Beam Estate Agents

Selling Process

Get your property valued

Get your property valued

Now you may or may not be surprised to learn that establishing the value of your property, at any given time, isn’t as simple as ringing a few estate agents and going with the one who gives you the highest valuation!

A professional estate agent will consider, the location, the size, the condition, the floorplan, the number of similar properties that are currently for sale, the prices they are selling for, and whether it’s currently a ‘buyers’ or ‘sellers’ market, in arriving at a valuation figure for you.

According to TV property expert Henry Pryor, sellers often make the mistake of believing it makes sense to also consider; the price they originally paid for their property, what they’ve spent on doing it up, what their friends or family believe it’s worth, or worst of all, what an overzealous estate agent who habitually over values properties because they desperately need stock to sell, tells them it’s worth.

He believes taking these factors into account is a mistake for the simple reason that… Buyers aren’t interested in them… And they are the ones who are paying!

With all this in mind, if you’re going to put your property on the market we recommend you get three different estate agents to give you a valuation. Ask each agent to explain the facts they’re using to underpin their valuation. Listen to them all carefully and then if you’re serious about selling, go with the valuation that fits the facts

Selecting an estate agent you can trust

Selecting an estate agent you can trust

According to the website of the consumer protection organisation ‘Which’ there are a number of key components to consider when choosing an estate agent, but their headline is… “Beware of overvaluations”

Their advice continues as follows:

“It's an estate agent's job to find the best price for your house. However, our research, published in February 2017, found huge discrepancies in performance in this area.

We compared hundreds of thousands of listings and sales records to see which properties had to be reduced by more than 5% in order to sell, which we classified as 'heavily reduced' in price. On average, the properties that were heavily reduced went on the market for £5,000 more than all other properties - but ended up being sold for £20,000 less!

What's more, properties that were heavily reduced ended up taking an extra 64 days to sell compared to other properties.

Selecting the perfect estate agent to represent your interest is most important. Here’s a list of the qualities you should be looking for.

  • Sound local knowledge.
  • Well trained highly motivated staff.
  • Clearly written and fair terms of business.
  • A competitive fee structure.
  • And finally a proven history of sealing deals.

The final piece of advice that ‘Which’ gives is… The agent that gives you the highest valuation is not always the best for you!”

At Beam we’re well known for our ethical approach and customer service so you won’t be surprised to hear that we agree everything ‘Which’ says. That’s why we’re the estate agents you can trust.

Energy performance, certificates photos, and floorplans

Energy performance, certificates photos, and floorplans

Many agents charge extra for providing these essential tools for your, but the good news is that at Beam they come as standard as part of our market leading all-inclusive service.

It’s important to understand that while having professional photographs and a floorplan are not mandatory, as of August 2007, it became a legal requirement that properties being put on the market must have a valid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and the details should be displayed on all particulars.

TOP TIP – The EPC doesn’t have to be present at the time the property goes onto the market but it should be within 28 days of the property going ‘live’. There is currently no minimum EPC rating required for the sale of a property, unlike renting when the property. An EPC is required for the transaction to be completed when selling - therefore this includes transferring a property from a pension fund or passing property to your relatives etc, so even if you are arranging a ‘private sale’ you will need an EPC.

Marketing your property

Marketing your property

Most people do start their property search online which is why Beam maximises your chances of getting those first key searches, by using ALL the major property portals including RIGHTMOVE, ONTHEMARKET, ZOOPLA and PRIMELOCATION as well as a number of secondary property websites as well as Facebook marketplace... And our own global website,-

Your property will also be viewed by potential buyers on our fully accessible 24/7 touchscreen in the front window of our town centre office.

Having a fully staffed town centre office is also key to successful selling, even in this internet driven age. In coastal and rural areas like Skegness and Lincolnshire as a whole, we still find an awful lot of buyers much prefer to actually come into the office, to sit down and have a meaningful conversation about the local area, the amenities on hand, ask about doctors surgeries, hospitals, primary and secondary schools, where the best restaurants and café’s are amongst many other things. A very common question we’re asked, because of the environment agency, is about the flood defences and associated risks. There’s no website or online based agency that can answer these sorts of questions as well as a team of people who have lived in Skegness and the local area for their whole lives!

Many buyers find the internet is a great way to start their property search but first hand knowledge, experience and honest advice goes such a long way to helping home hunters make an informed decision to buy and can often get a deal over the line when the internet is no help at all.

