent to the buyer’s solicitor. They will check these and may ask questions about them.

When the buyer’s solicitor has completed a satisfactory local search and, if required, a copy of the buyers mortgage offer, the contract will be signed and a deposit cheque will be sent by the buyer to your solicitor. Exchange of contracts can then take place and the transaction becomes legally binding.

If you are not moving in immediately, make sure that you have Building Insurance as the property is now owned by you.


The final stage of the sale usually takes place between two to four weeks following Exchange. The buyer’s solicitor hands over the remainder of the purchase money to your solicitor who will pay your Mortgage lender, if there has been a mortgage on the property. Both legal fees and our fees come due for payment at this time.

Other Things to Do

Find and leave any manuals or operating instructions for appliances you may be leaving in your kitchen, together with those for the central heating.
  • Leave a note about the day(s) for refuse and recycling collections and what can be recycled.
  • Arrange to redirect your post, you can now do this online with the Royal Mail
  • Contact gas, electricity, phone, broadband suppliers and your local council about new owners taking over accounts. Take meter readings before you vacate the property.
Please read our Jargon Guide if there are any terms used here with which you are unfamiliar.
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