Beat Brexit and Sell Your Home!

Whichever side of the debate you are on, almost everybody will agree that the uncertainty caused by the referendum in 2016 has not been beneficial to the UK’s housing market

In spite of the fact that the much predicted and much feared crash if we voted leave never happened, the market has been subdued since with more modest price rises than we had seen in previous years. Whether this was a direct result of the vote, or a natural and inevitable fluctuation in the market is anybody’s guess and often the answer will depend on which side of the Brexit fence you sit on!

But as we approach yet another deadline, things are toughening up. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) questioned agents in 547 branches and were told that both seller and buyer enquires had slowed. Stock levels and general buyer activity has reduced (although this often happens at this time of year anyway). 

However, amongst the speculation about the market, there is one undeniable fact...

People still want to sell property!

Whether it is a job move, one of the four ‘D’s’ (Death, divorce, debt, downsizing), a move overseas, a bigger home because of a new baby – whatever the reason – there is still an enormous demand for buyers.

But when there are fewer buyers the competition between sellers hots up. Purchasers have more time to decide on a home, have more ability to negotiate and can walk away from a transaction without the same fear of missing out.

Ask any estate agent what can be done to find a buyer and you will generally get one answer. “Reduce your price.”

Now that is in many ways, good advice if the house is stuck on the market or overpriced in the first place.

But it is not the whole story.

It’s very easy for agents to discount using other people’s money to get the sale, but careful advice should be given before you reach this stage.

For a start, why was the property overpriced in the first place? Could it have been genuine optimism or was it a ploy by the estate agent to get the property on their books, locked into a sole agency agreement with the intention to reduce later? If you think that’s the case, you are not with the right agent!

So what else can be done to attract an elusive buyer?

Well, every home is different so there is no definitive list but these are the kind of things you should be looking at;

  • Presentation. Look around through the eyes of a buyer, what’s good and what isn’t? Ask your estate agent for honest, no holding back advice.
  • Photos. People buy with their eyes first. Are the agents photos current and attractive. Summer shots of your garden in December are not good!
  • A For Sale board. 24/7 tell the world your home is up for grabs. If you don’t have one, get one.
  • Legals. Get a solicitor on board now, ready for when you sell. Unnecessary delays massively increase the chances of a fall through later and you’ll be back to square one.
  • Repairs. Unless your home is in need of a complete refurbishment, get all the little glitches sorted out now. Selling a home is a bit like selling a car. You wouldn’t get a good price if the wing mirror was hanging off and a wheel was missing, the same applies to your home!
  • Agent. Is your agent tired of trying to sell the house? Are they the best, most prominent and enthusiastic in the area? Are you sure your home is on Rightmove and Zoopla (still the two most massive property sites by far)? If not change them or at least instruct a second agent (just remember to check your agreement first to avoid possibly paying two commissions).
  • Who does the viewings? If you trust them, give your agent a key. That way they can be selling your house when you are at work or at the shops – in this market they need to strike whilst the iron is hot!
  • Look at alternatives. If you can, try to turn any negatives in to positives. For example, if your house is too large for many families, look to buyers of HMO’s (a flatlet house or student accommodation). Small house with an over-large garden? Perhaps your neighbour might buy part when the sale goes through. Could your home become a commercial unit such as a children’s nursery or doctor’s surgery? 

Lean on your estate agent for advice and help and if they don’t have any suggestions other than “drop the price”, well you know what to do!

Posted on in Selling

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