Presenting your property

Presenting your property

A good first impression is vital, so it makes sense for your property to look as fresh and clean as possible rather than dull and uninviting. However it rarely makes sense to spend thousands of pounds prior to marketing a property but it often makes a lot of sense to spend some time and a modest amount of money to carry out simple and inexpensive jobs, like a fresh coat of paint where it may be scuffed and worn, cleaning carpets, de-cluttering hallways and rooms where the viewers eye may be caught by the contents of your room rather than the size of the room. If you have a garage it’s always a good idea to move ‘clutter’ into there for photographs and viewings – buyers rarely expect to see a tidy garage!

When it comes to the outside of your property, bear in mind that the frontage of the home is likely to be the first thing viewers will see when arriving (and they’ve probably done a ‘drive by’ viewing recently as well), so try to make sure your front garden or driveway is free of weeds and the front of the house doesn’t show excessive maintenance work.

If you have a back garden it’s always worth having a tidy up of weeds, cutting the grass and making it look as well maintained as possible (weather and season permitting). It all helps when it comes to buyers making offers!

Keep in mind what we mentioned earlier – most people now start their property search online and the first thing they look at are the photos so it’s crucial that the photos your agent takes show the house at its absolute best. Beam use a professional digital slr with wide angled lens specifically for getting the best possible shots of the internal rooms so as a seller it’s well worth spending a little time prior to our visit, to hide any clutter, personal effects and especially your washing. A good agent will usually be happy to help you move a few things around at the time of the photos but it’s unlikely they will have time to finish your washing and ironing beforehand!

How to carry out a viewing (or accompanied viewings)

How to carry out a viewing (or accompanied viewings)

Showing buyers around your home is a lot less complicated than many people think.

If your property is empty Beam would be happy to carry out viewings on your behalf – one of our team will always accompany viewers and let you know their feedback as soon as we have it.

If your property is lived in then it’s down to the sellers choice – some sellers prefer to carry out their own viewings as they obviously know the property better than anyone else. Some sellers prefer Beam to carry out the viewings and as part of our fully inclusive service we’re happy to do so. You are welcome to be present at the viewing although we find many sellers prefer to go for a walk and come back once we have completed the viewing.

For the sellers that carry out their own viewings, the things to remember are:

  • Allow the viewers to look around the property in their own time.
  • Don’t over talk – often if it is a couple or family viewing, they like the opportunity to talk to each other to discuss ideas and possible plans.
  • Always offer the buyer the opportunity to ask questions and be prepared with answers that could range from your monthly heating bills, your council tax band, what the neighbours are like, how noisy or quiet the neighbourhood is, where the nearest school or doctors is, which boundaries you own or even whether you are aware of any covenants on the property.
  • The main thing is to stay on hand, be friendly and helpful and allow the viewers the time to digest everything. Typically most first viewings take 15 – 30 minutes.

Don’t expect an instant answer or immediate feedback – most viewers will make complimentary comments during the viewing but will want to go away and think about your property amongst the others they will have seen, to discuss the pro’s and con’s of each house. Also be prepared – despite attempts by phone, email and text for feedback, we do find that many viewers just don’t come back with feedback but wherever possible the estate agent will try to find out the views thoughts – positive or negative.

TOP TIP: One of the most common things we hear from sellers is that the viewer made a great deal of positive ‘noises’ when viewing the property even to the point that they may say they are very interested and will be putting an offer in shortly only to then tell the estate agent 24 hours later that the property wasn’t suitable at all and they’re not interested!

It must be a ‘British’ thing! Viewers must be so afraid (or too polite) to say anything negative at all to the seller that they do the complete opposite and leave the property having convinced the seller that they are going to buy it. It happens at least once every single week! So please take viewers comments with a pinch of salt initially.

Receiving an offer

Receiving an offer

Once an offer is made on your property there are several factors that should be taken into account, all of which we at Beam will help you with.

The key things to consider are:

  1. What is the position of the offeror – do they have cash funds available to purchase or are they raising finance/a mortgage?
  2. If finance is required, how far have the buyers got – have they got an agreement in principle from a lender already in place
  3. Is there a property sale connected – ie do the buyers have their own property to sell and if so is it sold with a complete chain below (it also helps to know how many people/properties are in the chain).
  4. Do the buyers have a timescale in mind & does it match your own plans.
  5. Are there any special conditions attached to the offer (such things as the buyer may have requested to be included within the offer figure).
  6. May sound obvious but have the offerors actually viewed the house before making an offer – offers are sometimes submitted prior to viewing, which can create problems at a later date.

