FAQs

Agency types

There are different ways to instruct an estate agent, the most popular ones are:

Sole agency – this is where one estate agent acts to sell your property, you cannot instruct anymore than the one estate agent under this agency type.

Multiple agency – this is where you can have 2 or more different estate agencies to market your property and the estate agent to agree the sale will claim all of the commission on a “winner takes all” basis

Joint agency – this is where you have an agreement with multiple companies but no more than the agreed firms, normally 2 companies. The commission is usually shared between the companies.

Energy performance certificate (EPC)

An EPC assesses the energy rating of a property from A-G. An EPC must be received for a property within 28 days of marketing. Your estate agent can usually arrange this for you.

Conveyancing

This is the word used to describe the work that solicitors undertake when dealing with property transactions, it contains the following:

Seller's solicitor

Obtains the title deeds, prepares draft contract, sends all relevant paperwork, including the draft contract, fixtures and fittings forms to your buyers solicitors, this confirms what’s being included within the sale.

Buyer's solicitor

Checks over all relevant documents, including draft contract and fixtures and fitting forms, then raises any enquiries relating to the contract and then applies for any necessary searches including the local authority search. Obtains the buyers funds, e.g. deposit and mortgage monies, then transfers the deposit on exchange and the balance on completion to your solicitor Registers the buyer as the new owner with land registry

Estate agent commission

Normally an estate agents commission fee is calculated as a percentage (%) of the sale price achieved plus vat at the current rate. If you instruct an estate agent on a Sole agency basis it will normally be a lower fee than on a multiple or joint agency. Beware of fixed fees because many times they can be set too high.

Legal fees

Legal fees can vary, it is always good to do some research but also consider recommended legal firms whether from your estate agent of from people you know as this is a good way to ensure that they are a good company to use, but beware of cheaper legal firms, do not underestimate how important an efficient solicitor can be. Merrys can recommend a number of excellent local companies.

Stamp duty

As a seller you do not have to pay stamp duty on your sale but as a buyer you will have to pay it, it’s a percentage of the asking price, to confirm the exact amount and for further info please visit www.direct.gov.uk and search stamp duty

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If you’re a buyer or renter going on viewings:

You can still go and view properties that you’ve had your eye on, but you must follow our simple guidance to ensure your viewing goes as smoothly and as safely as possible:

Protecting yourself and those in the property you’re viewing

Whether it’s on your way to a viewing, or once you get there, remember these three key pieces of advice from the government:

• Maintain a 2m distance from anyone you aren’t living with – we know this can be tough at times, but it’s possible. If you ever forget what 2m looks like, imagine taking two long strides, or visualising the height of your front door!

• Wash your hands regularly (and thoroughly) and avoid touching your face – we’ve all got the dry hands to prove it, but this remains one of the most important pieces of guidance right now to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

• Minimise contact with surfaces outside of your home – this can be hard as we touch so many things throughout the day, often without thinking about it. Common things include door handles, lift buttons and ‘stop’ buttons on the bus.

Why not start with an online viewing, if available?

You’ll still need to view the property in person, before being able to proceed with an offer, but it’s a great place to start. Particularly helpful if you’re not entirely sure whether it’s suitable for you, it’s also one less journey you’ll need to make. If you’d still like the view the property, the agent will be pleased to know you’re serious.

Before the viewing

In line with government guidance, anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms should be staying at home, to help prevent further spread of the disease.

To give confidence to all parties present at the viewing that this guidance is being followed, and to help the agent manage the viewing in the most efficient way possible, you should be asked to complete a handful of questions before your viewing such as:

• Has anyone in your household had COVID-19?

• Has anyone in your household displayed COVID-19 symptoms or not yet completed a required period of household self-isolation?

• Are you in the high-risk category?

The current owner, or tenants, of the property you’re going to view will have also completed these questions, as will the agent if they’ll be present on the viewing, so don’t be afraid to check with the agent on this if it’s a concern.

We would also recommend asking the agent as many questions as possible before the viewing, to help save time on the viewing itself.

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