Selling Guide

If you are considering selling your business, call us today on 0113 2390330 to speak to one of our experienced valuers. CLICK HERE to arrange for a confidential, no obligation appraisal of your business.

Step 1 : The appointment
In normal circumstances we like to have an initial discussion with you in the strictest of confidence, which will be followed by an appointment for one of our experienced valuer's to visit you to assess your business value and discuss marketing strategies.

We appreciate that visiting your business premises during trading times might be a sensitive issue and we therefore try to accommodate you where possible with appointments at a mutually convenient time.
Step 2 : The marketing particulars
Following our meeting and only if signed instructions have been given, we would then prepare detailed marketing particulars which if required will include colour photographs to present the business in the best possible light. The marketing particulars are then submitted to you for approval prior to marketing.
Step 3 : Our marketing program
Once you have approved the particulars marketing will commence with a program tailored to your personal instructions. We do not have to include photos, name or address of your business. In some circumstances where it is paramount that the business is sold in the strictest confidence we would not even advertise the town the business is located and are happy to just say the county or even North East England or similar.

In normal circumstances our marketing programme includes: Carefully matching applicants that are already registered on our database to your business. Local, national, trade press and web site advertising ensuring your business receives maximum exposure.
Step 4 : Viewings
Once we have an applicant interested in your business and they have received, read and understood the marketing particulars, we ensure a viewing agreement/confidentiality questionnaire is completed to verify who they are and for us to qualify the viability of them proceeding to purchase your business if interested. The information requested includes previous business experience, financial information etc. Normally applicants are not accompanied by us to the appointment although in special circumstances this can be arranged. Appointments are arranged in the strictest confidence.

•  Solicitors, accountants and survey/valuation fees and stock taking costs
Step 5 : After viewing feedback
Following the appointment we always endeavour to speak to the applicant to obtain their comments on the business and report this information to the vendor whether good or bad! This we feel is very important to realise a sale of the business.
Step 6 : Submitting financial information
Ideally we would like to hold copies of the last 3 years Profit & Loss account on file together with most recent VAT returns for the business. This information is ONLY sent to an interested party following a viewing appointment and upon your instructions. Unless very experienced business buyers, applicants will normally take the accounts to an accountant to look over them and should they have any enquiries we encourage these to come via us rather than direct to you.
Step 7 : The offer
Once the applicant has satisfied themselves over the financial information we would encourage them to make an offer via us which we would then submit verbally and in writing to you. We would advise you on this offer and take into account the length of time the business has been for sale, the level of interest and market conditions. You are under no obligation to accept any offer below the asking price.
Step 8 : Setting up the sale
When an offer is accepted we normally request a deposit, proof of finance, solicitors details and referees we can write to for a reference for the landlord (if leasehold). Until receipt of deposit your business remains for sale and marketing continues. To help the buyer and seller we have many established contacts with solicitors, commercial finance companies who can assist. Upon receipt of the information Heads of Terms are prepared and submitted to the vendor, purchaser and both parties solicitors. The sale is then underway.
Step 9 : The sale begins
Some agents seem to think this is the end of their involvement and they have done enough to be paid their fee on completion. Legally under the terms of there selling agreement they are probably correct, however at Clifford Lax our involvement continues all the way to completion. To accommodate this at Clifford Lax we have established a very experienced in house Sales Progression Department who oversee all sales through to completion keeping both vendor and purchaser up to date with the latest position and liaise with solicitors where necessary to ensure a smooth transfer.
Step 10 : The sale process
1. The sale is agreed
2. Solicitors submit a draft contract.
3. References are taken up (applicable to leasehold businesses only)
4. The purchaser's solicitor raises enquiries and carries out searches.
5. Landlord's approval is received
6. Enquiries are answered
7. Contract is approved
8. Contracts are signed
9. Contracts are exchanged and a completion date is fixed.
10. Stock takers are arranged for the day of completion.
11. Clifford Lax can recommend a Stock Valuer
12. Arrange to have all meters read and utilities names changed etc
13. The solicitors transfer the funds and completion is effected
14. The vendor and agent get paid!
Step 11 : Important note
From 1 October 2008 sellers and landlords are required by law to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all buildings or parts of buildings when they are sold or rented. An Energy Performance Certificate gives prospective buyers or tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building.

The certificate provides energy efficiency with a rating system of A-G and recommendations for improvement. EPCs were first introduced for the sale of domestic homes, as part of the Home Information Pack also known as a HIP. Although from April 2008 this was extended to newly built homes and large commercial properties. The ratings (similar to those found on products such as fridges) are standard so the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of a similar type.

For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must have a roof and walls and use energy to condition the indoor climate (i.e. has heating, air-conditioning or mechanical ventilation) then you will require an EPC. Any Commercial Property on the market before 1st October 2008 and remaining on the market will need an EPC by 4th January 2009 at the latest. If it is sold or rented out in the meantime, an EPC must be commissioned and then handed to either your agent or solicitor.

The seller or landlord is responsible for ensuring that an EPC is available to a prospective purchaser or tenant at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a viewing is conducted or when written marketing information is provided about the building, or in any event before entering into a contract to sell or let.

EPCs are produced by accredited energy assessors and for commercial properties are valid for a period of 10 years, or until a newer EPC is prepared. EPC's are not required before the construction of a building is completed, nor are they required on the sale, rent or construction of: -

•  Places of worship.
•  Temporary buildings with a planned time of use less than two years.
•  Stand alone buildings with a total useful floor area of 538 square feet (50 metres squared) that are not dwellings.
•  Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demands.

As the purpose of EPC's is to enable potential buyers and tenants to consider energy performance of a building as part of there investment or transactions which do not involve a new owner or tenant may not require an EPC. Examples of this are: -

•  Lease renewals or extensions ro existing tenants.
•  Compulsory purchase orders.
•  Lease surrenders.

Clifford Lax has formed a partnership with a number of qualified assessors in order to provide a cost effective and accurate EPC. If you are unsure on any of the above information then please do not hesitate to contact our office and speak to one our helpful members of staff. Further information can be obtained from the Dept for Communities and Local Government website: 

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