Top 10 Questions Asked By First Time Sellers

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One of the hardest moves you make in the property market is when you progress from a first-time home buyer to a first-time home seller. The learning curve is steep and you have other people to consider – your buyers – in addition to yourselves.

The questions are many and the lessons are plenty. We want to help make this transition as easy as possible for you by addressing the following top 10 key questions we most often hear from first-time sellers.

1. Am I ready to move?

A fundamental but incredibly important question to seriously consider before making any decisions. Are you truly ready to move, and why? 

Moving home is no small undertaking. It impacts multiple areas of your life such as work, family life and well-being, so before diving head first and engaging with external parties, consider the knock-on effect of this event and what you aim to gain from it in the end, besides from the obvious.

Assess whether now is the right time to commit to the process and see it through to completion. Once you know the answers to this then you will find your unwavering motivation to progress your sale.

2. Can I afford to move home?

There’s no denying that property is largely a numbers game. You cannot enter the market looking to buy or sell without considering the enormity of the financial outlay that comes with the process. Any experienced property professional, and experienced homeowner will advise that preparation is key – one of the basic tasks to tick off your list is to ensure that you have the funds to fuel a move and can sustainably afford the property change you are about to make. 

You can do this in a number of ways but make sure that you go beyond a simple Google search concerning affordability!

  • Start by getting your personal finance in order and ensuring you have a healthy credit score
  • Next, organise a property valuation to ascertain the value of your property
  • Once you have ticked off the first two, get in touch with a mortgage advisor – they will be able to assess your equity and affordability to move

3. Are there any financial penalties to be aware of?

Short answer: yes.

If you are tied into a fixed term mortgage there is a penalty charge when you break out of the term. Make sure you know what this is and factor it into your moving budget.

As mentioned previously, employing a reputable mortgage advisor will be able to factor this in to an affordability assessment. For independent mortgage advice, we can put you in touch with highly reputable mortgage and protection advisors.

4. What are the local market conditions like?

When you work with a reputable local estate agency that knows the market and area inside and out, this can certainly work to your advantage. They should be able to advise you on things such as whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market and therefore help to maximise your profits and minimise the time your home is on the market for. Get in touch today to speak to a member of the team.

It’s important to acknowledge and appreciate how the market fluctuates in response to demand and economic variances. A reputable agent will take this into consideration when managing clients and new listings. In contrast to an online agent, a local professional will be able to apply their specific local knowledge to the economic principles and deliver you a more relevant and reliable instruction.

5. Should I sell my home before finding a new one or vice versa?

Much like asking what came first – the chicken or egg? We appreciate it’s a catch 22 conundrum but based on our experience we recommend that you sell first, and here’s why…

If you find a property you’re desperate to buy, by the time you’ve found the right agent, signed the terms, had your photographs taken and agreed a marketing strategy, launched your property and found the right buyer, the property you want will likely be gone. Market first. The right buyer will wait for you to find your next move. We highly recommend that you accept an offer on your own property before committing to purchasing another.

6. What preparation do I need to do ahead of moving?

This is an open-ended question that we will delve further into in an up-coming blog topic. In a nutshell, prepare as much as you can to increase your knowledge and understanding of your situation, organise all of your key and relevant paperwork, establish a clear budget, secure a mortgage in principle and identify which estate agency best aligns with your values and can truly support you with all of your moving needs within your required timescales.

At the front-end of your moving process, it is a good idea to communicate your buying intentions to your agent so they can get a head start on looking for your new home.

7. How do I prepare my home for market?

There’s a lot that you can do to prepare your home before a sale, even before you get in touch with anyone to value your property. 

Here are our top tips to get you started:

  • Start by decluttering to showcase the maximum space available in your property. Buyers are always pleased to see clear space and storage possibilities. 
  • Give your home a thorough deep-clean, inside and out. There is extraordinary value in amplifying kerb appeal of a property – after all you want to entice people to step inside your home rather than run away from a ghastly and unkempt exterior. Set standards high from the moment they are outside.
  • Depersonalise – this helps potential buyers envisage themselves living in the property rather than viewing it as your home.
  • Fix small issues such as leaky taps, scuff marks on walls, and peeling wallpaper. Small repairs that make a big difference and don’t add to the mental list overwhelming prospective buyers. If you can make a buyer’s life easier at little to no cost to yourself you’ll appear far more attractive than other sellers.

8. Who should I work with?

There is no higher value than a personal recommendation. When you are looking to work with estate agents, mortgage brokers, solicitors and other professionals it is always worth asking friends and family for their experiences and recommendations. In addition to this, when it comes to choosing a property expert, make sure you work with people who know the area you are looking to move to and from, have experience buying and selling properties like your own, and ensure that the people you work with are people you are comfortable speaking with and trust their opinions. Buying and selling property is a big life event and you want to feel confident and safe in the hands of the team you are working with.