The answers to questions like these will affect the advice we give our clients, but having said that, all offers we receive, no matter how low, are put forward for consideration. The good news is our negotiating expertise, coupled with a strong knowledge of the local market help to make sure that a mutually acceptable sale price is agreed wherever possible.

Agreeing a sale – need to knows

Agreeing a sale – need to knows

‘Sale Agreed' is the first official step in purchasing a property and it means that buyer has made a financial offer and the seller has provisionally accepted (subject to contract).

Once this stage is reached, Beam will carry out all the required anti money checks on the purchaser as well as completing the obligatory ID verification process.

It is also the time when Beam will require all of the full financial information from the potential buyer to ensure their ability to proceed to the next stage.

Usually this process takes no more than a couple of days and once all checks are complete, Beam will send out a ‘memorandum of sale’ which is formal document sent to the seller and buyer as well as both sets of solicitors. This will then instigate the solicitors to make contact with each other as well as with their respective clients. It is well worth you contacting your solicitor at this stage to confirm your instructions, to avoid any delay in them commencing the conveyancing.

At this stage the property is usually classed as ‘sold subject to contract’ or ‘sale agreed’, although it is important to note however that this doesn’t mean the property is ‘sold’, as this isn't the case until contracts have been formally exchanged.

By the way, at Beam we recommend that buyers apply for a mortgage agreement in principle early on in the process, as this will qualify offers on properties and show real intent to buy.

TOP TIP – There are many myths surrounding the legalities of marketing properties that are ‘sale agreed’ and who can view, who can offer further etc. The simple answer is that Beam always operate transparently and ethically. We are always bound by the instructions of the seller but those instructions will always be communicated clearly to any interested parties so everyone fully understands the position. Such terms as gazumping, gazundering and gazanging rarely come up but contrary to popular opinion none are illegal. If you have any concerns or questions please ask.

Instructing a conveyancer (& what do they do?!)

Instructing a conveyancer (& what do they do?!)

Once a sale has been agreed a property is usually considered as ‘sold subject to contract’ which requires both buyers and sellers to appoint a conveyancer or solicitor to handle the legal side of the sale. It's important for both parties’ buyer to be clear at this point on what conveyancing fees they are going to be liable for and at what point they are payable.

Conveyancing is the legal term for the transfer of ownership of a property from one party to another. Once your solicitor/conveyancer has received your instructions to act for you, they will make contact with the buyer’s solicitor before drawing up a draft agreement (or contract as it’s better known). Your solicitor will need to gather various bits of information about the property prior to sending this document to the buyers solicitor, so it can often be a couple of weeks before it is sent over.

The buyers solicitor will then raise some questions based upon the draft agreement and these will be sent over to your solicitor who will answer what they can and anything they can’t answer, they will send across to yourself to answer. It's also the point in the process where agreement on what fixtures and fittings will be included in the price of the property, if any, can be reached. This usually covers carpets and curtains, but it may also include anything else which the seller wishes to leave behind or that the buyer expects to be included, including light fixtures, appliances or even a dog in one bizarre case.

Whilst the enquiries are being passed between parties there is other work going on in the background such as carrying out Land Registry and Local Authority searches to establish the boundaries of the property, any restrictive covenants (historic conditions) or potential developments in the area that may affect the sale of your home.

Typically, this whole process can take anything from 8 to 16 weeks depending on the simplicity of the transaction and the situation the buyer and sellers are in. We will liaise between your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor, working up and down any chain, and trying to communicate any news as we go.

It’s not uncommon for things to go a little quiet during this process so it’s important that you keep in regular contact with your solicitor and respond promptly whenever they request information to help facilitate a smooth and stress-free transaction.

Exchange contracts

Exchange contracts

The ‘sold subject to contract’ phase comes to an end when both sides agree they are ready to exchange contracts.

Up until this point, either party can withdraw from the sale without any legal ramifications although both parties are likely to have incurred significant costs in terms of legal fees and/or mortgage & survey related costs which are usually non-refundable.

Exchange of contracts is the point at which both the seller and buyer’s solicitors have dealt with all the legal questions and queries that have gone back and forth, all relevant searches will have been received, deposits (usually a minimum of 5% - 10% of the purchase price) have been lodged with the buyers solicitor and all parties will have already signed their copy of the agreement/contract.

At this point both the seller and buyer (and anyone else in the chain of property transactions connected) must all agree on a completion date. This can be any date that all parties agree to. It is often 7 – 14 days after the day contracts exchange but it can be the same day as exchange of contracts or several weeks ahead, but no conveyancer can exchange contracts until all parties agree on the completion date.

