Currently, when it comes to selling your home, the media paints a pretty dim picture. Brexit, the upcoming General Election, and the uncertainty of the British political and economic situation have created an atmosphere of caution that could make you feel reluctant to move. But the market is not as bad as the headlines make it seem - particularly if you’re selling a property up North.
Selling a home is always a difficult process. Taking the time to prepare, and getting guidance from experienced estate agents will help make your sale go a little more smoothly.
Many of the main stories about the property market post-Referendum have focused on the decline in house prices. These stories tend to focus broadly on London and the South East, and tell far from the full story. Not only are prices up North faring much better than down south (prices in Nottingham have seen a growth of 10.2% in the last 6 months) but even within London the story is not universally pessimistic. Neighbourhoods like Peckham are showing signs of growth with average prices up by 7.5% from 6 months ago.
Generally properties are taking longer on average to sell. But those that are accurately valued and well presented are still in demand in many areas. In particular, if you live near a good school, or in a well-located commuting area, you’ll appeal to buyers looking to take their next steps in family life or work.
Tools such as our online valuation and area guides can be used as a starting point for researching your local area. Once you have a sense of what’s going on, enlist the help of an estate agent with a strong track record and local expertise. They’ll be able to talk to you in more detail about the conditions in your specific neighbourhood.
Picking the right estate agent for your needs is even more vital in this uncertain climate. A local expert will know how to value and market your property competitively to get you the best price. They’ll also be aware of interested buyers in the area.
When starting your search it’s vital to remember that the estate agent with the lowest fee, or highest valuation, may not give you the best deal. Take into account an agent’s performance to make sure you’re not sacrificing on quality.
For example: one agent might charge 1.2% commission, and sell your property for £450,000. This would translate into a fee of £5,400. A second agent might quote a fee of 1.4%, but then sell your home for £470,000. Their fee is larger, at £6580, but the increase in sales price more than compensates for this. And you’ve made more money too.
You might also want to consider picking an agent with a ‘no sale, no fee’ policy. Most high street agents will offer this, as their fees are commission based. Because the amount the agent gets paid depends on the final sales price, they’re more motivated to achieve the best price, and quickly. In contrast agents offering a fixed fee, have less incentive to achieve a sale, or the best price; you’ll pay them the same amount either way. Our research into online agents confirmed this. Purplebricks completed on just 57% of the properties they listed in the year long period we examined.
Be equally cautious of overvaluations. An estate agent that’s fighting for your business might try to tempt you to pick them by suggesting an unrealistically high valuation of your home. This is particularly the case in a quieter market. However, overpriced property will need a greater number of price cuts to encourage a sale. And, our research has found that properties which change price take over twice as long to sell.
Finding out how successful an estate agent is at valuing property is crucial. If they regularly don’t achieve the asking price, it may be that they have a habit of overvaluing. To get the highest sales price, we suggest picking an estate agent with a percentage success rate as close to 100% as possible. These guys will be the most accurate valuers.
'All things considered, selling your home in the current market can be an expensive and drawn out endeavour and ensuring you instruct the best agent, at the best price, is the best way to maximise your property's profitability.' - Colby Short, CEO and co-founder of GetAgent
Although the picture might still seem pessimistic, remember that the property market always undergoes seasonal shifts. Spring is usually the best time to sell a property, but Autumn comes a close second. Both seasons are great for showing off your garden, and neither coincide with large holidays - many people don’t want to move over Christmas.
But, you can use the festive season to your advantage. Dressing your home with seasonal decorations such as candles, blankets and fairy lights can make a space feel homely. This will make it easier for prospective buyers to imagine themselves enjoying the festive period there.
Also, Boxing Day is one of the busiest days for speculative buyers viewing properties online. Last year, Rightmove reported that 40 million online property listings were viewed on Boxing Day. This trend is consistent too. In 2017, 38 million properties were viewed online the day after Christmas.
So, if your listing is up this time of year, make sure it stands out. Good quality photos and an engaging description can make a huge difference in encouraging people to book a viewing. Online photographs are likely to be most peoples’ first glimpse of your home. If you’re not happy with the pictures, tell your estate agent straight away. A good agent will know exactly what to change so that your property is shown in its best light. For an extra boost, talk to your agent about promoted listings on portals such as Rightmove or Zoopla.
It’s unclear whether waiting until Brexit has passed will help you to secure a higher price and quicker sale, or if delaying will leave you worse off. But, personal circumstances, such as moving jobs, or starting a family, make buying and selling property a necessity for many people, regardless of the political situation.
There could be any number of changes to the property market in the next few months - both good and bad. Putting your life on hold may not be the right thing to do. With the guidance of an expert estate agent, and some extra preparation, you’ll be in the best position to achieve a good price and a quick sale.
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