Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Choose Family Homes?

We are a cost effective organisation who are willing to go that extra mile.

How can you offer such a low charge?

The cost experienced in running a traditional estate agents are directly related to their overheads such as high street premises, staffing costs and company cars etc. The enormous advances in technology now mean that we are able to deliver the details of your home quickly, efficiently and above all economically to thousands of potential buyers without incurring crippling overheads; allowing us to pass great savings onto yourself offering you a genuine alternative to the traditional high cost way of selling your home.

Are there any hidden costs?

There are no other costs incurred in the selling. We will offer our FREE market appraisal of the value of your property. Our Promise to you is No Sale, No Fee and No Hidden Costs.

Will I be offered the same level of service even though I am paying less?

Certainly. You will be looked after every step of the way right through to completion by our experienced, dedicated and professional team. No Sale, No Fee and no Hidden Costs, so it’s imperative that we sell property whilst still maintaining the optimum value. We cut cost not corners!

How will you advertise my property?

Your property will be advertised every week in the local Newspaper and on all the major property websites, including our own website, Zoopla, Prime Location, Find a Property.

Where is Family Homes Sales and Letting Specialists?

Our offices are located at 25a West Street Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 1AL. We can be contacted on 01795 47 94 34 or on Please feel free to give us a call, drop us an email or pop into the office to have a chat.

How long does it take for a sale to go through?

There are many factors governing this. In a simple property transaction, i.e. where there is no chain, and where a survey does not reveal anything untoward, the average period of time between an offer being accepted and contracts being exchanged is 4 – 6 weeks, with completion taking place some 4 weeks thereafter. It can take less, of course, and it can take a lot longer – it all depends on the circumstances, and the level of cooperation between the parties involved.

Do I have to pay stamp duty?

Stamp Duty – What has changed?

Rates from 4 December 2014

Previously, SDLT was charged at a single rate for the entire price of a property. From 4 December, SDLT is charged at increasing rates for each portion of the price.

You can choose to pay SDLT at the old or the new rates if you exchanged contracts on or before 3 December 2014, and completed on 4 December or later.

Residential properties

You’ll pay:

  • nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
  • 2% on the next £125,000
  • 5% on the next £675,000
  • 10% on the next £575,000
  • 12% on the rest (above £1.5 million) Example If you buy a property for £275,000, you’ll pay £3,750 of SDLT. This is made up of:
  • nothing on the first £125,000
  • £2,500 on the next £125,000
  • £1,250 on the remaining £25,000Use the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) SDLT calculator to work out how much you’ll pay.

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How much should I pay a solicitor?

Conveyancing charges vary from firm to firm, of course, and we would be pleased to recommend any one of the local firms of solicitors which we deal with. They will quote clients of ours a very favourable charge for carrying out the conveyancing in the sale and/or purchase of a property.

What about surveying a property?

There are different types of survey available. There is a very brief type of survey, referred to, in a mortgage application, as a mortgage valuation. This, essentially, is limited to a brief inspection of the property for any obvious faults and provides an assessment of its value. The Homebuyer’s report will go into more detail and will provide a fairly extensive report with appropriate summaries and valuation. The full structural survey and valuation is an in-depth report that looks at the fabric of the property as well as its overall condition and will make appropriate recommendations and suggest a valuation.We have links with associated firms which are able to provide this essential, professional service. Many buyers are happy to rely on the survey or valuation report carried out in their mortgage application. However, for the cautious, or where there is no mortgage involved, and subject to the age and condition of the property involved, choosing one of these reports should provide the required amount of information.

How will I know what people think of my home following viewings?

Family Homes will make it a priority to follow up every viewing by calling the potential purchasers to see if they are interested in making an offer.  The feedback we get from these calls, whether positive or negative, will subsequently be passed on to the vendors.

Do I have to display a For Sale Board?

‘For Sale’ boards are often the way in which the successful buyer finds your property, so in some instances they have proved to be very important.  However, we do understand that there may be a number of reasons why you would prefer not to have a board at the property, which is fine too!

How long does it take to get my property onto the market?