This can often take a few days to go backwards and forwards to agree if there is a longer chain of people, all trying to find out the availability of removals companies.

Once the solicitors have legally exchanged contracts (which these days is usually just a matter of them formally agreeing it over the phone), all parties are legally bound into the transaction and cannot withdraw from the sale or purchase without significant legal ramifications and potentially forfeiting a substantial sum of money including any deposits lodged.

Whist technically possible, it is almost unheard of for a property transaction not to complete once contracts have exchanged – it is normally only in a very extreme event such as a death or major life event occurring between exchange and completion.

Preparing for your move

Preparing for your move

Moving home has been recognised as one of the most stressful things we can do. You won’t be surprised to hear that proper planning and project management skills can make a huge difference to how much stress you experience and at Beam we are here to help!

Think about a budget and estimate what you can afford, and what you think your moving costs will be; consider the cost of everything from packing tape, bubble wrap and boxes to moving company fees.

Think about questions like … How far away is your new home? How much stuff do you need to move? Do you have friends and family who can rally round and help?

The answers to these questions will help you decide whether to take the DIY route and pack and move everything yourself. If you'd rather not do that, you can either pack up your home yourself and hire a professional moving company to do the moving portion for you or hire a company that will do both the packing and moving for you.

Remember that one of the biggest causes of stress is the lack of certainty about the completion date, because that is often only agreed once contracts have been exchanged and arranging for all the different parties involved in your move to be available to play their part at the right time with very little notice is a real challenge. Remember at some point during the day, on the date of completion your property will legally change hands and will be owned by the new buyers so do as much as you possibly can prior to the actual completion date – it is likely you will only have a few hours on that actual day.

Legal completion & key handover

Legal completion & key handover

What is legal completion?

It’s the final step in the home buying process. It’s when property ownership transfers from the seller to the buyer. The buyer can collect their keys and move into their new home.

It’s the day when your solicitor confirms the transaction, deals with paperwork and deeds, and (if you’re the seller) signs off mortgage completion statements where required.

Prior to completion the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will check all mortgage conditions have been met and request the money from the lender. The seller’s solicitors will request a Redemption Certificate (calculated to the day of completion) if there’s a mortgage on the seller’s property.

Conveyancing solicitors on each side create completion statements of all payments made and received and set out any invoices to be paid on completion.

On completion day both solicitors make final checks, and then the buyer’s solicitor will transfer the purchase money via the banking system to the seller.

The timing of the process will be dependent on your circumstances and how many other parties are involved in the buying chain. Once the monies have been put into the banking system it can be anything from several minutes to several hours for the funds to transfer from one solicitor to another.

Once they have been received by your solicitor, the house is no longer yours so if you’re not out already, be ready to leave. Sellers and buyers are entitled to swap their keys over privately but typically to make timings easier and less stressful for everyone, the seller drops the keys into the estate agents office ready for the buyer to collect from there once the monies are received. It is worth noting that whilst estate agents are usually happy to oblige with the transfer of the keys, the agent has no legal obligation to provide a set of keys to the property – we have known circumstances where buyers have stormed into the agents office on completion day, demanding a set of keys when the agents didn’t even hold any keys!

TOP TIP – there are all sorts of myths around what time keys are released and when the property legally becomes yours. The truth is,- it doesn’t matter what time your conveyancer sends your money, all that matters is when that money is received by the sellers solicitor’s bank. At that point the property legally becomes yours and until that point, you will likely not be allowed to have the keys. We have seen completions happen at 9.30pm in a morning on completion day and we have seen them happen at 5pm but most often it is between 11am and 3pm on the day.


Refundable Holding depositCapped at 1 weeks rent
Security DepositCapped at 5 weeks rent for annual rental under £50,000, or 6 weeks rent for annual rental over £50,000
RentThe agreed monthly rent
Changes to tenancyCapped at £50 inc VAT
Early termination chargeNot exceeding the landlord’s financial losses
Late payment of rentInterest of 3% above BoE base rate for each day the rent is late, once it is 14 days overdue
Replacement keysReasonable costs or give the tenant the option to purchase themselves
Utilities, council tax, communication services, TV Licence etcTenants own responsibility unless otherwise stated in contract
Client Money Protection Scheme Membership detailsThe law requires your membership details
Property Redress Scheme Membership detailsThe law requires your membership details