A year ago, many prospective buyers seeking to acquire property in prime central London were being asked to submit sealed bids, amid an insatiable demand for homes in the heart of the city, as the capital’s property boom showed no sign of slowing.
But after starting the year strongly, the prime London housing market finished 2014 having lost steam, and this trend continued in the run-up to the general election in May 2015, as the uncertain outcome of the poll had many people fearing that Labour’s proposed ‘mansion tax’ on homes costing £2million-plus may be introduced.
Also having a subdued effect on buyers at the top end of the capital’s luxury market was the Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to reform stamp duty on home purchases last December, which added a levy of £53,750 to the cost of buying a £2million home compared with the previous system.
The strengthening pound against major foreign currencies has made it more expensive for overseas nationals to acquire UK property, dampening international demand, while the Chancellor’s recent pledge to end permanent entitlement to the non-domicile loophole that has let thousands of wealthy families live in Britain without paying tax on their overseas income, may weaken demand further; tax efficiency, along with London’s haven status, was a big driver.
Given all that has happened over the past 12 months, many would-be buyers at the luxury-end of the housing market are now more cautions, as reflected by fewer upscale transactions at £2million-plus - many homes in the city’s prime central districts remain unsold, with average asking prices creeping down. But just because the market has slowed, that doesn’t mean that sellers of luxury homes shouldn’t still expect to secure a quick sale at the right price.
DRESS TO IMPRESS
Demand may have fallen, but there are still plenty of prospective buyers seeking to purchase a property just like yours. The key is to make your home stand out from comparable homes in the local area. Home staging is an excellent marketing tool designed to appeal to potential purchasers, making the job of selling much easier.
General DIY, de-clutter, a fresh lick of paint, clean the windows, hoover the carpet, plump those cushions, ensure beds are neatly made, a homeowner can do a lot to improve their property’s internal appearance, but home staging is beyond decorating and cleaning. It is about creating illusions. Strategic lighting, skilfully placed mirrors delicious smells, these are all among the tricks adopted by professionals to create positive feelings and make homes more appealing.
Selecting the right estate agent is critical – it can make the difference between getting a really good price, and not selling your property at all.
To help determine how good the agent is, look at their recent sales success, assess their local market knowledge, find out if they have any sales qualifications, determine how they would market your property.
From floor plans and high quality photography to print and online advertising, an excellent marketing strategy is critical to generating high offers. Presentation is everything.
Finally, do not be fooled by deliberately over optimistic valuations by agents trying to secure your instruction. This will deter many prospective buyers.
Secure valuations from several agents and conduct your own research to ensure that your asking price is realistic. This is a classic mistake. Remember, the highest price possible always starts with a well planned and thought through asking price, designed to attract maximum bids.
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