When you choose to market your property through Family Homes, we will arrange a mutually suitable time to visit your property to take the photographs and write the description of the property. Provided that there is a valid Home Information Pack, we can usually get your property uploaded to the internet within 24 hours. Full glossy brochures typically take 3 or 4 days to prepare, as we will always allow time to get the text checked by the vendors before printing.

Why do I need to show you my ID before you can market my property?

In 2004 the government extended the Anti – Money Laundering Legislation requiring estate agents to verify the identity of their clients. This formality is conducted with the minimum of inconvenience.

When is the best time to go on the market?

Obviously some home sales are forced by circumstances that need immediate action for example a change of job or a divorce. But if you can choose when you go on the market then start the selling process when the largest numbers of people are looking. Spring-summer is the favourite time to move, but there is usually a spurt after Christmas. If you have a hunch that interest rates are going through the roof or you have inside knowledge that stamp duty may rise yet again then try to get in before these events occur.

If you are selling your home and hoping to buy another, you have to think carefully about at what stage you want to start looking for a new house. There are three ways to do this:

You can buy and sell simultaneously. It will save you storage and rent costs but it can put you in the stressful position of being at the whim of a chain.

You can sell your house and then rent while you find another – though property prices may rise while you wait.

You can sell your house but request several weeks between exchange and completion in order to find yourself a new property however, this may compromise your buyer. Whichever way you choose, it is best to at least have an offer on your own property before looking for a new one – bridging loans are expensive and should be avoided at all costs.

When do I need to arrange buildings insurance?

Unless the building insurance is being arranged by your lender or it is a leasehold property and the insurance is dealt with by the freeholder, you must arrange buildings insurance from exchange of contracts as the property will be at your risk from that time. The amount of cover should be the estimated cost of re-building the property if it burns to the ground which is not necessarily the same as the current market value. If you had a survey or you are obtaining a mortgage, your surveyor or the lender’s valuer will usually have suggested a minimum amount of cover in their report.


The Solicitor – Once the buyer’s solicitor has received the mortgage advance and purchase monies, this can be sent to the seller’s solicitor through the CHAPS system (a means of transferring monies between banks).

The seller’s solicitor should notify the buyer’s solicitor to confirm monies have been received and that the keys can then be collected.

The seller’s solicitor will contact the estate agent, if they are holding the keys, to confirm they can be released.

The Estate Agent – If the estate agent is holding the keys they will be notified by the seller’s solicitor to release them, only when the purchase monies have been received and cleared.

The Seller – The seller should notify the estate agent prior to completion as to whether the keys will be delivered to the agents office for collection by the buyer or if they are to be handed over directly, at the house.

The Buyer – Once your solicitor has confirmed the monies have been received by the seller’s solicitor, contact the estate agent and make arrangements to collect the keys.

Be aware, Bank Holiday periods and Fridays are the most popular days for moving. Check with the estate agents that they have been authorised to release the keys by the seller’s solicitor and make arrangements to collect the keys.

What’s the difference between a ‘Freehold’ and ‘Leasehold’ property?

Simply put, Leasehold means that you do not own the land that the property stands on, usually applicable to a flat or maisonette. Freehold property means you own the property and the land that it is built on. Under the terms of a Lease maintenance insurance and ground rent are usually payable to the Freeholder (or their agent) which can sometimes be owned jointly between the leaseholders. Freehold property can also include maintenance payments (for private roads, gardens etc.) so get your solicitor to carefully check your liabilities.

What’s the difference between a sole and multiple agency?

A sole agency is where one agent is appointed. A multiple agency is where two or more agents are instructed – you usually only pay the successful agent – just be wary of the agency terms particularly sole selling rights agreements. Most sellers (and agents) prefer a sole agency where they can act to get the best sale for the client not just the first!

What are sole selling rights?

This is where and agency agreement entails the agent is paid their sales fee regardless, even if you sell to a relative. This type of agreement is becoming more common as more information on houses being sold is put on the internet. Occasionally sellers may be tempted to argue that buyer who knocked on the door was a private sale!