There are fees and expenses involved in selling a home. These can be expensive, especially if you are buying a new home at the same time. Most aren't refundable if the sale falls through.
Estate agent fees
If you are selling your home through an estate agent, you will have to pay commission and fees. You may also have to pay if you switch to a new estate agent.
You will have to pay fees and other expenses for the legal work involved in selling a property. These can be expensive, and probably won't be refunded if the sale falls through. If you are buying somewhere else at the same time, you will also need money for the legal work involved in buying.
Energy Performance Certificates
All house sellers must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) free to any prospective buyer before entering into a contract for sale.
The EPC, which is valid for 10 years, is issued by an energy assessor who must be a member of an accredited scheme approved by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
A certificate is required by law and the penalty for not providing one can be as much as £5000. For more information about getting an EPC see the DFP website .
You will be responsible for all the costs involved if your home has been repossessed and is being sold to repay the money you owe. These costs are usually added to your mortgage debt and your lender recovers the cost when your home is sold.
You are responsible for the mortgage payments until the sale is completed and may still have debts after the property is sold.
Your buyer may want you to carry out repairs before contracts are exchanged. Minor repairs can be relatively cheap, but some problems can be very expensive. You may have to accept a lower price if you don't want to carry out the repairs.
Mortgage redemption fees
Some mortgage lenders will charge a penalty fee if you pay off your mortgage early. This could be as much as four per cent of your outstanding mortgage. You won't usually have to pay it if you are buying another property with a mortgage from the same lender. Your mortgage agreement should detail penalties for ending your mortgage early.
You may need to hire a van or a removal company to move your belongings into your new home. You will have to pay the final utility bills at your old address and may have to pay for services to be connected in your new home. You normally have to pay rent in advance and a deposit if you are renting privately.
If you buy your Housing Executive or housing association home through the 'House Sales Scheme', you receive a discount on the value of your home. You normally have to pay back some of the discount if your home is sold, or repossessed, within the first three years:
- if it happens within one year, you have to pay it all back,
- if it happens within two years, you have to pay back two thirds,
- if it happens within three years, you have to pay back one third.
If you buy your home through co-ownership you will have to share the proceeds from the sale with the Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association. You get the same percentage of the value of the property that you own.
For example, if you bought 50% of the property, and later bought an additional 25%, you get 75% of the sale price. The Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association gets back the 25% that it still owns.
Buying the freehold
It may be difficult to find a buyer if your lease has a short time left to run. You may be able to buy the freehold to make your property more attractive to potential buyers.
You are usually able to buy out the ground rent of a house. You may be able to purchase the freehold of a flat but you will have to discuss this with your freeholder.
You won't be able to automatically buy out the ground rent of your property if you own:
- a commercial property,
- there is less than 50 years of your lease to run,
- a National Trust property,
- you bought your home through co-ownership.
You must apply to the Land Registry of Northern Ireland. You can usually buy the freehold for nine times your annual ground rent.
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