Sellers Guide Q2 '17


Whatever your situation, we’ve got some sound advice on how to sell your property in this market.

Selling a house is always dependent on the market. And the market, often likened to the sea, can be changeable, calm or downright dangerous. Your experience will depend on how you navigate your way through it, and to take the analogy further, that depends on your craft and where you’re headed. So without further ado let’s put some colour into the picture.

While we can’t help you with the inevitable weeks spent whittling down a lifetime’s worth of memories – and the bits and bobs that come with them – we can help you on the actual sale of your property. The relative stability of the pound in the first quarter of 2017 is good news all round and a recent report by Hometrack, a housing market research group, confidently states London’s property market is robust enough to weather any future crash.

And while downsizing will save you money in terms of utility bills and initial costs will be lower, you need to be patient to ensure you get the best price. However you cut it though, in a discounted market like this you will always be navigating upstream. Essentially you’ll be taking a bigger discount, proportionally speaking, in the sale of you home than you will save on your onward purchase. Of course you can work with the market and push hard on your purchase, but you’ll need to be doing the opposite on your sale, battening down the hatches and doing some clever selling to maximise price achieved.

This is what the seemingly pricey purchase all those years ago has been for. You’re climbing the ladder and no doubt have some significant capital banked during the price rises several years ago. Maybe it’s a family home with space for a new arrival or two. Whatever your specific reasons, there’s some good advice whether you’ve just made the decision or are deep in the process. A great piece of advice, if it’s an option, is to sell your home before beginning the next buying cycle, even if it means renting for a couple of months, because that is infinitely preferable to juggling two mortgages. With that in mind, it’s important to speak to your agent and ensure you’re not overpricing your property. The reason for this is that unlike downsizing, you’re about to be making an extremely savvy move. You’ll be securing a higher discount, in today’s market, on your onward higher priced purchase than you’ll be losing on your sale.

This means that speed of movement is your friend, as often the more flexible you can be and the faster you can operate yields the best buys. So don’t quibble over a few tens of thousand on your sale when you could potentially make a saving of £100k on your purchase. The trick is to ride the market, get out quickly and back in again before the tide turns.

Disposal of property
Sometimes, for many reasons, some odd, some not, you need to get rid of a property. And you may need to do this quickly. Speak to your agent about the best time to sell. For instance, Spring is traditionally a good time, as is Autumn, but ideally avoid high-summer and Christmas. Speak to your agent about the right price for the property, but also don’t be afraid to do your own research. Another tip is to start the conveyance process as early as possible, which will hopefully speed the process up. Most people are expecting that prices are going to rise, but not for two years or so, which means if you can wait it out it is probably a better choice than selling now. That said if you’re in the comfortable position of not having to sell you can operate a harder pricing pitch which can often lead to a higher price, depending on how much time you have of course. If not, then you may want to become an accidental landlord.

Accidental landlord
An accidental landlord is someone who becomes a landlord without ever having had the conscious intention of joining the buy to let housing market. They might have acquired a let property entirely by chance – commonly by way of an inheritance, or you may have found yourself with an extra property after moving in with a partner or spouse. Or you may want to sell but find that the market is not on your side, so decide to let in the short term.

First things to do are get your paperwork in order: both your insurance and mortgage brokers need to be made aware of your situation, as will HMRC, as you will need to declare the sudden additional income, however large or small. And if you decide to sell up, you’ll need to ensure you’re not violating any existing tenancy agreement in terms of when people need to vacate the property. Your exact situation can affect how you go about renting your property out, this will include clever uses of break clauses and of course installing the right type of tenant depending on your long or short term intentions. The sales market we have experienced over the last two years has led to many would-be sellers becoming accidental landlords. Many sellers have put their property up to rent rather than take a discount on price. However with the market looking like it’s turning we may see some people being stuck as landlords when they’d rather not be. This is why choosing to let should always be thought out properly with contingencies, such as break clauses, put in place if needed