What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
Sellers of residential property in England & Wales, and the estate agents acting on their behalf in marketing the property will be required to provide prospective buyers with a copy of a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
. The EPC provides detailed analysis about the energy efficiency of the property, along with information about its CO2 impact. It also contains information regarding improvements and measures that could be taken to improve the energy efficiency of the property. The EPC contains coloured energy information graphs, rather like those found on the front of new fridges and other domestic appliances.
Domestic Energy Assessors will award the property an energy rating based on current energy performance together with the potential rating the property could achieve if it were to be improved to current best standards. More information about EPC graphs that you will find displayed on Rightmove by estate agents is given below.
Free energy efficiency report
To find out how energy efficient your home is, the Energy Saving Trust can provide you with a free, personalised report showing you how much energy and money you can save in your home. It has been shown that an average household could save up to £300 per year on energy bills and reduce around two tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by making energy improvements.
Please note that the report from the Energy Saving Trust is NOT an EPC. Results may differ from the actual rating given to your home by a Domestic Energy Assessor.
Want to make your home more energy efficient?
The Energy Saving Trust has plenty of suggestions for quick and easy changes you can make to your home today! You can visit their website or check out the useful guide below to see how these changes can save you money on your energy bills.
Estate Agents are generally required to make available to prospective buyers the Energy Performance rating graphs that are contained within the EPC, at the point that the agent provides the buyer with detailed property particulars.
These graphs offer valuable information as to the current and potential energy efficiency of the home. The graphs comprise two elements; an Energy Efficiency Rating and an Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating.
The graphs will look similar to those below (actual image may vary).
When printing out information about properties which you have found on Rightmove, you are advised to make sure that you also print the graphs where these are available.
Selling your House
Being tidy is an obvious, and easy starter. If your house looks clean and tidy it will create a much better impression than if it is untidy or dirty. Even though all your things will be moved when the new buyer moves in, first impressions do count. This includes the outside as well! People often make a decision before they even get in the house.
Make sure all the decorating is tidy and complete. There is no need to redecorate, just make sure all paint looks good etc. This includes the outside as well! People often make a decision before they even get in the house. If people are put off before they even get in the house, then everyone is just wasting time. Make sure the front of the house is clean, paint is in good condition and the grass is cut. Even a good car outside can impress a prospective buyer subconsciously.
It is best to store away, out of sight, as much 'clutter' as possible. Think of good storage spaces, such as boxes under the bed. This should make the house feel larger, if lots of space is not taken up by unnecessary junk.
The smell of a property can often affect the buyer subconsciously. If the property is musty this can put a buyer off the property easily - ensure that your house is well aired. If there is a homely smell of flowers or cakes baking, this can make a buyer feel much more at home, and already mentally moving in.
It seems obvious, but always be very hospitable to people visiting your house. Offer them a cup of coffee or tea, ask them if they found the house ok, and offer any information they ask about. It can even be worth having a plan for how to greet visitors, but not too detailed as you don’t want to sound like you are reading a script!
I've heard you should bake a cake or brew coffee when potential buyers are visiting. Is this true?
It may sound over the top, but the smell of a house is one of the first things that a potential buyer experiences when they enter your house. A good homely smell immediately creates a good impression in their mind, but a musty or dank smell will immediately make a bad impression which may be difficult to shift, even with a house perfect in every other aspect. It doesn’t take too much effort, so try to create a good aroma in your home before visitors arrive. Make sure your house is well aired to prevent any mustiness, and use pot pourri or the two ideas mentioned above to give your house a positive aroma.
How early should I accept an offer?
It may take you by surprise, but you should be prepared to receive an early offer. You will have to decide whether you should take this offer because it is good, or reject it if you think your property could be popular and make more than the asking price. You may have been lucky and quickly found the one person that really wants your house, or they may be the first of many who might be interested in your house. It may be tempting to turn down an early offer to see if you can raise more money, but if you think the offer is good, and acceptable to you then it is best to accept it.
Should I be at the house when the estate agent shows people around?