9. Is there anything I need to disclose to my buyers?

As part of the process you will be required to complete a TA6 (Property Information) form which will identify anything that’s wrong with the property. Generally speaking, it’s best practice to carry out any required repair work prior to selling your property. Consider being on the receiving end of your property and what you would expect, like or dislike knowing about a property concerning defects and required repair works. Placing yourself in the buyer’s shoes will help you make some decisions concerning the repairs you are prepared to carry out prior to the sale.

10. What can I do to make my sale stand out?

This is one of the most important and popular questions because it’s essentially the golden ticket that speeds up and secures your sale. A guaranteed benefit to any potential buyers is engaging with a seller who is organised, available to communicate efficiently and goes the extra mile. Little touches such as providing specific information about the property that is not immediately apparent such as who installed the kitchen, details and guarantees on any work that has been done to the property, what insulation is in place, when the boiler was last serviced, and so on. All of this demonstrates an organised, and reliable seller that will in turn increase buyer confidence moving forwards.

Sims Williams is an estate and letting agent covering Arundel, Bognor Regis, Chichester and The Six Villages. If you have been considering investing via any of these schemes and would like to discuss the available properties that are available to you in the current market please do get in touch.

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What our clients say

Great service

Sims Williams were great with me right from the start of the process through to completion. They were patient in explaining things to me and demystifying some of the jargon as a first time buyer. They were always happy to go the extra mile and add nice touches, such as offering to visit the property to check the kitchen appliances on my behalf when away and giving me a thoughtful complimentary gift on completion. But most importantly they were efficient and got things done. I'd have no hesitation in recommending them and Megan who was in charge of my move was terrific.
Mr Frogley - Buyer -

Would definitely recommend!

I had been with another agent for quite a long time and was being messed around. When I decided to instruct Sims Williams they got very quick results and I had accepted an asking price offer3 days later. Linda and Louise were very proactive and efficient and I would highly recommend them.
Daphne - Vendor - Mar 12th, 2021

Letting a property

We dealt with Jo Mallett who was extremely professional, courteous and understating. We did not have time to collect the keys from the Chichester office so Jo drove to Arundel. I’d give your company a five star review
Laura - Tenant - May 1st, 2022

Excellent Service

Richard and all the girls in the Walberton office provided an amazing service, supported me through various setbacks, and always remained positive about the eventual very successful outcome. The viewings went smoothly, the feedback was good, and everyone in the office worked as a team to make the sale a success.
Susan Sargeant - Vendor - Oct 14th, 2022

Great Service

Having made the big decision to purchase a holiday rental home we can say that Sims Williams helped make the process extremely easy having received the keys within a month of us first viewing! A special mention goes to Tiffany who offered a wealth of local knowledge and information at our initial viewing and helped us make the decision to purchase. Everyone in the office was friendly and accommodating throughout the process and I would certainly not hesitate in recommending them. Thank you!
Katie - Buyer - Aug 2nd, 2021

Seamless from beginning to end!

Selling our parents house was a daunting prospect so we have to thank the team at the Sims Williams Bognor Office who really did make it as pain free as it could possibly be! From the valuation to the open day and right through the sales process, John and his team kept us informed and nothing was too much trouble. Having bought and sold property before, we both know that’s not always the case and, in this instance where we were acting on behalf of family, it was doubly important to get it right so we can’t thank John and his team enough enough for their professionalism and help. We would happily recommend their service to anyone looking for that same support. Thank you!
Carol- Vendor - Jun 13th, 2022


Have dealt with Sims Williams before when buying my house and it all went well. So, when it came to selling a property, I knew I'd get the same professional (but human!) service. Many thanks to the team in the Walberton branch for getting things over the line. Special thanks to Lin who is great and such a valuable asset to the process/team. Cheers.
Mr H - Vendor - Dec 10th, 2020

Thank you for a great service!

I have recently let two properties through Sims Williams and have found the level of service to be excellent. Both properties achieved a high level of rent and the professionalism of the team at Sims Williams I found to be first class! I would thoroughly recommend landlords to use Sims Williams as their letting agent.
Michael - Landlord - Feb 1st, 2022

Couldn't of been happier with the team

John and all the team were fantastic so helpful all throughout the sale highly recommend
Mr & Mrs Haimes- Vendor - Aug 12th, 2022

Excellent Service

Congratulations to Mike and his team in Chichester. Good local knowledge supported by a professional sales team resulted in a successful sale.
Mr Bailey - Vendor - Oct 17th, 2022