As the London market continues to stay flat, and even dips in some areas, we wanted to offer some sound advice to consider both before you put your property on the market and also during the selling process.
The reality of 2018 is that London is a buyer’s market. House prices across the capital are flat and even dipping in some cases. Nationwide reported recently that the annual house price growth in Britain has fallen to a five-year low with London being the weakest performing region. Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, told City AM that there are few signs of an imminent change and expects house price growth for 2018 as a whole to slow to around 1%. He told the newspaper, “surveyors continue to report subdued levels of new buyer enquiries, while the supply of properties on the market remains more of a trickle than a torrent.” As the rate of growth turns negative in London for the first time since 2009, many are attributing these changes to a combination of Brexit uncertainty, diminishing demand among foreign buyers and increases on stamp duty. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said that in March demand from buyers fell for the 12th month in a row, while new instructions from sellers declined for the seventh consecutive month, and prices were flat nationally. So what now? It’s time to get pragmatic. If you wish to sell your property you need to be smart about it to maximise your returns in a challenging market. It can be done, you can still get a great deal and make all parties happy.
Choose The Right Agent
With supply dropping in the capital, properties are at a premium for estate agents. This creates a competitive market where some agents are fighting hard to gather inventory over their peers. This means you need to choose wisely. Paula Higgins, chief executive of the campaign group Home Owners Alliance, told The Guardian, “Sellers have got to be careful that they choose their estate agent very carefully. Don’t go for the one that tells you what you think you want to hear. Make sure they are there to sell your property and they are not overvaluing it. Some sellers have been locked into long contracts with an estate agent who is not working in their best interest. I spoke to one person who had an estate agent who had been doing nothing for them for 26 weeks. That is half a year of their life on hold. It is a bit of an unregulated area, so do your research.” If you’re property has been on the market for a long period, and you agent assures you that there have been a lot of viewing but no bites,
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
Realities and solutions in a difficult seller’s market the chances are it’s overpriced and you need to think about lowering it. Take a look at similar properties in
the area and nearby, to see what a comparable property looks like and what it’s priced at. Then take a look at Zoopla and Right Move data on previous sales of your property. This will give you a clearer picture on what would be an acceptable price to suit both you and any potential buyer’s needs.
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Even in a fluctuating market, timing still matters. The old buying and selling windows are still in place. The summer dip, back to school, getting in before Christmas etc. The Beast from the East likely affected the market a little this year, ditto the summer heat wave. But broadly, these trends are still in place and are well worth considering as you begin to think about putting your property on the market. And it’s not just about the buyer, you need to think about your own timelines and when you want to move.
DRESSING THE STAGE
Physically getting your own house in order can also expedite a sale. “It makes sense to try and get your property into a condition where someone viewing it wants to buy it. That might mean investing a bit of money,” says David Blake from
Which? mortgage advisers. Never got around to cleaning up the front garden? Now’s the time. Hallway scuffed by bikes? Bathroom looking a little rough cosmetically? A deep clean of your property will set you back a few hundred pounds but can make all the difference in the long run for both a sale and your own sanity. If you’ve gotten creative in any of the rooms with a colour scheme (are feature walls still a thing?) consider a whitewash to create a blank canvas for any prospective buyers to imprint their own future visions on. Whether you’re downsizing or moving into a similar sized home, clutter is not a good look for potential buyers. They want to see the space, so if you have the means – a garage, a storage unit company nearby – have a clear out and let people see
and feel the space. And, finally, if you’re looking for a quick sale, you need to be flexible with the price. Look beyond the headlines and average market rates to your own situation. How much can you comfortably take off the asking price and still achieve your next goals? And if any buyers come to you with an offer that you think is too low, don’t dismiss it outright, speak to them and have a discussion. Sure, it’s basically haggling, but you may be surprised by the results.
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