On a first visit by a potential buyer it may be best to leave the estate agent to show them around the house, so they can get a good impression of the house without too many distractions. If you don't want to leave the house, and then make sure the buyer has the ability to view the house at their own pleasure. On any future visits they may want to ask you questions about the local area, neighbours etc so you should make sure you are available to answer them.
Estate Agent fees can be a big part of selling your house - with this in mind it is a good idea to choose your estate agent carefully. Try to get recommendations from people you know that have moved house recently.
Estate agents do three main things for their fee:
Choosing an agent local to the house you are selling is important. People looking to buy a house will naturally look in estate agents in the area they wish to buy. Choose an agent in your nearest town or city.
- They will estimate a value for your house. The value of your house is what someone is willing to pay for it. The estate agent should be able to make a good estimation of this when they value your house.
- They advertise your house and promote it to potential buyers. This is the main part of the role of an estate agent - exposing your house to the buying public.
- Act as negotiators. The estate agent acts as a go-between in the process of bidding for a house. The estate agent passes on bids to the seller, and returns the response from the seller to the buyer.
When choosing an estate agent, it is tempting to choose the one that values your house highest - but try not to do this. Your house is not worth what the estate agent values it at; it is worth what a buyer is willing to pay.
When you sign up with an estate agent, you will be signing up for a specific time period. Make sure you read the small print of the contract. If you are not prepared to sign up for the amount of time specified, make sure that you decide what time period the contract has before you sign it.
If possible, try to negotiate the fee you pay the estate agent so that it is dependent on the final selling price of the house. I.e. if the house sells for full value, then pay the full fee; but if the house sells for less than the asking price, then the fee of the agent is reduced.
It is important to always remember that the estate agent is working for you. You are paying them, so if they won’t do what you want them to, then there will always be another estate agent who might.
Guide to Moving
Make sure you have all the materials you need, to pack away your entire belongings. Have plenty of boxes of various sizes, bubble wrap, old newspaper, scissors, thick pens, sticky tape, bin bags, and some more boxes.
Start early to give yourself plenty of time. Packing will inevitably take longer than you think. There might hold ups somewhere, and it’s the final bit of packing up every last item that takes a surprising amount of time. You naturally start with the easiest bits and it seems to be going quickly, until you get down to the more time consuming parts.
It is best to work downwards when packing. Start at the top, packing one room at a time. Completely a whole room will be rewarding, spur you on, but having half packed boxes all over the house will just wear you down.
Ensure that all boxes that contain fragile items are clearly labelled. It is best to have a universal sticker that goes the top of all fragile boxes, this way it is quick and easy for anyone to see.
The number of these that you have will surprise you, but the tangle they can get in will most certainly frustrate you! Make sure all cables are neatly coiled up with a zip tie or elastic band.
Use a box or safe for all important documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, bank account details, tax forms etc. Don’t put anything non important in it - think, if you can buy it in a shop, it doesn’t need to go in there. It is often best to have 1 person responsible for this box so there is less chance of it getting misplaced.
Guide to Removal Firms
Your first decision is whether to go with a professional remover or the DIY route. Unless you have very few possessions, we recommend you go with the professional option - you don’t want any more stress than necessary on the day of the move.
Most people need to use a professional remover, so ask around friends to see if they recommend anyone. Whichever company you do choose, make sure they are a member of the British Association of Removers: www.bar.co.uk.
Get several quotes from removal companies before you move, and make sure they have a good idea of how much you need moving - you don’t want the removers to have any surprises on the day of the move. Make sure you tell them clearly the date and time you want to move, as well as the addresses of both properties.
The DIY Option
You should only attempt a DIY move if you have very few possessions and preferably not such a tight time limit on your move. For example moving out of your parent’s home, you are unlikely to have much bulky furniture, and can take your time doing the move, as you don’t need to have everything out of your house the same day. If you do go for DIY, it is often cheaper to hire a van at a weekend. Make sure you choose an appropriately sized van - too small will involve lots of trips, while too big will make driving and parking more difficult.
If you are moving to a property that is already empty, discuss with the owner whether it would be possible to move some items in before the day of completion. Remember though that your insurance may not be valid before the day of completion. It is also a good plan to have an essentials pack. Put in it anything that is essential to moving house.