Now that the housing marketing is improving for most of the UK, many people who have been renting whilst they weather out the storm are now looking to buy. This is especially true of the London area, where prices also seem to be enjoying something of a mini-boom.
Whether this is set to stay, or improve, is open to discussion, but if in the meantime you have decided that it’s the ideal time to sell, then there are a few considerations to take into account.
Getting it right
As an example of effectively pricing yourself out of the market, it recently came to my attention that a new listing in this area last week for a 2 bed flat was put up at £1.2m. A similar property in the same building last year was priced at £670,000, meaning that the agent valuing this year’s flat has more than likely over-valued it.
This of course, makes a property that much harder to sell and whilst the above may seem like an extreme example, the market is littered with stock that’s had the price reduced that still isn’t selling.
A good resource for finding properties that have been reduced in price is Property Snake, its database is updated daily too, so the information is all current.
First steps: Valuation
If you were to get a quote from a builder as you had found a leak in your roof, would you take the first one, even if it seemed inexpensive? Probably not; shopping around is important from a seller point of view too.
I would recommend that you ask a maximum of 3 agents to value the property and be wary of taking the highest valuation. Research is necessary and should include asking what has sold in your street recently and for how much.
Have a look what the agents already have listed in your area, as well as what they have sold recently that can help to support their valuation. It’s vital to ensure that you recognise the fact that house prices are very much down to locality, so don’t look at average UK prices, as this won’t give an accurate indication.
Have a look at what’s for sale in your area and how this compares with 6 months ago. When an agent shows you a listing he had last year that has subsequently been sold, ask about the final selling price, as this is bound to differ from the listing price and will be a more accurate representation.
Do your homework
It’s also a good idea to have a look at the buyers in your area; are they families, or buy-to-let purchasers? Know your market and you have a better chance of success. Also bear in mind that property investors will be looking to pay as little as possible, so will do everything to haggle you down, whilst a family might simply fall in love with a prospective new home.
Ask the agents about ‘absorption rate’ too, which just means how long it is currently taking similar properties to sell in your area.
Consider the following factors:
Date of sale
Type of sale
Type of home (terraced, flat, detached, semi etc.)
Location and amenities nearby such as schools, shops, travel connections and so on
All of these should help you to make a decision on which agent has given you the most transparent valuation.
At this time of the year and when the UK has unusually good weather as it has at the moment, house sales tend to stagnate a little. This means that getting the price right is a major factor to its saleability.
Whilst you don’t want to overprice yourself, it’s wise to have a little wiggle room so you can allow yourself to be bartered downwards. This gives the buyer psychological boost, as they imagine that they’ve managed to bag a bargain. However, do make sure that you don’t overdo this and try to be too smart.
According to the Telegraph, a house for sale takes nine weeks to find a buyer, and brings in just 93 per cent of its asking price. This means that another ‘must-do’ is to ensure that you have very high quality photos taken, inside and out and insist that the agent offers a high quality brochure listing your property.
It’s also advisable to carry out any external and internal repairs and cosmetic work (such as painting outside walls) before putting it on the market. That brings us to how best to present your home for viewings … but that’s another blog.
Article by Matthew Fine, Managing Director of Hunters Marylebone branch. Follow Matthew on LinkedIn by clicking here.